Book of Nature

This book, combines in itself the idea of nature, wild and raw and beautiful as it is, with human nature, which ultimately leads to the questions of our existence and the cosmos itself.

This book is a concertina (12 x 12 cm) with several different fold-outs and two pop-ups, as well as a back spread.

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~      c   o   s   m   o   s    ~ (back spread, 12 x 48 cm)

This book goes hand to hand with M!nd States.
Note: there are more pages in the book itself which I haven’t included in this post.

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M!nd States

As you sit down and you look at the collection of old magazines, comic book issues, and all kinds of scraps and papers and pictures, all about to be cut up, rearranged and stuck together on a page in a sketchbook or a random sheet of paper, you can’t help but notice a little sadness amidst your excitement and delight – sadness about the ‘destruction’ of other people’s works because of a specific detail which we use for our own imagery. This ultimately makes you think about the kind of world we live in, the nature of humanity and the beauty of balance – to create you need first destroy – like the phoenix, which dies in fire and is reborn from the ashes. Collaging becomes this act of creation via cutting, tearing and trimming.

At the same time it gives life to all the scraps and the bits and the little papers that we come across each day – the receipts, the tickets, the leaflets, the wrappers… they are given purpose when they have none and they are made interesting when they usually wouldn’t be. What is by some considered trash becomes a gold mine for those who know what to look for.

Collaging in itself can be a deeply personal experience, which opens you up to how your own mind works – how you see things and how they subconsciously rearrange themselves inside your head; the outcomes become the reflections of ideas, thoughts and mind states. Collages are weird in nature; they are nonsensical, shocking and/or simply strange but that gives you the freedom to see just how far you can go before you get completely lost and confused and disgusted by your own artwork.

The following pages of this book are filled with the outcomes of my own exploration of that uncharted mind space – trying to make some sense out of things that at a first glance make none.

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happy new year
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parallel progression
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dreaming
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daydreaming
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‘how do you feel?’
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(after) g l o w
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me (you)
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jkcddda\\:”{w6uo/4 v3q50-]r oj”dX,XC.ZS BL!!!!!!!!!!!! (frustration), Collaging + Painting Performance
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s . o . s
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~   everything   ~

~~~—– 10 / 25 artworks from the book (all images in M!nd States were selected out of a larger body of work done in the last 5 weeks  —–~~~

Final Outcomes

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My final ‘pieces’ for our Gorillas in the Roses field module this term.

I made the two books from scratch – binding, stitching and, of course, the collages inside. I decided to go all out for the formative assessment this module as soon before I got the feedback from my Subject term 1 assessment. Amelia (Johnstone) mentioned that I haven;’t really been completing my artwork to the fullest extent in a sense of – weak in context and because of that unable to finalize whatever I produce. (I’m being quite vague because the examples wouldn’t apply in this case) At the very beginning of this field project James explained to us that with collaging we don’t need to make perfect sense, in fact, we don’t need to make sense at all. What he wanted us to focus on was exploration. In a way, whatever we come up with will add to the final body of work that was expected of us by the end of the 5 weeks.

These two books are a product of the absolute chaos and order of my mind. My process was quite simple, go through all the imagery (scan it) and then cut out what I like and what I feel might be useful (without actually specifying what for). Then I try to look for more in the same way, but with that first cut-out in mind – what would fit, what would work well with that? I do that until the collected bits start interacting with each other – they start revealing narratives, settings, composition challenges and specific colour schematics which ultimately lead to the image in my mind’s eye that I need to arrange down on the page. The entire process happens almost subconsciously, the only way I am now able to talk about it is because during the first few sessions, James (Green) and Tom (Martin) were asking us about our process, do we work in any specific order or just randomly putting stuff together, and I wasn’t sure how to answer at the time, the question was just as confusing as the collaging I was doing.

What I was really doing was spiraling in and letting go, going as crazy as it suited me. I felt like I was in a completely stress-free environment, no pressure of working on a brief, no outlines our work needed to fit in, just free to do whatever. And that was like a tap of creativity pouring down a well of inspiration. I find collaging entrancing, meditative, inspiring and sometimes frightening – whatever comes out on the page, is the product of my own imagination so obviously the more twisted the outcome, the more I question my own sanity.

In that sense, these two books are a sort of revelation, a reflection of how my mind works in various states and situations. Whether sleepy or hyped up, at uni, at home, after a night out, after having lots of food, when I haven’t really eaten all day; whether sad or happy or bored… the results always fit with my mood, without fail.

Mind States, album book
size: A3 (29.7 x 42 cm)
contents: 25 collaged pages

nature, human nature, cosmic nature, concertina book
size: 12 x 12 cm
contents: single-page collages, collage spreads and pop-ups

Here you can see a short preview of what is actually inside. :)

The footage for this clip was quite plain and  I thought I might spruce it up a bit on Magisto, an app I’ve had on my phone for ages but never really used before. How it works is, you select the videos you want in your short clip, choose an effect setting, a style, and then either choose a soundtrack from the app library or add your own music from your device. Could not be more simple – you don’t do ANY of the editing and you still end up with a decent little video. One of its effect settings (Rock On) just seemed perfect for my idea, as it was using stop motion collage frames and transitions which fits perfectly with our field module. The only feature I didn’t fully agree with was the black and white bits as the use of colour is quite an important feature, although after seeing it a few more times I realised that it actually works quite well – in order to inspire interest, you don’t show everything straight away, do you… The song I used is from the soundtrack of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (“Garbage Truck” by Sex Bob-Omb), it is one of my favourite films based on a comic book (story & artwork by Bryan Lee O’Malley). I thought it’d be quite fitting for a few reasons, like the grungy footage, and the fact that we’ve been working with and looking into comic books during most of this module.

Digital Collaging

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strange combinations in strange colours
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dark sides (was inspired by Kenneth HaliwellJoe Orton’s work in Malicious Damage)

We had a workshop with James on digital collaging (on iPads provided from uni), using an app called Procreate. It was quite basic but that is essentially all you need to start making the collages you want. I didn’t have any specific ideas when I made those, I just wanted to try out different combinations and techniques and generally see how things work.

Workshop with Tom Martin

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In our workshop with Tom Martin we were making collaborative collages and at the same time mixing it all up with our own drawings as parts of the collages.

It was definitely an interesting day that produced some ecen more interesting outcomes. Most of the pieces looked quite chaotic and nonsensical on their own but when Tom invited us to put all our final pieces out so that everyone can have a look, I believe we all felt like we had done some pretty good work that day.

It was also interesting to observe the different tables’ working process and the range of outcomes.

Gorillas in the Roses

For my second term field option I chose to do collaging with James Green and I was happy once again to see lots of familiar faces, good friends and excellent sources of inspiration. (He-he-he…) This whole option is pretty much self-explanatory. It is about collaging and the making of collages, cutting and gluing, all the special tricks of the trade and how to literally work with other people’s works.

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We started off with a presentation and a few clips, to get us into the feeling of what we will be doing over the next five weeks. I was quite excited and it was all really interesting but when James showed us the pile of old comics and fashion magazines that he’d brought for us to cut up I just lost my head. I LOVE comic books. 2000 AD, with the stories about Judge Dredd, Tank Girl, one of my absolute favourites, and more… And the magazines were full of old coloured photos on incredibly thin paper! I honestly don’t know how to emphasize my outburst of pure happiness! The little child inside of me always wants to copy this or cut that out, but is always shushed by the grown up, rational version that keeps everything safe and in mint condition. Now that I get to cut and rip, and shred, and chop, and slice… ah, it feels so good!

It gives me a sense of freedom, not much different from Painting Performance (last term’s Field option). Last time we were dealing with the essence of paint itself, the ultimate tool of the artist with qualities as numerous as its colours, whereas this time we’ve got finished images as initial material, all the possible colours, patterns, textures, sizes and most importantly mixtures and combinations of different methods.

This year our Field module genuinely seems to be directed at us letting loose and finding exactly where we stand as artists which I deeply appreciate. I am enjoying this Field project and I’ve already started thinking on a few ideas connected to my subject practice.

Definition of my Reality

We got a task to work on a collaged piece depicting our reality. We were given complete freedom for our final outcome and we were advised to check what the Platonic solids were and how they were connected to Leonardo da Vinci.

I could not have been more thrilled. The research I did re-empowered my admiration for the connections between art, science and spirituality. I was once more reassured of the importance of knowledge and the need for deep philosophical conversations and discussion.

When I started thinking about ‘my reality’ I made a little list of words. Chaotic, mind-blowing, beautiful, rushing, lone… but then I realized this was a conscious illusion, the words were coming from a very shallow place in my being. They were my reality but they were just aspects of the whole.

What I came up with is a piece which somehow actually manages to describe my reality and, at the same time, capture universal truths and knowledge, as well as referencing ideas as old as time.

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This is my personal final piece.

We each got to ‘present’ our pieces to the rest of our group without saying a word about it, and letting everyone else speak up and tell us what they see, what they understand and what they can interpret, and then see if it matches our own original idea.

It’s strange how I can’t bring myself to write about this piece now; it has become a sort-of milestone of my own personal development, evidence of a moment/period of pure, complete self-awareness and analysis.

Matt Leighfield: Photoshop for beginners

The workshop actually proved to be quite helpful with refreshing my memory on what and how and where is what. As an exercise we were to make a collage out of images we found on the BBC News webpage. I found some articles in the Art section, cut some images up, did some arranging and came up with the following.saras-thingThis image turned out to look very strange and in the end I thought it might as well be the cover artwork of a weird weekly artistic magazine or something; hence the “weekly weirdness” bit (it is not an actual thing).

Collage Series, March 2014

Sometime in the middle of last term Carys Jones (Illustration) was doing collaging for her project and when I saw her I realised that I hadn’t done collaging since kindergarten.
So I made some collages in my sketchbook with cut-outs from random fashion magazines that I had (Vogue, Marie Claire, Company) just to try it out again.

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Combining Images

While filling up my sketchbook with images I had the idea of combining them to create a single piece. A sort of artistic mashup.

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So this here is the weird, repetitious, abstract cityscape with loads of straight lines, just like the images above suggest.

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The next couple of images were chosen randomly but then arranged to create a feeling of a concealed, unknown narrative.

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In this piece I combined elements from each image but this time I mixed that with a bit of colour and different media.

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These images sort of fit together on their own when I was glueing them to the page and in the end I decided to leave them as they are because the result is a simplistic collage which inspires different thoughts with every new look.

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Experimenting with combinations of existing images has been quite fun and I will definitely do more of that in my Research & Ideas sketchbook.