Summer project:

We were tasked with finding an appropriate idea to base a ‘summer project’ around. I decided to use one areas of creating that I lack any skill in; textiles. It was a solution to the my problem of being unable to properly experiment within the media, despite how effective it is when making anything 3d, which has become a particular favourite of medium for me of late.

However it came about when I was looking for some of the quieter art styles and artists when a website “WHODUNNKNIT“, on a particular article about “What is graffiti knitting?” Which is pretty awesome, and is something I want to build up to throughout the summer.

Although I am going to start small, and focus on figuring out how to knit, then follow patterns, then try my own. If I can get that far, as I am well aware of my ability to freak out and start something new, although it is also true of getting bored with something too. However I am hoping my stubbornness will prevail over my inability to even sew, let alone knit.

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Evaluation of year one:

Working with the briefs given to us, has been awkward to begin with, although they have been the perfect opportunity to try new media and to increase my skill in previous areas of drawing.

The deconstruction project was the one I had the most trouble with; I tried to find a topic within the briefs boundaries that I was interested in and could produce work well. After tutorials I realised I was going about it the wrong way, I should pick an image and start. With my previous obsession of the sculptural I decided to pick Damien Hirst’s “A Thousand Years”. Originally I thought it was just another performance piece with his usual gory twist, then I realised that the light to shock the flies wasn’t necessary, the piece could have worked just as well, explaining we are insignificant, and are all trapped in our own little worlds with no more recognition of it as the fly in a glass box.

At first I tried to use the light bulb for things other than killing flies, and then I switched sides. I was aiming to mimic Hirst’s use of the fly’s bodies, although rather than using them to decorate a battlefield in victory, I tried to appreciate the beauty in them. I namely tried by using the shadows of their bodies, rather than the corpses themselves, to personify their lives. Eventually the shadows bled into just the wings, whose shadows were limited to faint lines of the segments of the wings, the translucent designs leaving smudges of grey in between the light source and the black of the bodies.

By that time the end of the project was I realized I had completely removed myself from the original meaning of “A Thousand years”, after producing a few graphic pieces of work, I was assured I was meant to leave the original image far behind. Despite all my confusion the project was enjoyable, namely through my continued freedom to explore what art really means.

The drawing transformation project was different in a way I didn’t expect; it had no determined area of research, no serious outcome and no definition of what we needed to do; aside explore our methods of drawing. At first I thought it was another body of work to be produced, so that’s what I did, and despite being corrected, that we didn’t need to separate it so distinctly, I think it helped me define what I did for drawing and what I did to achieve a particular outcome.

I kept to the basics, I decided to use shading, and the three basic shape forms; square, triangle and circle, and eventually I added the three primary colours. This happened after stumbling onto one of Kandinsky’s studies, this particular one about the correspondence between colour and shape, which I used throughout the rest of my project. I originally decided on this because I wanted the work to be about how I achieved it, not the content in it, although there is no shortage of work based solely on the three shapes.

I used the opportunity to experiment, without worrying about how the outcome will look, or how it will affect the response to the work. I realised that I work haphazardly, in that when I have a particular method working well for me, I will stick to it, but when I’m unsure of what I want to work about or what I want it to mean or look like, I will doodle around the edges of my plane and never settle, until there is something in my way. Either a random quote I wrote down a year ago, or another drawing or a splatter of ink, maybe a piece of work by a famous artist or an illustration drawn by my mother, even if the something is something to be fixed, like a slow computer, or broken charcoal; I seem to find a way to use it, to create something else from it.

I understand that inspiration is one of the main components that keep any of us drawing, and I agree wholeheartedly with Greyson Perry when he said “originality is those with short memories”, however my lack of own thought process when starting a new project is something I need to correct.

Finally there is the Reading and Responding project, which I looked forward to, namely because of my own fondness for literature, which coloured my choice in text a little. “The hollow chocolate bunnies of the apocalypse” by Robert Rankin, appears to be not as well known as I had previously thought, however the plot of a crack murder mystery is both intriguing and funny, and the use of the nursery rhyme characters gave me a large wealth of history and other readings. Overall I was not lacking in any research areas.

To begin with I stuck to trying to personify the characters into an appealing form, however I got lost on the first one; Humpty Dumpty. It was harder than I thought to put a face on an egg, so I started to make collages to help, cutting up newspaper photos of people and mixing them up to achieve some rather strange forms. It was then recommended to me to scan the collages in and use them through the computer, I did so, and then promptly got lost in illustrator. I have had very little to tempt me into using computer programmes to create digital art, so I just messed around and pressed nearly every button I could find to see what they did.

I soon forgot about scanning collages in and just used illustrator to mimic the different faces and out them all together. I did try to create some ‘proper’ Humpty Dumpty figures, using “Through the Looking Glass” as a source, which I replicated in paint in a form of pixelated art. But I swiftly moved on. I preferred my monsters to the asymmetrical beauty, but I had no idea what to do with them.

It was recommended I use them in a scene together; like the Mad Hatter’s tea party, or the Last Supper or the House of Commons. The latter struck me, the plot of the book is fairly bog standard as a murder mystery, secrets, liars and a hidden killer, who is later revealed to be an evil twin of the aptly named toy maker god, Anders Anders, so a political scene wouldn’t go amiss.

After I had tried a few drawings of the scene, I thought about populating the image with the characters I made. They seemed a little off, so I went back to seeing what I could achieve with the characters alone. The only though I had, was to animate them; I stuck with the first one with the eye, and tried to make it blink; like a creepy old painting in a cheesy horror movie. I didn’t know what other method to use, so I use illustrator to move around the pieces of the eye to gradual make it close through screenshots, and then I imported them into Photoshop.

The result wasn’t very accurate, as not all the screenshots were the same size, nor in the same place. The video itself ended up being fuzzy, and misplaced in the presentation of the images. I then tried to use Adobe Flash, which didn’t end very well, in that it took several days to understand the basics of its use, and another couple of days to produce the short clip of the character moving its eye to the right and left, before beginning the sequence again. The end product is workable, although still stiff, mainly because I made it the same way only with the imported images rather than screen shots; rather than redraw the character all over again in Flash. I should have re-drawn it.

Overall throughout the projects, I’ve become a little more aware of my bad habits, and my need to find an effective method of inspiration, and a little more digital; through my work in illustrator and a short experiment with a wacom tablet, which although a little tricky to begin with, and with an appropriate drawing program that is not paint, the basics are hard to mess up and thoroughly enjoyable when they succeed.

Animation:

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 16.08.24Using Adobe Flash Animator CS6 we made a short animation of the first character I made through illustrator, although we did go through a rather round-a-bout way to make it. Mainly because I didn’t want to redraw the character that had taken quite a while to make, so I moved the eye around on illustrator, saving at every move before exporting it into Flash.

selecting how many frames, 1-10, then right clicking on the bar and onto ‘insert frame’, where we highlighted and dragged the dragged the previewed images to the stage, the images were received there by File>Import>highlight all images needed.  The previewed image was dragged on top of each previous image. This was repeated for twenty frames, held for ten seconds at a time. This was then exported as  .MOV file.

 

In context presentation:

After a tutorial about my presentation; It was pointed out I was trying to cover too much. That is, I had chosen a broad topic; “storytelling in contemporary and/or illustration.” I wanted to know why we started illustration, when it became general practice and what uses it had; I wanted to find out why we evolved storytelling, where the language of it came from, and the universal aspects of it all. Which you can plainly understand, is a large topic considering the length of the human history.

So I scrapped it; I stuck with the most obvious topic; “What is the difference between narrative and storytelling.” It seems such an interchangeable word, but it’s really not. It’s not easy to point out, but there is a difference, In the book “Narrative” by Paul Cobley, it explains that while story and narrative are closely related, a narrative is the showing or the telling of events and the mode selected for them to take place, where a story consists of all the events which are to be depicted. Colbey also states that where there is narrative and storytelling, there is plot, which is the chain of causation which dictates that these events are somehow linked and that they are therefore to be depicted in relation to each other.”

To accent the difference, an artist was to be used as evidence of the practise, I chose a piece of art over the artist himself. As Barthes stated that the provate life of a writer may have anedoctal interest and could, and often does explain why they wrote, but it is “no more relvant to the literary quality of his books, or to their meaning, than the private life of a physcist is to the acceptability or otherwise of his views on the quantum theory of the structure of the atom.”

The piece I chose was “The Clock”, by Christian Marclay. It is a video/sound piece that runs 24-hours and is in perfect sync with the clock in real time. It took over 3 years to make, 6 assistants, 10,000 clips , more than $100,000 and 2 over-heated hard drives to make. There is no plot to the video, only the plot of you watching it and being able to use it as a real clock, the narrative of it is is the video, the means in which to show you the story, which is a series of disrupted characters and plots running together in a “seamless collage of celluloid clips featuring character either referring to or looking at the time.”

Stop motion videos:

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 17.43.55In the last, extremely short post; because that was what i was working on solely for the two days beforehand, I managed to redraw the same in image in illustrator. Although removing the benches; both because they looked off in the original paint drawing, because my perspective skills are lacking, and they are the only part of the original house of commons image I used, that I didn’t changed. They are replicas, albeit imperfect ones, and didn’t really mix well with the collection of toys. I also omitted them because I needed the space for the characters that I am going to add in; by characters I mean my mashed up monsters.

So far I have managed the first part, it was so strange going back to drawing with the mouse, and plan to add the characters to see what it will be like, as soon as. I can’t really comment on it much, I don’t really think much of it at all; yes I think the mix of toys and furniture funny, particularly so since it is the house of commons, but it doesn’t seem right.

Either way, I had a tutorial, and we came up with trying some animation; yet another area that I know nothing about. So i used the drawing transformations to try it out; stop motion photographs of some shapes I had sown from felt, and moved in short jumps and connected together in Photoshop.

To connect them; File>Scripts>Load into stack>Browse, and then select the images all together, click ok. Then click Window>Workspace>Motion, and a bar will appear at the bottom, you can then rearrange the images and the duration of how long they will appear for using the smaller coloured bars at the bottom. There are other things you can do with this method, although I have not used them; and I have been reliably informed that there are easier ways to create an animation, using Flash for example, whatever that is. I plan on finding out.

After making the DT video of the three shapes moving along, I made on using my first character; the fat womans face, with a politicians hair and a make up advertisement’s eye, by making the eye blink. It is still just a static figure but now the eye moves, in quick jerky movements to a close and back open again using the same images. It is short, and not very well put together, but i like it. It has the same not quite right quality to it, it works. I think I’m going to try some other videos and animation of the characters as it works; it has the necessary creepy aspect, cartoon style need for nursery and I like making them.