Preliminary photos/ Development

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I chose to take some preliminary photographs to begin my development process, considering a totally natural set up and environment to take pictures of, which can be contrasted against the more staged ‘waiting room’ type settings I plan to create and use in my later developments. I thought this could be an interesting way to capture a moment with these subjects together in this way, which will not be the same again as things are constantly changing and these people will inevitably head in their own directions in life. I took these photos during my time in the studio, just taking some quick snapshots of my friends busy in their working environment, each getting on with their own thing.

Next I decided to do a sketch from one of my photographs, playing with the protagonists in the image and their relation to the background and settings around them. I have outlined the people, drawing them in fine liner, meanwhile the background and objects in their surroundings, I have simply sketched lightly in pencil. I wanted to try to emphasise and explore the idea of the people being the important aspect to the image, with the background lacking detail and seeming irrelevant due to its ever-changing nature. I considered adding colour do this quick developmental piece, adding further detail to the protagonists whilst blocking in colours on the setting and objects around, to further exhibit this and draw the attention to the people and what they are doing. I may consider coming back to this later in the project.

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This practical photographic research and experimentation has helped me to realise the importance of the setting for my protagonists in my photographs in relation to this project, which I plan to stage more and consider before I take more photographs in my next stage of developing my project. This background didn’t have the right aesthetic as it was just an experiment and not the set up or composition I planned for my project, however I do think I managed to communicate my focus on the people and their activities/ thoughts. These preliminary photos were also not as good quality as they could have been, as I had only used a phone camera to capture these natural moments, therefore I am aware that borrowing a good quality camera from college to take my next photographs is a practical solution to this problem to produce technically better quality work.

Primary project research

Today I decided to carry out some primary research whilst I was in the studios, around others of my age and in a similar position to myself in regards to confusion and considerations of the future. I think this was quite a useful thing to do in allowing me to gain further insight and a wider range of perspectives on the emotions and thoughts related to the concepts I plan to address, which I can hopefully translate through my work. I asked my friends in the studio some questions on feelings about the future, uncertainty of changes approaching and the decisions that are to be made, as well as about adulthood. I jotted their responses down.

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Project Research- Artists

To inspire my ideas and project development, I did research into a range artists with a spectrum of styles and subject matter which I felt were relevant to my theme or could influence my concepts and ambitions for the project. I collected visual inspiration, looking into the context of the work as well, as information about the artists that I felt would be potentially the most influential and supportive in my ideas development, selecting eight artists to include in my sketchbook and annotations.

The artists I selected were mainly painters, with some photography, however all with contrasting styles, some more figurative while others such as Tracie Cheng were much more conceptual, and therefore whose ideas behind the work was the aspect I felt I could take inspiration from in this case. Artists such as Patricia March, Cesar Biojo and Davide Cambria all had really interesting, unique styles in their portraiture, each suggesting elements of distortion and abstraction, and expressing a lot of emotion. March and Biojo both introduce concepts of time in their work, it’s fleeting nature and therefore the importance of small moments, yet in very different ways. This was a main attraction to these artists for me in relation to my project.

Patricia March’s work allows lots of readings, unfolding with time, much like the concept I want to communicate in my work about the future and it’s uncertainty, yet to be discovered. I think the artists own interests in cinematography can be perceived from her work. Her work also has a static quality and presents lots of movement with the repeated figures in different positions, adding to the communication of time passing and the idea of the transience of time.

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Cesar Biojo have a very personal language in his work and is interested in how human perceive ourselves as part of the universe, which I feel link to my own ideas of self-awareness and self-questioning about our place and destination. In his work he studies humans and their conflicts, nature and existence, producing a ‘perfect imperfection’ within his work by abstracting an initially figurative piece of work, creating and then destroying, which makes his work so individual and interesting. I love the blurry and static qualities to the work and in the backgrounds in particular in some pieces of work, which I would consider including in my own project to communicate to way people and come and go in life, drifting in different directions.

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Davide Cambria’s rich and dynamic portraiture explores identity and the deconstruction of the face, layered with emotional depth, which I aspire to be able to express.

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The focus of the work of Tracie Cheng is the layers and complexity of the unknown, communicating that there is more than meets the eye, which I feel is something to definitely consider regarding my project with the deeper meanings behind it, trying to show the thoughts and feelings of the protagonists in my work. Her work is a very different to style to the others I have looked at and I find it really interesting and beautiful, with the concept lying in what is beneath the surface and how what meets the eye is not always the full picture.

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Kamil Mirocha’s portraiture exhibits another very original style with the portraits developing into abstraction and what looks like pixilation of fleshy colours, in her work Technology 1 and Technology 2, blurring what is more figurative painting in the other sections. I felt that her work could link due to this distorted quality as well as the emotion that is apparent in the paintings which I feel communicate distress and confusion, much like what I would like to show, this is another idea to consider of how to express this in a more abstracted way.

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I looked at the famous ‘Las Meninas’ by Diego Velazquez (1656) for inspiration as it is so interesting as a painting with various contradictory viewpoints allow the spectator to interact and fully interpret the depth and many layers. The role of the viewer and canvas are swapped with a self-portrait of Velazquez himself even included, all from the perspective of the King himself who is seemingly being painted. Infanta Margarita, the daughter of the King and Queen is in the foreground, being fussed over by her maids “The meninas”, in front of her parents, who are reflected in the mirror on the back wall beside Velazquez, who is standing behind his easel to paint them. There is also another door in the background with a man entering. The scene appears almost theatrical with so much happening. I think it could really influence my project in the sense of creating a setting in my piece, as well as trying to include different perspectives or layers of complexity leading to other directions, including doors and other aspects.

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In further research I was inspired by some of David Hockney’s paintings and photography (or “photograhic drawings’). I found that David Hockney’s work includes a lot of interesting, colourful portraiture, depicting a certain scenario or set up, beginning with his piece ‘My parents’ which I was first aware of. This piece shifts towards a closer study of human behaviour, exhibiting personalities within as well as including symbolic onjects and clues, much like an old master painting. Hockney shows his interest of people and their relationships in the double portraits, manipulating the picture to tell dual stories. He manages to set up a narrative within each piece and create a setting for his protagonists, which I would like to experiment with in my own work. His vision and composition in his portraits exhibit his abilities as a stage designer. I was intrigued by Hockney’s range of paintings and “photographic paintings” of card players and portraits of friends, playing with perspective and vanishing points of his settings in these group portraits.

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Tai Shan Shierenberg is another portrait artist that I feel will be influential for my work. He has had a number of noted commissions, one of which being a painting of John Mortimer, which includes a portrait of the artist himself behind, adding something more to the piece, and I feel the piece has provoked me to further consider the impact of the settings and surroundings of a piece and how this could effect the atmosphere and aesthetic created overall. His piece ‘Venus and Mars has also influenced the way I will consider the interactions between others in a situation and how to communicate the thoughts and feelings of people, with the interesting composition of the piece and the way that the two faces interconnect.

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Project research

DSC_0001 (1)DSC_0002‘In the Waiting Room’

I researched and annotated Elizabeth Bishop’s poem ‘In the waiting room’ which had inspired my initial ideas, hoping this could provide me with further concepts to explore in my work. The poem deals with identity and growing up, awakening to the world around you and questioning our place and relationship to other human beings. Bishop uses the perspective of a little girl to narrate this poem and the setting of a waiting room, which appears to be a metaphor for this transitional state the narrator seems to be in. This setting and metaphor is possibly the most important aspect and concept of the poem that will influence my work and that I intend to explore within my project.

Throughout the poem the great unknown is presented to be scary, “sliding beneath a big black wave, another and another”, overwhelming the young girl, and the panic and confusion is emphasised, with these emotions being something I will consider and communicate in my work. The consideration of ties and separations to other human beings around us that is present in the poem is another concept I would potentially like to explore in my project, however more in regards to the directions and paths we all will take in the future and our relationships to others in this sense.

 

Tutorial for Project Proposals

After presenting my three pre-proposals to my specialist tutors during the tutorial, it was clear that my first concept and idea of ‘The waiting room’ was the strongest and therefore is what I will take forward to form my final project proposal and presentation. We discussed my ideas of confusion and uncertainty in regards to the future, as well as the title of my project ‘The waiting room’ and how this could potentially present an actual setting of a waiting room scenario that I could communicate in my project. My tutor was also then able to suggest further relevant artists and visual research I could undertake to inspire my possible directions for the project, considering the set up of older paintings such as Diego Velazquez’s ‘Las Meninas’. As well as the more modern work of David Hockney showing an almost staged looking setting, with his piece ‘My Parents’ in particular, exhibiting a certain set up featuring his parents in their living room. This made me consider further ways of expressing the directions of the future and the confusion over these approaching changes, in a set up environment and background, as well as my initial ideas of distorted portraiture. I was then ready to go on to do my visual research and put together my presentation of my Proposed project.

Reflect and Evaluate

Since beginning the course I feel that I have gained experience and knowledge of a broader range of materials and practices within varying areas of Art and Design. I really enjoyed trying all of the different subject areas, expanding my work through each. Through the course and the Fine Art specialism I believe I have developed as an artist and a student, particularly in the field of painting, exploring a range of concepts and themes within the different briefs. I further understand the importance of experimentation, to help find the destination of a final outcome and am more willing to vary my approach to a project.  My projects for ‘The Body’, exploring fragments of the human form and its musculature, and most recently ‘House and Home’ considering faded memory and the overlapping of places which challenged me to constantly change my painting techniques, have pushed my work into new territories. I have established a different method of producing initial visual material from which to make work, rather than always simply working straight from pictures as I typically had, which I think could be very important in the development of my work.  My last project led me to consider exploring another aspect of human experience and consciousness, as a more complex concept as I found this enabled me to communicate a more engaging response than my earlier work.

I feel much more confident with using a blog to document my work at this point in the course, as I had not used one before, and through this also think I am better now at evaluating and reflecting upon my work and processes. To develop further I must analyse the work of contemporary artists at a greater level, particularly investigating the reasons behind why they make their work, which may inspire and help me in considering the deeper meanings behind a piece of work which can offer up the most interesting reading.

Pre-proposals and Research

To begin my Final Major project I generated and explored my three potential concepts, doing some research for inspiration and creating mind maps of my ideas.. My three ideas were ‘The Waiting room’- considering confusion about the future, life choices and where our destination will be as well as important stages of our lives in regards to these ideas. The poem ‘In the waiting room’ by Elizabeth Bishop influenced my initial ideas, dealing with growing up and awakening to the world around us. I came across artists David Cambria and Kamil Mirocha when looking for visual inspiration, whose interesting portraiture in both cases used different ways of developing and distorting their work which inspired my ideas of expressing internal confusion, uncertainty and of feeling torn.

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My second idea which was sort of a variation on my first but in a more retrospective sense, was about Changes and the past. I considered the life defining choices we make and the way we look back and reflect upon this, making comparisons and perhaps feeling a nostalgia or even regret. I thought about ways of demonstrating a person to be torn, in two minds and being pulled in different directions. ‘The road not taken’ by Robert Frost could be a helpful poem in inspiring my ideas for this theme. I feel I may not have quite as much to explore with this idea.

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My third pre-proposal idea was about what we overlook and what we see at first glance. I wanted to consider our observation and perception of the world around us, and the way things can change when we do look deeper, something we neglect to do so often. I wanted to explore the beauty that can be found in the unexpected, whether that is in unexpected places or a re-enchantment of everyday or ordinary things that are overlooked.

preproposalsI feel that my first pre-proposal is the strongest but I could perhaps incorporate elements and certain ideas from each into my Final proposal.