Lithophanes

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Our first practical workshop in this field option was on how to make a lithophane. I chose an image I had made for a brief I was working on at the time we were encouraged to use actual photographs for this but I wanted to see how – I wasn’t that excited about this process at first as I felt it seemed limited with what type of images could be made, but one thing I did find interesting was the way light interacted with lithophanes.

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Peter Blake at Cardiff Museum

On the 4th December Peter Blake was at the Reardon Smith Theatre to talk about his illustrations of Under milk wood currently being displayed at Cardiff Museum.

Something I found very interesting is his method of how he sketched the portraits of the characters of Under Milk Wood. He would put together a library of noses, ears, etc. This makes the illustrations a bit like a game – the viewer interacts with them by trying to work out who the character looks like.

This is a method I could try to use in my work to generate ideas, as whenever I draw characters without a reference they usually end up looking plain.


Constellation Lecture – Panel Discussion 1: Making

This lecture was to recap on the 3 previous lectures on making, and also to discuss what we have learnt in the pervious weeks.

“We often think about making as making something new – an original design is a completely new solution to a problem: an original design is a completely new solution to problem: an original artwork opens up a new way of looking at the world – but is there also a historical component to making?”

Dr Jon Clarkson started by saying that as a society we put a premium on the new, but have to start with the old to get to the new. He quoted John Constable: “the first thing I try to do is to forget that I have ever seen a picture.” This is so that what he is seeing is fresh. Jon Clarkson also mentioned another quote by John Constable that contrasted this – “there is no such thing as a self taught artist”. This shows that there is a paradoxical relationship. Artists need to renounce the old, yet make sense of it. We looked at Poured Painting: Blue Black Blue (1999) by Ian Davenport. He makes this image by pouring paint onto the canvas – This was an example of how meaning can come from the process rather than the finished piece.

Theo Humphries used the iPad as an example. We can think of the iPad as being a new product, but people were trying to do the same thing years ago.

“Who was right: Morris or Whistler?”

Prof. Jeff Jones said to think about it in terms of politics – left and right wing. It could be argued that the best revolutionary art is made when an artist is independent- we can get radical representations of the world, for example, abstract art.


17th Oct Constellation Workshop – Analysis of meanings within art and design – Cath Davies

This session was to learn how to analyse other people’s work using this format to help

Describe characteristics > Analysis of characteristics > Theoretical underpinning > How is it going to feed into my practice?

For an example we were shown a photograph of a Barbie doll that had been pulled apart and put into a bowl of noodles.  A characteristic of this would be noodles = food, consumption, East Asian Culture. Another characteristic would be the doll in the bowl = it is about to be eaten.

With this method we were dissecting the components of the image and analysing each thing separately as opposed to just analysing the image as a whole- I think we came up with more ideas in this way because of this, for example, I wouldn’t have considered that the food in the bowl could be noodles for a reason, I would have just thought “Barbie being eaten”, so I feel that by using this method I could notice more themes in someone’s work.

Our task was then to get into groups and use this to analyse James Bond film posters through the years.


17th Oct Constellation – Dr. Alexandros Kontogeorgakopoulos: The Future of Sonic Arts

This lecture was focused on how music is related to technology, and the future of music.

In this lecture we first listened to Beethoven (Symphony no.5). This shows how music is close to technology. – This music was performed by an orchestra and used mechanical technology.

We then compared this to John Cage by listening to Water Walk, from 1960. John Cage explored the limits of music. John Cage’s ideas and theories can be applied to art and design.  He believed that it wasn’t necessary top use traditional instruments to make noise.

We looked at Iannis Xenakis (Metastasis) He used maths formulas to create music, and we also looked at Karlheinz Stockhaussen, a pioneer of electronic music. He embraced new technologies to make new sounds. Max Matthews was the first to use a computer to make music.

Next we looked at Brian Eno, who has a pop music background but still used new technology to create music, and created music for Microsoft using these methods.

We looked at how a song by The Prodigy was made. I found this really interesting to watch because it shows how the sounds are taken from existing and put together to become a completely different thing.  This was used as an example to show how music has become more accessible to people.

We looked at Sonic Art, with examples from Sensorband – Soundnet (1999) and Michael Waisvisz – Hyper Instruments (1985).

We looked at more examples of sonic art –Mark Hansen and Ben Reuben – Listening Post (2003) stood out to me because I have seen this in the London science museum a few years ago.


10th Oct Constellation Workshop – Theo Humphries

This Constellation workshop was about:

  1. Handling history
  2. Handling “isms”
  3. Handling Texts (close reading)

History

  • Individual artists and designers can see patterns
  • It is never “The History of” – always “A  History of” – this is acknowledging multiple different histories of as subject.

Handling “Isms”

We looked at and compared two artworks, one was Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Can” 1964) and the other was Roy Lichtenstein’s “Hopeless” (1963) They are both pop art – taking artefacts of pop culture and presenting it back to the audience, In this instance, a soup can and a comic/tv. There is also both a temporal and graphic connection.

We also saw Ray Kurzweil  and Jean-Francoise Lyotard compared. They were both humanist, but had opposing views.

Handling Text

Our activity was to circle any words we didn’t understand in a piece of text we were given and look them up.We al o circled the key terms. We then picked a sentence from the text to paraphrase. The final task was to summarise the whole text in a single sentence. I sometimes struggle with reading paragraphs like this, let alone paraphrasing, so I found this technique very helpful in breaking down the text first so that it is clearer to see what the main points are.


10th Oct Constellation – Prof. Jeff Jones:The arts and Crafts movement

At the start of this lecture we looked at Jeremy Dellar’s 2013 Venice Bienalle installation.

‘This is a painting of William Morris, and on another wall of Jeremy Dellar’s installation there were woodcuts by William Morris. The title is also a quitation from him.

Jeremy Dellar, "We sit starving amidst our gold" (2013)

Jeremy Dellar, “We sit starving amidst our gold” (2013)

In a bbc Radio 4 interview Jeremy Dellar said that this installation was a response to Roman Bramovich, who sailed his yacht into the Venice Lagoon – it was the biggest privately owned yatcht in the world at the time, and many objected to this and saw it as s a display of power rather than him being interested in art. The painting of william Morris throwing the yacht into the lagoon is showing the power of art.

William Morris was associated with the Arts and Crafts movement, and is known for his designs and furnishing fabric. The arts and Crafts movement believed that art is caught up in society. To contrast this, James McNeil-Whistler said that “Art should be independent of all claptrap” and should “stand alone”. James McNneil-Whistler was associated with the Aesthetic movement, which believed in art for art’s sake.
In the lecture,  designs by William Morris and James McNeil Whistler were compared and are both similar, even though they have opposing views on what art is.

We looked at another piece of work from Jeremy Dellar – Battle of Orgreave, 1984. This was a live re-enactment of the 1980’s miner’s strike.

William Morris was interested in putting art and work together, and to take pleasure in the making of things. Morris was a colleague of John Ruskin, who was best known as an art theorist. One of his most famous books was the Stones of Venice. The”Nature of Gothic” section illustrates certain ideas on the way art is made. He reflects on the industrial revolution and how it has effects on the workers themselves. Ruskin says that they are made less human, and looks back to the building of European cathedrals. He says that there is a model of people working together and each person having an individual creative effort, e.g. carvings. Freedom is given.

Ruskin and Morris are against the “degradation of the operative” so Morris sets up workshops that are more humane. He was still aware that it had to be economically viable.  This could be more productive that the industrial way of working. It was less noisy. Morris also values the contributions and named some of them, e.g. Designed by William Morris, worked by Catherine Holiday.

Legacy –

Reginald Wells, Col’drum pottery – 1910-1914 – was influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement by learning about how things are made, but then he gradually became more of an independent worker. This could be contradictory to the idea of people working togetther.

Bernard Leach “Things should be done for the sake of humanity” – he is against Industry.

Critiques of the Arts and Crafts Movement –

Thorstein Veblen, a sociologist spoke of Conspicuous consumption” and a wasted effort to give a spurious value to many goods. Not many people could afford them.