Sunday, 15 October 2017

Accessories Week | 09/11/17

During accessories our brief was to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary; using pegs, pens, and pompoms and turning them into contemporary art. 
Initially bringing in a bag full of bits and bobs was daunting due to the initial uselessness, and a rather unimpressive precedent these items carried, however, after spending time conceptualising ideas soon work prevailed.

My eye immediately was drawn to the colour pallet that I had decided to focus my theme around; yellow and black. With this in mind, I chose gold wire, pens, labels and journal stickers.
The first activity entailed an exploration of these materials to create a final image in which we would create accessories from. Additionally, the final form chosen could then also be photocopied and then used as a repeat pattern to also add to the accessories.

I tried to keep within my colour pallet, while still not restricting myself with materials, for example, experimenting with measuring tapes and wooden pegs. The most successful structures included 2D and 3D elements e.g. using labels, pegs and the wire once wrapped up.

My final structure:

Repeated pattern alternatives:

First accessory idea

 Second accessory idea

Third accessory idea

Forth structure


Final Pieces 
Prop: Wire, paper, fragile tape, boning

Bracelet: Fake nails, boning, butterfly clips and black nail varnish

Necklace: Pen lids, wire, and boning

Overall, I think the week's workshop was successful due to the type and amount of accessories I was able to make and also be also to use for my final piece if appropriate. However, I am going to build upon the products made such as adding text to the choker as well as recreating the prop using white material and also white paint - inspired by the styling workshop previously done.  

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Photography Workshop | Calvin Klein - 'Underwear as Outwear'

During a two-day photography workshop, I produced a two double-page spread campaign for Calvin Klein. The theme for the shot was focused on the TMG of the brand's rebrand - older teenagers and young women - relishing in the euphoria of the 'morning after the night before'. The shoot follows a young woman on her journey back to her own home, wearing the pieces from Calvin Klein to combat the stereotype that women shouldn't be proud of more a provocative, scandalous lifestyle. I think that particularly pin-pointing the exposure of skin and therefore the underwear worked especially well with this concept in the rebranding of 'underwear as outwear'.

The composition for this shoot was focused on the model alone. I kept the model in the centre of all the shots to really enhance the idea that this 'new youth' are the focus of the next generation of adults which were going to heavily influence the equality of genders. This idea also complimented my own project revolving around the revolt of gender binaries and the subjection each gender is compelled to follow, and the manifesting of this mindset that those genders outside of the conventional idea of identity are ignored.

For styling, I chose a simple, yet feminine combination of garments keeping in mind the choice of material to enhance the storyline. Using fabric that had juxtaposed connotations: chiffons/mesh and denim, highlighted the feminine vs. the more tomboy/non-gendered/stereotype that I was aiming for. Overall, the styling helped to extenuate how women can decide for themselves the type of image they want to portray and shouldn't be shamed for not fitting conventional female binaries set by society. Moreover, the use of denim further highlights the storyline and theme due to the fact that jeans are being worn; trousers being conventionally for men only. The chiffon and mesh tops that I sourced exposed the skin and also the bralets that were worn underneath, not only showing the brand in which we had to focus on for the advertising campaign, but also signified how underwear doesn't need to be hidden or provocative, but rather that of style and expression, as well as accessorising or just an additional aspect to any outfit to add colour, texture or layering.

The make-up was minimal apart from the eyes. The make-up was portrayed as if the girl had slept in her makeup, a more smudged and messy look for the model which complimented the storyline.

Additional pictures for the shot that didn't make it cut:

Colour selected, black and white shot to showcase the bralet. Shot lying down on the bus.
Another colour selected, black and white shot. Taken on the back of the bus.

Coloured shot taken departing the bus via the stairs.

Blurred selected colour piece to highlight setting
Black and white shots in the park to show middle of journey in the storyline

John Akomfrah | The Unfinished Conversation 2012 | Tate Modern

Opening scenes of the family of Stewart Hall

John Akomfrah, a critically acclaimed artist and filmmaker has created a 45 minute long, three screen documentary following the life of Stuart Hall. The film entitled 'The Unfinished Conversation' follows a sequence-style motion picture. This fact that Akomfrah has chosen to use three screens, allows him to portray the extensive and at times, very brutal reality Hall experienced growing up. Moreover, Akomfrah specifically covers the stories were Hall is discovering his identity and the implications socially, economically and politically. Themes revolving Hall's hardships include racism and the prejudice towards immigrants - himself being one. One particular part of the film quotes Hall once he acknowledges that he is 'three shades darker than the rest of [his] family', which then led others to segregate and ridicule him in terms of hierarchy, affecting his quality of life. This is a theme Akomfrah focuses in on, whilst reflecting Hall's experiences on cited sources.

By using three different screens, Akomfrah was able to display graphic insight into the life of Stewart Hall. The centre screen followed the main story and the two screens either side to add additional impact and set the scenes for each segment of the 45-minute film. These screens were used for such things as locational detail, picture reference to each key players in each event which help narrate the biography of Hall. The imagery created by this strategic display enhances the reality of Hall's life, making the story more relatable, enticing and emotional. This is all caused by the fact that the viewer can physically see the image of Hall's mother, the town in which he grew up in and the rioting or brutality those who looked like him endured. Overall, this works exceptionally well in proking and impacting the viewer by using a 21st-century technique of art.

Snapshot of the beach and ocean where Hall lived near

Along with insights into Hall's life by using pictures and scenes directly showing his upbringing, work from legends also supported the film: William Blake and Charles Dickens to name a few. Additionally to this, Akomfrah cited music -mostly jazz revolving saxophone instrumentals- and news reports from the time Hall grow up; the 60s and 70s. This personal detailed added to the film helps enforce Hall's personability, making the content much more shocking due to the fact that the viewers are able to recognise him possibly in their own lives or within their community. This key detail of the film really highlights the overall message that Hall's identity is one of those 'unfinished'.

Image of immigrants arriving at the port in England (left, and Hall and his wife (right)

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Life Drawing | The First Art Class I Had Ever Attended

Life drawing is a huge part of artistic development and vital to understanding the human form. As a mainly design focused mind, art was not a big part of my tuition or my creative experience. This was mostly due to the fact that I never took an art class. However, I believe it is important to throw yourself right out of your comfort zone - art being mine.

After residing in a friend who advised me to keep my eyes fixed more on the model, rather than the paper I was drawing on, I began. I chose to focus my attention to the main bodice; back, breasts, and stomach. This (to my surprise) was quite easy to replicate. My assumption is because these body parts are the most conventional, and familiar to us all and therefore was easy for me to portray the silhouette. Additionally, as a predominantly contour based student, drawing the breasts was not an unfamiliar concept for me.

(Left) A4, pencil sketch of the clothed body- seated on the floor
(Right) A4, ink pen sketch of the back view of the clothes body - seated on the floor

 Next, I focused on the legs, arms and finally the hair following the form of a head. The legs I found relatively bearable to comprehend, however, I feel short on the detail, which could have been added through the use of shading; use of tones. I think that the placement of both arms and the model's left hand was reasonably accurate, however, again could have been improved using a variety of tones and also if clothing creases had been considered. By applying these details, the piece would have replicated a more realistic outcome, that reflected a more 3D appearance to the 2D drawing. Additionally, the proportions of each component of the body are (to be modest), slightly off. I found this particularly difficult and clearly exposed that fact that I had no previous experience or understanding of how the body is aligned. Despite this, I am pretty pleased with the outcome of the hair. The model had very tightly curled hair, which often separated itself into thirds, which made is surprisingly easy to draw; no whispy strands or fly-aways were apparent. Overall, I am reasonably pleased with this sketch, mainly due to the fact that it was the first and an actual body shape can be seen and that as a possibility alone is commendable, for me anyway.

The next image (right), displays almost a regression of progress seen in the first piece. The model this time, had her back to my area of the room, therefore meaning I had to take on an alternative angle to life drawing. I found this particularly difficult as there was a limit to clear shapes and curves to the body - or that of my untrained mind understood. Nevertheless, I decided to tackle to the most shape-dense area which happened to be the right-hand side of the model, where her legs were cross, and her elbow was visible. From the elbow, down I don't think this was too bad of an attempt, however, the rest, well, you can see for yourself... With an unfinished and rather pathetic attempt at this sketch, I decided that the next one I would have a complete change of media in an attempt to envoke the artiste hiding within.

(Left) A3, paint pen blind drawing - from memory
(Right) A3, brio-pen sketch using a continuous line, with elements of drawing with my left hand

The two of these sketches were by far the most challenging of the day - the left, having to close my eyes, and draw using my memory, and the right, using one singular, continuous line and then using only the opposite hand to which you'd normally use. The sketch on the left was drawn using paint pens which I found immensely useful and comfortable to sketch with. The paintbrush tip to the pen, along with the bright colour pallet available, really brings out the style in which you are trying to convey; this being sketches. Additionally, the pen was very light and glided across the page without hardly any pressure. This, therefore, helped when it came down to sketching with instinct rather than calculated positioning, creating a much more detailed sketch, that overall, flowed much more succinctly, creating a much more recognisable figure as an outcome.

Additionally, to a newly found tool, a new technique of continuous line drawing definitely conveys a calm flow to any sketch, as well as it being considerably quicker to get down all parts of the figure. Both of these images revolving the back view of the model was something I found much much harder, in comparison to the front view of the body.

A5, charcoal sketch of the clothed model - front view

Now that I had an understanding of the form of the body, I decided to return to more basic drawing tools; charcoal. Keeping in mind my rather barren attempt previously, I decided to focus only on the upper half of the body; hips and above. For this sketch, I particularly like the detailing on the right sleeve and the shaping of the breasts, even though they were being covered. The contrast of using very light and very heavy marks really creates a much more realistic approach to life drawing and therefore was a much better sketch, comparing all the finished pieces above. Conversely, due to my focus on detail, I failed to finish the sketch in the given time, and therefore this was another aspect I needed to focus on. 

Multi-media close-ups of body features with a specific focus on hands and feet

As we had only focused on the model's figure as a whole, we were told to concentrate on refined details of the body: hands and feet - additionally, we were told that we were to only use oil pastels. Using oil pastels was a new media that I had not explored yet, and therefore approached the task focusing on the main silhouette as a starting point to grasp before refining detail.
I found this use of media the most difficult due to the point of contact being inconsistent unlike a pen or pencil would be. Additionally, the use of tones being in colour was an unfamiliar concept for me and therefore, like the initial sketches,  this one was unsuccessful due to the lack of detail.

Shown below are final pieces each drawn with a variety of techniques and tasks to focus on. The media used was that of our choice and each is listed underneath the images inserted. As I had explored a range of sketching techniques, I was able to choose the most successful angles and focus points to create each sketches which all came out spectacularly better than the first attempt at life drawing.  

A3, Paint-pen and Promarker sketches from alternating angles 

A1, horizontal sketch of the model laying down on the ground - propped up on a blanket

A1, Three-type media layering speed sketches from alternative angles using pencil (left), Promarker (center), and paint pen (right) 
A3, Multi-coloured, speed sketches of the moving nude body using a combination of paint pens and Promarkers