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.

Penguin Project – Research

Some research on eye catching book jackets that I have done for my latest project Penguin Book Project in which I have to create a book cover for the story Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman.

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One Who Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Illustrated by Ioana Negulescu 2012

I think that this image works well as a book cover as its quite striking and bold. I also like how the image relates to the story but it doesn’t give too much away. I like the use of colour, I think that they work well together to make the image lively but not too busy. I also like the different textures in the image, I think that the texture of the bark of the tree contrasts well with the texture on the pills.

To Kill A Mockingbird Illustrated by Madelyn Farley 2017

I think that this image works well as a book cover as it is very dynamic and striking. The contrast between the bright yellow background and black hand makes the book very eye-catching and intriguing. I also like the handwritten font, I think that it works really well with the image, I think that it allows the image to communicate in a more personal way.

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The Big Sleep Illustrated by Hayley Warnham 2013

 

I think that this image works well as a cover as it is also quite dynamic. I also like the use of collage as I think that it contrasts nicely with the block colours behind it. I also like the use of negative space within the image. I think that the type font also works to well because of the sharp edges between the colours and the collage. I think that if a handwritten font was used it would just look messy and unprofessional in contrast to the other aspects of the image.

Grimms Fairy Tales Illustrated by Tim Parker 2012

I really like this book cover and I think that it really stands out as a design. I like all the different textures in the image, the wolf’s fur, the tree trunk spine and the red tongue. I also like the contrast between the blacks and greys with the red tongue and yellow eyes, it makes these features stand out in the image. I also think that the mixture of handwritten font and typed font works really well, I also like that some of the words are bigger than others to emphasise them.

Mappa Mundi Project – Research

Some research that I have undertaken for the Mappa Mundi Project in which I have to create a metaphorical map.

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Greyson Perry – Map of Truths and Beliefs

I have chosen to look at Greyson Perry’s work for this project as he is well known for his maps and tapestries and I find the way that he uses colour and texture interesting. I like this piece because all the elements and characters make it intriguing. I like the complexity and detail as it all works to come together to form a narrative within the piece. The colours are bold which make it stand out. I also like the inclusion of text, this helps to make it appear more map like and it enables you to understand it further. This piece has inspired me to play with textures when developing my work.

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William Grill – Map of Amsterdam

I have also looked at William Grills work. I like this piece as it could work as a functional map. I also like the simplicity of the image, I think that it makes it easy to understand and to navigate the image. I also like the sparse use of colour, I think that this makes the image look more like traditional maps. This image has inspired me to play with colour in my work and to try including lots of detail to make my work more recognisable as a map. However, this piece is more of a literal map and the map that I will be creating needs to be metaphorical.

 

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Shannon Rankin – Map Anatomy

 

 

I like this piece by Shannon Rankin as it combines anatomy, which can be considered one type of map, with typographic maps. She has described maps as “metaphors that speak to the fragile and transitory state of our lives and our surroundings.” I think this is shown clearly in her work by the damaged map in the shape of the human head. I like the use of collage, I think this  helps to bring the image to life and adds a three dimensional quality to the piece. Her work has inspired me to incorporate collage into my work.

I also looked at psychogeographic maps when researching images for this project.

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Psychogeographic Map

I find this map interesting as I like how a traditional map has been used to create an anatomical map of the head. I like how the roads and rivers appear to be a map of veins and nerves in the head. I like how its has a similar theme to the work from Shannon Rankin. I think that this piece looks more illustrative than her work and it reminds me of 18th century anatomy drawings. I like how again two different forms of maps have been combined to form a new metaphorical map.

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.

 

Children’s Book Brief Summary

A summary of what I have learnt during the project Children’s Book Brief.

The main part of this project has been understanding the research and development that goes into producing a children’s book. Another major part of this project was the ability to meet deadlines as this is an important feature when working professionally.

I started this project by looking at different children’s books as well as illustrated books for older audiences. This really helped me throughout my practice as it informed my work and inspired it. I found Anastasia Izlesou especially inspiring as her work influenced me to try a different technique with watercolours that i had no experience with. Experimenting with this technique was a major part of my project as I continued to do this throughout, even making changes to my final pages to try and develop the techniques further. I enjoyed this experimentation as it allowed me to improve on my work and develop my use of colour as well as my use of line. The children’s book The White Hare, illustrated by Anastasia Izlesou also influenced the colour palette of my work as I wanted to use my new knowledge from previous workshops in order to improve the way that I use colour within my work.

This project also allowed me to discover what it was like to work professionally. This allowed me to become familiar with stages of making a book such as creating a flat page plan, a dummy book and developing a few colour pages. I was also able to learn how to use InDesign to put my finished double page spreads together as well as my cover. I also learned how to add bleed lines to these spreads.

This project allowed me to develop and use the skills that I had learnt previously in the year such as how colour can have a big impact on images and the way people see them, how composition is especially important when conveying strong emotions in pieces and how words can also have a massive impact on images through what they say and how they are presented.

Degree Show Review

A short review of two pieces of student’s work from the degree show at university.

For part of my assessment for uni we were given the mini brief of completing a review of two pieces of work from the third year degree show. We had to choose one piece of work from an illustration student and one from a student from another discipline.

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I chose this piece from an Illustration student, Polly Colquhoun, because I liked that it was a 3D piece and I found it intriguing. I also liked the texture within the piece. This piece of work consists of 3 3D scenes that are displayed within a wall. The scenes are accompanied by text which are lines from a contemporary opera called Death’s Other Kingdom. The scenes are quite small but they are illuminated from within which makes them eye catching. All of the scenes consist of black prints on white paper or card. The scenes occupied a space that was quite hidden, this allowed the viewer to stumble upon these little glimpses of a different world. It also allowed the viewer to explore these pieces in the quiet as it was slightly removed from the rest of the show.

This work communicates quietly as the pieces are quite small and almost hidden within the wall. They are there to be discovered rather than there to exclaim their presence. This work is imaginative because it looks unique and consideration has gone into the process of designing and making it. The printing technique and the conversion from flat pieces of work to a 3D scene demonstrates skills. I find the piece captivating because of the little details within the piece and because of how simplistic and rustic the different components look.

The work is inviting and intriguing as it resembles little worlds there for the viewer to explore and experience. The work as a whole coheres well, all of the scenes were made using the same technique of printing and they are all in black and white which makes them fit together well. They all have text underneath which adds more intrigue to the work.

 

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I chose this piece by an Artist Designer Maker student, Sofia Calatrava, because of the interesting way that illustration has been combined with ceramics. I also like the animated ceramic piece that spins to highlight the transition shown on the pot. This piece  consist of multiple ceramic pieces that have been decorated with illustrations of faces. This piece is about personality and emotions. It portrays divided feelings. All of the pots follow the same design, glazed white with dark illustrations. A mirror is used to show the opposite side of some of the ceramic pieces, which also demonstrates the split emotion theme of the work. Some of the pots are quite large compared to others which could show that some of the feelings portrayed are stronger than others.

The work communicates quite boldly, the faces on the ceramic are quite imposing and hard to miss. The illustrations clearly show a split or a conflict of the artists feelings. I think that this piece is imaginative because of the combination of illustration and ceramics which is quite unique. It also demonstrates a number of skills which are needed to produce this work. The purpose of the work is to portray the artists self-perception and I think that this is communicated clearly.

This work is intriguing and slightly unnerving because of the stark faces present on the pots. It encourages the viewer to question their own self-perception and think about how they view others. The work coheres as a whole because of the uniformity of the ceramic pieces even if the illustrations differ. The work isn’t hidden in its space, its noticeable and confrontational in the way that it demands people attention.

Children’s Book Brief – Improved Final Pages

The further development of my final page spreads for the Children’s Book Brief

In order to improve my work I decided to develop my final pages further. I needed to neaten up the hand written text in order for my pages to look more professional. I did this by writing the text again using a thinner, sharper conte pencil.

I also re-did one of my pages entirely, I kept the same composition and idea for the page but I made the background lighter in order to bring the focus to the foreground of the image. I also changed the colour of the brother and the boar to more purple based browns so that they fit ore with the other colours used in the image. I also developed my technique further by using more of the conte pencil to highlight certain parts of the page other than just the characters. I think that this helped to pull the whole page together and it added a little bit more detail to the image.