Project “City” Week 1

On the first day of the new term we got a new brief straight after the whole welcome-back-how-was-your-holiday thing. The project is called “City” as you already might have realized and it’encompasses all of terms 2 and 3 with the deadline of May 6th. (First thoughts: What the hell are we going to do for so long?)

Part 1 consisted of research. Literally go out for two weeks and do whatever you want as long as you come back with ideas and imagery. At the end (Monday the 27th) everyone has to make a presentation, a pecha kucha (20 slides x 20 seconds each), about their ideas and research regarding one of the three themes: Migration, Power/Technology and The Hidden City.

What I did for the first week was setting up my sketchbook for the project. I had the idea that in this sketchbook I would put down all of my ideas and research and in the end I will give it a good look and choose the best option for a final piece. (Even though we won’t have to focus on that.)

Whilst going through my favourite art-promoting sites I stumbled upon many artists that have already done works similar to the ones I initially thought of. For example Eric Fischer whose idea to represent the grid of the streets as veins and arteries is a very captivating yet simple one.

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His work inspires me to connect this idea of a Hidden City with human anatomy and what’s hidden inside the body. We all know the human organs, but do we know what the organs of the city are? Where they are? How they function? How they work together?

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I also looked into the art of Ed Fairburn, a Cardiff-based artist and former CSAD student, has the interesting ability to insert human features in ordinary maps. Seeing as I am really excited about working with maps i found his work completely breathtaking and astonishing.

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My research continues… Will upload more images soon :)

Meanwhile enjoy Maps by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, because this is the one song I constantly think about when I hear or see Maps… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIIxlgcuQRU
:)

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I Predict… A Brief

New week, new brief, new project. Here comes the last project for the term, the last project before Christmas, the last one before we get assessed. So, Prophecy. We are focusing on the future, obviously. We have to focus on the future of one the following: Childhood, The Book/Libraries, Work and Play, Political Activism, Memory, Human Movement and The Human Voice/Conversation. Then we have to produce either a short movie, or an animation, or a prophetic magazine/book, or a series of 3 posters, or a series of playing cards.

Doesn’t sound easy, and here comes the tough part – we have to choose to work with either Puppets, in order to make a puppet show, stopmotion animation, or prints (not digital printing). As much as I love puppets and photography, I just can’t see myself doing either of the two. So I chose the lesser evil and decided to do printing… and I’ve never done printing before.

Who knew that coming out of your comfort zone could be so interesting. Chris Lloyd is the nicest person ever, mark my words. If it weren’t for him I doubt I would’ve been able to do what I wanted to do within these two weeks. And even though I can’t work on Thursdays because of Constellation and I can’t print on weekend days, I still managed somehow to do what I wanted…

TAROT cards.

So here’s a bit of an Illustrator’s sketchbook for you…

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(As you can see the Magician was first written as the Mageman. This was entirely unintentional, I just started writing and I got distracted by my own thoughts and instead of THE i wrote THA… Seriously… why would anyone? So I fix it and I go on. And then I look down and it says MAGEMAN instead of Magician. I am absolutely certain that there were some mystical forces at work that night.)

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Personification: Giving Life to the Inanimate

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Monday morning, the start of a new day and a new week. How about that… As you might imagine Personification sounds like the simplest thing in the world—just take an object and give it ‘life’, right? What’s hard in that? We know it; we’ve done it; kids do it all the time. But, as there is always a ‘but’, when you have that as an assignment, things tend to change some.

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Let me start with a simple fact: Amelia is the leader of this project together with illustrator Georgina Hounsome. In other words prepare for something that sounds fun and simple and childish but in reality it’s a real pain that (obviously) takes you by surprise. Anyway, in an e-mail Amelia told us to bring as many random everyday objects as possible, both from home and from nature (e.g. forks, fruits, vegetables, interesting looking things and boring ones as well, sticks and leaves and twigs and so on). It was easy to visualize what we were to do with these things given the name of the project is Personification—we were probably going to choose an object, and draw it as a living thing. Hmmm, yes and no.

What the day began with was a presentation about what ‘personification’ actually is, and it was packed with examples; artists and works alike. What she was most clear about though and what she kept on emphasizing was that we shouldn’t draw faces on the objects or give them arms and legs—that’s not their true self, is it?—we have to let them speak for themselves (and not just that), we have to strive to catch them in mid-action*.

*— What she meant by that was simple. Have you ever seen Toy Story? Well, basically all the toys in a little kid’s room are alive and while he’s playing with them they just pretend to be dolls and puppets and do nothing. But as soon as he’s out of sight, they come to life, start moving and go about their toy-business. The little boy doesn’t know that these things are happening (even while he’s asleep) because he can never catch them doing it. As Amelia said: in this project you have to catch them off-guard, while they’re active, you mustn’t let them become static and inanimate.

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So yes, we have to catch them mid-action. When we draw our objects we picture them alive and kicking, roaming and doing, active and moving… If you think about it, it’s not the easiest task in the world.

There were several drawbacks in the forms of limitations as well. For example, we couldn’t use colours, we couldn’t use speech or put faces and/or limbs on the objects. Each of us received a task sheet on which there were 11 sentences printed. What we had to do for this exercise was pick objects and put them in the situations described on the paper. Since everyone brought different things everyone made different thumbnails and the diversity of mediums, techniques and objects used was inspiring! We made some pretty cool thumbnails! I did too :)

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fwxJ1But THEN came the actual project. The hard part. Rumpelstiltskin—you know the story (if you don’t find it online and read it, it’s a good story)… well, what we have to do with it in connection to Personification is to replace every character with an object, and make 12 black and white thumbnails illustrating parts of the story. Much like the previous exercise only a bit more concentrated. Another catch is that we can’t use normal landscapes. We have to look at things from an object’s point of view and depict the world they inhabit using the studio as a base (meaning that all the landscapes and backgrounds in our thumbnails have to be from our studio at Howard Gardens). Before making the 12 thumbnails though, we have to submit character worksheets—size A1, one sheet per character—sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

Lumping awesome!!! SO looking forward to it!   \  (>.<)  /

P.S.  Why I believe this project is an absolute must and we totally have to do it:

First of all, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone” (something I heard and I’ve been saying an awful lot lately—which doesn’t make it less true!!). This task is definitely out of my comfort zone, so I see it as a challenge, a sort of obstacle that, once overcome, will turn out to be a good experience. One that will make me a stronger and more skillful artist.

Second, this is something I would never think of doing on my own. I might give myself challenges, but they are nothing like this one… but once it’s been given to me as a project, as something that I must do, I get hyped up and enthusiastic about it and I do things in the end that I never expected I could! In this way I am able to explore my potential and strengthen the abilities that I already have. (And here you could go back to the previous paragraph, because they kind of mix up… :/ hmm…)

Anyway,

Await updates in the form of pictures :)

S.