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.

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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.

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.