Wednesday, 12 November 2014


We had a one day workshop with the theme of "Flight", with the goal being to create something that actually "flies". We initially had the idea of making something similar to a Chinese lantern, which we concluded was probably not safe to create in the studio and was not very imaginative/original. We also decided against using many candles to try and suspend an object such as a paper plane along a certain path or trajectory as it also wasn't particularly safe.

After looking for new materials to experiment with we found a styrofoam board that was really light, which we began to experiment with. We documented the different variations/ models we created, which progressively evolved after each "flight", adding or taking away weight, making it more aerodynamic or adding completely unnecessary parts to it.

This was a fun project that sadly ended with the destruction of the model, but we documented most of it's different forms and have evidence of their flight, no matter how short.

Machines for Living Conclusion

For the conclusion of the Machines for Living project I managed to create a piece of work 2A0 in size using a typewriter as the predominant medium. I am very happy with the scale of the piece as a typewriter is actually a very imperfect and slow machine to use, with the average sheet taking around one our to complete. The time behind each sheet derived from not only the sheer amount of lines on each piece but also frequently having to reposition the paper in the typewriter for the text to reach the very edge of the paper, not only was this time consuming but it also created many mistakes (some of which i was  not entirely opposed too) as it was very difficult to perfectly align the line of text and also get it at the right angle. This lead too text being out of line and overlapping in some areas and leaving small gaps in others. Another issue with the typewriter was that as you reach the bottom of the sheet, it would start to move out of position which meant the edges of some sheets go askew creating overlaps and gaps also.

As I mentioned a single sheet was a long process and the sheets hat were completely filled, whilst requiring no caution in having to stop to create a shape, did take longer than many of the others and after doing two I decided to photocopy them. I did this because i was running out of time, and as I would have later realised, out of typewriter ribbon also. Running out of ribbon was very distressing as I knew I would have to use computer generated text to finish the image, which was slightly disappointing and did takeaway from the overall quality of the image. Other small mistakes were covered using tip-ex which also didn't add to the finished image.

I was very happy with the final outcome as using a decrypt piece of machinery was always going to be a challenge, but to have some of it's flaws come through in the work highlighted the similarities in imperfection the of machines and living creatures. It's also strong as from a distance it does just look grey but as you move closer you can see the individual x's.

Ways in which I could have improved it's overall presentation would have been too mount it on one or two very large pieces of board so it would look smooth and not clearly be stuck onto the wall with blu-tack. Also i would have very much liked for the entire piece to be typed out as it would lend to it's overall finesse. In retrospect I also would have liked to communicated the mundaneness  behind the creation of the piece itself as the production process is as important as the image itself. Essentially it is just repeatedly tapping one key over and over again, perhaps projecting film clips of the key being pressed to the ribbon being struck with the loud noise it produces being played at a much slower speed than it happens at in reality.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Final Idea

For my final piece I wanted to use the shape of a human heart as the form I wanted to type out, with the size of it being decided upon being roughly 2A0 (1189 x 1682mm). I thought that the heart would create a powerful image as it is a widely recognised form, which is important to me as i wanted the subject of my piece to be clear as i wanted it to be as important as the process of the production of the image itself. The heart is also relevant to the theme of 'Machines for Living' as the heart is the driving force, the engine, behind the human machine itself.
Images below were my first draft ideas and outlines.

I liked the shape created a lot and decided to try typing it out in photoshop, to get an understanding of what it may look like. I started by typing out 'Muscle Tissue' repeatedly as it is the main material the heart is composed of, and liked the idea of also creating it from 'Muscle Tissue' in text. The image created was bold, especially in red coloured text and i decided to further the image by adding in a vein in a recognisable blue that disrupts the 'Muscle Tissue' text by putting 'Vein' in where appropriate to give the vein form. This began to make me think about what i would be typing over my final image, wether it would be a word, structured sentences or a symbol repeated, leading me to create several more images on photoshop to see what different outcomes may look like.

The single word images of 'beat' and 'pump' created very repetitive linear patterns, with 'pump' looking worse due to it ending and beginning with 'p' which made it less visually engaging. I did like both the 'x' and sentence pieces as they both created engaging work in different ways. The 'x' piece  from a distance begins to blur and just become grey and as you stare longer at it, the contrast between the black and white starts to create a slight trick on the eyes and you begin to see colours. the letter X is also very powerful as it comes with many different associations from the viewer, wether being interpreted as meaning to stop, a cross marking either death and/or religion, kisses, too multiply, or the negative connotations that are associated with a 'x' such as failure. The other image was created by finding a collection of diseases that can affect the heart and having them typed out behind the outline, creating a piece that at first seems more random but as you read further you can piece together fractured sentences, reading the symptoms of such diseases making you feel uncomfortable, which can be important as over 1/4 of deaths annually worldwide are from heart disease. However doing a very large scale piece with this many words typed out on a typewriter would take an immense amount of time that i feel in comparison with the relative ease of repeating one character may not be as strong.

The scale of the image was important to me as I wanted the size of an image achieved with a typewriter to be impressive, so i decided to create my first test print piece done on the computer to be done A0 (841 x 1189). 
Included is an image of all the components that were printed.

The image was clear enough but i had failed to realise that the printer leaves nearly a 1cm blank border surrounding an image, which meant some parts were missing and didn't quite link up perfectly, as well as the presentation leaving it looking quite rough as i just used masking tape that i double sided. It also felt slightly underwhelming in size so i decided to double it too nearer 2A0 (1189 x 1682) in size using a4 sheets. Too prevent parts rom being missed I made sure to print slightly more than I needed meaning i will use 36 sheets of A4 for the final image.
Print plan depicted below.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Mirror Project Conclusion

During the mirror project I came up with several ideas that were outside of my normal "comfort zone", however i initially attempted to slump back to a familiar technique by hoping to complete a pair of highly detailed biro drawings to present. However the first image from which i was working was very striking and I realised that presenting it in a high quality form would present a stronger image and point than a drawing could achieve. I still intend to finish the biro drawing as it should still be of high quality and worthwhile completing.

The idea behind these pieces of work was to explore a persons perception of a hug or embrace. Normally when one person hugs another they assume the other person is there for them, and has the same feelings about it as the other, as if they are being mirrored, when in reality they may have their own reasons or feelings that are completely separate. I wanted to show this by taking a photo of two people hugging, to take a photo from either side so you can see both faces and therefore the dynamic of the relationship. I used my parents and asked them to take on a certain mood and where to look and when the images came out the image of my father had come out stronger for a number of reasons. One such was simply that more of his face was visible and seemed to convey more emotion, as the angle of the head and way the eyes seem to gaze off into the distance suggest fragility and vulnerability, something uncommon when it comes to photos of men as the norm is to portray them as strong individuals and topically ties in to the current debate of gender expectations and how men are often expected to suppress their emotions in society, to keep up there strong masculine image, addressed by Emma Watson in her recent UN Speech as an ambassador for womans rights.

I think to have expanded this project i could have taken more photos of many different people embracing, perhaps paying attention to certain traits common between people are and aren't familiar with each other, such as head and hand placement, eye focus or if the eyes are shut. I could have then Presented some of the photos alongside a graphic chart playfully presenting the common characteristics in different embraces.

My secondary idea however moved into a form of work with which I am more unfamiliar with, by creating a mirror that manipulates the traditional values and purpose of a mirror by being composed of smaller mirrors that go off at angles. The hope for this was that it would break apart the image of the viewer, fracturing them and presenting them in a manner to which they should be unfamiliar with by dividing up their face and putting different parts of it together, warping the traditional idea of beauty.

I was happy to have made this as i believe it conveyed my idea, as well as being finished to appropriate quality which was one of my concerns with making an object in the first place, that it may not be as visually engaging as I hope for. However i believe it could have been even stronger if i had found smaller mirrors just so more distortion could take place, perhaps illustrating the idea behind it farther, perhaps as well as getting it framed, just to add to its final quality.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Machines For Living

The new project title of "Machines for Living" gave me the idea to use a typewriter i had recently found to create a piece of work. I want to create a large piece around two or four times bigger than a1 on the wall, displaying an image, composed entirely from a typewriter. The idea of using the typewriter appeals to me as it is a defunct piece of equipment with little to no use in the 21st century, but historically had great significance, creating the largest female workforce of its time and revolutionising print and communication systems.

This style of work would have links with Divisionism, an art style deriving from impressionism that uses the separation of colours into dots to form an image, as a typewriter would print work in this style. It would also take inspiration from concrete poetry as it uses form and shape to contribute as much to the poem as the words of the poem themselves. Whilst looking at concrete poetry  i came across an art movement in the 1950's called "Typewriter Art". I found the array of styles and their techniques very visually engaging as often not only is there form or shape but also text to read/decipher.

I created several responses drawing from what I'd seen of the "Typewriter Art" book as i felt i needed to get to grips with actually using the typewriter as a tool, as well as figuring out the best font size and spacing. I included the template as i found it interesting to see alongside the finished studies. the panda was a quick study done just form looking at a picture which explains its obvious imperfections, but it helped as it makes it clear i'll need a template or outline for my large piece.

I progressed onto thinking about what kind of image i would like to actually have for my large piece and the idea of it being biological appealed to me, as people often experience some form of paranoia when it comes to new machinery, wether it be in the form of replacing their job or the fear of something going wrong with the machine that may be keeping them alive or upon which they are dependent.

I used x-rays whose colour I inverted in photoshop and then proceeded to see what sort of look different shades of text would have, however when printed, the shoulder x-ray didn't distinguish well between dark grey and black so the tone and therefore shapes weren't as clear in the outcome. It did get the shape well when i used font that small with a total of 6120 x's being used in the shoulder and 3918 0's being used for the skull. It made it clear to me that using a part of the human anatomy would be a strong image, leading me to think of maybe using a frontward facing skull or human heart in my final image.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

 Our second Projects title is "Mirror". I had a variety of different ideas but started my work by looking at John Stezakers work, and how he looked for reflections of people and their features or scenario in old photographs and postcards. I created the several responses shown, mimicking Stezakers style  using old monochrome photographs of famous celebrities from the 1930/40's and old postcards mostly in colour, all found on the internet.

Whilst i enjoy this style of work immensely i feel that currently there is little way for me to expand on this method of work in my own style or to take it in my own preferred direction. I intend to progress to now create a mirror made up from smaller mirrors set at angles, so when a person looks in it they see a fragmented version of themselves, warping the traditional purpose of a mirror of checking ones image to be appealing to the eye and instead presenting it in a distorted and unappealing manner.

On the first day of the course, in groups we were given the task of creating a piece of work in response to the theme of balance. We started off toying with the idea of creating a piece responding to the idea of colour balance but in a more literal manner, however we felt we couldn't create a striking enough shape, and found the outcomes that we did develop were not that striking. 
We Proceeded to make a response using found objects, balancing them on top of each other carefully to achieve an interesting composition. Achieving the correct counterbalance between the different weights of the objects was a fun exercise, but you had to learn to not be afraid to fail and keep finding a new structure that would work after it all came crashing down.