Throughout second year I have tried many different styles of art, testing a lot of things out that put me out of my comfort zone in order to make sure I am doing the right thing. I began by looking at Martyn Brewster’s type of art work; mainly “beauty vs sadness no. 70”. I originally tried using his work as a source of ideas, in which it did, however not in the way that I thought it may have. I found his work interesting as it is not like anything I have done before, and that intrigued me, yet the abstract style didn’t really inspire me to do my own work based on it. However, I was interested in the thought processes behind it, as well as the title of the piece. At the beginning I experimented with ink, acrylic and charcoal in order to show a representation of Brewster’s artwork. I quickly realised that this wasn’t what I wanted to do, therefore I did a lot of artist research to try and inspire me. However, for my Summer Project I did a lot of photography with disposable cameras as well as digital, and I enjoyed this therefore after I realised that abstract wasn’t for me I wanted to explore more with photography in my practice.
The Field Module Figurative Modelling was particularly influential for me; as I found using clay extremely therapeutic. This is when I decided I wanted to work more with clay, therefore I started building clay bodies which is what I decided to use in my Subject exhibition. For the material project I did the Photography workshops, which linked really well with my Summer Project. I gained a more in-depth knowledge of how a camera works best, as well as how to make the most out of lighting in the studio. From this workshop I found multiples really interesting, and decided I wanted to work with photography and taking portrait photographs. Since the first term I have done a lot of life drawings to help me gain a deeper understanding of the human body. Throughout this drawing I will be able to create more accurate clay bodies. I have also been looking at lino prints as they’re really interesting to use and I haven’t done it previously. I have found that these have made my life drawings as well as my heart drawings a lot more interesting in the sense that it’s a different way in which to present my work. I have done these things in quite a basic way, however I hope to work more with photography and clay over summer as well as in third year to improve my skills in these fields.
- Original Artwork
- Development of my Artwork
- Thoughts behind Exhibition ideas
- Reflection on Field
- Site Specific
Field; Figurative Modelling and Art and the Conscious Mind
Both of the Field modules have helped me a lot in very different ways, which is why I chose such different Fields to do originally. Art and the Conscious Mind has helped me mentally in the sense that it helped me free my imagination, as well as understand the ideas of consciousness and how it can influence artworks. Whilst Figurative Modelling has helped my practical work, as it is what influenced me to carry on working with clay in my subject project, giving me the original basic skills of working with clay and building body parts.
Throughout the Figurative Modelling module it was very obvious that drawing is a very important factor when you’re working with clay, therefore whilst I was doing the module I did many life drawings which when the module finished I moved on with in my Subject work. This linked very well with my Subject work, as I was looking at the idea of body image and insecurities at the time of Field. The life drawings helped a lot when I started to build my clay bodies and figures, as I had looked closely at the life models therefore I had a better understanding of how the body is formed and what positions and movements it can make. Figurative Modelling also gained me skills for building the bodies in my own time; understanding the pinching, coiling, and slab techniques as well as knowing which type of clay I liked working with the most helped a lot in my Subject work. Christie Brown and Claire Curneen were both very influential to me; I particularly liked how in both of their artwork their sculptures are quite peculiar and not life like, yet have strange and disjointed air to them. I tried to create similar kinds of textures in my own work when I was building my large clay torsos, as I wanted them to have my finger marks and the roughness of the pinching technique throughout the clay. Unlike their work I didn’t want to make full bodies, I wanted to focus on particular parts of the body and I found the torsos the most interesting. Therefore I made a large female torso and a male torso in my Subject practice. I wanted to do this because I have been looking at portrait photography and insecurities, and I wanted to include some reference to the body, and I found that using clay helped me to look at the body as well as the faces of people.
Whilst in the Art and the Conscious mind lectures and workshops we focussed more on how artwork makes us feel, using our imagination and learning about consciousness- therefore a more academic way of looking at artwork. I found the workshops the most helpful to me in this module; especially when we looked in to meditation and played and created surrealist games. This particularly interested me as I was having a creative block in my Subject artwork, therefore being able to free my mind in these workshops helped me be more creative therefore gave me more ideas for my subject work. The surrealist games improved my work ethic, as I started drawing more and being more free with these drawings, instead of stressing about the overall outcome of the pieces.
Throughout the Figurative Modelling Field module I learnt a lot about different types of clay, how best to work with it, as well as how to create body parts in the best way depending on the clay type. These workshops really helped me to figure out what I wanted to carry on doing for the rest of the year, as I enjoyed working with clay so much I decided to carry on using it in my Subject work.
In Figurative Modelling the first thing we did was life drawing, and it was made very clear that drawing is extremely important in building bodies with clay. Therefore, I spent a lot of time going to life drawing classes and trying to get a better understanding of how the body looks, of movement as well as the different forms the body can make. I did a lot of this in my sketchbook work, and then continued to make larger life drawings. I found that this did in fact help a lot when it came to building my bodies out of clay.
Another part of this module was going to Art Galleries; we went to Craft in the Bay and Bay Art. Both of these galleries were very interesting, but the artists that most stood out to me was Richard St John Heeley and Christie Brown in Craft in the Bay and Alex Hanna in Bay Art. Richard Heeley particularly stood out to me as the energy of his drawings seemed to give him a real knowledge before he painted his vessels- therefore giving him a better understanding of what the materials feel like. There was also a sense of flow and movement in his work; it seemed that it isn’t always about vision, rather the energy of the mark making. Whilst I found Christie Browns sculptures the most interesting, especially how disjointed they are. I also liked how her sculptures are so peculiar as they are a mixture between animals and humans. It seems that Christie Brown likes to use a lot of drawing to help develop her work, it’s almost as if she’s pre-designing her clay sculptures- transferring her drawing skills into ceramics. Working in an iterative way, she seems to develop from her drawings. When she came to University to talk to us she emphasised how our brains will start to make new connections to different ways of thinking through drawing- the more you push yourself and test different approaches to drawing and clay. Whilst at Bay Art Gallery the majority of the work exhibited didn’t appeal to me, however I did like the textures and bland use of colour in Alex Hanna’s pieces.
For our Figurative Modelling exhibition we had to work in groups, and display our work in the Art Departments foyer. The work consisted of different pieces by each of us (in a group of 5 people) that we have done over the length of time that we have done Field. Our original idea was to focus on the head and body parts, to have the head on a plinth and then hang ‘insides’ from the head with string, then have the legs underneath stood on the floor. We would then surround this almost Frankenstein-like creature with our paintings and drawings.
Art and the Conscious Mind
Throughout the lectures and workshops in the Field module ‘Art and the Conscious Mind’ I learnt a lot about how to look at my own work in a different way, the whole idea of what consciousness is or could be, how different psychologists understand what the conscious mind is, how to free my imagination and how doing this makes someone more creative even when the work produced isn’t something that needs to be necessarily good.
Before this Field module I was struggling quite a lot with my artwork, however the lectures and workshops that came with the module really helped me open my mind in the sense of looking at the world in a more interesting and open way- that making artwork isn’t just about creating, it made me put more thought and care in to what I am doing before I start making the work. I did originally find the lectures quite difficult to get my head around, as there was so much to take in in such a short period of time. However, after reading through my notes after the lectures a few times I started to feel more comfortable with the information given to me. I still struggle a little with the whole idea of consciousness as there are so many different theories as to what it is and causes it; yet I found it very interesting.
Whilst in the workshops we had a more free and creative way of doing things. One of the workshops was with Theo Humphries where we played and created surrealist games. This is what particularly stuck out to me so far over the Field course as I have recently had a bit of a creative block where I haven’t felt very like I can create anything of any meaning or quality. As even though we weren’t creating amazing pieces of artwork it really helps to get in to the mood for creating, therefore a good technique to use before doing a piece of work that really matters, as it gets you in to the mind set of working, and I feel it really helps in the respect that it can give you ideas that may be quite odd that you would have never got before.
This workshop really shows what your imagination is capable of, for example the photo above is of some random words that our group picked, and then I chose a random few and drew a drawing of what it made me think of. This really gets your creative thoughts flowing and lets you be at one with your imagination and mind for a bit.
In another workshop the main thing that stuck out to me was the part where we did group meditation. As it stopped me from worrying about the stresses of everyday life and work, as well as when we finished meditating my mind felt so much clearer than before- really helping me feel ready for the rest of the day and for work. Meditation is what I am going to carry on doing to help me with everyday life, as well as to give me clarity in my artwork.