The development of my art practice is evolving. I have been asked to define what a studio is for me and my work. So far over the course I have learned that working in a studio is very important to me. I need to have my own space to work through ideas with materials. I need to have a place to play with stuff and a wall to display, arrange, re-arrange, look at what I've done and reflect on it. I am learning the importance of research to enrich and add depth to my practice and help me be a sustainable artist.
Researching Skillfully through objects and archives workshop at Central Saint Martins. This workshop was very insightful in giving me methodologies to explore, help me be more affective in my research, and give me new ways of analyzing a subject. We discussed intention in researching. How and why we are researching something. It could be to learn more about a specific topic or subject. It could be to generate ideas. This is achieved by looking, and documenting to see what sparks my interest. In order to handle the objects from the CSM Museum & Study Collection we had to wear gloves and use a pencil to jot down information or questions we had about each item. At the end of the workshop Judy, the director, pulled an object out just for me. I'd mentioned earlier that I had been researching molecular gastronomy and gourmet food plating to see if I could use it to inform my practice. Out came Heston Blumenthals book of recipes and pictures from his restaurant The Fat Duck.
I am glad I took the time to attend this workshop. I have more focus and flexiblity in how I research. I also feel confident that I have the skills to go to any museum around the world and investigate their collections.
"Stuff, It starts with stuff rather than ideas..." -David Batchelor (Dawson ©2012: pg. 16)
I"ve been looking at the process of making and how I can use materials in different ways. Some artists I have been looking at have been, Helen Pailing a designer maker. She made an object a day with everyday materials. Little sculptures that I found so pleasing to look at. I also have been looking at, David Batchelor a sculptor who uses lots of color in his work and he uses simple materials. My interest in materials the history of some of their uses and how I can better manipulate them lead me to visit the Materials & Products Collection at Central Saint Martins. OMG! What excitement to see this collection of materials. I got lists of websites for samples I want to send for and experiment with. I also just like the look of the collection how it was organized and displayed.
The film Has been a great starting point for how I develop work. In this film the director Lars Von Trier proposes that Jorgen Leith remakes his film
in 5 different ways. This is a filming technique that Lars uses to place restrictions on the process and hopefully develop original work. I attempted to place similar restrictions on myself when making my first body of work during this course. I found the restrictions useful in getting me to explore more. Developing my skills in manipulating different materials has been helpful in this process. Placing these restrictions on my work opened me up creatively and I believe will continue to be crucial to my practice.
To develop my first body of work I gave myself the task of using something, anything that caught my interest in the present no matter how random to give me a starting off point. On my way home I witnessed an argument on the bus involving a woman who felt that her personal space had being invaded. I thought about this idea of space and ran with it. The idea of personal space was my theme. I researched writings on my theme.
How we tend to behave in certain spatial settings depending on scale, color, or placement in and around architecture or objects. I mind mapped, took pictures that represented space in it's many forms for reference: tight spaces, crowded spaces etc. I also looked online for relevant images. Then I went to the studio and started playing with materials with these ideas in mind. I came up with some assemblages that I decided to develop further into larger works. Using spatial interventions I can provoke feelings of excitement or calm bring people together or keep them apart.
These are images of some of my reference photos, and assemblages.
With "The Five Obstructions" idea to make works in a number of different ways I started in the metal shop learning the equipment. With these skills I would attempt to achieve what I had created with the small assemblages. I learned how to cut metal with the guillotine. It was much harder to manipulate the metal than my cardboard assemblages. I used all kinds of means to bend the metal: a vice, clamps, the roller, the side of the table, brute force!!! It was all very complicated and experimental. I found I had to be very patient with myself and very flexible since I hadn't made the forms and had never worked with metal before. Even though it was a challenge I actually liked the physicality involved in the making. I had envisioned the metal folding over ever so gently like the cardboard in my smaller versions but it didn't happen that way. The finished pieces didn't come out like I thought they would but I think they turned out nicely. I also thought the first pieces I made were way to large. Especially since there isn't much space in the studio for me to store them. I think it's best for me to start small and scale up. I would however like to make larger works in the future with a specific installation in mind.
I continued developing this series and decided to make a welded piece that would hang in the air. After cutting the pieces and welding them together I wanted to add color. I had to use wet & dry sand paper to take the oil off the steel so the paint would adhere. My goal in making this piece was to release the heaviness of the steel and attachment to the wall in the first versions of Spaces series. I like the result of this piece and it is hanging up for my first assessment exhibition.
I've never worked in a wood workshop before so I was very excited to get going. For my second version of this series I worked with perspex for the first time. I learned how to cut it with the ban saw, and used a heat gun to experiment with bending the material to get the look and shape I wanted. Once I heated the perspex it was pretty malleable. I really liked the way this series turned out.
Making Stretchers and such!!! Well I've never made stretchers before. This took me a number of hours to get the hang of using the machines and cutting the wood properly. Again, I had to be very patient with myself. I feel like I should pick up on everything right away. I can be very hard on myself. Making my own stretchers are just as important to me as what will go on them. This skill is necessary for me to be sustainable. It will keep my costs low and I can control whatever shapes and sizes I prefer.
I also used the workshop to be inventive with cutting shapes and devise strange ways of hanging my work. I am interested in this to investigate through my work how I can use children's play and activate the space and signal that "childhood and play is welcome here" and to suggest a "space where magical things happen" pg. 210 I experimented with a shape from one of my small assemblages took a large piece of wood and made cuts on the Ban Saw to form andulating organic shapes. I later took this cut wood into the print workshop to screenprint on.
I've also been exploring wood joining techniques to experiment with balancing pieces in unusal ways and gain versatility in displaying my work. Learning these new skills are important in my practice because it offers me the ability to develop my ideas in various mediums and possibly expand ways of reaching my audience. It also adds to my artistic vocabulary and enables me to take calculated risks and confidently engage with my materials.
Killing time, waiting on you
wood cut with ban saw, screenprint of image from lost and found series
After my first set of projects were finished I found that I had a lull in making. So now I find that having a number of projects going at the same time will keep the process flowing.
To work on time management I give myself tasks of accomplishing activities in the workshop at the beginning of the week. I do this in case I'm busy with writing or research later on in the week. I have set up a space to work at home and I feel like I can get more accomplished by not just relying on going into the studio at school to make work. Lately I have been working on managing my time with making work and writing about making work. When I'm in the process of making I am in the zone of that creative mind set and I find it difficult to transition into the critical thinking. I know balancing the two is important in my development as an artist and I am trying to find out what works best for me.
There are so many different processes to learn in the print workshop. So far I've learned: Screenprinting, Intaglio, Aquatint, and Photopolymer-relief. When I come up with new ways to incorporate these processes into my practice I experiment.
I just finished getting large format digital prints done of 2 of my new series Lost & Found. I am still deciding how I want to display these.
I also took one of the images from my Lost & Found series and exposed it into a screenprint. I took a risk and printed it on the oddly shaped piece of wood I cut out on the band saw a few weeks ago. (The shape that came from a small section of one of my assemblages). I was told by Ling one of the print technicians that screenprinting on wood was doable but if the sides of the wood punctured the screen I would have to pay for it. I made sure the edges were sanded down so it wouldn't puncture the screen and I painted it with gesso. I had no idea what this would look like but I was pleasantly surprised. I will be adding more layers to it to work with my idea of using signs in a way to engage my viewers.
In this workshop it was great to see how to use the materials to make the face cast. This was the first time the model had done a face cast. She was nervous to find out it took about 30min. to sit and wait for the cast to harden on her face. Timing is crucial in placing the mod roc plaster on the back of the head and on top of the alginate once it is placed on her face. The final result was amazing. Although I liked the process I think I would prefer sculpting a head from clay and casting that. So I have begun the process of sculpting with clay.
This is the clay head I've been working on. I've never worked with clay to sculpt before and I find it very relaxing. I used myself as the subject. Looking in the mirror to get the basic face structure. When it's finished I will cast it and experiment with combining abstraction and figurative elements.
We set up today for the assessment exhibiton. The three of my pieces that are shown are my newest works. The florescent yellow hanging piece SPACES seems to be the culmination of my first series I made when I first started the course. It developed from a small assemblage to a larger cardboard piece to this lovely floating piece. I felt I was able to release the weight of the steel by painting it with a light playful color and suspending it in the air. The wall hung piece and the floor piece are my development up to this point of learning my materials and figuring out balance in space and joining processes. I was flexible with the placement of the floor piece ATTITUDE DEVANT. It was initially to be a wall hung piece but during curation I was told it looked good on the floor so I went with it.