So it’s been a while since I have posted on here, and that’s simply down to the fact that well,
Summer has been wonderful, including my birthday, getting my job back and spending time with wonderful people, travelling and having visitors, a festival and beautiful weather. (Horay!)
But now I’m feeling the vibrations again and I’m getting itchy to be back in Cardiff, as I’m home in Nottingham for the summer.
The Summer Project
Of course they didn’t let us leave empty-handed, and we have a very enchanting project to keep us going throughout the summer and to present when we head back in September.
— LIFE STORIES —
You are invited to create a visual biography in book form.
This is an opportunity to explore character, narrative and visual pacing.
The biography should be in the form of a 24 or 32 page book, either hand bound or professionally bound. Of the 24 or 32 pages, 12 of the spreads should be finalised and in full colour.
It can be any sized format of your choice. Begin with research and start playing around with Character, pacing and choosing scenes to focus on. Think about how to create empathy and drama or visually empathise certain characteristics of your subject.
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Each aspiring illustrator was hand-picked a person in which we were expected to research, explore, and if you’re up to it, become them! So who did I get?
I had no idea who this wonderful man was when I was given him by Amelia, but boy was I in for a treat. When I first began to research him I was slightly concerned with the choice, that was down to how different and how much his style of work contrasts with my own. I couldn’t see an obvious link between the two of us and that made me worry about how I could proceed with the project. But then I got thinking to myself, maybe that’s why he was chosen for me. I have spoken of how I like the creepy and the weird and the utterly uncomfortable world of illustration before, so this fits well with Bosch’s paintings. So when I began to think about how I can indulge in this new and exciting world I had been shown, I got ever so excited and overwhelmed, and I was ready.
The internet let me down when it came to researching Bosch, little is known of him and there isn’t much information on the web. So I Matilda’d myself up and headed down to the library one sunny day after I had finished work, leaving with 5 wonderful books (all different sizes which meant they were really thrilling to stack in to a pile to walk with). I wasn’t sure which to start with so I went with the smallest.
No.5, the Last, Hieronymous Bosch by W. John. Campbell.
I managed to gather a lot of information from the book, and I began to learn a lot more about Bosch. Born in 1450, he was a Netherlandish painter who is said to have died around 1516, however we are unsure as his death was not recorded. None of his diaries, notes or letters have survived, and only 25 paintings and 40 drawings have made it to the present. Bosch heavily admired triptych and worked mainly in this way throughout his life. His paintings different from traditional Netherlandish paintings of the 15 Th Century.
Bosch wanted to depict the truth about the beginning and the end of time, religious faith, the forms of nature, the supernatural world, holiness and evil, human nature and much more. He was initiated into a religious order during a time when the church was fighting witches or demons. He was trying to visualise the beliefs of his age about evil beings. His lurid fantasies were products of his age, there is visible evidence of the fear of witchcraft and devilry that obsessed people in these decades.
The Fortunes and Misfortunes of Human Existence - such a powerful theme that manages to run throughout Bosch’s work and yet is easily mistaken for exaggeration and falsity. It is a theme cloaked in cryptic language that piled riddle upon riddle. Though he spoke in riddles and fables, Bosch was in fact at heart, a realist.
What I am finding most important about this project is how little I know about Bosch and how much I need to learn about him before I even begin to start thinking of something I could produce in response to what I’ve learnt. I don’t want to begin anything until I feel like I know as much, or at least enough about him to be able to create an honest piece of art. I spent one hell of a lot of time in my sketchbook over the summer, pre-preparing my pages before filling them with heaps and heaps of information, focussing only on the main aspects of Bosch, and the pieces of information I feel could guide me towards generating ideas.
Shall we have a look at some of his work next? Maybe go put the kettle on first!
Expressing the Unseen: Embodiment, Form and Art and Design
“First impressions are everything”. I remember sitting and thinking about this saying when James Green and Ray introduced the collaborative apart of the term to us. If I am to be brutally honest, James and Ray didn’t seem very enthusiastic about what was to come so from then onwards it felt difficult to build up group enthusiasm.
One of my main weaknesses with the collaborative aspect of term had to be the connection with the two other girls in my group. Between, us we realised that we were all very different people who work and think and make in different ways which made it increasingly difficult to get our project under-way; sometimes this is something that people can feed off and work with in a group but unfortunately for us, it just didn’t click. So, in order to move past this, we had to make sure we worked even harder than we expected in order to stay connected to one another, and not let the clash get in the way of what we were capable of creating between us. This struggle continued throughout the course of the 8 weeks. However we manager to build a solid enough friendship to make sure our work did not slip; we did this by getting to know one another a lot more, personal life and hobbies and so on which made us feel much more relaxed and comfortable around each other.
If there is a strength I am confident that I managed to maintain throughout the course of the collaborative side, would be my organisation skills and also my communication. When we all met up with each other, it took some time for us to get into the swing of things. In order to get this feeling to pass I decided to act upon and suggest some idea’s to the girls that could benefit our work; for example after the first meeting, I suggested we all go away and create some sketches and return next week to compare. I then began to organise trips to certain buildings and also when we should meet next. I communicated clearly with the girls, and furthermore went on to make a Facebook group titled ‘Field’ where we could all join in on the conversations and also post photos of our work and the developments we have been making throughout the course.
This side of the term has taught me well. Although I was very hesitant at the beginning of this, and I probably didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped, but it has taught me and also prepared me well for what it may be like to work collaboratively in the future. Although it didn’t go so well this time, doesn’t mean it will always be like that in the future, but at least I have managed to experience what it is like to feel this way.
I have to admit that I was a lot more shocked at how much I did actually enjoy constellation this term. First term, in my opinion, was quite difficult to enjoy. It was a long time to be sat down and spoke at for so long, for a group of people who feed off how interactive they love to be. Anyway, ‘Expressing the Unseen’ with Martyn Woodward was something else. Walking out of that first lecture was almost overwhelming everything that we had talking about and considered in that lecture room almost felt like it should have stayed in that lecture room like it was some big secret or some code we had cracked, and it honestly had changed my view from them onwards. Martyn highlighted to us just how much are we in control of what we design? It was a great feeling to be able to walk away from that first lecture and feel so content with what was to come in the next 8 weeks or so. What I have taken away from Constellation is a whole new outlook on the designing process… I have begun to consider what my body entails before I have an idea of what to design, and it’s fantastic. Each week was something different that offered us a different outlook on the designing process. From this I have managed to take away what feels like a whole bunch of new ways to think about my work the amount that goes into making a simple line or a shape. I know that all of the theories I have learnt through Constellation, I can apply to my future works, and I’m considering a personal summer project focussing on what the body goes through, mainly the multi-sensory system and how I could begin to illustrate this.
When the personal side of this term began I had that wonderful and overwhelming feeling that comes with every new project, where you just want to step outside and grab the world with your arms and dive into every corner of possibilities. I was so excited but I found it ever so difficult to find a path that I was confident and happy with for my project. After going to berlin I found that I wanted to focus on exploring the Ancient Egyptians. I really liked this idea in correlation to the sub-theme of ‘Hidden Cities’, as the ancient Egyptians believed in and created so much that has now dwindled away and become slightly forgotten about. I then focussed on the underworld and ‘The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead’ which was full of old spells they used in order to make sure they achieved the things they wanted. Artwork was then made by them in conjunction to these spells. This artwork was mainly found in the temples, tombs and more importantly on the coffins and also inside them. Weeks, to months and sometimes years were spent making art which sole purpose was to be buried in the ground alongside a king. This artwork was hidden away from the outside world and this truly captivated me. I worked in a certain way which reflected this process and used materials that imitated the way they worked. I really enjoyed how I have worked for this project and I feel like I have explored new paths that I haven’t yet walked down, thus learning a lot more about technique, and also Egyptians! Throughout the project at the start, I found it difficult to juggle all three aspects of Term 3, so from this experience I know now that one of my weaknesses would be the way I handle my time and work load, and how I could organise this better in the future. I feel like there is a lot more to my project and I am happy to continue this work for personal reasons and hopefully one day be able to exhibit it.
So after watching what felt like my life fail terribly before my eyes, my last hope was the new chap in the print studio, Nigel. I took him the acetate (photo’s above) and pleaded him to see if he could help me. He spent around 30 minutes with me explaining that we can do it, with the week we have left to do. This is how it went:
He was grateful so me having it on the acetate ready for him, however he felt as though the lines of my drawing had to be somewhat thicker, therefore he asked me to go away and redraw over the image with my Posca pen. When coming to do this my pen did NOT want to work on the acetate, therefore I emailed Nigel and he told me to scan the originals onto A3 pieces of paper and redraw over them that way.
I do so and we exposed my images onto the screens using the machine (4 minutes and 20 seconds worth of exposure), which fit onto two A2 screens.
After that I cut down all of my fabric, I had three meters worth. This manage to fit two of my screens each on one piece of fabric, and we got 3 prints done. I was ever so happy with the outcome, and everything was screen printed by the last Thursday before the deadline on the Tuesday.
So here’s some snaps from the process. As you can see we managed to get a bigger screen and fit the whole image onto that (cut in half) All this meant was that when it came to putting the fabric down, we spray-mounted it onto some mount board so that we could easily align it once again. We decided on using the Terracotta coloured ink as it was much more suitable to my theme. And finally there is the print on the fabric,
Now to get painting and stitching!
5 days to go.
After the most disastrous day, working for 9 hours straight and having nothing to show for it, and also having to stay in Nottingham 2 days longer than I had hoped in order to use the screen printing studio (costing me an extra £25 to travel back to Cardiff later) I HAVE NOTHING TO SHOW FOR ANYTHING
I have been working so hard over this Easter break and I have been banking on everything falling into place on this weekend with screen printing, with the image of me heading back to Cardiff with a halfway-finished final piece. Instead I have nothing. So what I am going to have to do now is to go to the morning briefing on the Monday and then instantly go down to the print studio to see if it can be solved. Wish me luck.
Thanks for nothing!
Well, the next stages of my project have to be the mapping out of my final piece. It was time to get it all drawn up on to A4 pieces of paper (as my scanner is only A4 sized) so I can begin the screen printing process.
Anubis introduces Hunefer to the weighing of his heart against the feather of Maat. Anubis, depicted a second time, checks the accuracy of the balance; Thoth stands ready to write down the result, watched by the monster Ammit, who gobbles down hearts laden with sin. Vindicated, Hunefer is introduced by falcon-headed Horus-avenger-of-his-father to Orisis who is enthroned in an elaborate booth with Isis and Nephthus behind him and the four sons of Horus standing on a lotus before. Above, behind and offering-table and adored by Hunefer, squat fourteen Gods and Goddesses who are witnesses to the judgement.
Once my drawing was on the paper and sized out correctly, it meant that I could get it all on to acetate so I can then expose my image on to the screens in order to print them.
With Adam only having 2 A2 screens, and my image only just fitting onto those 2 screens, we had to make the decision whether I wanted my linework to be screen printed, or the colour. Obviously after spending a few days drawing up my piece I didn’t want that to not be printed, therefore we chose the linework. This then meant that if I wanted to print the colours onto my fabric as well, then my only option would be to make card stencils for the shapes. In comes Photoshop..
It was an extremely stressful day, and anything that could go wrong… did go wrong! We made the stencils by deciding to focus on the 3 main colours in my piece, which are white, blue and green. We used shades of grey (to save colour ink) when printing out the stencils to know which shape is which colour. We then lay down the fabric and then the stencil above it, where we then began to print. HOWEVER, one mistake we made here was to not stick down the material properly, therefore making it increasingly difficult to line up the stencil ready for the next colour.
I exposed the image onto the screen, and had previously ordered the emulsion from http://www.wickedprintingstuff.com, 500ml worth. It wasn’t until we had spent all day cutting out the stencil, exposing the image onto the screens, and everything in between, to realise that the emulsion was not set or prepared correctly on the screen beforehand, therefore when it came to washing the emulsion out of the screen it was not working. The image never came out.
The day was wasted.
A complete disaster.
9 hours, with nothing to show for it.
Well I’ve finally got myself a job here in Cardiff so money is good lately, I’m not worrying about the bugger. This also means that I can afford to take a trip down to Manchester to visit my best friend of 5 years. It was lovely to be re-united after so long.
Whilst in Manchester we went to the local History museum, where yes, once again I saw some more Dinosaur fossils (this time it was a T-Rex, crikey)
But anyway, enough of my Dino-talks. (for now at least)
Whilst being in the Museum I was lucky enough to stumble across an Egyptian section! It was fabulous and I got to see many mummies and lots more heiroglyphs, so it really did work out for the best in the end!
It was really lovely to be in another museum and to still achieve the same results from my research, and even here I managed to get up close and personal with a lot more mummies (who had terrible bunions), and some very beautiful and very clear hieroglyphics. This provided me with great research however I just wish that I could understand what they were talking about! Then I wandered into the gift shop…
I stumbled across this little beauty! I took it home and instantly tried to translate it all, but it still didn’t really make sense..