Brief Expansion: Focused.

During my time exploring process and material research, I’ve been constantly thinking ,and background researching, about what I’d like to focus my project on in the long term. During this time, I’ve found one local and national problem that is becoming increasingly impossible to miss, homelessness in Cardiff and the whole of the UK in the last couple of years has increased at an alarming rate. As stated in a bbc article from May 30th 2017: “As of autumn 2016, there were an estimated 4,134 people a night sleeping rough on England’s streets, more than double the number in 2010 and a 16% increase on the year before.”
In just the three years that I’ve lived here in Cardiff, it’s undeniable, that the homeless population has increased dramatically. Even just from a casual observation of the number of homeless people that you see everyday when walking down Queen street there are noticeably many more than even just a couple years ago. As the gap between the rich and the poor in this country gets wider and wider, this is growing only get worse, the most vulnerable member of society are only going to become increasingly in danger of slipping into poverty and homelessness.
With my work this year, I’d like to try to shed light on this issue, using my focus on landscape and narrative. I’ll be looking at the hidden stories of the homeless people within our city landscape we so willfully ignore on a day to day basis.
I’ve outlined roughly my plan so far in an expanded brief:

Theme/subject matter: ask yourself:
Visual editor process based work, in response to images and scenes.
Main focus on the ‘invisible’ homeless population of Cardiff and their stories. Looking at how they are forgotten and ignored, and the way that they loose their stories and humanity when we all purposefully look past them and ignore their plight.
Homelessness is a huge and continually growing problem in the UK, winter in coming soon, and we’ve never had such a huge population of Homeless folk before. People often ignore or are blind to people on the streets, we walk past them every day and don’t think twice, but that is becoming harder and harder to do as their numbers grow and becoming increasingly worrying.   

Brief Outline:

  • The purpose of this work is to explore the process of creating narrative and embedding a story into a single image or built landscape.
  • Looking at narratives hidden in the people ad objects that feature in a landscape that we don’t like to acknowledge.
  • The potential application is something that I’d like to explore with the input of a local charity, Huggard, and possibly, first hand contact with someone directly affected by this issue. With their permission, ideally I’d like to talk to some homeless people and learn their story, in order to better represent them and to understand their struggle.

A body of work and research that looks at the issues of the ‘invisible’ and ever-increasing problem of homelessness. How we forget about the people on the streets as being individuals and instead just look at them as someone else’s problem or one of wider society as a whole.
With my work about narrative and landscape, my narrative will be focused on the narratives that we choose to ignore and wilfully forget.  




Image led Narrative:

Looking forward in the light of the one day visual editing brief I’ve found a real interest in image lead narrative and landscape work. While I try to figure out exactly what ideas I’d like to explore during my third year, and the direction that I will go in for the rest of the year, it seems logical to start with a process to get the ball rolling.
Doing just that, I’m currently playing around with visual narratives in landscapes and images. Using inspiration from photos taken over the summer, I’ve created a couple of narrative lead images, pieced together and imagined from the photos. This plays to my strength at observational drawing, something I’d really like to highlight and focus on this year, and is a fun exercise to practise while I think over my plan for the rest of the year.

In these two pieces, I created a short narrative, based on photos and images, within the piece.
The first being a narrative based on a selection of images that tell a short narrative of a day spent in Hungary with my friend Emily, getting coffee and visiting a church on the Budda’ side of the city.
The second images is of a piece I did based on a photo of my sister at home with the dog. In the backdrop there are hints and clues to all the different countries and cities that she has lived in, telling the story of her movements and her experiences.

This final piece was based on a few photos from a festival I went to with my friends, all the places and the objects in the ink painting come together to tell you a few things that I saw ad did over the course of the festival, starting with my friend Iwan dancing in the foreground and going around on a little circular journey through the festival site.
These pieces were created as an exploration of this narrative style and how I can use it; as a simple collections of interacting images, as a single still with clues to a wider narrative, and as a landscape with journey and story within it. The journey aspect of the painting, creating a sort of path for the audience to follow, was influenced by looking at Hackney’s approach to laying out a landscape. While I didn’t want to do this in quite the same manner, I liked how you were drawn to follow a certain direction in David Hockney’s landscapes, and I wanted to parallel this in some way.

David Hockney: A Bigger Picture.

Featuring vivid paintings inspired by the East Yorkshire landscape, these large-scale works have been created especially for the galleries at the Royal Academy.
David Hockney: A Bigger Picture spans a 50 year period to demonstrate Hockney’s long exploration and fascination with the depiction of landscape.

Taking inspiration from these bright landscapes, painted in Hockney’s typical block colour style, I’m looking to emulate the sense of journey that this set of paintings carry. Hockney’s paintings, don’t so much carry a narrative in the way that I want my work to, carry instead a journey and leading the viewer’s eye through the painting, through the paths and line work in the compositions.

Artist Inspiration: Maria Kalman

Starting my project with a process means that I’m immediately faced with thinking about my mediums and what I want to do with them. I’ve been working a lot with colour, primarily using pencil crayons, creating bright and vibrant pieces, that fulfill my aims of continuing my exploration and focus on expressive colour.
Looking at artists like Maria Kalman has given me a lot to think about in this regard. I find her use of colour in contrast to many of her subject matters really inspiring. heres just a little bit about her as an illustrator:

  • Maira Kalman was born in Tel Aviv and moved to New York with her family at the age of four. She was raised in bucolic Riverdale, the Bronx. She now lives in Manhattan.
  • Maira has written and illustrated Eighteen children’s books, including Ooh-la-la-Max in LoveWhat Pete AteFireboat: The Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey13 WORDS, a collaboration with Lemony Snicket, Why We Broke Up, with Daniel Handler, Looking at Lincoln, and Thomas Jefferson Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Everything.

The Book that really caught my eye was ‘Food Rules’, a project where she collaborated with Michael Pollan, the book is a self help book about how to eat well and make healthy choices without having to pay too much attention or put too much focus on what you’re eating.
Kalman’s illustrations are bright and expressive, each of them carrying a narrative within their single frame; just taking a quick look at all the components and the featured objects/environment, it’s possible to pick up on the key messages and themes of the work.

These two images are my favourite featured in the online gallery from Kalman’s professional site. The strong narratives and emotions that they carry within the simple objects they depict are perfectly clear from only a preliminary glance, yet a closer look at the spread carries a much heavier clues to the story these images are telling.
In response to these pieces, I looked at creating a similarly set out piece, going from using pencil crayons to painting using inks in order to get a stronger more intense colour. Marian Kalman uses watercolour in her work, I decided not to use this medium because I’ve over used it in the past and felt that I wanted my colours to be more intense than my watercolours can produce.
My subject was based on some key experiences of the festival ‘Solefest’: a small local folk festival, at the end of August, near to my home that I often go to with my friends. The landscape is built up from a select few important places and key tents/stages that I spent a lot of time at during the festival, in and around them are objects that played a key role in my weekend, and combined they tell a small part of the story of my time at the festival this year. I may do a follow up with more detail and a new focus from the festival.
In painting the piece, I wanted to create something that emulates the spirit of Marian Kalman’s work, while still remaining closer to my own style and artists values. I feel quite satisfied by the result and will definitely be exploring this style further and continue to take it into my work.


‘Visual Editor’ One Day Brief:

Friday 29th, our first full day back in studio. To get us back into the swing of illustration and reactivate our creative minds, Amelia, gave us a quick one day brief designed to inspire us.
The ‘Visual Editor’ brief challenged us to create a narrative based on any or all of a series of photos Amelia presented to us. There was a great variety of tones and themes in the images, they featured people, building and landscapes that had very little in common, ensuring that we had to put in a decent amount of imagination to create narratives out of them.
While a lot of people chose to work in groups, I decided I wanted to challenge myself to come up with something on my own and to try to make it as original as possible. Most of the themes that people came up with ended up being quite dark, the bleak images of an abandoned concrete building in the woods, silhouetted people on a bridge and a dark landscape of a lake surrounded by sharp cliffs. These images prompted a lot of murder mysteries and kidnapping plots that all had some pretty fun stories behind them.
instead of going down this route, I chose to create a nice little narrative around a cat that I saw in a family photo in the set. I took the cat and a couple landscapes in the set and took it on a little adventure through a combined landscape with a two extra characters placed into the images for her to visit.
This brief was a really nice and, definitely in my case, really successful one that helped me to get back into the routine and mindset of tackling a quick brief. In addition, I really liked the work that I produced in the end, while it was quite basic, I was complimented on the confidence of my drawing and the piece has potential for me to go back to when/if I have time. If I given the chance, I’d like to further develop it with some digital colour and a bit of photoshop enhancement.

29_09_2017 15_47 Office Lens

29_09_2017 15_48 Office Lens (1)

Creating a New Brief

A key part of third year illustration is the responsibility to write and maintain your own brief, or briefs, the first week or so of this term has been spent trying to figure this out. This has not been an easy feat, for the most part I spend much of my time this week, staring into space and trying desperately to think of a theme or subject that I’d like to base my work around in my final year. The enormity of this has given me all manner of doubts, talking myself in and out of all my ideas a couple times over, until I’m left with no progress made and a horrible headache. However, after a great seminar and talk with Amelia, I finally came up with a basic outline of what I’d like to do.
Because I’ve been unable to settle on an exact subject or theme for my work, for now I’m focusing more on the process and the materials that I’d like to work with. Inspired by the one day brief we did with Amelia during our first full day in studio, ‘Visual editing’, where in we were given a series of photos and images to respond to and create a narrative from; this is essentially the main basis for my brief. Using a collection of images and photos, I’m going to be looking at building up visual narratives, by combining and manipulating them into new images and landscapes.
So far this is the basic brief that I’ve written for myself:

Theme/subject matter:
ask yourself:
Visual editor process based work, in response to images and scenes. I’m not yet sure of a subject, other than the general theme of creating narratives with images and photos.

Brief outline:
The purpose of this work is to explore the process of creating narrative and embedding a story into a single image or built landscape.
The potential application and the context for this work are both things that I will be looking to explore as the project continues and builds.

A body of experimental work about creating narrative and instilling a story into my work by combining themes and images to build up a piece. Using photos and images, taken and found, and exploring the narratives in them and creating new narratives by looking at how they interact with each other. I’d like to explore artistic processes and workshops within this project; revisiting heat transfer printing, possibly going back into ceramics and using the outcome from that to explore animation. Though I will be looking to explore these longer and more complicated processes when I have a better focused theme in my work that I can build a story around.


Summer work: Creative practise continued.

Over the summer, due to the fact that I work while I’m home and always have quite a few different irons in the fire; the main focus of my summer work was focused on my artistic practise and keeping up a steady stream of creativity over the break. In short, I simply kept up my artistic process and tried my best to produce a regular amount of work over the course of the summer.
Within this, I explored new mediums and expanded on the mediums that I’d already started to work with. The focus of this being on digital work and working with coloured markers, as well as a little further work into embroidery.

In addition to the practical work, I did quite a lot of dissertation research, reading and taking notes on some of the books that I identified as good research material. This proved to be really interesting and I added a couple more books to my list, found for me by a friend, who knew they’d be relevant to my subject.