We were tasked with taking a daily routine and changing it. This could be everything from having breakfast as dinner, walking blindfolded or changing the way you sleep. It seemed like a very simple task but when it came to decided what I wanted to do it came a little more difficult. Having missed the first week I was not unable to complete the work in time so was a week behind. We looked at other students ideas and pieces which were similar to the ones I had. In order to not feel like I was coping them, I decided to discard any thought of doing similar pieces and spoke to students in other groups for discussions on what I could do. Having spoken to a friend who gave me a few ideas I have decided to spend the day with my shoes on the wrong feet. It will be a weird sensation but interesting to see how it affects my daily activities and whether people around me notice. The want to document my journey through video and document any reactions from others through writing and photography.
I decided to carry this activity out. It was a vey weird sensation because I felt slightly unbalanced and felt the centre of balance in my feet changed. I didn’t found it uncomfortable but it did mean I need to concentration more on where I was going and where I placed my foot. I did feel quite self-conscious during this experience because I thought people where looking at me and judging me. I find I look at people’s feet when passing just out of habit and I find shoes tell a lot about a person – where they have been, what kind of people they are.
This experiment was to get me out of my comfort zone and start to think about how I can change and manipulate the environment to have an effect on my art.
Walking in the wrong shoes
As part of the first session in the new project we were tasked with finding an object from a charity shop. There was instruction of what the object needed to be only what caught our eye. This gave us freedom to explore and rummage through the shops to find exciting things. As a student I use charity shops a lot for art equipment and clothing because you can always stumble across great deals and finds. The shop we visited had a massive clear out sale (even more reason to go in) where everything was £1. I cam across a white mug which had figurative drawings on it in red and black. The mug itself was an unconventional shape because it dipped in adjacent to the handle which gives the holder’s hand more room. I found this interesting because I’ve never seen it before and thought it made it more comfortable to hold the mug. It is pretty practical however, the dips means less tea or coffee!! Why you willing to give up that space or do you think a massive mug of tea?
After choosing the object we were tasked with responding to it. I decided to respond to the image of the mug rather than the physical mug. I found the images fascinating and very expressive. I started to look into life drawings and figurative drawing on the internet and in books in the library. I really enjoyed this exercise because it allowed me to create a lot of quick sketches of the human body in interesting poses using charcoal. During my degree I have completed a lot of interesting projects however, I haven’t really had the chance to use charcoal so I have taken advantage of this time to use it as much as I can. I really enjoy life drawing and attend many classes at home and at university.
To start the project, we were instructed to walk through the Llandaff park opposite university. The aim of this exercise was to create quick sketches of nature, objects and anything that caught our eye. We were given a small brief to follow when it came to choosing what to draw:
- An opening
- A hole
- A modification
- A scar
- A secret characteristic
- An infinitesimal detail
- The unseen
- The unused
- Shifting figures around a steady centre
We walked slowly through the park which gave us time to visually explore our surroundings and take in a few of these requirements. This was an interesting way of walking through the park as I do it everyday but don’t necessarily explore my surroundings and pick up on the small details. It uses a lot of concentration and focus to explore your surroundings especially when you are not use to doing it. The task was really interesting because it started to stimulate my ability to notice more and widened my visual perspective. I found it a little difficult to draw whilst walking and I felt I wasn’t able to create very detailed works which made me feel like I was creating children’s drawings. The nature did however make me feel very relaxed and calm and allowed me to focus on my creativity.
This drawings exercise has helped me to think about the environment and will help me further into the project when it comes to choosing my exhibition space.
Andy Goldsworthy is a contemporary British widely known for his site-specific artworks. Goldsworthy uses natural material from the environment in which he is installing the work. He uses sticks, leaves, branches, rocks, water and other natural materials in the work. After completing the work, Goldsworthy documents it through photography as the physical work is only temporary. The photographs are what is displayed in galleries and exhibitions. He installed his work in England, Scotland, North Pole, Australian and the USA. These environments have great beauty and help Goldsworthy understand nature by directly participating in it. I find that Goldsworthy doesn’t necessarily plan what materials he is going to use but uses what he finds around him. “Its not about art, it’s just about life and the need to understand that a lot of things in life do not last”. I find this a really interesting way of working and find it is extremely evident in his work. The materials he uses are temporary and organic.
I enjoy Goldsworthy’s work because it is aesthetically pleasing. His work has a strong sense of nature’s beauty and fluidity and yet you can tell there is human influence and presence here.
The contemporary arts is widely know for his sculpture displayed in public areas including parks, hills and beaches. His work explores the connection between the human body and space. By space I mean, the area in which the art is displayed. In early work, Gormley uses his own body as well as others to represent this exploration. The questions which arise in these works is where does the human body stand in the space and nature in which it is displayed? Gormley now uses now sculptural art is represent this connection between the body and space.
I find his work fascinating because he displays his work in public as a statement. This display stimulates the audience to question the reasoning of its presence in the area. I like the way Gormley places the work in a nature/public environment for the public to experience in their own way. Gormley is a key artist who work is half the environment in which it is displayed in. He seriously considers the placement in order to receive a response to the work.
For example, the work below is situate on a beach and the figures are posing a very saddened, depressive state which is stimulated by the environment because the atmosphere of the beach and the open view of the sea gives a sense of loss and loneliness. You can see nothing but the water in front of you as you look at the sea which, to me, makes the emotion the figures alone are expressing more real.
LAND SEA AND AIR II
This piece of work [below] has a very different feeling to the work above because it gives a sense of freedom. One of the figures gives this vibe of freedom as the arms are stretched out to the sides and the head and chest are pushed up into the air. However, two of the figures look as though they are longing for something. The use of the rooftop adds to the feelings these figures are expressing through the openness of it and the feeling of being “on top of the world”.
As part of my Site Venue project I am to think sincerely about the environment and how it will affect the response to the work. The environment may not affect the work however, if I am to situate it outside in nature, this will have a great impact on it.
For the exhibition I decided to have my book spread out slightly across a wide plinth and have a few objects from nature including ivory, a stick and a flower. The use of these objects will help the reader to immerse themselves into the book and help to stimulate their imagination for the forest scene. I felt the ivory represented the fluidity within the book and represented the pathway which the reader follows along the pages of the book. The stick is a prop the reader can hold if they wish whilst reading the story. It is not instructed in the book that they can hold the stick because I want the reader to feel relaxed and calm. I don’t want the reader to be constantly instructed to touch certain objects or listen to audios. The idea of this is to create a natural environment for them to calm and find their mindful place.
In terms of the book, I was not entirely happy with the it because it was more visual and had very little words. I struggled to find the right words in the first place which results in me limiting the words to almost nothing. I feel this may have made the book more difficult to read all the way through because it doesn’t have a lot of content. However, I think my use of bright colour and visual aids has helped overcome this issue and I feel could keep the reader intrigued in the book. I have decided to use the audio senses in this book to immerse them into the story. The reader is to wear headphone whilst listening to an audio clip of a robin singing and the subtle sound of the wind in the background. This is to help create the scene of the forest in the readers imagination. I want the reader to wear headphones to block out external noise in everyday life and to help them bathe in the imagination and the target mindful place. The book I have created to very sensorial and visual rather than readable because I want the reader concentrate on their imagination and focus on the scene they are creating.
I really enjoyed this project because it has opened me up to different possibilities of what could be perceived as art therapy. The project has also allowed me to explore my drawing skills more especially more illustrative drawings considering I am a Fine artists who specialises in expressive drawing. I think I will considering using this method off therapy in the future in an effect to explore different forms of art therapy. I feel in order to improve the project, we should be given more time to create the book as myself and a few other students found it quite difficult to create the project in time.
I am happy with the final outcome of the project because I feel it shows my interpretation of what I see as a peaceful and mindful place. The book is very colourful and rich with texture which I feel helps with the sensory atmosphere I am trying to create.
I had a few hiccups along the way including creating the wrong atmosphere on a few of pages and using the wrong material to produce the book. I feel I was able to overcome the obstacles smoothly with the help of my tutor and ability to problem solve.
I have enjoyed this project because it has developed and broadened my knowledge of PTSD and mental illness. This will help me with my future plans of art therapy and understanding of how to calm and help people control their emotions through art and the imagination.