Dave and Steve: possible Application.

One of the alternative ways that I have considered using my designs for Dave and Steve, is in the form of a t-shirt campaign; their simple message and design I feel lends itself easily to this kind of context. With this in mind, I created a few basic mock ups of how this might look on a t-shirt printing site:

The three images that I chose to put into print on these t’s and jumpers I felt communicated the most clearly the kind of message that I’d like Dave and Steve to convey. While many of my final images need the wider context of the whole set, these images stand well enough on their own, and I feel that putting them onto this new platform would make for another inroad into spreading the message, generating funds and expanding the cause.

Constellation 2: Art, Science and the construction of reality, and Dissertation Proposal.

Art, Science and the Construction of reality was the theme for the second year constellation group lead by Prof Clive Cazeaux. In this class we looked at the connections and collaborations between art and science. The relationship between art and science looks largely into how the notions of romanticism and the ‘artist as genius’, which comes into direct conflict with the questioning and ever changing facts presented by evidence and experimentation in scientific practise.

We also looked at how art can represent science with icon(resemblance), symbol(convention) and index(causality); C.S Peice “signs take three forms; icon, symbol or index.”  As well as the concept of ‘inter-action'(you cannot separate the event or process- all the factors have to be included to actually produce the product); K. Barrad “knowledge creates the world through interaction.” Barrad sort to empathise both symbol and index, she would like to reject icon, as it is on the side of representation. Don Ihde states that scientific images are not representations, it is a duet, as they are a ‘technological contraction’ that rings their objects into existence. Art that represents science through these three categories, and we considered from this the implication of each. The integrity of the art and the credibility of the science that it is presenting can directly effect the message ad the value of the fact that it presents; this can be blamed on how art and science each have a very different view on the meaning of ‘fact’. Artistic fact is largely determined by the artists romantic notion of genius, which makes the expression of the artist fact, but in the empirical evidence based theory and practice of science, fact must be proven and needs to be shown to be ‘true’ through evidence and experimentation.
While this constellation topic was quite detracted from my subject studies and projects, it was super interesting to look into the philosophy and the theories between the estranged relationship between art and science. The two disciplines are always placed at either end of the spectrum in terms of both education and ideologies, but the ways that they can collaborate and cross over are so interesting and engaging. It’s these collaborations and how they where perceived by both sides that really peaked my interest. In illustration, we seek to communicate through our art and serve as an artistic mouth to a piece, text, ect, when commissioned; so it seems to be logical to conclude that art can therefore be a very effective means to communication complex science to the masses, making it more accessible and easier to comprehend. But this is not often the case. In my essay, I explored two main examples of how this relationship has worked in practical application; the ‘Revelation Fields’ and ‘Thames Dig’ art installations both worked with scientific principles and practises with varying degrees of success. Mel Chin’s ‘Revelation Fields’ was an installation piece that showed how a section of landfill could be rehabilitated and effectively have the effects of the toxins and chemicals ‘reversed’. It was an artistic success, in the opinion of Chin, it achieved exactly what he felt he had wanted to express; but, for collaborative scientist, Dr Chaney, it was a failure. He felt it was not actually representative of his work and he felt that it only further alienated the science from the public, as it did not actually explain anything, but only served as a work of art. In comparison, Mark Dion’s ‘Thames dig’ was both a critical and scientific success, despite the fact that he did not in fact collaborate with a scientist. Instead the installation featured a great display of archaeology practise as well as books and literature that the public could use to better understand the exhibition; the installation was set up to encourage the public to investigate the piece to really get to know how the process was carried out, by both engaging the with the process and by making viewing the process accessible to all. Though Dion did all the research and carried out the experiment, with the help of public volunteers, without a scientific guidance, his extensive research and accuracy made it a very informative and engaging exhibition. Proving that the worth of collaboration between art and science.
It was on this basis that I disputed the ‘artist as genius’ and the romantic notions of art, as not being sufficient cause to say that art and science cannot successfully collaborate. Art does not necessarily water down or conceptualise science and fact; it does however depend on a balanced relationship to work correctly. Mel Chin did not balance his priorities when he created his piece, so while it was artistically successful and a working example of science, it failed to properly represent the science that was behind the installation; without an adequate explanation of the scientific theory, it offers nothing in the way of making the theory it represents more accessible, if anything just putting up another barrier to the public by presenting as ‘high art’. Mark Dion, however, kept a balance between the art and the science, keeping both at the core of the piece;  he also made the installation hugely interactive and engaging to the public, encouraging them to do their own research and to go away having truly understood the principles behind the piece. The conclusion that I came to at the end of my essay was that art ad science need to be used in balance in order to get the best result from both disciplines respectively, collaborations on work effectively when both parties involved are able to get equal representation; the artist needs to have a small amount of licence and flexibility to be creative, but also needs to respect the integrity of the science, equally the scientist collaborator needs to allow the artist to express ad respect that the balance, allowing the creative perspective to enhance the experience while still enforcing the emphasise on their research.
Going on to write my proposed dissertation, I wanted to go back more into my subject and too reconnect with my artistic practise; while I really enjoyed the scientific and more fine art friendly concepts in my constellation group, I really want to build a stronger connection to my subject work in illustration as I head into dissertation work for next term. With this in mind, I did decided to keep a scientific perspective present in my work, while revisiting a topic that I feel has strong roots in my practise and is of great interest to me. The topic of the unconscious mind and automatism, that I have touched on in all of my constellation modules, is one that I feel has a lot of potential to explore. Going back to the topics that I looked into in my second term constellation group in my first year, Cognitive Development, I decided that I’d like to look at the connections between the subconscious, dreams and doodling. Starting with the work of psychologists Sigmund Freud and Karl Jung, who presented the first key theories on the subconscious mind, and going into how these theories influenced the artistic movements Dada and Surrealism; intimately I’d like to look at how doodling works and how it can be applied in a professional and casual sense in artistic practise, and how it can show the works of the inner mind and to help us to understand and take notes ect. In dong this, I’m looking to marry together the scientific application and theories with illustration and my own practise, keeping the art science collaboration theme and taking it in a new direction.

Going back to the ‘roots’ of my subject, with the focus on doodling, in this way, I’m looking forward to really researching and understanding the psychological theories and the various hidden facts that are at play in my own work. Though I have looked a little into this realm before, it was from quite a different perspective and had less focus on an actual professional and practical application and the theories behind why it might work. therefore, this will be a far more in depth and comprehensive look into the practise of doodling and all the subconscious actors that go into an artists work without their knowledge; ultimately asking the question, what does this add to art as a communication of self and the inner mind?

Dave ad Steve Re-designed

For the Creative Conscious live brief, I have created two characters called Dave and Steve to act as a platform to talk about mens mental health; superficially how important it is to talk to your friends when they are struggling and to show them your support by being a goo friend and a shoulder to lean on.
From the Most recent feed back that I got from my peers and tutor during crit, I knew that I had to do a character design rethink on my two characters, they where not perceived as relatable enough and didn’t hold enough of a personality; in short Dave and Steve needed to be rethought and further developed as characters if they where going to be successful.
In order to do this, I took their designs pretty much straight back to the drawing board. Unfortunately, due to the fact that I was going to be home for a month over Easter and the deadline for the brief was going to be during that period, it meant that I also had to change mediums. Not having access to Photoshop, Illustrator or any other digital drawing tech, I had to also take Dave and Steve back into a traditional media; in this case I chose Water colour, for both vibrancy of colour and because of my large amount of practise in using this medium. It was a little disappointing that I had to do this because simply my limited technology, but I felt that if I was going to submit to the brief then I wanted to do so with a stronger piece of work, and therefore this was my best and only option.

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I started out with a really basic redesign, where I took into account the feedback about making my characters appear older by changing their face/head shapes and by giving them hair, getting rid of the too simplistic circular head shapes that I’d previously given them. I kept them easy to replicate, but gave their faces more structure and added in a simple hair design, this has definitely aged them up and given them a clearer design.
Once I’d done that I looked at how I might want them to interact and the kind of message that I wanted to communicate. It was definitely going to be aimed at the ‘Steve’s’ of the world, encouraging the audience to look out for the more obvious signs of a general decline in the mental health of their mates, while not being too specific to, so as not to pigeon hole the message into depression too much. So it was Steve’s role in the relationship that I wanted to focus on, and it was his actions that I wanted to advise; though I wanted to make sure that the advice was geared more towards general support and opening up a conversation between the two characters. The point of the illustrations being to get people to be more aware of their friends and more open to talking with them about mental health; as I firmly believe that at the root of tackling mental health, is de-stigmatising the topic and normalising it as a common topic of convocation between friends. Providing safe spaces and decreasing the pressure to bottle up ones’ problems.
The series of images that i came up with created a basic narrative between the two mates that can function both as an independent poster campaign and a zine series, this way it can be placed into a verity of contexts and on a wide platform base.

While this project did not go in the direction that I wanted it too, and unfortunate fact that I had both a job and other uni work to do at the same time, I am still quite happy with this outcome. I like the new characterisation and feel like I successfully took on the feed back from my final crit before the end of the Spring Term. Dave and Steve, while not in the medium that I wanted to use, did benefit from this redesign and I feel much better about submitting my work to the brief.

Easter Observations

Over the Easter break, we were asked to do a small brief that we easily fit around general catch up work from the previous terms; the brief was to simply do some observational drawings of figures in the every day. This is actually an activity that I love to do in my own casual day to day practise anyway, and was therefore super easy to incorporate into my time off, it’s also pretty fun to do and so I had a really lovely time taking 5 minutes or whatever time I had spare to do some basic observations of the people and animals around me at home. This of course meant that I did quite a few drawings of my parents and my two pets, a cat and a dog, but they didn’t seem to mind me playing the art creep in the corner, provided they got to see my drawings after(though the cat, I’m sure, really wasn’t that interested).
Some of my observations where done in simple pencil or pen, as they where the materials that I had on me at the time,

and others I did in coloured pen or pencil,

 

Editoral Breifs: Final Word.

The fast pace of editorial briefs and the quick commitment to my concepts that they’ve required has been a really great experience. I’ve long struggled with a tendancy to flip flop over my ideas and the directions of my projects; lacking confidence in my work because of this. The tight deadlines and the rough developmennt stages, that have been the major features in tackling the briefs that we’ve been set in the last couple of weeks of term, have forced me to work past these issues and given me much more confidence in my final outcomes for both.
In light of this, I feel like editorial brief work is definatly something that I’d like to look into doing professionally after uni. I feel like this way of working really helps me to focus and brings out a professionality in my work that I’ve not felt that I’ve previously achieved.

Editorial Brief 2: New Scientist Final Images.

Having given myself about twice the work, I produced two diffrent sets of final images for this brief; while this is not something that I’m going to make a habit of, the true advantage of working mostly with digital images is the speed that it can be done. Once I had all my meterials scanned and put together, I could play around and manipulate them in anyway that I wanted in photoshop.
The two sets of final images that I produced had to include the 15×15 300dpi image, a gif and an example of how the image would look in the context of the article:
Finished Concept 1:

*unfortunatly the main image has colour corrected in a strange way – the other two images have been unaffected*

Finished Concept 2:

Before my final tutorial for this brief, I showed the two sets of images to students in the studio once again; they all, annoyingly, all agreed that they still prefered the first concept. Though I have to agree. Especially in context, the first set of images are much stronger and have a much more striking effect; with the additional of a texture water colour backdrop, I feel like it really stands out and definatly adds something to the image as a whole. While it’sa little annoying that I spent so much time on the second concept, I’m still glad that I carried it through, if I hadn’t I’m sure that I would of continued to be really disatified with the first concept, and feel like I’d missed an opertunity to see through my other ideas.
My final tutorial with Amelia, she also agreed with the genral consensus that the first set was the better outcome. I showed both on the off chance that she might like the second, and also to show the full extent of the work that I’d done on the brief; the feed back I got back on both was good and she seemed pleased that I’d really thought about my two ideas and the amount of work that I’d put into both pieces. Overall I’m prett happy with the outcome of this brief and the feedback that I received; these editorial briefs have been a really fun and engaging way to finish up this term, and definatly a form of illustration practise that I’d like to persue.

Editorial Brief 2: New Scientist Gif Development

New-Scientist-colourHaving come up with my basic frame amd concept, I set about making a Gif to go along with the image. After I changed the colour scheme to a more muted pallet, after further discusion with some other students, in and around, studio; I carried out the basic idea that I’d based the image concept on in the begining. Having the light flash off and on over my figures head had always featured in my initial ideas; from my tutorials I’d also been advised to add in text, either as part of the gif or as a background, inorder to tie it in more closely to the article.
But, dispite all the good feedback that I’d recieved, I felt that, my idea wasn’t going in the direction that I wanted it to; I felt like I wanted to make a piece that featured less digital textures and had a more traditional feel. So while I continued to work on the digital peice, I changed my direction slightly by also coming up with a different concept making that into a digital piece and gif alongside my intitial piece.

This second concept, was much more traditionally based, working with and based on scanned water colour paintings; the biggest issue with my first concept, in my opinion, was the lack of texture in the colour, and working from more traditional medias was the logical step to fix this.

From this I developed a few diffrent images based around the concept. Part of this concept that I really felt was a strengh, was the fact that the profile persective of the head enabled me to place my figure in the ‘frontal cortex’ of the brain; directly referencing the article, and giving the piece more scientific relevence.