Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Llama - Emma West

Creating my own Peruvian style patterns

My chosen animal for Research Methodology was the llama! I chose it because of its characteristically quirky and humorous nature and appearance. I was also given the nickname 'llama' a few years ago by my friends (to this day I still don't know why!) - so I figured it would be fun to work with an animal that I had some association with. My initial thoughts on how to approach this project would be gaining more information about them and the environment that they live in, which led me on to researching about Peru and its culture. This also prompted some historical research in the 'Incas' - in which I learnt about the multicolour llama deity 'Urcuchillay' and the importance of textiles in their culture and traditions. From here I experimented with creating my own Peruvian style patterns, and incorporated a lot of vibrant colours into llama drawings - inspired by both Peruvian culture, Andy Warhol's pop art work and the Fauvist movement. 

Through my experiments and cultural research influence I decided to take a textile based route, thinking about how I could use sewing, knitting and other wool based crafts. The five words I chose allowed me to have some real fun with experimentation and idea development, from the beginning of the project I knew that I wanted to create something fun and colourful. The five words I chose were Quirky, Goofy, Proud, Rugged and Colourful, all of which relate to their appearance and characters, as well as cultural roots. 

Embroidery experiments

Using textiles was a really good choice, it allowed me to re-familiarise myself with machine sewing and I got to revisit experimenting with embroidery which I enjoy doing in my spare time. The final pieces turned out exactly how I wanted them to! Together they encompass the five words and summarise the colourful, quirky nature of llamas. The two embroideries feature colourful patterns inspired by Peruvian textiles, displayed within the llamas coats to reflect on their home country and the culture of it. The weave is a physical representation of the llamas rugged coats combined with Peruvian inspired colours, Tulunpi ear decorations and pom poms they are adorned with during festivals. The three googly eye prints are a response to Andy Warhol's 'Marilyn Monroe' print, duplicating and varying colour palettes to create individual characters whilst adding some extra fun and humour to the llamas. 

Final pieces on the wall together!

Fish - Micky Orchard

During my Research Methodology project, my work focused on fish. In my opinion, fish are very interesting for various reasons, such as their colourful and shiny scales, and the incredibly diverse shapes and sizes they come in, ranging from a great white shark, to the tiny goby, which is about the size of your finger nail. Starting off, I began looking at the anatomy and biology of fish. I did this by drawing visually diverse fish species, such as the thin mackerel, or the blob like trunk fish. I also researched different types of fish scale, and researched how their gills work. In short, they take in water into their gills, then oxygen is extracted from the water, then flushed back out.  

After the first tutorial, I began researching a lot more things in relation to fish. I also had the opportunity to experiment with a wide range of materials, such as the Wacom Cintiq, a graphics tablet where you can draw directly onto the screen. The Wacom Cintiq tablet is a piece of equipment that really interests me as a wannabe digital painter. During the project I created various illustrations using this tablet, such as the image below, a visual experiment from my research into skittish fish behavior. It is inspired by the African Trout, which are known as particularly skittish fish, due to the abundance of predators in Africa, such as cormorants, otters and humans. 

In order to explore new research methodologies, I created a survey which I shared online for other people to answer. I used the survey to get peoples opinions on a range of topics regarding fish. From the survey I came to the conclusion that most people only really cared about fish in terms of food and keeping as a pet. Some stated they were important as they keep the marine environment clean. Therefore from the survey, I wanted to further explore themes of marine ecology and the effects of water pollution. I wanted to make something visually communicative that might take the appearance of a visual metaphor and subtly shock people about the impact of water pollution.

The most interesting of my five words i researched were "Struggling" and "Diversity". An article from Credo told me how pollution was responsible for an alarmingly high amount of fish species extinction. Below is one of the visual experiments from the five word methodology, an image that shows both fish diversity, and the struggle of water pollution, represented by the littered pattern on the fish and how fish are having to adapt to these polluted environments and die due to mutations or habitat loss.

With this I found something I wanted to communicate. After researching all of my words, I decided to take what I had learned from these two further. That water pollution is heavily affecting marine ecology and is responsible for reducing diversity in fish species, as most species are dying out. After evaluating multiple ideas I decided to create a communicative sculpture which would act as a visual metaphor and communicate to people how drastically pollution is affecting marine ecology and the diversity of fish species.

The sculpture itself is made up of a slate base, and an arch made from two driftwood pieces. I added both natural and unnatural elements to the sculpture, to show how the ecosystem is drastically changing due to pollution, such as shells, barnacles, fishing wire and glass. The sculpture itself communicates the effects on the ecosystem well, however the two aluminum fish communicate the effect of pollution on fish diversity and biology well. There are only two fish, and both are made of the same materials, and are exactly the same shape. This subtly communicates how fish have to adapt to the pollution, as well as visually representing a lack in diversity, again due to pollution. The fact that they are made of cider cans communicates fish mutation, which I learned about from a Credo article, which is one of the key reasons why diversity is decreasing, fish are mutating and dying due to their polluted waters. I hope that my sculpture will bring this to peoples attention and shock them about the frightening truth. 

The Human - Sam Hely

I decided to be a little different with this project and look into the animal of a human, which is under the umbrella classed as a mammal.
The specific area I decided to look into was that of the brain and how different people can behave in different ways compared to others.  I began by looking in the general structure of the human skull.
This is a charcoal and chalk drawing I produced to represent the skull.

After this point I began to look into the idea of how a murderers brain could be potentially different to that of a person who has not committed a murder, so from here I started exploring the concept of forensic science, in particular, the use of a fingerprint detection.
So from this point I decided that to try and back up the idea of using finger prints, I needed to try this myself.  Using a few different mediums to get the best possible fingerprint print, this image was using the media of lino block ink.

From here i began to explore the idea that there are many films which would include the thoughts of murderers and films that contain murderers, this is where I entered the print room and created an etch.
The etch was from the film A Nightmare on Elm Street and I decided to try and recreate the hand of Freddy Kruger, the infamous dream killer.

My final image comes from the inspiration taken from a workshop with My Dog Sighs.  During the workshop i created a doll that had been savagely attacked, but was left hanging with a suicide note, which left it on a cliffhanger as to whether he committed suicide or was in fact murdered.
After drawing the image into a scratch board, I then uploaded the image into Photoshop and inverted the image and coloured the eyes to try and make the drawing a little more life like.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Fox - Charlotte Vine

My Research Methodology project was focused on the Japanese folklore surrounding the Fox (or Kitsune in Japanese). Kitsune in Japanese mythology are intelligent beings who posses magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. Most importantly they are commonly known to be shapeshifters, who can transform into human beings using their power source 'Hoshi no Tama' (translated as 'Star Balls'). My primary goal was to create a narrative depicting the transformation of the Kitsune. Firstly, I had to research into how transformation could be displayed. Most of this research comprised of the concept art for the Harry Potter film franchise which included many humans turning into various creatures and vice versa. After this, I attempted to create my own transformation sequence of a human becoming a fox:

I found that the in between stages in my illustration, displayed on a page permanently rather than quickly sifted through like in film or animation, looked very awkward and strange. Thus I later decided after I had written the plot for my story that I would have the transformation happen in a particular way so that the awkward in between stages could not be seen by the viewer.

I decided to do this by using the pond the humans protagonist is sitting by in this scene, The Kitsune would jump in one end as a fox and appear as a human at the other, leaving the readers to fill in the blanks using their imaginations.To imply a transformation was happening, I wanted to show patterns forming on the surface of the water. To find out what textures and patterns I could use, I experimented with how water and ink act together. First by photographing the patterns formed once ink was dropped into water, then adding ink to existing droplets on a page and letting it dry overnight. Thinking about texture in terms of transformation, I had to think how texture could symbolise a smooth surface (skin) changing to a fluffy one (fur). After experimenting with different patterns in varying media, I found microscopic images of human skin and fox fur. I also gathered some images by photographing water, and observing the surface patterns. This research concluded with a gouache painting that symbolised the fox / human transformation, utilising a combination of the textures I had created and seen:

These patterns were then utilised in the final comic on the surface of the water to imply transformation (see below).

This project also included character design, how could I portray the qualities of the Kitsune in a single character?

After having created some rough sketches of what I thought the two protagonists could look like, I decided to look into name symbolism, as symbolism within a character’s design is very crucial to me and can be very insightful and interesting. I decided to give the Kitsune a unisex name (Yuu, which means gentleness, lithe, superior (very much fox features)) and an androgynous appearance to draw parallels with the fox in the sense it is very hard to tell males and females apart. His human form has many fox features: long face, high cheek bones, slight slant of the eye and slightly pointed ears. I have also drawn upon an earlier idea to have markings on the face that remain in both fox and human form. Yuu’s colour palette is symbolic, with his hair being white (an auspicious colour) and clothing being blue (meaning purity). Finally, here is an excerpt of the final comic scene I illustrated, depicting the transformation from fox to human:

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Lost and Found Workshop

This is Freddie, created through a workshop with My Dog Sighs.  Made using string, ink and charcoal, was Freddie murdered or did he commit suicide?  I guess we will never know as he disappeared from where he was hung...

Lost and Found with MyDogSighs

Upcycler, recycling artist, street artist and can-man MyDogSighs worked with us today to help clear the streets around Winston Churchill Avenue and encouraged the students to create artwork from discarded items. Intrinsic to the workshop is the idea that the item is found - transformed and then left in-situ for anyone who wants to keep it.

In the spirit of Free Art Friday the students explored the techniques and concepts MyDogSighs employs and responded individually to the item they had found. These might be worth looking out for around the Eldon Building over the next day of two.