Wreck this Journal

 

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This is one of my New Year’s resolutions that I have made and one that I am intending to keep.  I blogged about my New Years Resolutions in THIS post and wrote about wanting to be more creative this year and attempt to do something creative at least once a week.  I also wrote that I had owned this book for over a year and never really done anything with it, vowing to incorporate this into my creativity.  I chose a page at random, just flicking through the book and randomly stopping and the page I chose had instructions to doodle over the top of the page, the text, the margins, everywhere!

I decided to not really think about what I was doing and just make some shapes and see where it led me…

This is the finished product…

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And here’s a close up…

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I’m really pleased with the outcome, which took around 6 hours to complete.  I love the shapes, the mix of colours (I used Staedtler triplus fineliner pens to draw with) and also the mix of textures I managed to create using lines and dots.

I have now started on my next page, which isn’t quite finished yet but when it is I shall share that too!  (If you fancy a sneak peek soon then pop by my Instagram which you can find HERE 🙂 )

I’m really enjoying just doing something creative without having a plan and am finding myself thinking about what I could do next, or what I could have done differently, I’m even thinking about purchasing another book so I can work on the same page again but work it all in a different way!

Something bad has happened, not in a bad “I killed someone” way, or even in a bad “I’m getting locked up for years” way or anything like that.  This is bad in an “I got so angry I actually threw up” kind of way.

2 days ago I found out I had missed my graduation.  My GRADUATION.  That once in a lifetime celebration of passing a degree (trust me, I am NEVER doing a degree again so this was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.)  I had no email, no letter, no invite from the university, no nothing.  How did I find out that I had missed it?  Social Media. Social Flippin’ Media.  One of the girls who was on my course uploaded a pic of her at graduation and that is how I found out that I should have been there.  I was sat in Starbucks at the time, not that it is relevant or anything.  I was waiting to meet a friend to discuss a project I was working on, he was late, I was using the free wi-fi and browsing my social media sites and boom, just like that, my whole experience of uni came back to me in one foul swoop.

And now I’m sat here writing this, feeling really miserable and angry, left out, distressed, resentment, the list of emotions could go on and on but there is no one word to sum up exactly how I’m feeling.  And I’m pissed off because I got so angry that I puked.

And I don’t know what to do anymore.  Part of me thinks the whole uni experience was a waste of time, I might have passed the course but I’ve not been given the chance to “graduate”, nor have I even received my certificate.  What really, was the point of it all?

The Need to Write (or A Reflection on the Past) Part 2

After the first post that I wrote (which can be found here) I have decided to run a series of blog posts covering each year of my time in University.  This post will be covering my first year undertaking my Photographic Art BA Hons) degree and all that happened in that year.

September 2011 was the year that I began my Photographic Art degree, a course that wasn’t my first choice of degree (more to come on this later in the series…)but one that I was looking forward to none the less.  I received a recommended reading list and an equipment list prior to the course starting and sourced all the necessary books.  I spent a long time sourcing all the equipment stated and stocked up on camera batteries and plenty of film ready for the course to start.

I remember the first day bundling my equipment together and heading off for the bus ride in (at that point I still hadn’t learned to drive!) and being so nervous I was nearly sick.  When I got to uni I met up with a few people who had been in my class for Foundation Art which settled me somewhat.  We all made our way to the assigned class room where we would meet all our other course mates.  That day passed in a bit of a blur of meetings and talks about the university and what we could expect from the course.  The course started pretty much the next day with our first assignment being handed to us not long after.

In the first year we got taught how to use an analogue camera (one that you load with film), how to process black and white film and also how to turn the negatives into prints.  We learned two different ways to create prints bit using the same method of paper exposure to transfer the negative image onto light reactive paper, one of these was a manual, wet room way where you mix the chemicals and process the print fully yourself and another “mechanical” way in which you expose the paper and then feed it into a machine that is filled with the correct levels of chemical and processes the paper for you, the image then being fed through the machine and out the other side once the process was complete.

We leaned to use a Medium Format camera which uses a larger film and can create beautifully detailed images.  I now own several different kinds of Medium Format cameras including 2 Box Brownies (one a higher spec than the other) a Holga and a Voightlander and I really do enjoy using them.  The class took a trip to  Gregynog Hall, a beautiful old mansion-house, where we undertook a project to produce “Film Noir” style images.  A few weeks before the trip we were split into groups and were given a piece of text to use as the basis for our images, the images needed to illustrate the text and act as a visual story.  The text my group was given to work from was Roald Dahl’s Lamb to The Slaughter.  Part of the work for this project focused on planning.  Our group had several meetings where we discussed the text and chose parts of the story to illustrate.  We then went on to discuss how we wanted the images to look and how were to be shot.  We spent a lot of time sourcing props that could be used in the final images to make them look authentic, spending time in many charity and antique shops.  Once we got to Gregynog we spent a day exploring all the rooms and deciding which would provide the most suitable backdrop for the images then setting the scenes up and sorting out where the cameras would be and how to light the images.  I really enjoyed that project, it taught me a lot about the technical side of image creating and that there is a lot more to consider than just the final image.

Other projects we were given to work on included using colour film, from taking images to processing the film through a specialist machine and then onto printing the images.  I found colour photography really interesting, however I really struggled with the printing of the images as there is so much that needs to be considered.  We worked on several different projects under the umbrella heading of colour photography, one of the projects that really sticks in my head was a diary that I worked on, inspired by Corrine Day’s “Diary” and work by Ori Gersht and Tracey Ferguson titled “Day by Day”.  I was set a project about Photography and Physiognomy (definition of Physiognomy here).  I started off looking at how important the face is in recognising someone, and how the image of our face is used on so many different things, from ID cards to passports and as our profile image on social media, but after looking at “Day by Day”, a series of images taken by Ori Gersht and Tracey Ferguson when they were in a relationship together and documenting the break up of that relationship and seeing the differences in the artist’s faces as that relationship failed I became interested in creating my own diary.  I took photographs each day, 3 x a day and noted my thoughts and feelings.  I had hoped that the images produced would convey my emotions at the time.  I was surprised to see, through the images, the small changes that took place in my appearance, from my hair getting longer, my face starting to thin out and how tired I looked in some of the images, and although the emotions I was feeling didn’t seem to come out in the images I felt that I had achieved something.

My favorite project was the final project of the year that I worked on.   I can’t really remember the project brief but I called this project “A Model Family”.  With this project I examined the bonds between family and friends, trust and friendship circles and the relationships between friends and family.  I also looked at how communication within these groups happened and the movement between friendship circles.  For example, having a close friend in work can change to a friendship that only takes place on social media or email and phone conversations when the job position changes, how friendships change due to other factors such as moving and relocation.  This project became less about photography and images and manifested itself into a series of models based on atoms.  The models that I created used different sized polystyrene balls and wooden skewers painted in different colours, each different sized ball represented a different friendship group or part of my family and differentiated in size depending on the size of the allocated group.  As I put these models together it became apparent that they looked like models used in chemistry to illustrate chemical structures.  There are 4 models in total, each having a “Chemical” like formula name assigned to them, the largest is called

M=F(1IF,1EF)+Bf(1SF,1AF)+Fr(1BF,1CF)+O(1UF,1WF,1CF,1SF) which equates to Me = Family (1 Immediate Family, 1 External family) + Boyfriend (1 Step Family, Adopted Family (Boyfriends Family) + Friends (1 Best Friend, 1 Close Friend) + Others (1 group of Uni friends, 1 group of work friends, 1 group of college friends, 1 group of school friends).

The smaller models started off as just me, then my family and worked its way up in groups to become the largest model.  I really enjoyed this project the most and it changed so much from the beginning where I couldn’t really think of anything I could do into something that I am still super proud of today!

I learned quite a lot in my first year of my degree but there were some points where I questioned myself on what I was doing and whether the course would be worth it.  At the beginning of this part of my “Uni Life” I mentioned getting the equipment list and buying everything as I thought I would need it all.  I did feel a bit misled by the list as it turned out that some of the equipment I bought never got used, and wasn’t needed which had an impact on my finances because of the belief that if a list was sent out to us then we would need all the items on the list.  I think if I was to do it all again then I wouldn’t just go out and buy everything on the list but get the very basics and build up my kit as I needed things.  I also struggled as I’d never used Photoshop before starting this course, which nearly all the other students had experience of, that for me was a sharp learning curve especially as training sessions with my tutor fell through and I had to teach myself the basics.  I purchased the best book ever, one that I continue to use regularly called CS3 for Dummies, which helped me get to grips with all the things that I wanted to do.  I wouldn’t say I’m an expert by any means and am continually learning new tricks and ways to do things in Photoshop.

So, in a nutshell, that was my first year of my Photographic Art Degree.  I hope you enjoyed it!   Stay tuned, or even subscribe if you so wish(!!!) for further stories from my degree!!!!


The Need to Write (or A Reflection on the Past) Part 1

Its weird, this is a blog I started up near enough 4 years ago (on the 6th May 2011 to be precise, making my blog just over 3 and a half years old!).  I created the blog as a way to share my artwork, uni projects, notes and things of interest that I have discovered.  I wanted the blog to be more image heavy than contain lots of writing, however, as time goes on I seem to have spent more and more time writing about things than sharing images and this is something that I feel I need to address.

I find I have bred a need to write, and I’m unsure where it has come from, it’s not writing in a creative (NaNoWrMo for example) way, nor is it probably very interesting for others to read, but I’m finding the whole experience rather therapeutic for myself.  It’s my way of recording things that have happened, of documenting my thoughts and ideas, a way of preserving something of myself for the future that is less likely to be destroyed than if it were written on paper.  I feel like, since I have finished Uni, that I have been neglecting this blog, not sure what to post, and not really having many images or projects to share.  I have one in the pipeline which I will be starting in the New Year, and several other thoughts about other projects I would like to pursue but no projects currently underway, but I have been thinking about these projects and how I want them to go and what kind of outcome I am aiming for.

Anyway, this post isn’t really about talking about the future, I have been wanting to write a post documenting the past four years, the years that I have spent working towards a degree in Photographic Art, a nod to the past and what I have achieved in that time!

I worked for a charity in the payroll department for 3 years prior to starting university, I had been thinking about getting back into art as it was my favorite subject through school and when the news broke that my colleague and I were being made redundant it seemed the perfect opportunity for me to begin life (again) as a student.  I went to an open day with my partner and met the lecturers of the course I wanted to take (Foundation in Art,  Media and Design or F:AMD) at The University of Newport, Caerleon Campus.  I learned a lot about the course and what kind of things the students got to produce and decided it was the course for me.  I enrolled and was surprised to receive a letter inviting me to an interview, even more surprising was that upon attending and going through the interview, at the end I was offered a spot on the course unconditionally!  That was back in 2010!  It seems such a long time ago now!

So, I started the course, catching the bus each day as it was prior to me being able to drive, or I’d get my partner to drop me off on his way to work and picking me up again on his way home (doing 12 hour days in college!)  I learned so much on that course!  We covered lots of different things in our first term, the lecturers designing the course so we could have tasters in lots of different art practices before we decided what kind of “artist” we wanted to be, and where our specialties lay.  We covered photography, fine art, fashion, animation, 3-d Art and printmaking in the first term.  I remember not really getting on with animation, we were required to create a stop motion movie of our name morphing into a chosen characteristic or description word of ourselves.  I created a flick book first and that seemed to work ok but when it came to turning it into a stop motion film I just couldn’t do it.  We were set a lot of fun “activities” to work on, for the fashion element we had to create head-wear based on a love song, I chose U2’s Sweetest Thing and created a hat which had a tear through the middle of it that had been sewn back up with ribbon and had a giant needle sticking out of it.  For the fine art module we had to create a fantasy animal that combined elements of other animals…we got to go to Bristol Zoo as part of the research!  I can remember constructing this fantasy animal, spending hours with chicken wire and paper mache, spray paint and glue, working out how to meld a zebra, flamingo and rat into this creature that then needed to be suspended through a canvas and hung from the ceiling.  That module was probably the hardest to execute.

In the second term I chose to concentrate on Fine Art and, if memory serves right, 3d Art.  I remember working on a project called Higgeldy Piggeldy, where the brief spoke about how some things can appear as one but are actually the opposite and decided to create 2 perspex boxes, one totally transparent and filled totally full of water and sealed in, giving the appearance that it was just a totally empty clear box and totally lightweight, the other giving the appearance of being full of sand but in reality the inside surfaces of the perspex being coated with sand and filled with polystyrene, giving the illusion of heaviness but being really light.  This was going to be an interactive piece, requiring the audience to lift the pieces to experience the opposite of what they imagined.  I remember being really frustrated with this project, I had so many issues with the perspex, it wouldn’t seal properly, my application of sealant was less than perfect and kept leaking, but the idea was there and I managed to back it all up with almost a sketchbook full of ideas and research materials.  we also worked on a piece called Mechanisms where I looked at work involving kinetics (movement), I spent days lying under my desk with a wooden board suspended under it and finding different ways of having a pen make contact with the surface whilst it swung back and for.  I then moved off into Knex and constructed a windmill like structure which turned with a handle and propelled markers around it before settling on making a version of a harmonograph.  We also worked on a project called Location in which I focussed on the area I live in and spent many days gathering leaves and making them into different coloured crayon rubbings before cutting them all out and attaching them to canvas.

For the third and final module I decided I wanted to major in Fine Art.  We had to design our own brief, conduct appropriate research and come up with our own ideas about the subject we had chosen.  I knew that I wanted to focus on the past and on ornaments, the home and ideas of emotion and sentimentality.  I had lost my grandmother in the January of this course and that influenced the piece heavily.  I chose, in the end, to create an installation of part of a room with a cupboard in it that was semi open.  Inside the cupboard were lots of ornaments that had been wrapped in a kind of insulating fabric that was see through, giving the effect of dust sheeting over furniture…it was my way of making a statement about objects in life, many of them hold untold stories, from where they came from and the reason they came to be in the place to the sentiments attached.  No one knows those stories like the owner does and they are shielded away from many Peoples ears, only shared with the trusted few.  And then you die, and all that is left is this group of objects that seem so insignificant to others yet held so much to the person who owned them.

And, that summarises my first year in university… Stay tuned, or even subscribe if you so wish(!!!) for the stories from my degree!!!!

First Solo Art Exhibition

Exhibition 2014

The end of last week was an exciting one for me!  Not only as thursday saw me turn another year older but friday became the date that my first SOLO exhibition was hung!  This is such a big thing for me as it is the first exhibition I have undertaken that displays my work since university but it is also my first exhibition where my images are the only ones on show!  🙂

I was expecting to undertake the hanging of my images on Monday 20th October but in the end, we were able to hang it on the friday before.  My curator (Giulia) made the hanging of my images super easy, fun and quick to install, the whole process went without a hitch and I’m so pleased with the work, it looks better than I could have ever anticipated!

The work is titled “Turning of the Seasons” and focuses on the colours and textures of nature as the seasons change from summer to autumn.  I love the change from summer to autumn the most as it is the most drastic change that happens, from the leaves turning different shades of yellows and orange and red, to the textures we can feel underfoot

The exhibition is taking place at the National Assembly for Wales for the next few months!

In other news, I have submitted several images to the Nikon Photo Contest (http://www.nikon-photocontest.com/en/) .  The theme for this contest is “Home”.  I chose to submit some of my images from a previous body of work which I shot at a friend’s house which has a bit of a sad story attached to it.  The friend whose house it was had died and I went there once the house was cleared to document the remains of a life past, the emptiness left behind and felt that this was a suitable “theme” for the contest, how a house is not a home once the person has gone.  The images talk of loss and emptiness but also of the promise of new beginnings.  I will be uploading the images as soon as the first round of judging has taken place (January 2015).  These images should also be published to the Nikon Photo Contest page around then too.

Future Projects

I am currently in the planning stage for a new project which will see me taking an image every day for 365 days and using the images to create a new art work.  I will be beginning this project on the 1st January as it will be easier to track the start and end of this year-long project using the first calendar date of the new year.  It will also be part of my New Years resolutions too!  I am planning on creating a video piece with the images taken and also a book to accompany the video.  I may even produce some prints at some point too.

I am also going to be having a meeting next week with the Arts Development Officer for Torfaen next week with a view to exhibiting some work in Torfaen which is pretty exciting as Torfaen is my county of residence and many of my images and artworks have been produced around that area!!!

Art Exhibition

I have been selected to show my work in an exhibition format for the National Assembly For Wales!  This is so exciting for me as I have not long graduated from my Photographic Art Deree which I undertook at Caerleon Campus, part of the University Of Newport (Now University of South Wales).  my work at this moment, is with the printer, waiting to be printed before being placed in frames and installed at the beginnging of the weeek commencing 20th October!

Today has been spent deciding which images to print, initially I sent 20 in to go before an art panel – people who decide if the work is suitable to be shown, today I whittled that 20 down to 13, choosing 6 images to be printed large and 7 to be printed small.  I sat with the arts project co-ordinator who helped me to group the images into “mini collections” before sending them off to be printed.

Th theme of the images focuses on Autumn, textures and colours, leaves, plants and other “Autumnal Delights!”  I won’t spoil it for anyone yet by publishing the images that have been chosen here but wait until they have been installed before sharing any more!

I am very excited about this oppertunity for people to see my images and have the chance to exhibit my work in a solo exhibition!

Final Major Project and Dissertation

I know I’ve not written here since July which seems so long ago when in reality it is just a few months.  I am now in my 3rd year of my BA(Hons) PhotoArt degree and I’m starting to struggle with what I am doing, what direction I am going in, what I’m thinking, writing, doing, where my head is at and what I’m producing.  The main subject for my final major project is the “Selfie”.  There’s so much being written about on this subject that it *should* be easy to pick a path to follow for the project.  But I CAN’T.  I seem to have ideas and they don’t seem good enough or when discussed they just don’t seem to have much substance or sticking power, they are half baked and not that creative or imaginative.  I am struggling to know what to do and how to do it.  But perseverance is key and I have ideas to try out, I have no idea whether they will work or if they will be any good but I will try and somewhere along the line I am hoping that everything will make sense and that it will all click into place sooner rather than later.