Magi Mojaxx

magimojaxx cov1

Some months ago I was approached by a member of Magi Mojaxx (and a friend) and asked to do a cover for their yet-to-be-released EP.

At the time they were called Thomasina and the Undercover Mermaids but ended up changing their name. Originally I had the idea to play with the iconic gun barrel sequences from James Bond films, where I turn the barrel into a whirlpool with three mermen in the middle (much like Charlie’s Angels) hold up their respective musical instruments up for protection. The idea fell through when they changed their name and I thought to myself that it was probably a good thing, as I’d much rather come up with something original which isn’t such an obvious reference.

My final idea was somewhat inspired by the idea of my friend’s adventures all the way out in the US, and the name ‘Magi Mojaxx’ made me think of something almost shamanic. The way I described it to him when we had a chat about it was “wide open desert space, a massive fire at sunset”. I believe the final image was an almost exact representation of what I had envisioned in my mind and I felt incredibly happy with it. And so did Magi Mojaxx which made it all the better!

Advertisements

A Lullaby for a Dying Star

Back in January Laowa, a local music artist (and friend) asked if I would make a cover for his new EP of interstellar lullabies. Naturally, I got way too over excited and started working on it almost straight away.

Album artwork and musical illustration are probably at the very top of my list of potential artistic directions, since beginning to work on the Lyric Sketchbook back in first year. I think work that answers to music has a much more interesting feel to it, the idea that you can understand it better by listening to music and the other way around (that you can understand the music better by seeing the cover artwork) is fascinating. Involving two senses rather than one, creates a fusion of experiences which can, in a sense, communicate the intended feeling more thoroughly.

I was listening to the lullabies before bed for a while before I was asked to to the cover. Then I started listening with a purpose other than falling asleep to lovely tunes, seeing if any ideas make their way into my head. One morning I woke up and remembered a clear image from that night which I then decided to illustrate.

The idea of an inverted image is something I’ve been doing for a while now – the results always have a certain dream quality to them and given the EP is made up of space-themed lullabies, I thought it quite fitting. This project has also inspired some of the work for the upcoming Bristol exhibition.

IMG_0664
final piece (EP cover), with additional glitch editing by Laowa

You can find Laowa and his music here:

https://laowa.bandcamp.com

http://laowamusic.tumblr.com

 

Constellation Yr 3: Contribution (PDP)

In the context of Constellation the past year has been nothing but pivotal and excruciatingly heavy – stress became a key word and there was no way to truly relax even during breaks and holidays. This time last year we were having our first lectures about what our dissertation is and how we should be starting to think about it. Most of us left those lectures even more confused than when we entered. At least that entire process started early enough to allow us enough panic time before we had to actually sit down and get some work done.

It took me a while to find what I wanted to write about. Not because I had no ideas but because I had too many to choose from. We were instructed to write about something we love and wouldn’t get bored of easily. It was difficult to align that with my idea to write about something I find important or at least inspirational. I could’ve chosen to write about anime and gone on and on and on about Studio Ghibli, Akira and all the rest of my favourites, I could’ve written about comic books and the ways they influence our lives, and gone on to analyse the works of Moebius, Crumb and so many more. I could’ve gone into tarot cards and alchemy and all the illustrated manuscripts, which were the basis for modern scientific practices. I could have written about so much… but I didn’t. I chose to focus on perhaps the one topic, which could never be truly explored in its totality because its subject is infinite in essence.

Once I truly started thinking about it the answer appeared in my mind, as if on its own. Memories started re-emerging of my 12-year-old self tirelessly writing lists upon lists of gods and goddesses and what their powers were and which mythology they were from, grouping them in all sorts of ways. As soon as I remembered my notebooks and attempts at storytelling, I knew that it had to be something to do with all that. I wanted to relate the idea to my practice, I am in art school after all, so perhaps I should look at the visual side of the matter – that made for the initial question: Why do we visualise gods and goddesses the way they do? In essence, I did not agree with the idea that each divinity was meant to look in a specific way – why does Aphrodite have blond hair, why does Zeus have to have a big bushy beard, why are they curly, why aren’t they fat, questions of all sorts, often shallow and not necessarily promising. But every brainstorming session is bound to produce more than several ridiculous bits and pieces. Eventually, the question morphed to Why do we even depict them as human? As being existing in different dimensions, it makes no sense for them to be limited to such a thing as the human body, and surely they can’t be defined by its appearance. So why do we put so much emphasis on the depiction of a form, which is just one of the many shapes a god can take within our world?

God and religion aren’t topics I enjoy talking to people about, mainly because of the endless disagreements on the matter. I don’t particularly enjoy having to put concepts like “GOD” into academic terms and definitions, as it is not only impossible but purely ludicrous to “define” something which is undefinable by definition. People love talking about god, up in the sky, judging form his throne in the clouds; they also love drawing and picturing the old man with his beard and stern face and robes and sandals. Perhaps this is why I never found the appeal of religion – you could be completely in touch with nature, and follow basic moral principles, you could be spiritual and devoted to your faith but why do we have to have someone’s restrictive ideas pushed down our throats since day one? How could we allow for such a limitation to our perspectives of the world?

Of course, we all have our own views on the matter and I don’t want to disrespect anyone’s understanding of this highest power – because that is what it ultimately is – a highest form of power, which we all believe in, under one form or another. For some it’s Buddha, others call it Allah, or God, but no matter where we look, there is always a concept of that which is transcendent of everything else – its name and shape are just the product of cultural differences. This is exactly where I’ve rooted my entire question.

Titled Art and the Divine: Visualising the Unimaginable, it is, in essence, an exploration of how gods and goddesses have been depicted throughout time and in different environments. I won’t talk much about the dissertation itself; but it is a piece of work I am immensely proud of, as I never thought I was capable of writing something so consistent and so lengthy. What surprised me the most was that I ended up going over the word limit by about %50, and that was before writing the introduction and conclusion. My topic was more extensive than I’d imagined, even without being as analytical and explorative as I wished. There was so much I wanted to write about and cover, but 10,000 words is barely enough to even get my point started.

I believe our dissertation group was blessed with one of the best possible tutors – Mahnaz Shah. Without her guidance, commentaries and patience, I believe I would’ve lost faith in both my writing and myself a long time ago. It is truly a wonder, to be inspired by your own studies and trusting your own perspective on matters you wouldn’t imagine to ever view academically.

I may have suffered creatively (in Subject and personal projects), but I have to say, every bit of it was worth it – my mind has expanded exponentially and is ready to be filled with even more wondrous ideas.

Here’s the visual cover I did for the dissertation (a test-collage from last year’s Constellation lectures, when we were asked to depict our reality), followed by a short excerpt, which in my opinion manages to sum up the entire piece.

cover 001

“Perhaps the infinity of depictions of god is symbolic of the infinity which is god. “

A Present to a Friend

IMG_6116[1]

I recently finished several projects at the same time and as a buffer, a way to keep myself busy, I made myself and my bezzie Carys (https://caryselenjones.wordpress.com/) a little A5 sketchbook. Hand crafted, hand bound and stitched and everything. I really enjoyed doing it, it was particularly easy, even though I’d never done it before.

I now fully appreciate the book binding workshop we had earlier this year, and I never would’ve actually sat down and done it if it hadnt been for my coursemate Ian Cooke, who was making his own sketchbooks, as big and strangely bound as they were, in the studio the previous week. He was using the books I’d borrowed from the library as weights while he waited for the PVA glue to settle and stick. I found it hilarious that he had a sort of shoe box full of pebbles from the Taff which he also used as a weight.

My process was much more simple, mainly focusing on proper stitchwork and gluing the right bits together. I think it was a pretty successful project and I’m definitely going to be doing more of it.

IMG_6118[1] IMG_6117[1]