Contribution: Final Reflection

The last few years of constellation has taught me to think about my whole subject matter differently, as it has opened up my mind to value of communication and perceptions. Its made me question the deeper meanings to my own work.

The first year really just opened up the links between art and that of critical writing. In the way of getting us to think about certain ides and concepts on a much deeper level and gathering the different context these could be viewed in, therefore giving us a wider view of our subject. my main focus in first year was around subcultures. i found this really interesting as its was about the communication we have between ourselves which is purely visual and is extension of our selves expression. my essay explored the movement of punks through images of designs from high couture who has been inspired by them. The punk movement was one of the most extreme fashion trends and was one of the first movements to really use there clothing as a direct communication of what they felt.

I related to that a lot as an illustrator as im always working to provide visual communication in my work to make an impact and give a clear message, punk did this consistently publicising there disgust with the establishment through their wardrobe on a daily basis. Another effect they had on my work was how they used object in a contradictory manner and giving them further meaning by ignoring there function such as using toilet chains as necklace and using safety pins for decoration. i have taken this into my work by working with different elements and combining them to create a more complex meaning, overall i think the way there visual motifs of the punks were so recognisable that just a symbolise of there clothing captures their strong spirit. This was important to me as it reminded me  in my practise something simple can communicate a much wider meaning.

my second years study group was based round theorist who explore existentialism this was quite a deep and intense topic but i found it interesting a a lot of my illustration communicate that of the human conditions, and getting to grips with ideas and concepts of how people live their lives. As its thought that theirs a construct for us to continually set goals for ourselves to achieve, only to then set another harder goal, theorist argue what satisfaction is gained from this, questioning the meaning of existence if the majority of life is a up hill struggle. Tackling pieces of text could be daunting with the depth of text but i think ideas were something that definitely influenced my work. especially when expanding in to the imbalance that happens when not participating in society, as this causes anxiety or displacement. This is some thing that is common in my work as i always work towards an emotional response so when applying these theorises to art works, shows how often the art work expresses the life view of the creator.

This essay i focused on Egon Shiele and weather his essence could be capture in the act of painting.  His portraits or life drawings were always full of emotion with his own unique style, he would often have a relationship of some kind with all of his sitters allowing him to transcend his own emotions through the paint. It also puts into play the way we are perceived by others and what we think of ourselves. His essences was especially present in his self portraiture as it as its his interpretation of him self he normally portrayed himself in awkward positions perhaps communicating a disconnection to the world around him. This intrigued me as i like to promote well being and being connected to the world around you. it also reminds me that my illustration aren’t always about serving a purpose but for helping me expand me self expression, so when given a subject matter research is vital to be able communicate my own personal view of the topic.

My final contribution in third year combined a lot of essential lessons i learnt over the last couple of years that has helped me expand me thinking. Although the task of writing a dissertation was frightening these study groups through the years gave me the tools to be able expand my writing of my own ideas. I especially found that using images in my writing gave me a clear starting point and gave me substance to work from this was something i learnt in first year and i employed this technique in my dissertation.  Having an image to refer to allowed me to further my argument and i think it also adds interest and context for your writing.

My dissertation explored cultural appropriation using images of garments that were linked to native american culture. i chose this topic as i feel its important to understand the intended meaning of a design or garment and how this can get diluted when entering the mainstream due to cultural appropriation. The natives interested me from a field project call home truths as colonisation displaced them from their homes, as i researched into the topic it was apparent the amount of manipulation  that occurred to this culture, which urged me to explore this field through the visual means of dress. The art work of the native Americans also inspire my practice as they have a high value of the crafts of good and how the process of the making adds to the story of the finished product. I like this idea as i feel it makes work much more personal and gives life to a piece, they often would leave pieces unfinished or with blemishes as anything to perfect was seen as static and lacked spirit. Ive been channelling this through my work concentrating on the motion of my drawings and also using freehand stitch, it refreshing to concentrate on the art of making instead of having a fixed outcome. overall constellation has made it easier to transcend both my practice and that of critical thinking. It helps expand my practice by giving me array of philosophies to work from and broadening my perspective.


Constellation: Level 5

The constellation i chose at the beginning off term for my second year was Many Guises of the Absurd, this study group was mainly focused around the theories of the existentialists. It open my eyes to a rang of the human condition and how individuals battle with finding their place in the world. The idea of existentialism is to create a meaning in life, as some see life as just a repetitive struggle of self made tasks and once accomplished you set a new challenge that are even harder to maintain. Many explore what gratification is gained from this and weather it actually gives you a purpose in life. I think one of the main goals is to be apart of a collective and participate in the world around you, but for this to happen theorist suggest that both your facticity and transcendence must be a lined. facticity meaning the things such as your gender and age, but your transcendence is who you are as a person, and how you communicate and interact with your environment. If either one of these are off kilter, this is when a person discovers anxieties and with draw themselves from being active in society as they dont see purpose in their lives.

Although one example of how someone can combat this was by identifying the problem, in this case it was their transcendence as their mind set was that of a girl but had male body, by choosing to elect surgery to merge her transcendence and facticity, it allowed her to become an active part in society again. This is a rear case as many struggle with their transcendence not there facticity and both of these in balance create your own essence. This was something i explored in my essay and they way artist portray essence through portraiture, especially self portraits as i looked at artists such as Egon Schiele, where his style communicates more than just abstraction but the way he felt about himself. I was interested in weather it was possible to show your essence in portraiture as facticity was there but through his style i think he was able to show his battle with his personal transcendence. Therefore as these may have been unbalance perhaps essence was not quite there, but his painting definitely portray the making of this and show the internal emotion. He also applied this when painting many of his subjects as they were normally those close to him so he had a good insight into how they interacted with there environment, which in some ways is more helpful as he can paint them how he perceives them. As no one can know the inner struggles of someones mind but Egon still communicates his subjects essence efficiently through his strong brush strokes. But in a way i think all his painting capture his essence as he is actively applying the paint giving each piece a little bit of himself.

This study group has helped me understand more about the human condition and helped me to bring layers of understanding and perspective in my work, it also helped me communicate in a more emotive way. I’ve used this in some of my most recent editorial projects. One was about veterans playing poker and how they have become over looked as old men, and not the heroes who fought for their countries. I tried to communicate this through the medium of inks mainly using colour and compositions showing them as small figures to create the feeling of being obsolete within a crowd being towered over by the statue of liberty, representing what they fought for.

My other editorial was about how to achieve happiness, as we set out certain narratives that we think will make us happy instead of the day to day interaction. This was very closely linked to my constellation, as again it is about setting goals and reaching them, but even when we do this there is no guarantee for our happiness. I think this article was right to point out that the day to day involvement with the outside world and the people around us is much more important, as it is hard to be happy all the time but concentrating on the things that have a positive and negative affect on you in present and taking action can create happiness for the future. So i made an image that showed a man weighed down by his choices in life, by following the typical narrative of education getting married and being placed in a good job all of which sound perfectly fine for majority but this narrative should contain more individuality to gain your own personal happiness. I did this by continuing in ink and using there vivid colour contrasting against white paper creating a clean, bold image.

I am also linking my dissertation proposal to my field as the topic of Native Americans and tribal culture came from a personal link to my family, as my Nan has always been interested in their memorabilia and is one of the fond childhood memories looking at her decorative plates.I used this connection to bring a broader view on the the project of ‘home truths’ which was a ceramic/illustration based brief. This is when i started my research into the native american culture and became really interested how they were represented in american history, and also how they are still treated as a minority group today. So i created my own plates and wanted to portray a kind of continuum of how their culture is romanticised and used to help profit American society with out any authenticity. I painted loose vivid images of the typical subjects for example, Native on horse back, dancing by a fire and a collection a feathers, i then made these into decals which i transferred to my plates which i had sgraffito some of the awful indecents that had happened during colonisation. Therefore showing the truth in contrast of what one society wants you to see. Through doing this i realised i really enjoy the process and development of ceramics, and to have a finished product at the end is something that has pushed me in my work.

Pecha Kucha

This power point presentation was very useful, as it allowed me to round up all my work from the lat term and this term and gave the ability to see links that were not obvious at the time. Which is what i think is helpful as sometimes you just need to do the work, and analyse it later allowing for certain element to show in your work. I think the main thing ive seen in my work is how i really enjoy process and getting in to other materials, and using these materials to communicate something with in them selves, and using them in a way that supports my concept. And just learning different techniques opens pathways to how i can applied illustration in a more diverse way. Both ceramics and stitch is something i would i like to continue with and see what effect i can create.


Constellation: Over View

Constellation has been useful component towards my work as it has allowed me to look at thing in broader terms in relation to work in subject and field. With a wide range of theories and outlooks and how visuals communicate meaning. Through this it has taught me to really think about what i chose to symbolise in my work, and how i want my work to communicate to other whether its through colour or certain objects. It also made me realise that every thing has a meaning and that meaning can be changed by how you place in your work. I found many of the reading interesting this term, one of them being Gaultier.

Gaultiers design for Madonna first visually was very masculine with a pant suit to portray authority and power as it would in a place of business. Although with a lot of Gaultier designs there’s an underlying edge this time it is shown with the corsetry as this is taken from the Victorian period. I think he uses this to show the historical value of women’s repression by means of the corset its self is very restricting and in those times it was an undergarment that shouldn’t be seen he turns this on it head as the conical bra is visible through the suit, with placed tears through the suit it creates empowerment and is meant to be liberating women. By exaggerating the breast in quite aggressive way showing that they longer need to hide their bodies but instead celebrate them. I really enjoyed how clothing can mean so much and demonstrate such powerful statements.

The zoot suit reading was also very interesting as i had no idea that there was so many political issues behind it, as they were bright, vivid colours but were always drastically oversized. This was a way of rebelling as the majority were of Hispanic or African American origin, they felt they were not treated equally. So after the second world war there was a drain on many thing therefor they had to be rationed,one thing being material.  they used the oversized suits to show there dissatisfaction with society and promoting there criminal activity, as they were not abiding by the rules this created great tension in America. I found it interesting how you can still find aspects of this fashion in today’s society,especially with social media and celebrity culture, as Bruno mars fashions a modern type of zoot suit in his video to uptown funk. Which i felt was very relevant to this time as the zoot suit wearers were known to take part in jive and funk music.

But for my essay i chose to do it on punks as i found them interesting just due to the fact there has been no fashion culture that has be as extreme as punk. They just wanted to go against everything that was seen as natural or ‘normal’ this really interested me as i hadn’t really thought about using my physical appearance to portray a statement. But as i read more into it, and all of the subcultures it was clear that these subculture still get carried through with today fashion, maybe unknowingly but i really enjoy that my mind has been opened to the historical meanings of of items and objects and how they are perceived differently today.

the spirit of punk also intrigued me as they were known for being outrageous and shocking. As they saw them selves as outcasts as they didn’t want to be a part of society and did not follow any common curtsy when it came down to being a part of society. But when it came down to their peer groups there were strict rituals that you had to stick by or you weren’t considered a ‘real’ punk. Such as, certain kinds of clothing that had been altered by hand the more fragmented the better, and must of included rips and tears revealing the bear flesh. Also applying household objects such as safety pins, toilet chains and even tampon as accessories or jewelry. It all sees like a type of pea-cocking with who could put the most gruesome outfit together and who could think of the next sordid object to add to there embellish. But the punks were masters of bricolarge and there isn’t an outfit today that hasn’t some how been influenced by punk.

Overall constellation has helped me reconnect and understand society better and giving me the ability to look at things and think about what they communicates. As strong values is a big part of this constellation, and i want to takes this through to my work and communicate something that is important and relates to people. As i feel that rebellion is a part of everyday life in all soughs of situation. With all subjects i think it is important to experiment and break the rules as this is the only way to come up with something new and exciting and something no ones seen before.