Thursday, 29 December 2011

Indulging in the Escapism of cinema

My parents treated my sister and me to a trip to see the new American adaption of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. As I haven't yet read the books or seen the original Swedish version, I cannot comment on any comparisons made; but as a film, it was extremely powerful.

Rooney Mara is absolutely absorbing in her role as Lisbeth Salander, the vulnerable let ruthless private detective assigned to help Mikael Blomkvist solve the mystery of a girl's disappearance many years ago.

The focal character, as named in the title, is Lisbeth herself, and the most interesting aspect of the plot is her relationship with Mikael, her personal living struggle, her illegal talents....basically just her. After an incredibly rough past she has been left hostile and antisocial, seemingly unable to relate normally to society in general; a situation not aided by her revolting social worker who has power over her money.

The emotional heart of the film is Lisbeth's attachment to Mikael, and the benefits and complications that brings; an element that certainly doesn't take away anything from the thriller genre.
I would highly recommend it!

"The feel bad movie of Christmas."

a portrait of my favourite christmas present

I keep him away from bright light,
Feed him before midnight,
And NEVER get him wet.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Live Illustration in Manchester

On Thursday night me and my housemates went to attend a live illustration exhibition at the bar Night and Day. It began at 7.30 and ended at 12; unfortunately we couldn't attend the entire duration, but we did get a quick look at the canvases in progress. Although a lot of the artists weren't creating work to my taste, it was interesting watching them, and I have a lot of admiration for their ability to work under pressure, under the scrutiny of a big crowd. As you can see, it was difficult to get decent pictures in the cramped space!

Lord Whitney's contribution was a large paper cut out display at the back, lit up to cast shadows onto a sheet. It went well with the warm and cosy atmosphere of the bar.

I was impressed by the screen prints that were being sold; the designs were created by some of the artists who were creating the live illustrations. I bought a copy of a print (as a gift), that happened to be the screen that was used for the live printing, so got to print it myself. 
Since I've not explored screen printing in my own work so far (except for an induction earlier this year) this was a good opportunity to get a bit more practice, as I would like to look into screen printing for future work. I'm worried that at the moment the kind of work I'm creating isn't particularly commercially friendly (i.e. pencil drawings, hand made 3d work) so it would be good for me to become familiar with methods that are easier to duplicate quickly.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011 there or be square!

Image Analysis Presentation

This morning everyone in my critical studies class had to present an image analysis, lasting 10 minutes.
Here's roughly how mine went:

Lamia’ [on her knees]by John William Waterhouse
[1905, oil on canvas, 146 x 90.2 cm, private collection]
This is one of Waterhouse’s later paintings-he was roughly 56 years old at the time of its creation.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Inspiration for Life Stories Project: 'People Too' Illustration

I stumbled across this unusual 3d work (created entirely out of coloured paper) by Russian illustration group People Too. It's so tiny and fiddly-looking! It is a great example of how effective 3D elements can look when they're photographed in a 'scene' set up; hopefully something I can also achieve with my own illustration for Life Stories.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Sneaky peek at Leon (soon to be wrapped up for Christmas)

As I was in the process of stuffing his head, Bryony suggested that I gave him a, using thin strips of crumpled up felt, sewn together with red thread, that's exactly what I did!


Our latest brief, which will take us up to the end of term, is a collaboration project. Last Friday we were presented with 3 separate options for projects, and were then asked to sign our names up for one of them. Once divided into the separate groups we had to form teams of 2-4 people.

The project I decided to opt for is called 'Fiction & Reality'. Out of all the projects it is easily the most abstract and open-ended. I was immediately drawn to this aspect as I seem to work well by finding my own way into a brief and being able to manipulate it to suit me personally. I also like the mystery and intrigue side of things. However, I'm starting to realise that for me, this project was actually an incredibly difficult option! It lacks any definite outlines so leaves the message of the project almost entirely up to the group. The idea behind this project is that it is very focused on the conceptual aspect. The brief states
the outcome will not be necessarily tangible in the form of a logo, film, or surface design, for example. The brief is wide open for you to be experimental.
So far I feel this has been very challenging for my communication skills. It has involved a great deal of discussion on the idea. Making sure everyone is on the same wavelength is incredibly difficult, and there has been compromise and disagreement. In my normal work I am so used to having an idea that I'm entirely confident and happy with; it's so different when you have to vocalise everything you're thinking and justify everything to others before it is possible to get to work. The original formation of our group (myself and Rachel paired up, then invited Cat) has been shaky so far due to two of us being ill, which has meant it's been very difficult to clarify our ideas and be confident that we are all happy and ready to move forward. The initial concept has since been altered, and (since yesterday afternoon) we have finally pulled together (including the recruitment of a new team member) with a solid idea which we can begin organising. The terrifying thing is we only have a week and a few days til the deadline, and our mystery event is to be held  in a week's time!

Today we will be presenting our idea to a panel of cross-pathway tutors-fingers crossed it will go well.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Street Art

Our last class discussion was on Street Art (presented by Rachael Felstead).

Here are some of the questions that came up, and my own responses:

Is Graffiti considered a form of art to you? Or do you consider it to be a crime?
It depends very much on the particular style and purpose of the piece of graffiti. When it is an ugly scribble of spray paint on a piece of property that is effectively ruined by the graffiti then I would consider it a crime (vandalism), but I think that well-done graffiti can look amazing, whether it is done legally or not. But cities that embrace graffiti as an art form and display lots of it on walls and buildings do look impressive. For example, Barcelona is a beautiful city with traditional and modern architecture alongside lots of graffiti.

Do you think that punishments such as jailing should be used on people who illustrate on private buildings? When you think about people who may not have been prisoned for more serious crimes.
It depends again on the seriousness of the individual piece of graffiti how seriously someone should be punished in my opinion, but I don't think jail is necessary usually. Just a fine.

Do you think that street art can bring communities together such as Edgar Mullers piece (the lava on the road which is falling apart)? And/or do you think it can tear communities apart in terms of separating the younger generations (I assume that the majority of street artists are fairly young, sorry if I am wrong!) from the older generations because they could be viewed as 'vandals'?

When a piece of work has clearly been created as something for people to appreciate and interact with (as the people are demonstrating in Muller's piece, above) it can be very effective for bringing communities together. This kind of art work is positive rather than negative. Graffiti that vandalises buildings obviously won't capture the imagination of its viewers, and probably does encourage friction between generations, if they consider 'young people' to be behind the work they disapprove of.

What do you think of Banksy since he has gone against his word and purpose of creating graffiti? Have your opinions changed? (If you don't remember what I said about him earlier, i basically said that he used to make street art for the meaning not for the money. Though thats not very detailed 
you'd probably be better looking that information up else where!)
Banksy probably had no idea how famous his work would become when he first started out, but its popularity has put him in a position of very high demand. I think sticking fiercely to the 'musn't sell out' attitude would be foolish if he can make money from what he loves doing, providing the art work he is commissioned to do doesn't go against his personal beliefs.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Tiny Book of Tiny Stories

...what he said! This is going on my Christmas wish list...

Inspirational idols: the film character, Amélie

Amélie's outlook on life is almost perfect for an artist.
She is smart, independent, organised, thoughtful, creative and proactive. She treats the people she meets as problems to solve, and does so in elaborate and unusual ways (and does so whilst always looking neat and well-presented herself!) If I could site any one person's philosophy to aspire to, it would most definitely be hers.
Shame she's not real.


A reoccurring problem keeps stopping me in my tracks! After hours of quite intense work (usually knitting/sewing/drawing) where I have to concentrate closely on the detail, my eyes go funny. Sort of like the beginning stages of a migraine where my vision blacks out or will not focus on what I'm trying to look at. At first I panicked and thought 'do I need glasses?!' but I've come to the conclusion that it's probably just inadequate lighting, which is annoying as I have a very handy lamp on my desk (purchased from none other than IKEA in the children's section). Apparently when it comes to light, only daylight really works the best. Unfortunately for me, this means when I have a sudden bout of arty activity in the dark hours I have to put up with the inevitable blurry eye moments.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Live brief work finally beginning to take shape...

I can't disclose any specific details of the brief for reasons of confidentiality, but a theme of my work is dance halls. Here's a sketch I did today, trying to capture the dreamy nostalgia of ballroom dancing.

Monday, 14 November 2011


My housemates and I visited an exhibition at The Holden Gallery in Manchester, showing some of Jonny Hannah's latest work. This was also the first time I attended an official exhibition launch, and it was quite intimidating being around a room full of such knowledgeable artists/critics/ whoever else they were. I got the sense that a lot of the people weren't really appreciating the work. Overall, it felt like more of a social occassion; an opportunity to try and make connections with the people attending the event or to assert your presence as an artist yourself. We felt rather out of our depth and timid about approaching people, but managed to talk to a few people there, including two women from Ink Illustration who seemed keen on giving us advice, which was nice!

Before the exhibition I'd never paid a great deal of attention to Hannah's work, but seeing it so up-close made me realise how much I like it. It was presented on a black board with wooden pegs through bulldog clips pinning the work up, which looked very neat and made the work stand out. The lack of frames and glass covering the paper made it accessible-within touching distance. I appreciated how the more labour-intensive pieces were displayed amongst what looked like quick ink paintings/drawings- it's encouraging seeing how such an accomplished artist can still enjoy doing work which seems more care-free and spontaneous. In fact I found a lot of the simple black ink paintings more engaging than the bigger, more detailed pieces.

The first thing that grabbed my attention was this:
The simple dress shape suggests the symbolism of a woman. Perhaps this music is relevant personally to Hannah, relating to the lyrics. I have found the song particularly moving since discovering it in the soundtrack of 'Candy', when it is played at the heartbreaking ending. Hannah's hand-painted lyrics seem to be expressive of his own connection to the song, shown by certain lines drawn bigger and darker than others. I'm not sure exactly what drew me to this piece; it is so simple, and I have a weakness for elegant hand-drawn type.

Here is a trailer for Candy (I highly recommend it!):

Tim Buckley's Song To The Siren:

This was probably my favourite one of his ink drawings on display. The mark-making is so simple but charming. By displaying work that looks like it could be hidden away in a sketchbook, Hannah has exposed his unprocessed drawing style, something which I think is far more insightful into the mind of the artist than a piece of work which is more clearly the 'final product' of a project, and therefore often a lot more interesting.

Here are some more examples of these double page drawings:

Some notes and sketches I did whilst at the exhibition:
*'that dude' = Kenneth Andersson.