Week 20 – 27/02/17

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.

Week 18 -13/02/17

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.

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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.

Week 17 -06/02/17

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

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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.

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Week 16 – 30/01/17

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.

Week 15 -23/01/17

As part of the skills workshop, we were asked to come up with a piece of writing to present. I don’t really know why, but I was compelled to write this sort of poem about an experience I have had in my current job as a dog sitter. One of my clients is someone who lives alone with just her dog, probably in her 50s, and from what I gather, doesn’t really have an extensive support network around her. The writing is about my encounters with her home – the weirdness of being in the house of a stranger, and seeing little clues that worry me, but I have no place in discussing with her. I tried to capture the sense of uncertainty in our relationship – are we acquaintances, friends, or strangers? It’s really odd being in someones personal, private environment when they are not there and while doing my job, stumbling across little things that I am not sure I should be noticing.On the other hand, I think there is a sense of mutual appreciation – she is very hospitable and it’s nice to be in a homely  environment that is a far cry from my student flat. I think it’s also comforting that she has support in knowing that there is someone who will let the dog out and do mundane things around the house – occupying the empty space. This is a copy of the poem I produced:

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I got some really nice feedback in the session about personal connections people could draw. The vagueness of it allowed for many interpretations – I hadn’t really thought that much about subjectivity in writing, as it’s a very deliberate and universal method of communication. This task has allowed me to think outside the box; I think that even if writing does not become a part of my practice, I’m definitely excited to explore this more and take up creative writing on my own. I really enjoyed stepping out of my comfort zone with this one.

I’ve also  been continuing working on my projection paintings – I think I will try and get some more footage of viewing to layer up, and might even use appropriated imagery etc from the media being watched in the videos. I made up 2 large canvases this week that I hope to try and get finished before the upcoming deadline for BA2a. I think at the moment I will mainly be thinking about hand-in and getting logistical things done, so I need to be careful to maintain my work ethic and not stray from what I actually want to do.

Week 14 – 16/01/17

For the most part, this week I’ve been continuing to experiment with painting from projection, and then painting without reference, trying to use my already recorded footage as a basis for my work.

Currently I’m still working on rolls of paper for cost effectiveness, but will probably be scaling up to canvases soon. These works are mostly grounds at the moment, but I plan to keep working on them using appropriated imagery and stills as reference material until they are substantial finished pieces.

I also started the second set of workshops, skills 9,10,11 on Tuesday. I chose text out of the options that we had – partly because I want to develop my writing skill in a way that makes it more concise and effective and partly because I have a general interest in creative writing. We visited Utopia, a project by Rory MacBeth in Norwich, where the entirety of Thomas Moore’s utopia is painted onto the surface of a disused building that was scheduled for demolition in 2009. Obviously the work was meant to be temporary, but has remained intact and disused for several years, sectioned off by fences to keep out squatters and/or vandals. We were then asked to come up with a short text about the building, whether it be fictional, critical or descriptive. Me and a few others decided to breakfast the barrier to be able to see the building up close. I was really intrigued by it as a space or ‘no place’ as the literal meaning of ‘utopia’ indicates.

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I chose to write a sort of critical piece of writing on utopia about my opinions of it as an artwork and as a space:

img007.jpgI quite enjoyed the exercise, as it prompted me to think about the use of words as an artistic tool, however I think that I didn’t really get much out of it in terms of physical skill.

Week 13 – 09/01/17

I’m feeling really positive this week. I spent not a lot of time over the Christmas break, which although probably wasn’t great in terms of how much work I made, really helped me to clear my head and put a pause on overthinking things. For this reason, I didn’t really have a huge amount to talk about in my tutorial on Monday –  again, although face value doesn’t seem like a good thing, meant I could talk about my general work ethic and how I  progress forward with my practice.

One of the only things I really produced over the break was a painting for my aunt as a birthday gift. Again, this stems back into the idea of art being lessened maybe by a domestic environment and possibly being used for decoration, however I really loved pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.

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I began by making a collage, because I really couldn’t think of anything specific to paint. The collage was then cut down, and I used it as a rough guide to start the painting. Eventually though, I moved away from the image completely and worked on the painting  just from imagination. It was really freeing to  work in this way – the pressure of getting it ‘wrong’ dissipated and although I was still  ultimately focused on making a ‘good’ painting, there was a lot more creative freedom and I became really absorbed in it, adding details and working uncharacteristically for my usual style.

Me and Craig talked about this in tutorial – in moving away from the perfect portrait and back to the painting in its own right. Although I feel that it is important to challenge the idea of painting as static and formal, I think I’d benefit a lot from starting literally with a blank canvas and stop painting on scavenged objects unless/until it becomes important. Ultimately I’d stopped focusing on this idea altogether by trying to capture a realistic image in a traditional way. Hopefully this realisation will give me a lot more motivation in my practice – I think the less I think about the outcome, the more successful the work will be and the more likely I am to actually start painting, removing the fear of getting things wrong.

I revisited the idea of projection painting, because I think out of the  works I produced last term they were some of the most successful. I started working smaller, and with a more diverse palette.

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I really like  this  outcome, although at this point  I will probably use it as a ground/sketch and work into it further using reference to an image but not projecting over it. I want to keep it quite abstract in points, but build it up in others, to try and create a sort of hyper reality. I would also quite like to start working on canvases so that the works feel a bit more permanent and valid.

Outside of my studio practice we had a project from our research context lecture to complete, making a small work for a ‘postcard exchange’ to aid discussion about value of art. I liked the exercise, unfortunately I didn’t manage to take a photo of the postcard I made, but it was essentially a watercolour portrait using one of the reference photos I got off my dad. I found it really interesting. Some of the postcards were really ‘valuable’, mainly because people wanted them the most, and after deliberating random allocation of postcards, we ended up going round in a circle and picking which  card we liked the best. If only one person had a postcard as a favourite, they were allowed to keep it, but if more than  one liked it, they had to play rock, paper, scissors to decide. I thought this was quite a fair idea at first, however this meant that when you lost your ‘favourite’ card, you were then forced to chose one that you may not have liked entirely, rather than  having the opportunity to chose another as  your favourite. I ended up with a postcard that was blank except for “Say something about this…” written on the front. I wasn’t really that keen on this card – mainly because I don’t really have a lot of appreciation for conceptual art (especially in an environment where you are asked to stop and think a lot) and because it didn’t really have any value in terms of difficulty/effort to create. I think if it had not been a postcard, or had been in an art context rather than just a postcard among a dozen others on the floor, it may have had more value, or if someone else but me had ended up with it they might have given it value by liking it. However to me, it is an object that I have no affiliation with.

I also  took  part in a thematic group crit on the everyday today. The discussion focused on the idea of the  everyday – whether or not the everyday can be beautiful, if it is worth making art about, and how a viewer might connect with the everyday.We looked at an egg – a simplistic, everyday, organic object and how as an artist,  you might take inspiration from  that. In my practice, I focus on the domestic in term of subject matter, and in display. I find that I am  quite an ordinary or boring person – I have no real stories to tell, or points to make in my work. I don’t have a particular interest in the political where I feel  that I can make a personal comment on things without appropriating. For this reason, I think I have particular interest in the everyday because I can  make a personal comment on it and feel comfortable and valid in  doing so. I think especially at this stage in my life,  where nothing particularly exciting or upsetting has happened to me, the domestic is a natural focal point for my work.