Analysing my Second Semester 1000 formative assessment

Over the past four months I have continued to develop my skills and ideas as an artist by collaborating with other courses, testing out new skills and improving my current collage and expressive painting skills. The projects were very intense and moved at a fast pace because we had a lot of work to compete in such a short period of time.

I found the field project quite challenging because everyone in my groups had very different ideas and ways of working so coming up with a collaboration sometimes proved difficult. I found it hard to work with a few of the other students because they weren’t enthusiastic or motivated to work as a group in a discipline they aren’t particularly interested in. The projects were only a week long which was great for a taster into each subject especially for first year however, it didn’t give much time to develop ideas and create a piece. Despite this, the project did make us think quickly and work together to produce the art. It also allowed me to grasp an understanding of other disciplines in the university. Although the field project did have its negatives I did really enjoy this time because I was able to produce some really cool experimental work. I mostly enjoyed the Fine art field project because it was more my style of work and we were able to produce more conceptual work using photography, video and performance. It may seem bias to say I mostly enjoyed the Fine art project but I felt it was more intense and we produce a range of different piece of work within the time period and not just one piece. I felt the ceramics project was a little too basic because we didn’t get time to fire and glaze the work so I felt it was very rushed and unfinished however, the photographs we got from the work were very interesting and abstract!

Although the field was not perfect and had a few flaws, I did enjoy its because it introduced me to a few new skills with clay in ceramics and maker. I find my work can be a little messy so working with students from Artist Designer Maker helped me to think about the presentation and layout of my own work, Working with my hands in ceramics meant I was able to mould a range of interesting shapes. The theme of the projects remain the same and was based around light however, they didn’t necessarily have too be linked. We were able to explore light in many different ways in each discipline – we explored light and abstract shadows in ceramics, changes of architecture using a pinhole camera in Artist Designer Maker and how light changes the mood and emotion of a person or atmosphere in Fine Art.

After the field workshops we started the second module of the year – The consolidation project. I felt this module started off a little slow because we were looking at a few collage techniques with just image before incorporating paint and other materials including packaging, newspaper, coloured paper and bubble wrap. I have completed a lot of collage in the past as part of GCSE and A Level so I thought the beginning of the project was a little tedious because it didn’t particularly challenge me. This part of the project also didn’t have much of a theme either meaning all of my work was random and experimental. In terms of experimenting with collage, it was a great way to start however, I knew pretty quickly that I needed a theme to focus on. After watching a programme on women’s rights (100 years of Votes for women, BBC) I decided to focus my work on this – which also feeds into my interest in political and social art.

I started to research the suffragette movement and began to experiment with imagery and paint. I mostly used reds when adding the paint because it represented the violence and trauma many women went through in order to get the vote for women in the UK. The images provided a range of key events throughout that time. Most of the photographs were black and white as they were from the early 20th century which showed the time they were from. Also, my printer stopped working properly so many of the images came out distorted giving them a vintage look which worked in my favour because it added to the atmosphere I was attempting to create. During my research I realised although these incredible women were successful in their acts, it was only for a small number of people of a certain class and status who were able to vote. It isn’t recognised much but, black women were not given the vote until the National Citizen Act of 1983. In current news, British citizens of Jamaican origin are being deported even though they have legal right to remain in the UK and have served the country in many ways throughout history.

I enjoyed this term more than I enjoyed the first term because I was able to experiment with a wider range of skills within and outside of my discipline which gave me an insight to what I am exposed to and what is on offer to me at the university. The consolidation project was longer than the material project we completed in the first term giving us more time to develop ideas and themes and to complete a better more thought through final piece. I am going to continue the theme of the suffragettes and women’s right and will research the topic more intensely as well as continuing the collage route and producing a due drawings for the final exhibition because I think it is very intense topic which I could research and explore for a long time but I want to express my feelings and responses to the ongoing movement in a image of different ways including collage, drawing, painting and sculpture. For the exhibition I am going to produce a large drawing which is overpowering and expressive as a response to the movement in the early 29th Century.

Iconic

For my constellation I am looking into sustainability and consumerism and therefore I decided to produce some collages looking into consumerism and the problems its causing to the Earth and human health. I focused on companies including Walkers, Coca Cola, McDonalds and Apple because they are just a few of the companies which are serious criminals for waste and heavily influencing people to excessively buy ‘shit’! I also wanted to give a dark grim feeling to some of the pieces.

For the collage based on Mcdonalds I decided to focus on the amount of paper used and waste produced as well as commenting on the meat trade. I used red paint to represent represent blood which was located above and around the drawn animals to show the power and dominance of human consumption and its rapid increase in rate. The bright colours of the package attracts consumerism by making the food look more exciting and approachable. I also wanted to highlight health problems these indulgent foods give which are hidden behind the attractive packaging.

Although I am not a vegetarian I wanted to express the mass production in the farming of animals and the huge amount of meat consumed daily. I have produced the work to provoke a respond from the audience and to make them aware of some of the processes behind their favourite luxury foods.

Foot Fetish

I started to expand my focus by producing studies of my toes and feet. I started to draw many scratchy intense works on torn paper, painted pages, and plain paper to change, alter and test out different atmospheres and moods to the studies. This exercise didn’t have much relevance to many of my current university work but was used to continue developing my abilities and skills because if I don’t draw for a while it inhibits my abilities. It was also a good way to relax over the Easter break whilst continuing with everyday activities or watching T.V.

I like to work from real life as much as possible because it allows me to form more realistic studies as images from the internet are usually blurred or too small so the detail affects my ability to draw a good piece of work. By working from real life I was able to relax and work in my chilled time and develop my skill with very little thought and let my creativity run its course. the relaxed silent atmosphere I worked in allowed me to destress and focus on more happy creative thoughts.

The feet and hands are on of the hardest parts of the body to draw so the ability to draw them is really boosting my confidence with drawing and makes me to get the correct proportions especially when I have distorted the hands and feet into weird positions. I kept all of the drawings in one sketchbook to show the progression and development of the drawings and as an illustrator. The drawings still had a conceptual feeling to them because they showed depth and a sense o my mood at the time of the creation. I felt very relaxed and content whilst drawing them which is shown through these drawings.

Hands

On the side of my project I decided to produce studies of hands in many different positions and gestures because I wanted to expand and develop my drawing skills and my interpretation of the object. Many of the initial studies were of individual fingers and my left hand because I am right handed however, I then decided to challenge myself by trying to draw my right hand whilst drawing with it. It proved pretty difficult at first because the gesture continued to move and the positioning of the view from above may have altered during the time of drawing.

I used pencil, biro and black gel pens in the studies to create a range of effects and tones. most of the studies were created using the gel ink pen because they created the scratchy energetic effect. I also liked the way that I could add water to smudge the ink which I did with a hand full of studies as well as adding some fleshy tones using watercolour. The watercolour was splashed on to keep the experimental look and to give the drawings more movement and energy.

I will be continuing the studies as well as expanding my focus onto the feet and toes and will be creating a sketchbook filled with a range of studies, gestures and positions.

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Final Collage

After experimenting with a range of different themes, styles and techniques, I came to the conclusion that I most enjoyed the create collage using a historical theme and using a lot of paint in the work. This is similar to the work of the Dada movement including Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns who use expressive brushstrokes and paint to create texture and abstraction to the work which is why I find it so interesting and engaging. As I was looking at the suffragette movement in the early 20th Century, I wanted to use red, oranges and dark blues along with black and white photographs from that time of protestors and the reaction of the public and police. Rauschenberg uses a lot of red in his work during the 1920s because this was a time where his work was much darker – representing the grim aftermath of the First World War and as I was focusing on a similar time in history I decided the red tones were relevant in my work. The red is surrounding the images of the protesting women because it represents the suppression and opposition they experienced when standing up for our rights and the hostile attitude of society. I mostly used a dry brush to form the expressive brush strokes to give a rough textural look to the work as well as dripping the paint down the paper to form a flow and some movement to the whole piece. I think the paint surrounding and integrating with the image brings the collage together and allows the audience to look at the whole time and limited the chance of a single focus point.

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I want to continue developing and experimenting with collage and aspire to tackle political and social themes and views to create eye-opening and provocative art using paint and images. I want to continue the historical focus of the collages but also start to look at more current issues so I can use primary research and photographs. With big current news on Russia, the weather and Trump I have a lot of focus points for my work allowing me to broaden my own knowledge of current affairs as well as showing my views and opinions or possibly just give a sense of the atmosphere surrounding that news. I will be expanding my contextual knowledge by focusing on books and articles about the Dada movement and contemporary who have responded to it in the modern day.

Politics and Social issues

I wanted to look at a few political events and issues in history so I started by looking into the suffragette movement because it something relevant to me as a young woman trying to make herself in the modern world which, wouldn’t be possible without their protests and efforts to get women the vote and begin the long journey to better pay and more freedom in society and the home. I am extremely interested in the work of Rauschenberg and Schwitterz, so I wanted to create some collages similar to their work. I am fascinated by the way they use images and items from the relevant subject and/or current time to give explanation of the topic as well as paint to blur and distort the images. This subject became the focus for my final piece but for now I wanted to experiment with a few other eras including the 1960s and 1990s.

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The 1960s was an era of big change including black protests, the first landing on the moon and the development of music. Martin Luther-King and Malcolm X are the two famous personnel who protested for racial equality and integration however, there is a big difference between the two, Martin L-King was a peaceful protestor who preached to thousands of people to inspiration and change behaviour whereas, Malcolm X was a activist who preached violence and racism. I focused on American history for this collage because it has some interesting events and issues which arose – the assassination of J.F.K. and the start of the Vietnamese war so I decided to use reds and oranges when I was painted so represent the trauma and hardship millions of people experienced during this time. For the lighter events (music and landing on the moon) I tried to keep the overlaying of then paint to a minimum to highlight these events so the audience is able to see that there was still positivity during that time of opposition and sadness.

Rauschenberg is a collage artiestes who I am particularly interested in because he creates work which looks into a range of themes and issues. I am particularly interested in his work which look at political views included the work about J.F.K and the 1960s. During this time man first landed on the moon and J.F.K. was assassinated along with a number of other factors and events/. Rauschenberg has taken this events and collaborated them together to create a final piece. As the events aren’t exactly related, Rauschenberg has used paint to bring the images together to form one. The use of paint has also highlighted important parts of the work for example, J.F.K.’s pointing finger during one of this speeches – an iconic memory of the president.

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I felt Rauschenberg was relevant because he used similar materials as I do in my work. The colours and images present in the collages represent a certain about of time in history i.e. the 1960s or 1980s. The collages are very busy because they contained a lot of imagery and are bright and welcoming. The artist uses the paint to draw the audiences eye around the whole piece and so they don’t focus on one area. This also means the whole collage is brought together to collaborate it into one artwork.

Leonard Da Vinci – Hands

Da Vinci did many experimental drawings for his paintings including the ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘John The Baptiste’. The studies are very quick and scratchy which I find very expressive and energetic making the work more interesting because they hold more thought and development than a perfectly finished piece of work.

Da Vinci experimented with a number of different hand positions and expressions to develop his skills. The hands are one of the hardest parts of the body to draw because of the proportions and contours they hold especially when posed in certain positions including Dharmacharkra Mudera and Uttarabodhi Mudra. These positions I have named are Buddhist Yogi definitions of some of the slightly more different hand gestures drawn. The different positions show the different moods and feelings associated with them and formed a sort of humour to the art.

Da Vinci used graphite and lead along with some oil paint to create his studies. The lead and paint created a smooth, soft affect to the work and therefore affecting the atmosphere of the work. However, the work I am particularly interested in are the ones Da Vinci used graphite to produce because they are very scratchy and expressive creating that movement and energy I am looking for.