Thursday, 30 October 2008
Inspiration is every where. Beauty is every where. All you need to do is have a look. Blind are many, but sometimes that is not the case. Sometimes they just don´t want to see. Here are some pictures I took this Summer in Turku, my old home town in Finland. I couldn't sleep, so I took my camera and went to discover the beauties of the city lights when the people close their eyes. I would have never discovered the beauties in the windows during the day.
Wednesday, 29 October 2008
The second year started. Kit, Neill and Sally welcomed us all to a new busy year, with a lot of hard work and many opportunities. They wanted us to keep up the standards of the second years, who graduated last year. What that requires is a more professional approach to work we do, time planning and a lot of independent thinking.
What I want to get from this year is to gain more computer skills, that meaning learning Photoshop and Illustrator so that I can take my design to an another level. What is coming more and more clear to me is, that illustration as well as photography is the way I want to take my design. Even though for me, the most attractive way and the way I admire most is hand drawn art, I do realize that combining it with computer based designs is important.
This year I really want to push my drawings as well as photography. That I will achieve by exploring and trying different materials, techniques and working together with other creative people. This will let me see the design prosses from their point off view and interduse me to and other way of seeing and thinking.
Even though I feel that it is important to be in touch with the contemporary illustrators, photographers, graphic designers and typographers, and that is one of the goals in my studies this year, my inspiration comes a lot from other areas as well, fine art, literature, music and film being some. The AIB library is a very inspirational place and a good sources of information which I plan to use even more this year.
The past four and half months I spent away from Bournemouth and the AIB, were in the beginning about recovery. The past year was a big experience in many ways. And beginning my Summer I felt I needed to stay a way from all of what my last year was. I felt empty and drained. For me to be able t o get new ideas and be creative again I had to have some time of. How I see things is, that you have to see, hear, listen and live to be able to have something to say. And that’s what I did on my Summer.
After a while, being away from drawing, photographing, writing and constantly creating, I felt a natural need to go back to it. So I started to draw in one of my sketchbooks and went out to take some photos. This summer I started a project for a friend, who is planning to start an electro music night in London, called Digital Paradise. They wanted me to illustrate their flyer and create a look for their webpage. The designing and planning is still on, but we already agreed on some details and it seems to be an interesting project.
This summer I wrote down some key points, what I want to learn, gain, and do this year:
- Inspiration is all around you in music, photography, nature, literature, films, poetry, other people.
- Importance of backup research
- Read more magazines in the area of illustration and graphic design and typography ( Nusign, Art –in-progress magazine, a good one )
- Make PPRD your professional diary, including all everyday activities you do concerning art.
- Write PPRD every day.
- Listen more to what is said about your work ( in tutorials, by classmates ) think about it and then evaluate the work yourself and make up your own mind weather to do any changes.
- Look more in depth to artist who you admire. Where do/did they get their inspiration, their methods of working etc.
- When starting a brief, read it carefully and try to come up with an answer to the problems it asks you to. When the brief is done look back and see how you answered those questions.
- Get more feedback to your illustrations, maybe asking outside your class as well .
- Visit more exhibitions.
ARTISTS I ADMIRE
Aubrey Beardsley, illustrator
Tove Jansson, illustrator, author
Takagi Masakatsu, video artist
Eda Akaltun, illustrator, photographer
Erone, fine artist
Stephanie Schneider, photographer
Man Ray, photographer
Herbert Baglione, fine artist, illustrator
The task for today is to check out some of the recommended and key materials. As I am interested in illustration and will take my work down that path , I am going to do the year and my work with that in mind.
Being scared is the biggest thing that prohibits you of thing things. Being scared of failing, being scared of realizing that you actually don’t have anything to say, that there is no ideas in your head. Fear is something that blocks your creativity. I think this is true in every ones life. It certainly is in mine. This came clear to me once again talking to my new housemate, a first year film student. She talked about the same feeling I had last year. Coming to a new country, not knowing anyone, getting a lot of new people in your life, getting a lot of new information in a short period of time and comparing yourself to others.
Fear is a powerful factor. But to be able to do things, to create, to fulfill yourself you have to come over the feeling. Isn’t this the reason we are here? Because we have the need to create, to draw, photograph, to put our own unique signature out there for people to see it.
Today I bought one of the reference books suggested to us, The Fundamentals of Illustration. This is a quote that I found interesting.
Illustration = To illuminate or cast light on a subject.
We were briefed on a new project titled Look Again / Think Again. What we are required to produce is a A3 poster, which is either to showcase our opinion on a social issue or choose an object which carry values that go beyond its intended purpose or everyday use.
My idea is to do the poster on drug use, which is a social issue, but is also something I have personal experiences of, because of people near me have been facing these problems. This assignment and the theme I am given, came to a good time in my life. Drug use and drug problems have been on my mind quite a lot lately. I think that if you can give a personal touch to a project and have some insight on it, it will ad to better and more meaningful results. What I want to address on my poster, and the point I want to come cross is, how drugs change your characteristics. I want to show the physical and mental damage of drugs and get my point across, that an addiction of any kind is negative in your life. What I got from my tutorial was that in order to make my point across, maybe going with an individuals physical changes when taking drugs would be a good idea. Also what is important to remember is, that we are selling an idea. What I am saying has to have value.
Someone I am drawing inspiration from at the moment is South American artist called Herbert Baglione. One of the things that makes him intriqueing is that he has a philosophy, call it poetry or story behind his images. In Nusign magazine they call him the last poet. I was reading some of his thoughts on a video installation called Canvas #1.
My painting is the interpretation of chaos and death in different cultures.
Coldness, individuality and the blind search for information are themes that have been inspiring me for the last few years.
The visible tolerance of different races running into one another in the streets of the great capitals of the world. Everyone exhanges hatred and shares their fears.
Everyday is necessary to wear a new mask or seek to be reborn.
Quite fittingly for my current project, which I am doing on drug use, I am reading a book by William S. Burroughs called Junky. The book is about 1950’s America, which Burroughs describes from the eyes of a drug addict. He writes about the everyday life with a cold, remarking style. Grasping on the up and down hills of addiction, searching for the next fix, euphoria, hallucinations, ghostly night wanders, the terrors of withdrawal symptoms and the return to the junk.
He writes: Junk does not lift up joie de vivre like alcohol or weed. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of living.
All these words and descriptions bring a lot of images in my mind. They are delicious to illustrate or bring to life in another way. I really want to explore with the techniques because we were given completely free hands on doing the Look Again / Think Again brief.
Don’t take any criticism of your thinking personally, further work may well be needed to help the illustration solve the brief in a way that the client is happy with. This is a sentence that caught my eye in the book The Fundamentals of Illustration. It is definately something I have to work on. It is hard not to take criticism personally. When you put so much time and effort into something, it becomes really important and personal to you.
On Look Again / Think Again, Drug use project. I Struggle to narrow it down. There are couple of leading themes inside the subject I am thinking of. I am thinking of whether to take isolation, the physical damage of drugs or addiction, as the theme. I am also concerned that my design will not be straight forward enough. It is easy to get confused when you spend so much time with your images and ideas. They all make perfect cense to you because you know the story and the thoughts behind them, but to other people the design might be too abstract and there for not open up. If this happens, it means that you have failed to communicate with the audience. But I don’t want to spell the facts to the audience either. I don’t want to underestimate their intelligence.
I got a good start to this day with a fresh cup of coffee after a good nights sleep. It is raining outside, which is perfect for some creating time inside. I have to venture out to town and by some black card for my final piece. Finally yesterday evening the images came to my head and I am ready to go now! Good times.
I went to Borders and bought a folder to put all my inspirations in. I am going to start collect things that gives me inspiration. That can include photographs, paintings, objects, poetry, musical lyrics, short stories. Anything really that gets me going.
I am looking at my final poster on the screen. I like the images I generated. I like the black and white, which creates a big contrast, suitable for the dark subject matter. There is a lot of negative, or empty space, which I find daring to use, but I do think it works and gives a sense of emptiness and isolation and draws attention to the figures.
The only worry I have is about the message not being clear enough. In my poster, which is about drug use and showing it in a negative point of view, I give the viewer signifiers, such as needles, pills, chains and figures portrayed as slaves to get my point across; ADDICTION, DRUGS LEED TO SLAVERY.
I am still debating whether to ad the word addiction to the poster. That would make my message much more obvious. But at the same time I think art should be about discovery. It should force people to look again. That, in fact was the title of the project, Look Again / Think Again. By not spelling to the audience the right answer they have to take a moment and figure it out, by looking at the poster and the signs given in it. It is never good to underestimate your public’s intelligence. With these reasons given above, I will not use the word ADDICTION in the poster. Art should be about risk taking and I decide to take the risk of not being understood.
Why I chose these materials:
I used black and white card, cutting with a scalpel the white figures to the balck card. This is a technique I have used a little and I find it interesting. It naturally creates some handmade rough edges. I like the handmade, not perfect look, because it gives the design personality and character.
From the Look Again / Think Again critique:
- Make the message more obvious.
- Don’t underestimate your audience, more clues about the message are needed.
Looking at my poster pinned up the wall, I do agree, that more information is vital, for the viewer to understand what is shown to them. But instead of using the straight forward word addiction, I am going to make the text or punch line about slavery. That is what is shown in the poster.
Some key points from the guest lecturer:
- Started with textiles and that is still a big part of her designs in the greeting cards.
- Big difference between her own work and the one the industry requires from her.
- Worked for a greeting cards company, now freelance.
- Tight schedules when working in a company as their artist.
- Hundreds of meetings concerning the development of the design/card.
- Freelancing hard work and a lot of self motivation is needed.
- One of the hardest things to her is when people try to alter your personal style.
We were briefed on our new project ; greeting cards. This is a really interesting one, basicly because you can be as creative as you want and take the design wherever you want. Our schedule is quite tight. Our time limit is two weeks and in that time we have to produce six cards. I also want to explore how my images could work on a t-shirt and different fabrics and on a book cover. The only limitations I have is time. So there is not a lot of time to waist.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN IDEA
Couple of years ago I applied to a theatre school in Finland. For the audition we had to read a short story by Edgar Allan Poe , called The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather. The story follows a nameless narrator who visits a mental institution in Southern France, know for a revolutionary new method of treating mental illnesses called the ‘ the system of soothing.’ The narrator is shocked to learn that the ‘system of soothing’ has been abandoned recently. He questions this, as he ahs heard of its success and popularity. His host tells him to ‘ believe nothing you hear, and only one half of what you see. ‘
The narrator tours the grounds of the hospital and is invited to dinner. There he is joined by twenty-five to thirty other people and a large, lavish spread of food. The other guests, he notices, are dressed somewhat oddly. Upon the whole, the narrator says, the was much of ‘bizarre’ about everything at dinner. It is revealed that the dinner guests were, in fact, the patients who had just recently taken over.
The images of this dinner have stayed in my head since I first discovered this short story and I plan to do my set of six cards based on that dinner.
I have been feeling ill for the couple of days and been working from home. This is a method, that actually suits me. I do get work done sitting in front of my table, sketching, reading, researching and writing about my ideas. I like to work in solitude. I have discovered that I need a lot of time to think by my self and I am quite sensitive about the environment. When I am creating , I like to have some quiet music on the background and burns some candles and incenses. This is an ideal environment for me to create.
At the moment I am reading the short story, to refresh my memory and to get some new ideas. I am also looking into my target audience. An idea, that want to bring forward, is to do these cards to a horror film festival. I think that would be the most suitable medium.
Beacause the story The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather was written so long ago ( 1845 ) , I am struggling to find the meaning to some of the words, describing the characters clothes. But my intention is not to do a literal translation with images. My images will be loosely based on the short story. And as an artist I do have the freedom to illustrate what I want, leave some things out and create new, if I think it is suitable.
We were emphasized to look at our target audience, and the suitable place to advertise our cards. For my cards, which are based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story, The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Feather, the appropriate place would be a horror film festival. This would suite the dark images and subject matter perfectly. It would also attract the right kind of people and at the festivals they sell a lot of other merchandise, in the area of horror.
I looked up couple of horror film festivals; Screamfest Horron Film Festival 2008, International Horror Film Festival, Eerie Horror Film Festival. I was thinking of sending these festivals my final cards and see if they were interested in publishing and selling them as part of their festival . Unfortunately, the time of all these festivals, is either on going right now or approaching too fast. So I am unable to get my cards ready. Nevertheless a horror film festival is my target place and my target audience is the people going to festival.
This is what every day should be like! Today has been about being productive, gathering ideas, getting feedback and discussing about different solutions with teachers and class mates alike. This has been a truly inspirational day. I got so much out of this day and am now more confident then ever to get behind my desk and continue the drawings. A big thanks to everyone who contributed to the conversations with me today! I hope tomorrow will bring something even better! I can not wait to wake up and see what tomorrow brings. Creatively I am in such a good place. I feel happy and safe to try out things and really push myself to new results and to challenge myself to do something better and also to be better as an artist. I can not emphacise how important support, guidance and also freedom in creating is.
Over the past few days I have been experimenting with materials, textures, searching for the appropriate audience and where to display my design, trying different kind of products ( such as book covers, t-shirts, wine bottles, fabric, poster ) to place my design in. This is such a good brief, because it really challenges the creativity and makes the sky the limit. I am still very much in procces of working the final set of six greetings cards, that I plan to show on our Thursdays critique. I got the context of every one of the six, but I am still sketching, I because want to find the absolutely best images for the final cards. The more I research into the subject matter and around it, the more possibilities it opens to create and gives me more ideas. Everything is on my side, only time is against me.
I found a good book in the library called Prints Now by Gill Saunders and Rosie Miles. Why I like the book, is because it shows the many possibilities where to place your product and a variety of creative ways of using different materials and textures.
One of the ideas I got influenced in our current brief, the greetings cards, is the Beck’s bear bottles. Quoting ‘ The beer –brewing company Beck’s is well established as the sponsor of contemporary art events, a programme that began in 1985 with the German Art in the Twentieth Century exhibiton at the Royal Academy. ‘ In their campain they used Tim Head, Damien Hirst and Rebecca Horn. Each of them created a snapshot of their art more of less recognizable .
I plan to take this idea and use it in the concept I am doing. My greeting cards are being advertised in a horror film festival and I plan to advertise a red vine with an etiquette I have designed.
I went to the interim critique with my six cards. They were not in their final form as a complete design, but had all the final illustrations. My plan was to cut out the images and paint he background with black acrylic paint to give the images texture and more of a rough edge. This plan changed after the critique. This is what I got from the critique:
- Make the background solid. Strong , solid colour to bring the illustrations to the front.
- Photoshop colours, no need for extra texture, illustrations strong enough by their own.
- Ref. Aubrey Beardsley ( his use of colours )
- Text from the novel to back up the images and give them context
- Ad to the balck and white, use a hint of colour. Think Art Deco
What I did based on the interim critique.
I scanned my illustrations in. I played with the contrast and coloured the background and some key items of the photos with photoshop. I printed the images on regular colour paper. I think that takes away from the whole image and makes it unessessarily blank and flat. This is why I am going to try a thicker paper or card with a matte texture or go to the opposite end and try it really glossy to make black stand out. I am also trying my original idea of using acrylic paint on the background.
On the final critique I was complemented on the strong illustrations and I felt that they were well reseaved and made an impact on the viewer, which of course was the idea. I was also told to use different paper, as I originally wanted to, but was unable to do because of my too long debating about the techniques on the final design. I was asked t o consider the size of the final design, because it was considered too large for a greetings card. The final thing I need to do is to add text to the cards to link the set to the short story, The System of Doctor Tar and Professor Feather.
In overall I am very pleased with how the illustrations turned out and only need to consider couple of changes in the final cards.
I went to the D&AD and looked at their briefs quickly. They made me think. Where do I fit in, in the industry? What do I really want to do? I want to draw, illustrate. I want to have a story, philosophy behind my designs. But what turns me on? What am I good at? Where do I fit in? That is a question I always seem to ask myself. Who am I, what do I want to say, because I do feel I want to say something. For me that is the reason I do create. There is a need to say something to the world around you. I also struggle a lot with many briefs, competitions and the whole market being quite commersial. How do I find the balance between my own work and the commercial need that is out there? How do I find my place?