The first term of Constellation consisted of weekly constellation lectures and specific study skills workshops with a different tutor each week. I have found some of the study skills activities challenging as I am very slow at reading and writing, but I am glad I had these regular academic writing activities as I feel that they helped me later on with my essay.
Some of these workshops and lectures aimed towards helping us with academic writing, for example, Jon Clarkson’s workshop on Reading and Analysing skills gave me the opportunity to practice reading and understanding difficult pieces of text. I was also shown techniques of how to paraphrase effectively which helped greatly when I was reading sources for my essay. Another workshop that helped towards this was Clive Cazeaux ‘s workshop on developing a convincing argument.
There were also Lectures and workshops focused towards developing our contextual understanding of art and it’s disciplines. I found that the lectures encouraged me to think more about concepts outside of my subject area.
Some of the key skills and lectures even seemed to link in with what I was currently doing in Illustration. For example, in the first few weeks of my Illustration course we were given a “words to Draw by” brief where we had to pick words and express them though mark making. This connects to what we learnt in the study skills workshop on Interdisciplinary research in art, science and technology where we were asked to visualise sounds that were played. This study skills session also touched on synaesthesia, and visual/sound associations. This information could be used in my own practice to convey more within an image.
These workshops helped me to make a more informed decision for when it came to choosing options. I chose Embodiment as my first choice, and After Modernism for my second choice but when I was ranking my choices I was torn between three options to put as my first anyway so I was happy with the outcome.
After Modernism was high up on my list because I found some of the questions raised in the outline for this project really interesting, such as “If you hang an unprimed canvas on a wall, is it a painting?” and “If everyone was an artist what would art be like?”. I also wanted to learn more about the different theories, ideas and concepts outside of my discipline.
From these lectures I feel that I am able to appreciate works I Previously didn’t understand. This was demonstrated by our trip to the Tate modern. The first time I went to the Tate was with my A level art class, and again with my art foundation. Both times I seemed to analyse the pieces of work purely according to its aesthetic qualities. Even though this is the thing I am still drawn to in a piece of art, now I feel that I have a deeper understanding of certain movements, and understand that there is more too them. For example, the artists intentions, or conscious decisions about material.
I also think that what I learnt in these lectures will help me to get more out of gallery and museum visits in the future.
This has also made me think about how I work in my own practice. An example being when we learned about minimalism and Donald Judd’s idea that painting uses a flat, rectangular plain, which is a limiting format. Are rectangularity and the medium of paint on canvas just assumed? Are these unconscious choices?
In my work I seem to work with rectangles and squares as an unconscious choice mainly because that is the format used in sketchbooks. Maybe I should question the shape more and make more conscious decisions in my work.
From the After Modernism Lectures I discovered new artists, some of which related to the projects I was doing in my Field project at the time. In the lecture on pop art I found out about Ed Ruscha’s picture books. The example that was shown in the lecture was his photo book of 26 Gasoline stations. This tied in with my idea of creating a book documenting seemingly mundane things like the train seat fabrics, drains, and puddles of Cardiff.
When it came to the essay title, I was torn between pop art and Fluxus because at the time I felt that I grasped the concepts of these lectures the most. In the end I chose to answer the question “According to Fluxus, what is the point of art?” I had also learnt a bit about Fluxus in the contextual studies of my foundation course but not as in depth. I thought it would be interesting to revisit this.
Something I would change about my approach to an essay like this in the future would be maybe to choose a final question sooner, rather than spending a lot of time weighing up 3 of them.
The essay question I chose to answer doesn’t really seem connected to Illustration, but whilst researching Fluxus I began to compare and contrast them. In Fluxus there is an emphasis on actual objects as art rather than something like a painting or drawing, because the viewer can experience it first hand. What would an artist associated with Fluxus think of illustration as a way of interpreting or explaining the world?
I am happy with how my final outcome for my personal project turned out.
For the media of my piece I chose to use collagraph print. I have done some collagraph before, and really liked how much detail and texture showed up on them and thought this would suit what I am doing. I like collagraphs because they are textural and have a tactile quality.
I chose for my work to be in the format of a book because I think it is a good way to display collections. I also wanted to have another go at bookbinding as I am not happy with my first attempt on my Personification 2 ; Trenches project.
looked up a lot of different ways of binding books but in the end found a technique called “Coptic stitch” which would allow for the pages to lie flat.
If I had more time:I would have thought more about the cover of my book. I like it as plain grey because it doesn’t detract too much from the images inside, but If I had more time I would have experimented with subtle cover ideas. One Idea I had was to run my collagraph plates through the press without any ink so that it would emboss the paper slightly. I could have either had my map design all over the cover, or created a pattern with alternating objects, e.g. a drain cover and a pavement crack. I could have even created something more abstract to contrast the orderly format of the pages and I could have had lots of prints overlapping with each other.
I could have developed this by:
making a series of them. City, beach, forest, making a book for each collection – having it more in depth. I could also take the collagraphs into different formats. With printing, I could play with repetition, for example, by having the same puddle printed several times until it gets fainter and fainter. I could also play with overlapping prints. If this was actually going to be used, the map might need to be clearer. Towards the end of my project when I started making my final book, the direction of my project changed towards more of an art book than an alternative guidebook.
For the medium of my book I decided to make a series of tiny collagraphs showing collections from around the city. I have done collagraphs before so I could visualise them working well for this. I find that collagraphs can sometimes look slightly 3 Dimensional because the plates seem to emboss the paper it is pressed onto.
The inking technique I mostly used was Intaglio, where you load up the collagraph plates with ink, and then take most of the ink off, leaving ink in any scratches or crevices. I also used a roller on some of them for when I wanted more of a graduating colour.
I have previously tried out colour schemes in my sketchbook and liked more subtle colours, like a deep blue colour combined with a rusty colour. I wanted a similar colour scheme going through my book.
Here is the design I created for our leaflet. I took the miniature skyscrapers I made out into Cardiff and photographed them in different places to make them look as if they had just been discovered. There is also a map behind them to show where they were found, and the circles are meant to represent magnifying glasses but this might not have come across. maybe I should have drawn a handle on one of them.
The leaflet was going to be printed on coloured paper so I thought it would look better if I used the photos I took as reference for drawings with marker.
At first I found it a challenge to think of how to make the two sides of the leaflet work together, but Molly and I found ways to overcome this e.g. by molly adding collage to my side of the leaflet, and using some of my miniature skyscraper photos in her collages.
My group agreed that the leaflet should have a vintage feel to it, to fit in with the presentation idea.
This shows the process of creating our underground city. This was the first time I got to see the other pods and they go together better than I thought they would. maybe it is the similar clay/white colour scheme.
These were the slides from my group’s final presentation/ unveiling of the tank. I am not very confident with presentations, or generally communicating to an audience, so this was a challenge for me. I made sure I didn’t make the same mistakes as I did for the pecha kucha by making prompts to look at whilst I was presenting. I feel like I didn’t freeze up as much then.
I feel that our group did a good job of first presenting what we had made along with the concept, and then presenting how we came to that idea by showing a presentation of our research.
Our project seemed to receive positive feedback from the audience, mainly people liked its aesthetic qualities and how The underground city looked. A member of the audience mentioned that they felt as if they wanted to play with the furniture in the pods. I think we achieved what we set out to to in this resonation – to spark people’s imaginations.
When we were planning the alter ego explorers idea I was a bit worried at first because I have never been good at drama, but in the end we just presented the personas as characters rather than acting them out.
I decided to design my pods based on arcade shop fronts with banisters and windows. making 3D pieces isn’t my strong point, but I think I did well working at this scale. I wanted them to look detailed, but not too busy so they would fit in with the other’s pods visually.