Thank you to everyone who is following my creative journey and supporting my work… if you wish to continue doing so… I have created a new blog to document the second year of my fine art degree.. please feel free to follow:
Constellation has been an extremely valuable part of my first year studying at degree level. Attending the Key Note lectures within the first term of undertaking the constellation module opened my eyes to new ways of thinking. They taught me to think beyond what I see and to question a theory, artist’s work or object further than my initial thoughts and assumptions. I had never even considered philosophy within art before Clive’s lecture: do I have ideas or do Ideas have me? I found myself questioning this lecture for hours afterwards as it really grabbed me, it encouraged me to think about what art really is today. Although I was engaged in the lecture room, If I’m honest, I’m still not really convinced that I understand the literal and the phenomenal through no fault of the tutor and may have to research that further. Learning about artistic periods through history such as the arts and crafts movement has broadened my historical knowledge and within constellation, I have quickly learnt that you have to have knowledge of the past to create new artwork today inspired by what you know.
Study skills sessions not only allowed me to choose an appropriate tutor to aid me in my essay writing, but allowed me to gain a wider knowledge. As an artistic individual, I was not really familiar with the world of sonic arts and so it was interesting to learn about music and sound being considered and utilised as an art form. Although I’m not particularly interested in this medium, I saw how effective sound can be and within my field module thought far more carefully about the music I decided to add to stop motion animations that were produced. Something I found particularly overwhelming before attending John Clarkson’s skills session was being faced with a piece of academic text that is incredibly wordy and far away from the main point. I feel in this session, I learnt how to find the key points and to summarise academic text into my own words in order to understand its content a lot easier. This is undoubtedly a valuable skill to gain as when reading books as support for my essay and analysing artists work and information I feel I have been able to understand texts a lot better and in return been able to write a far more successful essay than if I had not attended this session. I have referred to the thoughts of Clive Cazeaux’s study skills session when writing academically also. Cath Davies’s option taught me how to analyse an image in depth and look beyond what I am seeing and consider why objects have been put a certain way or why a person created a piece of art and what message is being conveyed. I think this impacted on me as an arts person the most, as I feel I analyse my own work and the work of others a lot more successfully than when I first started the course. Ranking this as the most valuable skill I learnt, I chose her subcultural option which incorporated image analysis to write an essay from and I am definitely glad I did.
Cath Davies Subcultural Sessions that I have been attending every week have changed the way I read imagery and made me think a lot more about what I’m painting, why I’m painting it, What materials I am using, the connotations behind them and messages that I want to convey to the viewers of my work. Also, I look at other artists work far more in depth and aim to decipher why elements of their work are the way they are. I understand how artists make appropriate decisions now and how even if something looks abstract and like it doesn’t really represent anything, it most definitely does. In terms of subculture, I have learnt an incredible amount about how you can reclaim objects and change their meaning to portray a new one. My field work has been far more successful than my subject work in my opinion and I feel this is partially down to this constellation option. I have really thought about portraying a concept and how the imagery I use would portray a certain meaning. I have thought about how certain colours have connotations and will aid me in emitting a certain mood from within my work. I can confidently say that I would not have looked at images in such depth before being asked to produce my constellation case study. I chose to write about a punk aesthetic and I definitely approach my practice differently after undertaking this. Being interested in fine art, learning about destruction being creation in punk artwork could definitely inspire future projects.
Constellation has helped me achieve a lot really. It has equipped me with such a variety of tools that I will take with me throughout my degree. My eyes have been opened to the work of so many artists that I wasn’t aware of and I have learnt to consider decisions that I make within my artwork more carefully. I now think about statements that I am aiming to make and how powerfully they are being conveyed within my work. However, there is still room for improvement and I feel that my knowledge of analysing images, understanding academic writing and having a knowledge of the original meanings of objects in order to change them will grow as I continue doing so and practice. I am sure that the concepts behind my art, its appearances and the thought processes I go through will improve as I progress through the course. Constellation has been an opportunity to progress as both an artist and an academic. We have been given the chance to take the skills we have and improve them and I have been shown new ways to understand and develop. I am confident that constellation has already made me a stronger contender for whatever I may wish to do in the future.
Word Count: 999
I was incredibly pleased with the feedback that I received within a tutorial that I attended before the Easter break. I was delighted to hear the tutor mentioning successes within the body of work that I have created and agreeing with me that creating a stop motion was a great way of consolidating my photo manipulations and works well as a final piece to this project. We talked about how everything seemed to inform something and that you could see my journey and progression throughout this project rather that there being lots of random experiments. I was very pleased with this feedback and we then moved on to discuss how the tutor felt I could finalize this work and bring everything together. He felt that making a fade video out of photographs of all my paintings would be beneficial and would allow people to see the development in my work and consolidate a large amount of blog posts and images into one outcome.
After producing this piece, I feel that to me, it shows progression and all the hard work that I have put in to produce paintings alongside my photo-manipulations, animations, experiments and my collaboration work. In terms of the title of my project, I feel that when looking at these paintings you get the feeling of loneliness. I have worked with the topic of the Hidden Loneliness of City life when producing these paintings. When experimenting with photo-manipulation I found that cutting out figures and leaving one left behind portrayed the feeling of being alone in the city even though you are surrounded by others. I thought about the fact that all the other people in the city may as well not exist or at least might as well just be white silhouettes. These paintings were inspired by my photo-manipulation work and I have experimented with grounds, colours, loneliness representation and scale throughout. I think the theme of the white silhouettes running through the video heightens the feeling of the single figures feeling alone amongst the masses in the city.
Overall, I feel that both these paintings and the video portraying them all are highly successful. I think this video shows the journey that I have undertaken during this project and brings together all of my paintings so that they can be viewed all at once. I hadn’t realised quite how much work I have created and I am incredibly proud of what I have achieved within this project. The loneliness of City life is heightened within this piece and it showcases my work in a professional and consolidated way.
Looking back at my subject work, I have really worked out of my comfort zone and steered away from the work I would typically create. When thinking about time as a brief, I instantly thought about things changing over time. After coming across Sam Taylor Wood’s “Still life” piece, I embarked on working on artistically portraying an investigation into food decay. I have used physical mould and decay as a medium to produce art and I have also tried to replicate the look of mould using mixed media techniques. I have enjoyed using materials that are not typically for use within art, like sugar and cotton wool and it has opened my eyes to the fact that it is how you use an d manipulate the material you are working with that creates successful art work, not the material itself.
I think the bread filled perspex box that I have produced is particularly successful because it gives me and the viewer an insight into how things decay. We would not usually leave bread to decay for that long in our households and so it allows others to see the colours that moulds produce and the hidden beauty of the natural things that we take for granted or find repulsive. I also feel that my photographs and video of my decaying art piece are particularly successful as they accurately capture change and decay over time. Also, visually beautiful photographs have been captured even though they are portraying something repulsive. I do wish that I could have left the piece to decay for longer but I simply did not have the facilities to do so safely. My experimentation with photo montage produced interesting outcomes and highly unusual subject matter to paint from. Working with Petri Dishes was a success in my eyes as they gave clarity and added a sense of realism to the fake mould that I had painted within them. It also encourages people to question what they think they see. I have never really worked with 3D or sculpture before and I think that my sculptural final piece for this project is a success. It is visually appealing and there is a strange juxtaposition going on between the perfectly formed fruit and the fake decay mouldy looking exterior.
Looking back, I do not feel that the coloured mould experiments I produced were particularly successful. I feel that they don’t really fit in with the rest of the work made within this project and that they almost look to appealing to the eye and no longer look mouldy or as if they are portraying decay. Filling perspex boxes with vegetables and fruits and photographing them was also unsuccessful as when the foods decayed they leaked liquids that the boxes simply couldn’t contain. They also attracted bugs and fruit flies and I had to get rid of them in fear of my health and the welfare of other students that were working near my desk.
In conclusion, I feel I have managed to create a substantial investigation into food decay inspired by a variety of artists and full of experimentation with materials and techniques. I think I have managed to capture a frozen moment in the decay process using artist materials a well as portraying how decay develops over time through 3D work and photography. I have analysed whether this body of work can be considered art and decided that setting is incredibly important in this. I have successfully created two final pieces that definitely demonstrate an investigation into food decay and worked with a subject that I feel has shown me and others that there are fascinating things out there that on a daily basis we take for granted.
Within the Subject module that I have been undertaking, I have been looking at two elements of food decay: The growth of Decay and its Documentation over time and producing fake mould that captures a frozen moment within the decay process. I have worked with the juxtaposition of the pretend and reality and tried to portray something that people consider to be horrible as more beautiful and accepted.
For this Final Piece, I have worked with the idea of capturing a frozen moment, after perfecting the look of producing fake mould through the use of sugar, paint, cotton wool, modelling paste etc. I have decided to use that skill to consolidate my findings and produce a 3D sculptural outcome.
The Initial Inspiration for this projects subject matter was a video piece called “Still Life” by Sam Taylor Wood. This piece documents the decay of a fruit bowl and in detail portrays how it decays over a period of time. Without coming across this time-lapse, I don’t think I would have embarked on this project and so it seemed fitting that as a final piece, I make a response to this video piece. In Sam’s work, She has captured how the fruit bowl changes over time, I have juxtaposed my work with this by almost producing a still of mould and decay overtaking a fruit bowl.
There is interesting ideas at work within this piece, there is a strange juxtaposition between the perfectly formed fruit and the replica mould that appears to be incredibly far in the decay process. I believe that this piece consolidates the findings of this project and brings together what I have been experimenting with and learning both conceptually and practically. In terms of concept and what I have learnt in my investigation into food decay, this piece highlights the fact that in the right setting, even mould and decay and be appealing and can be a piece of art. It makes people consider it as a piece of art and I think in doing so would and could make some of the public more open-minded about the art world.
In think this piece is successful in portraying the beauty of things that typically we would overlook. It makes you want to look at the colours and textures that I have created to replicate mould and from talking to my peers at first it initially makes the viewer wonder what they are looking at and confuses the mind. In my opinion, the piece is quite visually beautiful. I also think it is successful in creating a strong juxtaposition between the perfectly formed fruit and the mouldy exterior. Furthermore, this is a still life, capturing a still of decay and replicating something that would in nature change over time. I think this piece is highly successful in showing what I have learnt, How I have acquired this knowledge and what it has been inspired by. It is almost a homage to Sam Taylor Wood’s work and there is a direct opposition between our concepts. This piece brings an end to my subject module. As well as documenting decay, making people question reality and consider mould as art, I believe it is a visually appealing sculptural piece that encourages people to consider mould as an art medium. Even though it is not created from real mould and decay, for a moment it makes people wonder whether it is and broadens their horizons. I think it shows people how much beauty you can miss and makes you consider that things as simple as some mould on a yoghurt in the fridge can be attractive and how much we miss out on and take for granted.
Undertaking this project has opened my mind into what I take for granted in nature and has given me the opportunity to document and notice changes undergone during Food Decay myself and to produce art in response to what I see and think about visually.
Because this is a final piece, I wanted it to look polished and finalized. I decided to photograph is professionally with lighting and a grey gradient background to achieve shadows and to show the details of the piece on camera.
I have thoroughly enjoyed this project, The work I have created within it is not typically the kind of work I would usually create and so it has been incredibly interesting to work out of my comfort zone and I have learnt a lot about myself as an artist and as a person.
Within the feedback I was given around Christmas time, I was directed to consider whether the work I have created during my investigation into food decay can be regarded as art. I feel that throughout my blogging of this work depicting mould and decay I have stated that I felt I was opening peoples minds to what they take for granted and what can be considered as art in its own right. In my opinion, anything visually beautiful or appealing to somebody can be art.
However, I think when thinking about the work I have created, Setting is highly important. For example, If the decaying bread sculpture that I have created encased in a perspex box was displayed on a plinth in a gallery, people would be encouraged to think it was art because of the setting. However, it would be an entirely different story if that moulding bread was in your fridge at home, then it would be considered as more repulsive and I doubt anyone would then look at it as a piece of art. I suppose you could argue that I gave the work the credentials and components to decay, but nature actually created the art here. That I feel is true, but I would argue that the decay that I have witness informed my paintings, mixed media experiments and progression within this module.
I would assume, that typically the public would be more inclined to see my painted fake mould and mixed media experimentation as artwork over the works I have produced using actual mould and decay as the medium. In my opinion, all the work that I have made during this module is Art. It has been made in an art studio to satisfy an artistic brief and regardless of the medium or method that has been used to create it, it is exhibited and displayed as art.
Going back to setting being the deciding factor of whether my work is art or not, I feel that even if I put my small replica mould canvases in a fridge or on someone’s plate, they would be considered very differently in comparison to if they were displayed in a gallery and it is doubtful that they would be seen as art.
To demonstrate this, I have included images of my replica mixed media mould on a plate of food and in the fridge. I have then juxtaposed this with an images of a canvas painted with the same replica mould hung on a white wall. It definitely seems more repulsive when evident on a food item in the fridge. It is clear which environment allows for the work to be considered as art.
In conclusion, I consider the work I have created to be art. However, when it comes to others considering my work as art, I feel that the setting of where and how the work is displayed is highly important. If the work was displayed as art in a gallery it would undoubtedly be far more accepted as works of art.
The artist Kimsooja was brought to my attention by one of my tutors. In particular, it was suggested that I looked at “A needle woman”, a video installation of the artist standing in the middle of busy streets in different parts of the world as people pass her by and walk in the direction of the camera. She is a feminist artist and is approaching women’s labour of sewing within this work but I believe it definitely applies to the concept of my city project even if being alone or singled out amongst others in the city was not the artists original intention.
This work made me think about the hidden loneliness of city life and the notion of being surrounded by others in the city but alone. She is standing in the middle of many people, but no one is interacting with her, she is being overlooked and people are just passing her by. She is an insignificant figure to them and at the same time all the people around her may as well not be there at all. The feeling of loneliness if highly evident in this work and I believe her video showing herself surrounded by others who are not interacting with her or even acknowledging her existence is not dissimilar to my project imagery of a coloured figure surrounded by white silhouettes.
This piece is highly inspirational and influential to my work, it confirms to me that you can be surrounded by others in the city but at the same time singled out and alone. It sort of highlights the ideas I have been working with and in supporting them adds to my works success.
In the first hour, we were given the task of putting the final touches to our shaped paintings in preparation to informally exhibit what we have created within these sessions to our peers that have been working in other discipline sessions within fine art.
I am incredibly pleased with my shaped painting, so much so that I am thinking of presenting it as one of my final pieces. I think the green glow coming through the monochrome is quite eery and heightens the feeling of loneliness within the painting. I have spent a lot of time working on this and I feel it definitely shows, I was really excited to exhibit this piece along side the shaped paintings of the other members of my painting group.
It was really interesting to see how each of us had approached the task of creating a shaped painting very differently. All of the pieces had our own stamp on them and were painted in completely different techniques. Some people had completely covered the green underlay, some had let it show through as I have. It was fascinating to me that we had all been given the same brief and interpreted in very varied ways. I think presenting all our work as a mini exhibition was a great way of consolidating all that we have learnt the past weeks and the perfect opportunity for each one of us to take a step back and look at what we have achieved. I have really enjoyed attending these painting sessions on a monday and I have learnt a massive amount. I had never experimented with green underpainting or dry brushing or creating a shaped painting before and I have acquired valuable skills that will continue to influence my work and that will stay with me through the rest of my artistic life.
After attending a tutorial on Monday, I was glad that the tutor gave me some direction and new ideas and techniques to work with. After looking at my work, she suggested that I work with Monochrome and use the tones of grey to enhance the feeling of loneliness and make the individual coloured figure appear even more singled out and alone.
She also felt that my work was not really gelling as a whole and that I was working with three different realities and had to express the relationship between the figures, the single figure and the architecture. She said she thought the detailed buildings that were included in my work detracted from the figures and from the message within the pieces. She suggested that I experiment with contrasting colours, monochrome and full colour as well as contrasting languages, the gestural and the more realistic. I was encouraged to make marks and shapes that represent the buildings and to make them more gestural rather than focusing on every detail, window or door etc. I have experimented with making less detailed marks to create the city landscape with both brush and palette knife.
I feel that working with a palette knife definitely helped me be less controlled and more gestural but doesn’t really gel with the figures painted with a brush and therefore is unsuccessful so I have experimented with more gestural brush work.
I think this is far more successful and the monochrome definitely heightens the feeling of loneliness and the colours of the lone figure. After producing this piece, I decided to experiment with how much of the surrounding is seen within the painting, because even though the technique is successful, I feel that the buildings still are overwhelming the figures here.
This definitely puts emphasis on the lone figure and draws the viewer to wonder why they are the only one not painted as a white silhouette and consider their loneliness rather than being distracted by the buildings in the piece. These are highly valid experiments and have inspired me to create a final piece working with monochrome rather than the sepia alternative I have worked with previously. I feel this colour palette and deeper contrast portrays a more negative vibe and adds to the feeling of loneliness within the work.