Glamour and the Grotesque – constellation reflective post

A reflection on what I have learnt from the study group Glamour and the Grotesque and Constellation as a whole.

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In this study group I have learnt a lot about materials and their connotations. I have learnt that different materials convey different concepts and that materials have ‘cultural CVs’ which can have a massive impact on the overall meaning of a piece. This knowledge has encouraged me to consider the materials that I use within my work with more care. I have also learnt that you can contradict yourself within your work, you can convey two different concepts through the use of materials, forms and objects. Again this has encouraged me to consider the materials that I use, the forms that I create and the objects that I select more carefully as everything has connotations that I may or may not want to imply through my work. In a piece that I made for an editorial project I was more aware of the materials and colours that I chose and the forms that I used as the image was for an article about a sensitive topic and I wanted to convey that sensitivity through my work.

This study group has also allowed me to consider how different mediums can convey the same messages and concepts, for example, we have looked at how the grotesque can be portrayed through clothing, artwork and photography. I have learnt about the importance of tactility and design in relation to the body and how these things can have a huge impact on how someone interprets a piece and what they take from it. I have learnt about liminality and how things can shape-shift through meanings, motifs, physical changes and how people perceive something. I am now able to consider all of these concepts when creating my work, I am now more selective of materials as each material has its own connotations, I consider the objects that I choose to include in my work as different objects hold different meanings. I also think about how I can contradict myself and how multiple meanings can be conveyed through the things that I choose to create and include.

I have also learnt how to analyse my work and others effectively in this study group. Through the concepts we have discussed I am now able to identify them in pieces of work, allowing me to think of certain materials and forms in a way I had not considered before. I can now analyse a piece of work by picking out concepts and annotations and then backing this analysis up by finding theories from academic writers.

I have learnt about how artists can be cross-disciplinary in order to convey messages, for example as an Illustrator I can use materials in a collage in order to convey concepts or create three-dimensional objects and forms to use within my work.

This study group has made me more aware of the motifs that I can include within my work, and that there is a process of selecting and discarding in which I can specifically select concepts and connotations to include or discard in my work.

The concepts that we have discussed surrounding femininity have allowed me to look at images in a different way, It is now apparent to me how castration anxiety and the phallic woman is a common theme in art and everyday things such as advertising.  

 

My working process has changed since last year, I have taken more time to analyse my chosen images that I used for my most recent essay. I found it easier to start my planning earlier and to repeatedly go back to the analysis with fresh eyes in order to see more within an image. This also enabled me to add more to my analysis by discovering new concepts and ideas through theories which I could see applied to the images I was looking at. To improve upon my last essay I needed to do more independent research into theories that I could use to backup my analysis. I was sort of successful at doing this but I occasionally found this process difficult when looking for quotations from books  which I could use to support my argument. I found some books which related to the topics that I explored didn’t have anything that I could use to support what I was stating in my essay. This wouldn’t have been an issue if I had had more time to do this, but as I only had a few weeks to write my essay this became a problem as the process of looking through books for relevant information was time consuming. I should have also managed my time better as I found it difficult to do this essay and stay on top of my field project work at the same time.

I found the process of planning the essay using the columns analysis just as effective as last time, I find that it helps me to sort my thoughts effectively which then makes it easier to write my analysis is essay form. I think that the idea of looking at the bigger picture when writing a conclusion helped immensely, rather than re-writing what I had already said I was able to talk about my practice and how the meanings and concepts in the images really show how materials and forms can be used to convey meanings.

Constellation has taught me to be more mindful when considering the materials, forms, textures and objects that I want to include within my work as all of these elements have their own connotations and meanings. It has also taught me to question things and to be more inquisitive when looking at a piece of someone else’s work or my own. It has also taught me how new meanings can be created through the juxtapositions of materials and objects and the combinations that can me made from these features.

Editorial Project Summary

A short summary of The Editorial Project in which we had to choose two articles and produce an illustration in response to each of them.

I have enjoyed this project as I have been able to explore a new type of visual language that I haven’t worked with before although I have found the project challenging because of the fast pace that is required for this type of work. I have enjoyed playing with materials in this project and experimenting with collage. This has given a new dimension to my illustrations which has helped to portray messages and ideas through them which is an important aspect of this project. This project has also allowed me to learn about the way in which I work and that my practice relies heavily on experimenting with materials and making them an important part of the images that I produce.

final imageFor my first article the image that I produced was a direct response to the article. I picked up on certain aspects of the feature and decided to illustrate them, making the link between the image and the article clear. I tried to include aspects of the whole article but I think that I failed to include the idea of the article being about online dating as well as disability. However, I feel that my image is quite empathetic and sensitive in communicating the themes of the article. I also think that the use of collage adds a certain charm to the image.

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For the second article I chose to take a less direct approach. I decided to portray the theme of the article rather than actual events or discoveries discussed within it. I decided to convey the theme and main idea of the article, which is the fact that people enjoy frightening themselves, in a fun and light-hearted way. I chose loud and interesting textures to fashion the haunted dolls house. I think this combination of materials gives the image charm allows it to communicate in a quirky, playful way. I think this works well with the article as it adds some interest to the serious article.

Editorial Illustration

A short analysis of a piece of editorial illustration and how it works within context.

Spite is Good. Spite Works.

By Natalie Angier

Illustrations by Serge Bloch

This article is about spite and how it affects human behaviour. It talks about how psychologists view spite as a negative trait but now it is being considered as something positive because of the role that it may have played in developing some positive traits such as cooperation and a sense of fair play. 

Serge’s work illustrates the theme of this article well through the use of colour and subjects. The sickly green colour is commonly associated with negative feelings such as jealousy and spite. The purple contrasts with the green colour which portrays the conflict between the two characters in the images and the conflict that sometimes ensues because of spiteful individuals.

I think that the first image clearly illustrates the idea that spitefulness is ‘the urge to punish, hurt, humiliate or harass another’. It portrays this in a simple almost diagram like effect which is easy to follow and understand.

I think that the second image shows that there is no winner when you are spiteful. It clearly demonstrates that if you go out of your way to hurt or offend others then it will do you harm as well. The simplistic art helps to make this clear as it communicates its message simply.

Serge Bloch has responded to this article with two simple images that communicate their message clearly without unneeded complexity.

 

Subject Reflection

My reflection on the subject module which is made up of many projects and workshops.

collage.jpgAt the start of this module I took part in many different workshops. From these workshops I learnt about how words can have a massive impact on a piece of work, how colours can be interpreted differently, I learnt how to dry point etch, how colours can effect a composition and I have learnt that negative space is important within a piece. I learnt all of these things from workshops such as words to draw by and the colour workshop. I was then able to use these skills and knowledge throughout the year when completing my work.

 

developed 4For the project A Streetcar Named Desire, based on the play, we chose inanimate objects to represent the characters which we then had to personify using colour and other techniques. I learnt that colours are an important part of telling a story as they can be used to portray emotion or the relationship between two characters. I also learnt how colour can be used to personify inanimate objects and so can the framing of an image. I also learnt how motifs can be used to help bring inanimate objects to life and how the angle and framing of an image can be used to exaggerate emotions within that scene.

anticipation.jpgThrough this module we also did life drawing. In these sessions we focused on different things, one session was about capturing movement in an image whilst another was about capturing the moment before something happens. I found these session helpful as I was able to learn new skills as well as improving my life drawing, I learnt how to use lines to portray tension in muscles. I also practised using verbs when drawing to make a line look like its pushing, or scratching in order to show movement.

test set.jpgIn the project Metamorphosis, based on the book, I learnt many skills including how to draw with a scalpel in order to create looser forms and how to work in a group as we had to work together in order to put on a puppet show at the end of the project. I enjoyed working as a team for this project as we were able to bounce our ideas off each other and select the best ones to develop. Working in a group also enabled us to combine our skills as one person knew how to create and edit the sound we would need for our performance, whilst others were skilled with a scalpel and able to cut out intricate designs. This project also allowed me to develop my compositional skills as composition is very important when working with shadow puppets.

The 12 days of illustrated christmas news project allowed me to develop my skills with paper as I created an interactive pop up book. This project also enabled me to create satirical work which wasn’t something I had ever done before. This project challenged me as I found it difficult to find 12 interesting news stories that I could illustrate but doing this improved my research skills.

I also went on a trip to London where I visited the Whitechapel Gallery to see William Kentridges work. I found this very interesting, especially the way that in one of the instillation pieces sound and music was used as a way to immerse you in the piece. The strange machines and noises partly inspired some of my field work.

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I took part in various technical workshops including dry point etching, block printing and lino cutting. The block printing and lino cutting workshops were very similar but I enjoyed them and these workshops allowed me to learn new techniques that I had very little experience with. I didn’t use these techniques in any of my projects but I would like to experiment with them further.

IMAG0084The final project in the subject module, the Children’s Book Brief, allowed me to bring together all of the skills and knowledge that I’d learnt in the first year which I could then demonstrate in my work. I was able to use what I had learnt about colour and composition when creating the pages for my book. I was also able to use the skills learnt in the words to draw by workshop as I needed to carefully consider what text to use and how I would incorporate it into my book. I also used the knowledge that negative space is important when designing the layout for my pages. I also incorporated new skills such as how to bind a book, and I have been experimenting with a watercolour and conte pencil technique that still needs development. I also enjoyed creating 3D sculptures of my characters that enabled me to improve my drawings of them as it helped them look more life like and it helped me to give them more character. During this project I was also able to develop my researching skills as this was a major part of the brief. It allowed me to critique work and explain why I chose to look at it. Some of the artists that have inspired me include Shaun Tan and Anastasia Izlesou. This research and analysis came in useful when a small brief for critiquing some work from the degree show was set .

Field Reflection

My personal reflection of the Field part of my first year at university.

The Field module of my first year at university was about working with other people from the same or different disciplines so that we would be able to combine our different skills and knowledge in order to collaboratively create pieces of work.

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We started the module by doing some short projects in groups based on the idea of manifestoes that we considered important. For these short projects the group that I was in made work based on the topic of animal rights. From doing this I learnt that some approaches to group tasks can be unsuccessful and that communication is key when trying to create a piece of work that coheres. In our group we thought it was best to split up into smaller groups to compete our work and bring everything together at he end. This did not work so well especially for the Guernica project where we had to create one large piece of work together. We found that we had not communicated our ideas well and because of this our work did not fit well together as one big piece. In future it would be best to talk more as a group to ensure that we all understand our individual tasks within the group.

The second project that we were given involved us being put into new groups, this project was also longer than the shorter previous ones. This project was centred around a soldier’s story from the Spanish Civil War. This group project was more successful than the other ones that I had taken part in because we communicated more, sharing our ideas in order to ensure it would work with the other members work. We decided to individually produce a response to the soldier’s story and then bring all our work together in the end so that it could be displayed as more of a collection of items that told the story. I also collaborated with an animation student in order to produce the main feature of our mini exhibition, a map that showed where the soldier travelled during his lifetime. I enjoyed this collaborative process as it allowed us to improve our original ideas by discussing them with each other and sharing each others knowledge in order to produce an animated map. Another major part of this project was research, as a group we looked at propaganda posters from the Spanish Civil War. Individually I also looked at old postcards to inspire my designs. This project also allowed me to develop some of my skills such as screen printing. I used paper stencils fixed to a screen in order to print my postcards. I had used this technique before but this project allowed me to experiment with it further as I was able to build up my images with multiple colours that had to be printed separately.

Untitled-1The final part of this module was to create an individual or collaborative piece that responded to the topic of animation, propaganda and satire. I really enjoyed this project as it allowed me to develop a piece of work from another project further and it also allowed me to learn lots of new skills that I had no previous experience with. These skills included using a new programme for stop motion, learning how to set up lighting, experimenting with the camera angle and then learning how to add different items in AfterEffects. I also learnt how to bring everything together in PremierPro and how to include existing sound effects in my animation. I also learnt briefly how to edit green screen footage. This project enabled me to learn a number of new skills, some independently and some with the help of others. This project also helped me to learn how to manage my time effectively in order to meet deadlines. I also learnt how to create a story board for an animation.