This Monday our group presented our finished film for the cross collaboration project. I was happy generally with the feedback – lots of people suggested that the video might say something about the angora fur industry because of the apparent brutality we treated the rabbit with and the fact the fur was quite objectified. Watching other people’s films, I think we definitely could have been more involved with the project and again, make something more substantial if we’d have had more time, because of people’s commitments we could only utilise 2 of the days in the week. Maybe this comes down to us though and our use of time.
This is our finished film: RABBIT (Collaboration)
Also this week I took part in another life drawing session, again using paint but this time with acrylic. I really liked the way this painting turned out. I was focusing more on tone than colour really but I think this works really well. The study was from a 30 minute pose, so I think now having done this I might look at painting some portraits from life rather than 2d images to try and make the subjects in my works a bit more lifelike and animated.
I also spent a bit of time this week playing around with my video footage and my projector. I made two 4 minute videos from the original footage, where the vocalisations of people in the film and the television itself can be heard. In the second video I layered up multiple clips and distorted the audio so that it becomes pretty much unintelligible, but you can still pick out phrases and melodies. As a piece on its own, I think these edits are sort of successful, however I don’t think they’re that sustained and don’t have too much thought behind them other than their visual quality and the possibility of displaying them alongside my paintings. I think in the future I want to develop them more so that they communicate something on their own. I think as videos there is a danger that they become quite trivial or become more about the domestic/student setting than the viewer/subject relationship.
The original edit can be seen here, and the distorted version here. I named one of the videos ‘we are the watchers’; which is a play on the phrase from the show Game Of Thrones: “We are the watchers on the wall.” I think it’s quite effective at outlining the themes in the video while also relating to appropriated media, although again I don’t want the films to seem too much about an aesthetic or focus too much on my life as a student.
I managed to briefly set up my projector in one of the project spaces and experimented projecting the footage onto the walls, into corners and over the top of one of my original paintings. I got some quite nice footage doing this although it was quite difficult to capture both the painting and video because of the light levels. I think although projecting onto my paintings has been kind of an end goal for me, I wasn’t 100% happy with how it looked. It was quite confusing and the static image wasn’t that effective under the image. I might start thinking about projecting next to my paintings and how practically this would work.
Towards the end I also played about with placing myself in front of the projection to add to the idea of layering and the blurred boundaries between the world behind and in front of the screen. I think this is quite interesting however as a video it was maybe a little bit irrelevant/confusing. The edit can be seen here, although I’m not 100% happy yet and plan on maybe editing the film in a different style.
Currently I’m working on the cross course collaboration with Games Art & Design, making a film based on an image/artefact. I really enjoyed going beyond the scope of our course. Although all courses at the university are creative, to me fine art seems less grounded, and because its open to interpretation its often difficult to communicate/collaborate with people outside of the course. As a group we decided to take quite a humorous stance on the project based on our image of an angora rabbit. After looking a the Castle Museum’s taxidermy collection we started to think about the idea of excess, texture of fur itself and its ability to obscure something/someone. Initially we were sort of stuck as to how to translate this into film, and so we chose to leave the conceptualisation until after we looked at possible materials etc. Although this was sort of a reverse way of doing it, it allowed us to be quite spontaneous and we gradually built on ideas rather than coming up with a concept and sticking to it.
These are images taken at the Castle as inspiration
We ended up coming up with the concept of obscuring and excess, using a toy wind-up rabbit and covering it with ‘fur’ until it became unable to function, and ultimately becomes an unidentifiable mass on the floor. I think our finished film was quite funny, which is something we wanted from the beginning, however it was quite challenging to work in a group situation and it could have been more successful. To be honest I think because of the nature of the project, there was a general lack of enthusiasm/involvement, and it was difficult to come up with much of a concept before we reached the stage of having to make the film. I think given more time, we would have been able to make something more substantial, however it was difficult to arrange meetings over the course of the week because of the interchange, and we didn’t really have a plan to follow. I felt that I was having to direct the group a little bit, and even then it was difficult because there wasn’t a lot of feedback on suggestions, so it became a challenge to come up with something cohesive. I think again, given more time we would have more success because we could have worked through it a bit and taken more time to discuss and really get involved with the project.
I also did a few interchange projects this week. I took part in a 3 hour life-painting session Wednesday evening. It was really helpful to learn how to manipulate the paint in such a short space of time. it’s something I think I’d like to do again in relation to my current practice, my trouble at the moment is trying to work quite quickly to create the idea of motion and creating a realistic connection between viewer and subject. I was really happy with my outcome – I was using oils and so it was exciting to go back to this medium after using acrylics for quite a while. I’ve booked another couple of sessions in, as I talked about before I think they are useful just as practice painting the figure and to get me painting.
I received feedback Monday, I’m quite happy with my result however I would have liked to have done a bit better. I struggled to really understand the written feedback I’d been given. In response to the learning outcomes, I couldn’t really grasp where I’d gone wrong and couldn’t really tell what I could have improved on because it was about specific works being successful/unsuccessful rather than relating to the marking criteria.
Having gone to the session with my tutor I was a bit more comfortable with it. Essentially it was about making more works and further exploring themes around them – developing them one step more than they already were. I think the focus now will be researching less, and as suggested before, learn through making and through the process rather than a perception of an outcome. After the feedback I sort of wanted to scrap one of my works in progress entirely, it was pointed out that it’s quite flat and doesn’t have the same sense of movement of some of my other projection paintings – this was down to the fact I painted a ground from reference rather than from a moving image and so I was careful when painting the figures. I’ve decided to work on it quite freehand for now, and then continue painting with a projection on top of this.
I’m also thinking about exhibiting some of my works/playing around with projection over image and projection over life. I’ve bought myself a small digital projector which I want to use to project images of my work/moving image back into the space of the initial recordings, and play around with what happens when I distort/layer things. I’m also thinking of inviting other people I live with to collaborate. I think as a space, our house is really interesting because as well as being a domestic environment, it’s also a space of creation and discussion, and so it might be nice to hold some sort of exhibition-esque event there to display all of the work that has been made in the space in conjunction with items that are always in the house.
This week has been about having a bit of a break from my practice again in preparation for the start of the new unit. I think having been quite stressed over hand-in my creativity hasn’t necessarily been flowing and so I’ve come home to London again.
Thinking about reflection, I think I’m very happy with the body of work I’ve managed to produce, however am unsure as to how it will be marked/if my grade will reflect the amount of effort I’ve put in over the course of the year. I’m hoping that it will give me some inkling as to whether the way I’ve been working so far has been ‘right’necessarily, and whether I need to change the way I document. I want to start working more in the sketchbook and make use of sketches etc to describe and explain my ideas in fewer words.
However, outside of this reflection, I am keen to start writing more creatively, and possibly including it in my practice. Writing is something I’ve always done, more for pleasure than anything else, and I’m thinking maybe this enthusiasm will give me a bit of a boost continuing on from my current work. It is a very immediate form of communication, which I like, especially when I can take hours to finish one painting that essentially ends up being one image. The trouble is integrating this more imaginative form of analysis and personal documentation into my very visual practice, is it possible to combine the two? This is something I need to continue thinking about going into next term.
I’ve been focusing on organising all of my work for hand in and making final adjustments to my essay. In the pre-assessment tutorial it was nice to get some general feedback on my most recent work.
People commented on the painting beyond the initial projection drawings appearing quite static, so this is something I might want to think about. I don’t think it really matters to me that it is explicitly obvious that the works began as video, as ultimately although I wanted to show movement, the overall idea was about the static nature of the viewer and how we look when we are viewing. I might consider painting from projection over the current ground on the canvas (which was painted from a sketch rather than the video footage.) I think the reason for the static-ness is that I am not working at speed because I am focusing on keeping proportions right and capturing the right expressions. Perhaps a way of combating this is to keep the ground effectively ‘traced’ and then working into the painting totally freehand afterwards.
I’d also like to document the process a bit more – so that the painting does not totally loose its initial connections with video, while still being substantial and worked into. Something that I also want to look at is space – the videos all in some way capture the domestic space, so it is important to me that I fully understand this space and translate the depth into my work.
Looking back on this unit, I’m really happy with what I’ve produced – however in future I think I’d like for my development to be more visual than verbal/written. I want to fully explore how I work and what I like about my paintings. I’d also like to see how I can expand from this. Last year it was really important to me to be able to move beyond 2 dimensions, and so it would be interesting to see how projecting works on a 3-dimensional object I think. I definitely want to look at more exhibition opportunities and to start thinking about how my comments on the viewer move into the real of the exhibition.
I finished a draft of my essay over the weekend, I’m still sort of in a bit of confusion with it – my fatal error was that I didn’t have a set in stone plan for the essay and what I wanted to argue. I’ve been doing lots of research however because I had quite a general focus it was difficult to reference specific points that were relevant. I sent the draft to one of the tutors and got some really helpful feedback, and so I think I’m at a point where I’m happy with it and have everything finalised.
I then started to continue painting – I finished one of the ones on paper and I’m really happy with the result. After some feedback from someone in my studio I decided to paint in the numbers that I had used to identify the film I was using and the specific time frames that I’d painted from. I think as a title it’s nice, although they’re essentially they are a collection of numbers, it hints to the video, which I think is important. I’m thinking of mounting it somehow to make it look a bit more substantial
I then started painting on one of my canvases after re-stretching them both – I’ve painted the ground freehand, working from one of the ‘sketches’ from projection. currently I’m quite happy with it, however don’t know how I’ll incorporate the different frames – I think I want to make it quite warped – showing movements as two separate people and then maybe layering a different film over it using only the silhouettes of the subjects in different locations.
I’ve been focusing mostly on my essay this week – I struggled a bit initially as I had a bit of confusion about the focus of my writing and didn’t really know what artists would tie in well as examples. I’m essentially trying to look at artworks in different places and how environment can affect the way a piece of work is read. This stemmed initially from looking at Jeremy Deller’s Open Bedroom exhibition and how artwork is displayed in a domestic environment. I tried to take quite a critical stance on the white cube gallery space – I’ve become sort of annoyed with galleries after the visit to the Tate a few months ago – I think now that I’m an art student and I know what’s involved in making, it’s quite difficult to see artworks as things that are sacred or untouchable. I see my own works as quite disposable, but then maybe that’s something to do with me, rather than the rest of the world.
I had a bit of a blank day on Wednesday – it sort of got to the point where I just couldn’t look at the essay anymore, so I took a bit of a break and did a little bit of sketchbook work, I’m hoping I’ll get a bit more focused at the end of the week so I can finish a draft – I really want to get it done as soon as possible so that I can use the rest of the time before hand-in to carry on painting. I think I’m pretty happy with what I want to do now in my work – I’m really happy with how my initial projection one is looking and so am exited to experiment more.