Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Here we go with the next update (can you see how I'm avoiding writing my essay???) ... First of the Four Words briefs on my selected theme of 'Birds' - "Support".

After many permutations, my take on 'support' had become 'to support a cause', and the obvious one being the RSPB - who I'm a big fan of. I wanted to design a poster or something similar, that which you could then buy copies of to 'support' the RSPB. When talking this over with the tutors, this somehow morphed into making some kind of signage (the kind you get in zoos) - so there could still eventually be a version of the sign in poster form that you could buy, but you also got a sign, with 'supporting' info about the birds... etc ...

I eventually ended up with what you see above. The actual painting minus the info key on the right is about A2 size. I concentrated on my local area - the Avon Gorge - as its two minutes walk from where we live, and I had started to get to recognize the bird life there. Its done with acrylic on primed plywood. I had a sheet big enough to paint the main bit on, and realised that I had enough left over to do the birds on too (rather than paint the birds onto the main section). I spent a day at the woodwork studios breathing in saw dust whilst cutting all the little birdies out! Some of the birds are propped up on bits of doweling to give them a bit of height, and add interest. The numbers are also bits of doweling cut to size. The background is a kind of simplified version of the gorge with the Clifton Suspension Bridge in the background.

CRIT: Interestingly, this is the one piece that the tutors picked on to show my one big weakness - and its quite an interesting observation. They were happy with my execution of the work, but what they say that this piece lacked, which they saw a bit more on the other ones, was my influence on it. At first I didn't quite understand what they meant. I had chosen to do the gorge because its personal to me ... isn't that what they meant? But then one of them gave the example that if I'd taken the 'info key' bit, and rather than do a straight 'info-graphics' presentation, the way I had, I had instead done a story about the birds, or described a walk along the gorge or something - ie my take on an info-graphics poster/sign - rather than an actual info-graphics sign, they would have been much happier ...

And this is quite true of a lot of my art work - I don't 'play' enough with it ... They basically WANT me to be a bit playful and obscure and make connections that other people wouldn't have. Whilst I'm still at college and not doing actual commissions for the RSPB, there was nothing stopping me doing that, and the tutors WANT me to explore that side of myself.

Hmmm ... you're asking the ex-scientist to let loose here ... might be a little difficult .... but then again I have never had any problems 'letting-loose' when I was dancing. Well that's because dancing was never 'work' - it was fun and outside the realm of work. Illustration is now 'work', so everything has to be neat and tidy and perfect, and unfortunately, a bit 'obvious' too .... well not anymore! I've had my poke, and now I'm going to work on being more free and playful :)

What a great thing to be told at a crit - "You need to play more!" ... oh yes indeedy!

Note: I have three more words to blog about, but I've realised that the photos are not very good, so updates might have to wait till I get some better photos ... sorry ...


Tiara said...

Can I move to your course!??!? I try adding my own influence to my assignments and be a little "playful" (not totally, but this is a Creative Industries degree) and I get near-fails. Why? "not enough lecture material". -_-;;

tiara =/= academia, evidently.

Camilla said...

I love this! I think it's funny how we have both cut back our blogging time recently- it's almost as if there's deadlines and end of semester's in the air at the moment.

I'm wondering are you free at all on Monday morning? I shall be staying Sunday night at a friends in Southville and could meet up with you if you weren't in school.