Here I have attempted to illustrate being alone in the city, and feeling overwhelmed by its mass structure and buildings through combining the drawing of simple city outlines and my photography of people in the city.
I have experimented with a few different medias when creating these kind of collages including pencil, fine liner, black indian ink, nut-brown ink and ball point pen.
I think the outcomes show the figure to be isolated and I like the contrast in detail and complexity between the drawing and the photography. I am enjoying exploring displaying urban loneliness artistically and even though these are simple images, they do portray being alone in the city.
Here are a few sketches from my time spent in Berlin. I made some quick sketches and note taking of the two powerful pieces that caught my eye at the jewish museum, drew people of interest and made some general observations of the city itself and the people within it.
Sitting in a Cafe in Kreuzberg, I observed and drew a man sitting with his laptop, it made me think about the hidden loneliness of coffee shops in cities nowadays. Rather than seeing people with friends, I often see people alone there. Most of them are usually using some kind of technology like laptops or ipads or reading the paper, avoiding the fact that they are alone. However, I could look at this from many different angles, even though they are, the fact that these people are alone probably doesn’t really bother them. Infact it may be that they have specifically come to the cafe to get some work done or to relax and check their emails etc. This idea doesn’t really fit in with my project as much as people using technology on public transport to avoid being alone or talking to others. People have the chance to talk to others on public transport most of the time but chose to avoid it. Hidden loneliness is only hidden because it is normal. It’s normal in cities not to talk to strangers on buses or in cafe’s but people don’t realise the isolation of this existence.
It was interesting to draw scenes where there were many people but no interaction. Above, is a sketch from the Brandenburg gate. It is interesting to me, that all these people are not aware they are lonely. Being from a rural area where there is a sense of community, I find it fascinating that there are so many people but there is no conversation and a sense of being alone that is unaware to the individuals experiencing it. Where I am from, you would say good morning to a stranger in the street or on the bus but that it just not the case in cities.
Sketches – Hidden Loneliness on Public Transport
I produced a few quick observational sketches of people on public transport. People on public transport are avoiding the loneliness by using technologies like headphones, phones and tablets. It is normal to avoid people on transport in cities today, as you can see from my second sketch. There are many people on the bus but no one is talking to anyone, there is no conversation between strangers. People think that they cannot be lonely because they are around people but that isn’t the case. The fact is, you may as well be alone on this bus, nothing would change.
Sketches – The Loneliness of the Homeless, People that are overlooked
Here are some quick sketches of homeless people in Cardiff. People who are overlooked by society. The city is glamorised as a highly social place to be, but here I wanted to capture the people who are around others all day but are ignored like the homeless and buskers and big issue salesmen. They have a heightened feeling of loneliness because instead of being around others but not interacting, they are asking people for spare change etc. and being ignored. The loneliness of these people is hidden from the media, like a hidden secret of the city.
Sketch – Being alone but surrounded by people
On the weekend, I sat in Cardiff and sketched my surroundings. The image above shows lots of people in Cardiff wandering around but no one talking to anyone. People always seem to be in a rush, some have headphones in and others just don’t make eye contact with you. This sketch shows the hidden loneliness of the city. The inner city can be a very unsocial, noninteractive and lonely place. If you don’t know anyone being in the city is a lonesome experience.
In this drawing workshop, I was encouraged to experiment with anthropomorphism. Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human form or other characteristics to anything other than a human being. In this case, we were looking at the attribution of human motivation with plant life and natural phenomena. As well as the relation between the plants and the model, we looked at relief work and experimenting with cutting paper out and sticking it onto our drawings to make a much more free image and shape than just the rectangle of the paper we were given. There were a few initial artistic inspirations that were considered before creating the outcome. This workshop was from life so a life model surrounded by plant life was present. The artists that stood out to me to inspire my piece were Henri Matisse, Graham Sutherland, Ruth Daniels and Georgia O’Keeffe.
Henri Matisse favoured drawing from life. It is interesting to look at his piece below because the plants almost seem more important in the composition than the figure does. I am drawn in by the loose handling used to render the leaves and the fact that the leaves are varied in size and shape. To me, the plants are a far more interesting subject to look at within this painting and I don’t immediately notice that she is there. This inspired me to think about displaying the figure or face of a human woman amongst the foliage around her. Matisse’s work inspired me to use a bright colour palette and to not be too controlled in my approach. This piece also gave me an insight into how the plants and the model can come together to make a successful artwork.
Graham Sutherland’s piece “Bamboo forest“ showed me how I could approach drawing and incorporating an expressive element into my piece. I like the limited colour palette in this work and it inspired me to fill the page and cram lots of plant imagery together. Here he has portrayed the plants dominating the figure and there is a sense that the figure is intimidated by all the foliage. I wanted the figure and plants to be harmonious together in my work so in a way Sutherland’s work showed me how to do that by showing the how not to do it.
RUTH DANIELS and GEORGIA O’KEEFFE
The Bright colours in the work of these two artists were highly inspirational to me, they influenced me to use iridescent colouring within my own work and think about placing colours together to make a more striking effect. The Blending of colours was something that caught my eye here aswell which inspired me to be tonal in my work rather than thinking about the use of block colour.
MY ANTHROMORPHIC ARTWORK
Above is an image of the piece I produced within this workshop. I am fairly happy with how it turned out and the model and the plant life have definitely come together as one. The bright colour palette and leaves remind me of a carnival atmosphere. I think the fact that the shape of the piece is irregular adds to its success, it would not be as interesting to look at if it was simply rectangular. To create this piece I have used a variety of medias including charcoal, oil pastels, paint, ink and chalk pastel. I think leaving some of the piece white was definitely a wise decision as it heightens and accentuates the bold colouring of the piece. I found it quite difficult to decide which bits of the life model and plants that I was looking at to include in my work and struggled at first to be selective. This workshop taught me that you do not have to draw all of what you see for the image to be successful and that you can combine two or more completely separate subject matters relatively simply.