Saturday, 28 April 2012

Moving on!

Firstly, welcome Hilde, glad you popped over from my other blog to see this one!

Having had 4 lovely years at my current establishment (Access to Art & Design and B. A. Fine Art) it was time to leave. I really wanted to carry on with my Fine Art as I felt I had found my niche. However, the nearest place that offered this was full time, 1 year, 5 days a week, that would be a one hour drive either way each day.

I know my limits. Some days during my B.A., the 5 minute walk and 10 minute drive was troublesome in that I often arrived home and couldn't remember the journey at all. So, Fine Art there wasn't an option.

The next choice was Printmaking at a different place. This would involve a 10 minute drive, a 45 minute train journey (and the cost of all that), a 10 minute walk and the reverse to come home. This course though could be done part time over 3 years, 1 day a week. I knew it would be tiring but seemed possible.

Anyways, to cut a long story short, I went for my interview, told and showed the tutor what I was interested in and that I planned to initially do traditional print but would later change to video. This was accepted and so it began.

However, within a very short space of time, I was called up to his office to explain what I was doing. I was perplexed, I knew what I was doing, turning data into work but all of a sudden, it seemed unacceptable. I was told to go to the Head tutor in Fine Art to see if he could 'help' me!

Said tutor thought what I was doing was very exciting and I didn't need help. I should have got the message. From there, it went down hill rapidly and within 7 weeks (just 7 days), I knew I couldn't carry on. The tutor constantly tore strips off my work, including in what should have been private tutorials where others tutors were teaching students in the office!

Need I say more. However, my saving grace was my ex-tutor C. from the B.A. course as well as some of the others. They all thought my work exciting and couldn't understand what my current tutor was finding difficult.

Anyhow, I grit my teeth, got through the first year to get my Postgraduate Certificate in Printmaking and promptly left.

Do I regret it – NO!

Do I miss academia – NO!

Could I have carried on elsewhere – NO! (well actually I did apply for an online Master's degree in Fine Art and would probably have got my place after praise from the selection tutor – but they, like everyone else, put up their fees and that was that).

As it happens, it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I took ages to get over it, nearly 18 months. Now though I can feel the old bug slowly but surely beginning to bite me again. This time though, anything I produce will be solely for my pleasure, to be shown on this blog for your perusal. There will be no pressure over timetables, exhibiting, selling etc. I never wanted to be a practicing artist, I simply wanted to stretch my brain.

So, I will show you the work I produced for that first year and you can judge it for yourselves. Come back soon.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Origins - the movie!

Finally, after much hard work by myself and the animator, my son J., the work was rendered (many, many hours). 

Here it is, I hope you like it as I think it is by far, the best piece of work to date. 

Monday, 16 April 2012

Origins - Animated Graphic Notation

The final piece of work and major exhibition piece was an animated graphic notation developed from the map below which details my ancestors births, marriages and deaths. 

These areas of dots were firstly entered onto a spreadsheet, then a document ready for entering into Garageband. 

Each piece of information was turned into a musical note and put into the music programme. As I have said before, I am not a musician, I cannot just sit and play this information. It has to go through many hours or detailed work to get it to appear as a sound piece.

Once entered into the music programme, piano role sheets were printed out, then stuck together to form the story board for the  animator. Here is part of one of those sheets.

Each note had to have its colour and what octave it belonged to, for transferring into his animation programme.

As you can imagine this took a long time with much liaison between us.

I have a belief that within each of us, are miniscule amounts of stardust; trace elements that have come to earth from other systems in the universe. Many belief systems are based on our ancestors being in the heavens, looking down at us, guiding us.

It felt right then, to have each piece of ancestral information displayed as a sequence of star bursts. The task for the animator was to ensure that each piece of information (one data entry note) began at the correct time, in the correct part of the sky (the octave on the stave) and in the correct colour (the coloured thread above each note on the map).

Here are individual stills of one area of star burst. The first is the wire frame still of number 1054, the second the rendered still.

So, to reiterate, every star burst represents a birth, marriage or death. It's colour refers to the coloured thread above that event dot on the Origins map at the top of this page. The placement of each note on the vertical axis depends on which octave it belongs to.

There are 4 beats to a bar and each beat on the horizontal axis represents one year. There are 17 frames of animation per year and each year lasts for 0.68 seconds. The notes run from the year 2009 through to 1797 where the order of the notes (not the music itself) is reversed to finish back in 2009. This ebb and flow of time links to gene inheritance, genetic memory and remembrance.

Gaps between the star bursts represent silence indicating a lack of ancestral events (i.e. no-one was born, married or died). All frames have a black background to them, which ensures that the silence appears as a normal part of the sky and musical sequence.

The animated graphic piece will be added when I have uploaded it to you tube.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Liminal Fragments Semester 2

I am very interested in the liminal which refers to a state of betwixt and between, neither one thing nor the other. 

At the precise moment that life ceases, the body is in a state of flux. It is not fully living nor fully dead, neither hot nor cold, not in one realm or the other. 

Does all life die when the body dies or can the essence/spirit/soul of our ancestors live on?

These photographs suggest the possibility that our ancestors are still here; but we are unable to see them because of their liminal state.

The final pictures were developed through many stages of print and application of filters.

Original 1918-1920's photographs were used, starting with my maternal grandmother Elsie. These were printed onto thick, iron on Vilene (the kind used to stiffen home made blinds).

Each panel was pulled apart, layer by layer, leaving a print that was almost transparent. Each person was cut out, mounted and  photographed with light projected from behind them. Then it was worked on through various layers of filters until I got the effect I was looking for.

Most of my peers found some of the effect unsettling but I thought they really reflected the effect I was trying to achieve.

 The finished one of her for the final exhibition (A1 size):

Maternal grandfather Phineas:

 The finished one of him for the final exhibition (A1 size):

Finally, my aunt (in law) Mary (left) and my mother in law Olive (right).

 The finished one of them for the final exhibition (A1 size):  


Monday, 9 April 2012

Towards the end of Semester 1

First of all, thank you Anne and Kevin for being followers of my blog.

The first few months of Year 3 were an absolute whirl wind. Not only was there a huge dissertation to get to grips with, we also had to continually evolve and move our thoughts and ideas forward. It didn't seem that long at all, before Christmas was over and the hard work of getting ready for our final exhibition began.

As you can imagine, and as be shown here, what you end up with at the end of Semester 1 and Semester 2/ exhibition is very different, or should be.

Below are some screen shots of a booklet I made to show how I was thinking, some pictures of work in progress and how I might envisage my exhibition (apologies for the slight blurriness, but they are screen shots of word documents).

Finally, here is what my studio area looked like at the end of Semester 1.


Sunday, 8 April 2012

Ancestral Bowls

So began the third year of my BA Fine Art.

Being a keen genealogist, I knew I wanted to create work derived from our ancestral information. The starting point was the creation of a large map detailing (with dots) their places of birth, marriage and death where known. Once that was done, coloured threads (based on the colour of these musical bells) were placed over the map.

This is a diagram of this process as the original, made from laminated pages of road atlas, didn't photograph very well. A small part of it before it was laminated is shown here.

The original map measured 5' tall by 4' wide. Wooden batons top and bottom, with little nails every centimetre, held the coloured threads in place. Being a sound/data artist, the threads would later be used to make the sound element.  For now though, this information would be of use for other work.

I came across an article on prayer bowls and felt this would be a good place to begin as I think about my ancestors on many occasions. I like working with textiles where possible (as noticed previously in my Titanic Life-jacket). Over the years I have acquired quite a few bits of silk and felt. Using these to create small sheets of fabric, would create an ethereal effect where light can shine through and radiate around it in the sun. These sheets were based on each person's colour code, taken from the corresponding thread colour above their dots for birth, marriage and death on the map.

Using a small bowl as a template, (covered in cling film for easy release) the squares of silky felt fabric were glued over it and left to dry. Here are the before and after shots of the bowls. 

Each one measured about 3" across and 2" deep. Here are two more close up:

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Constellation Titanica

As the centenary approaches of this dreadful disaster, I wanted to get my movie finished and uploaded. Although you can hear the morse code message in its original format, I have also re-worked it to give a different sound. Everything else you hear, is a result of quite literally plotting the night time constellations onto a stave.

I am still not very proficient with i movie 11 so hope you forgive anything you don't like but this is the best I can do and feel it is better than the original.

Hope you like it.