The External Project was a motivation to set up public webpages, which kept my inclination to keep producing images to publish online at an even pace. I took the opportunity to experiment with areas of Photoshop and illustrator that I didn’t know, then into ‘hexel’, a program made for pixelated drawing, it worked in that I could take time to commit to learning more about programs I thought I had previously understood. However, when publishing the images onto the internet, the feedback you receive is limited, although it became obvious that work in terms of the abstract nature the Self-Initiated Project wasn’t what people thought was art. People like art that looks good, not art that they have to read about to understand. The work I produced turned into images that were technically well made, and it did help better my skills via the Wacom tablet, although the fact that I produced one type of work for the internet and another for my education was a separation I disliked.
Between the two projects I studied the way I produced the projects: how I started, researched and how to re-evaluate to motivate myself when a line of study ended or when another topic became more interesting for media, theme, scale or image. Although the projects didn’t happen how I originally planned from the beginning, is an example of how the methodology of my practise has changed; I don’t plan for certain outcomes, only that I have time to use on certain areas of research, drawing, testing and making.
Within the Self-Initiated Project, I started with a theme of colour; which expanded to sound and movement, when I experimented with media and form. The project spiralled from arduino study to colour charts, to illusions. The illusions began as a study of the viewers’ perception to believe in false movement, which carried on to paper kaleidoscopes, folded paper that was physically kinetic by an outside participant, ultimately leading me to start folding paper cranes. The only thing I knew when I started was to get a wish you had to fold a thousand. There was no purpose to the cranes, just that I appreciated folding them, and the end mass had a quality of completion to it. It just looked right.
This was when the aspect of ‘play’ became involved, I hid the cranes in an elevator and watched people react to a swarm of colour. Then I started folding water bombs, which I threw off a bridge just to watch them break. Then I changed the scale of the paper I folded to see how the same patterns would change.
The act of ‘play’ in art was to ensure the inclusion of the viewer in the work itself: this meant I had to change the way I presented the work, as the viewer could still have an effect on the result, rather than a mere audience of the end product. The plans I made changed to become larger forms; wooden cranes standing two metres tall, signs planted in secret corners to form secret messages if you looked at them in the right way, and a parachute.
Such ideas worked the ability to change as the viewer interacted with them, developing the aspect of play until it was more about setting up a tool and letting the viewer create work from their own memories and experience, rather than the original set up of work inspiring those thoughts and experience from a viewing standpoint alone. The only problem was obtaining the materials, time and public space to create them.
This was when alternative methods were viewed, and although summarily discarded due to lack of time, held promise with found materials, or materials to carry on the illusion of play, like cardboard boxes. The next option was to falsely create them; using Claus Oldenberg who created collages on postcards, which became so popular they were actually created. I used this idea to create photographs of sculptures I had planned out, and following Lucas Levitans’ style of using instagram photographs taken and created by the public to use as his canvas for his illustrations, I have taken the images from the Huddersfield University instagram page. This then keeps the original idea of having the viewer help generate the results of the work.
Where the External Project failed to produce work with outsider artists, businesses or galleries, it has developed my practise in terms or time keeping, publishing online, communicating with artists within my fields of interest. Whereas the work I have produced from the Self-Initiated Project has allowed me a better understanding of what art actually is to me; as I managed to explore art outdoors and within the public context of people with limited or no artistic knowledge at all. Having art sit in a gallery is an entirely different context from creating work outside, with the viewer as part of it instead of reciprocate of it.
Although my research into street art and graffiti in particular is fascinating for me, actually using the act that is commonly viewed as destructive is less so. Anna Garforth’s method of creating graffiti from plant life is within the mid-ground area of art and graffiti that I appreciate; it’s not damaging but pursues the same style of acknowledgement. Being able to find the point of art that I cannot incline myself to make has created an area where I know what I’m doing, and that I’m in control of and can use with some skill and logic according to scale, media and image.