final pieces

After some hard thinking and work I finally finished them. These are the pieces I’ve chosen to put in the exhibition.

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Due to unforseen technical difficulties I’ve lost some of the scans and these are the only ones I managed to recover.

All of them are painted with acrylic onto MDF covered in black acrylic. It felt amazing to be able to finally paint, rather than plan and do technical things like scanning, editing and blogging.

These will be suspended so they hang at eye-level, arranged so they form the backwards narrative of the creation of our universe.

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Finally painting

finally finally finally!!!

I started painting my final pieces, after a wait that just felt like a small eternity. Annoyingly enough, I had to first prime the boards, so I can paint them without damaging the wood – that was resolved by a quick solution of watered down PVA from a massive tube in the studio. Next up was the black base – now that was tricky because I was running very low on black acrylic and I didn’t have money for supplies at the time. I had to turn to my friend in Fine Art, Arthur Jarvis, whose work pretty much focuses on dark and sticky substances and for it he uses a lot of black paint. Fortunately he had some left, which I thought would run out quite quickly but miraculously covered all the boards and there was even some left to spare.

After having experimented with wet on wet painting I started thinking of how to do it well with acrylic. The process of making the Space piece and the Cosmic Tree piece was the most satisfying experience – watching mesmerised as the paint flows through the watery layer, plays, settles, moves, swirls and makes unexpected shapes and mixtures. Such things cannot be achieved by the human hand but only induced by it and I liked having that idea add to my work.

pieces from within / without

And here are the final pieces from the Bristol show.

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UNVEIL‘ is about entering the state of dreaming, becoming your astral self, unveiling the door to that realm of infinite possibility of which the moon is a guardian.

EXPLORE‘ is a scene from one of my vivd dreams where the sun was rising over the seaside (the exact moment when the dark of night and the daylight fight for dominion over the dome of the sky) its light gently washing over the massive planet and the mirror-like sea. Even though there were no waves, the surf board moved on its own with my intention, much like everything else happens in dreams.

ENCOUNTER‘ is about the person I kept meeting in different scenarios in a number of the dreams (if not all) which inspired this collection of artworks. The geometric forest is a concept I came up with many years ago in a painting i was never pleased with, and now seemed like a good time to revisit it and give it new life.

SEE‘ is the attempt to visualise a bit of a dream where that person’s eyes were there, real, on his face, but they also somehow had the scale and gravity of immense planets, and at the same time they had the spiral pull of galaxies, it felt like I was being pulled in and I could float about and observe them from a distance one could fully observe a planet or a galaxy, while I was fully aware that I was looking into a pair of eyes right in front of me. A very surreal and overwhelming part of the dream but completely enthralling and mesmerising.

TOUCH‘ refers to the idea that in order to lucid dream, the first challenge (or the first gate of dreaming) is to be able to look at your hands during a dream. It also refers to the strange sensation of touching and experiencing the texture and weight, pull or push, of objects in dreams – enhanced and very real but at the same time… not.

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Originally ‘See’ and ‘Touch’ were quarter the size of the rest but because of a misunderstanding at the printer’s I had prints of all of them in both sizes.

That being said, if you like what you see, get in touch and you just might get one of the original prints! :)

James Green’s Rhondda World

A couple of weeks ago James Green had a show at Cardiff M.A.D.E. which was very exciting to see. The works included decorated tribal masks, a room of collages (quite literally) and several mind-blowing paintings.

Since last year’s Field module led by James – Gorillas in the Roses, collaging has become synonymous in my mind with creative madness. There’s something very special about it – dismissible yet profound qualities…

“James Green’s Rhondda World is not a single world, but a place where numberless cultures, histories, fantasies and fabrications jostle against one another in permanent upheaval. Incongruous worlds are shuffled like a giant deck of cards. Each shuffle opens new doors into the possible and improbable. Some of these worlds are real and tangible, some are imaginary; sometimes the different worlds mesh together to produce a new reality, at other times they clash and rebound spilling disconnected ideas in their wake. ”
Dr Jon Clarkson

framed

Once I finished this piece, I went out on the look for frames. I knew I didn’t want this drawing to be forgotten away somewhere in a sketchbook or an album, and I wanted to give it an honourable place in my room. 

moon & sea / pt. 2 & 3

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‘floating above the whales’, A3

Above is a development illustration on one of the fairy tales I was working on this summer. I was trying out different perspectives and I thought it’d be interesting to see some whales underneath, to give that sense of depth and scale. (I thought hey, imagine an albino mermaid…)

The image below is a circular wet-on-wet ink perspective study. I was combining the ideas of ‘blue crescent’ and ‘floating above the whales’ in the simplest piece possible. It felt fitting and it was intriguing to see whether I’d succeeded in the eyes of others.

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‘underwater moonlight’ A4

Painting Therapy

Getting out some Anger personal work inspired by Painting Performance, acrylic on paper (3xA1)

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After all these painting performance sessions and everything that was going on in my personal life at the moment things were getting really confusing. I felt such relief during each painting performance and a sticky feeling of emptiness and pointlessness after, one day it just got really frustrating and I decided to take the practice out of the university/studio environment, both literally and metaphorically.

I set up some paper in our back garden and even though it had rained during the entire week I didn’t care if the work got smudged. The weather was influential enough to my mental state so it was only fair, if the weather decided to interfere in my process.

Once I started dripping and pouring and splashing the paint on the paper I think I must’ve entered a different mind field since I can only recall bits of it, rather than the entirety of all movements, like usually.

While making it I was concentrating on letting all my anger, frustration and built up negative energy and letting it flow through my hand and into the paint, where it could take shape and come alive on the paper. I was finished much sooner than I thought but I didn’t realize it at the time. Once I was finished tapping into the negative, I continued pouring paint, but this time the direction came from positive feelings, feelings of relief, of completeness, of calmness and relaxation, a sense of fluidity.

In a way in all of this I was also exploring how paint interacts with paint, different colours, different ways of mark making, which I didnt get the chance to explore much on a personal level in the painting performance studio. I could have full control over what happened on the paper, the pacing of the ‘performance’, its length, and the final outcome would be completely personal. It felt different not being in a group but exploring the same topics, you become more critical of yourself because you’re not sure of what people’s reactions would be if they saw it. When you’re surrounded by a big group of people, all excited about chucking paint around, it’s really hard to put much meaning into the art-making – you’re too busy having fun with your friends to give it too much thought. I found myself standing absolutely still in front of the blank paper, looking down at it. What was I doing? When do I start? Is everything prepared? Is everyone ready? It was just a split second’s thought. I was completely alone, there was no one to influence or control my movement or to block my flow in any way. I had the wind blowing in the trees as inspirational music and the cold as an atmosphere. I was in the exact environment which was the source of all the emotions I wanted to express onto the paper.

I didn’t want to film it. It just felt wrong, in the sense that it would break the intimacy of the painting and the process of making it. It was more about the personal experience, what I was feeling and doing, my solitude, the absence of any living being – just me and my surrounding environment. I find interesting the fact that I left the paintings outside to kind of set before I moved them inside to dry fully, expecting some rain overnight and being interested in the outcome but that night the sky had completely cleared of all clouds and I saw my paintings in the light of the moon and stars and it seemed like a sign from the universe and it made me happy. The next two days the weather was completely clear. Third one’s the charm, every time, I moved my paintings inside and it rained that same afternoon.

When I later had another look at the artwork I loved how the patternd were made out of smaller patterns of paint droplets and splashes. The details of the painting seem to contain small galaxies within the marks, as well as passages from one form in one scale to a different form in different dimentions. It perfectly reflects on my frustration with the ammounts of incredibly interesting information that I’ve been trying to process over the past few weeks and having so much to do around the house (purely on basic survival level) which leaves me with far less time for information assimilation and art theory than I feel comfortable with.

It has definitely helped me free myself from everything that is holding me back and pulling me away from ispiration. I was able to look at my life, my art and my practice, and particularly these three pieces, more objectively. I could see what I was lacking and what I needed to improve on.

Painting Performance

Our Painting Performance module is on twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The first Tuesday, after the keynote lecture was our first actual performance, or at least exercise to get us into the spirit of what we’re going to be doing over the next few weeks. Each of us had to fill a bucket with “Almost-Klein Blue” and go from one end of our allocated sheet to the other, making whatever marks we desire.

The results were beautiful and surprising. We weren’t concentrated on the meaning or the correctness of our marks, we just did them, there was no one to judge, no one to criticize, no rules and no limits. It was like once you stepped onto that paper you were in a different universe, like there was nothing else but you and the paint which just wants to get out of the bucket in your hand, and it’s all you can do to help it however you can… so what if you slip and fall down? So what if you dive into a puddle of acrylic? It’s too much fun to bother you even for a bit.

In the end every other group cut up their paper and put it up in their group cubicle space to dry. We made a group decision to put ours up on the opposite wall until it fully dries and keep it full size. We thought it would enforce the idea of time and movement, and the notion of leaving a trace and the uniqueness of each individual compared to the collective outcome.

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IMG_5821-0.JPGKirstin Crocker :))

Memories of Art-Making

The first time we had Painting Performance I wasn’t so excited about it until I walked into our closed off area and saw a few familiar faces, mainly friends from fine art. As several people from our Illustration course moved to Fine Art, I’ve been subconsciously questioning my decision not to. Painting performance gave me the chance to relax and take a breath before we’d even started the key note lecture.

What immediately struck me during this first session was how deeply connected I felt to this sort of art and art-making; I could relate  it to some of my oldest works from years before I started thinking about art school. Later on this type of art helped me through a really dark period in my life, helping me to accept and get over what happened; I was in a state while I was doing both paintings, grabbing blindly for colour, getting violent and messy and splashing and beating and hitting again and again and again with the brush and my hand until there was no more paint left, and then I grabbed for more tubes. I remember my mom coming into the room and trying to calm me down, she didn’t know what was happening and I wasn’t in a state to explain and she ended up yelling at me, which made things worse… there was so much anger, sadness and despair poured into that painting I don’t even know how I didn’t get rid of it after. But once I finished it, I felt a strange sort of release. I’m not carrying all those feelings around in me anymore, they’re out there, on the canvas. They no longer have power over me, I have disconnected myself from them…

I did the second intensely emotional painting soon after, but that time I had experienced something awful recently, I still felt disconnected from the world, in a way, and what happened then flooded me just as fast as I tapped into it and poured it out onto the canvas. This time I wasn’t expelling the emotion and feeling, this time I was using its energy to paint because I had no energy left of my own. I felt empty and lost and it was like I wasn’t even present. I was just following a shape that felt natural, it was forming and expanding on its own, I was just letting it. Whenever I felt like I should maybe change colour I did. I did not question anything about it, which I suppose preserved the purity of the emotion.

I kept both paintings as reminders and proof of personal growth, I would not be who I am today if it wasn’t for these experiences and I respect that. As I said, the emotions stored into these paintings are out there, overcome, released from me.

I like how looking at and learning about the history of Performance art brings up memories of intense past experiences overcome with perhaps the ultimate form of expression – Art. I have also noted how I haven’t done anything like this in a while, and how maybe it’s time to get back into it and see where it leaves me. Not to mention what a valuable base for experiments it is.

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Room

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A2; ink, marker, gouache, watercolour, acrylic;

Main explorations and experiments:
First person perspective and (an imagined) Fish Eye effect.
Technique and the influence and interaction between different media.
A range of possible Ideas and Meanings.

I don’t know what made me draw that room exactly – I decided to take a break from briefs and just paint, without directions or ideas; experiment and see what happens. What I came up with soon after was to create a painting of a room… backwards. A somewhat reverse process of painting and mark-making. The main idea was to put the touch-ups first, then the paint, then the outline and then the sketch. While doing it I decided not to add the sketch because it’s not always necessary and it just felt like it would be too influenced by what’s already on the paper. As a compromise I plan to make the sketch on a separate acetate sheet and try it out by layering the image.

Once I started working on the idea I immediately started questioning it. We’ve been told time and time again how important meaning and context are. But then I realized I had nothing to question, as if all the answers were there already.

I used the layout of my room back home for inspiration which immediately made the painting much more personal, connected to a place which in turn evokes certain emotions and feelings. What I did not want to do was paint my room. So how can I see my room as a room which is not mine?

Time. Our apartment building was built in 1929. I considered the fact that probably several generations of inhabitants had passed through this place, each changing and re-incorporating the room to their own characters and their own desires. Then there was my family and I, and then there would be more people to come. My room was other people’s room and it will be other people’s room.

Remembering my reverse painting process, I realized I have already incorporated the notion of a time flow (though distorted) into my work and that made the two ideas fit together like pieces of a puzzle I didn’t know I was doing.

My main idea became to mix past and present and remove all presence. The focus is therefore left on the room itself, letting the viewer notice the perspective (observer’s point of view, someone entering the room). I want to remind the viewer of the experience of entering a new room, not knowing what it looks like.

This time the viewer is shown a room in a fluid form. Time and space are shifted, bended even, letting the room exist in a dimension where all its re-appropriations overlap into a single moment, a single harmonic personal space. It exists only now and only to the viewer. Just like a passing thought. Maybe of the future, or maybe a memory.

Each single component of the room (the sofa, the paintings, the lamp, etc.) has its own significance and meaning, all related to past memories and experiences of mine, or fascinations and interests.

The weather out the window also fits the main idea since it is undetermined but for the fact it’s daytime.

I am happy with the outcome mainly because I had the chance to do something I wouldn’t normally go for. I challenged myself and created something out of nothing. I let the ideas develop naturally rather than stick to the same thing from the beginning, enforcing my main idea even further.