In the time…

In the time that I have not been on here and blogged about my art a great deal has happened…

  • I have been looking after my own puppy Roxy and my step daughters puppy (Roxy’s brother) Rolo
  • I have become unemployed from my temporary (but brilliant job) as a Pensions Officer ( the position of which I was in for a year)
  • Been a stay at home puppy mum for 2 months
  • had my step daughter and her best friend come and live with me
  • Got a job in Cardiff
  • Graduated from my Level 2 beauty course
  • then became permanently employed in an amazing job 5 mins away from my home
  • gone to many, many festivals, both the music kind and Volkswagen kind
  • Became a single residency household again (with 2 puppies)
  • saw Rolo be re-homed
  • and still be crafting if not blogging… where do I find the time between a 9 – 5 job, puppy care and face timing my O/H each night?

But…

I have some blog posts up my sleeve which are ready to be shared.  you see, I have come down with a virus which has left me feeling hot, then cold, coughing, sneezing and a nose that feels like its about to implode or explode and I’m now off work until I’m well.  So I have an excuse to share with you what I have been up to…

in the mean time…here’s a pic of my sleepy Roxy for you!!!  🙂

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expect to see …

  • adult colouring – both paper and mobile phone based
  • a scrap book which is coming together nicely
  • images which I have taken (phone and camera wise!!!!)
  • some makes I have been working on
  • and things I am into at the moment art wise!!!

I’m planning on posting tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled!!!

Anti Journal, Personal Art Journal and…. The Mindfulness Colouring Book

I managed to get a few pages done in my Anti Journal last week, and also make a start on my Personal Art Journal which I had been wanting to start for a while, due to absence from work as I came down with a sickness bug that left me feeling really poorly and lacking in energy.  All I seemed to have the energy to do was crawl out of bed and down onto the sofa and cwtch up with my pencil-case and creative books (and the puppies of course!).  So in the 3 days I was off ill I managed the following pages….

 

Anti-Journal – Find Wonder In Nature

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My inspiration for this page came from the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly.  I have always been astounded at how one creature can turn into another over time, its kind of like a natural Pokémon!  As a child I used to collect caterpillars, watch them turn into chrysalis’ before hatching out into butterflies and letting them go free and it always felt a bit magical to watch these beautiful creatures emerge from these leathery looking hard cases.  So that was my inspiration “Find Wonder in Nature” – the life-cycle of a caterpillar.

I used Triplus Fineliner pens to create the drawing and add colour to the shapes and watercolour for the background sky as I wanted it to be just a wash of colour.  I chose to “scribble” in the colour on my drawings as I felt that the block colour of the felt pens I like using would be too heavy for this image, I wanted to keep the images light and playful and create a sense of movement whilst still being able to add some detail and have control over the texture of the image.

 

Anti-Journal – Make Each One Different

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I started on this page ages ago and finally got around to finishing it last week.  I didn’t have any real idea of what direction to go in for this page I just knew that I wanted to create something that could look like the patterns from inside marbles or replicate small bouncy balls so I kept that in mind.  This page seemed to be the most difficult so far as I ran out of ideas for each circle before I was even half way through and had to keep leaving it and coming back to it in order to finish it.

I used felt pens to create this page.

 

Anti-Journal – Radiate

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Radiate to me conjures up images of the sun, heat and circles and that is what I tried to convey in this image.  The sun gives off both heat and light and light is made up of a spectrum of colour which I wanted to show.  I used circles to create a spiralling pattern around the centre circle as the typical spiral radiates outward in motion.  I decided to use a black for the background, graduating it in-depth of tone from the lightest tone toward the pattern and getting darker toward the edges to convey a sense of light.

I used felt pens to colour the 2 centre layers of the pattern and a mix of felt pen and watercolour to create the 3rd layer of tonal graduation.  A gel roller ball pen was used to outline each section of the pattern.

 

Anti Journal – Plan The Route From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be

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In my life my general plan is to get from A to B, regardless of whether it is actual travel, planning my future or making plans for something.  I decided to incorporate this into my fictional map.  I added roundabouts and junctions, trees and greenery and a few streams as to me my route anywhere should be calm but interesting and grass, trees and water are calming sites to me (probably from living in Wales for much of my life!  There’s nothing better than being able to view nature from wherever you are!)

I used Staedtler Triplus Fineliners for this image.

 

Anti-Journal – Repeat One Action Over And Over

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I started this page by drawing really uniform, different coloured swirls over the page, (if you look hard, you can see them!) but didn’t really like it so after leaving the page and thinking about it for a while I decided to go back over the page and repeat the swirl but in different sizes over the top of what I had already done, getting the swirl to overlap with other swirls.  I like this page loads though I’m not sure I have finished with it yet and may go back to add more to it at some point.

I used Staedtler Triplus Fineliners for this page.

 

Anti-Journal – Its Raining Colour

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I had a few ideas about how I wanted to create this page but decided to go with colour drips   I decided on this as I wanted the page to look like it had been rained on.  And thought the page looks simple it took an age to complete! I had to wait  for each set of colour drips to dry before I added the next lot of colour as I didn’t want the colours to run into each other!  I used my Aquash brush and watercolour paints to create this page.  The Aquash brush was the best choice as it has a tank to hold the water and a brush end, a bit like a pen.  I was able to pick up paint colour onto the brush and hold it over the page while squeezing the body of the brush slightly to control water flow to the brush and creating drops.  I am pretty happy with this page so far but think that adding more depth to the drops may be a good move, and also adding a further sense of “rain” by exaggerating the splashes that were created.

For this page I used Aquash watercolour paints and brush.

 

Anti-Journal – A Photo of a Photo of a Photo of a Photo

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This one is kind of self-explanatory and I’m not sure if I like it too much as it seemed to me to be the easy route to getting a page done.  That, and my Instax Mini 8, which I took the images on, didn’t seem to focus very well so the images are all blurry.  However, it is done and was more of an experiment to see how my camera would react to indoor photography.  I might change the page at some point.

 

Personal Art Journal

I decided to start a personal art journal as I have been missing my experimental sketch books that I used to have when doing my Foundation course.  I always enjoyed being creative and experimenting with ideas on those pages and felt that this was something to re-start again.  That and getting the encouragement from my Wreck This Journal and Anti-Journal to continue with letting the creativity flow and continue.  I’m not sure I am going to title the pages yet as sometimes I have no specific idea of what I want to create, yet I know I want to create a certain mark on the page before me.  …so here it is, my Personal Art Journal.

Personal Art Journal – Page 1

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This was the first page I created, it was a damp and miserable day, and it was stupidly cold (possibly in part due to me running a temperature and being ill).  I was missing summer and the bright, colourfulness of the season so I set about with my watercolours, creating a graduated sunrise/sunset sky.  After waiting for the page to dry I wanted to add a pattern to the page so I let my pen decide where to go, I wasn’t really focusing on what I was doing, and came up with a pattern of layered petal shapes.  I added the dots and the wavy lines at the end as I felt that the page could do with something to lift it more.  It’s strange to say it, but the image reminds me of a pineapple, the one fruit that I associate most with summer, and I had subconsciously included that into my image!

 

Personal Journal – Page 2

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This page was created not long after the first, and though I was still ill, I was starting to feel better in myself.  I had a dream about shapes, swirling and moving about, changing and flowing and woke up so calm and refreshed that I wanted to try to capture what had been in my dream.  I chose to use bright colours to capture the energy that I had felt upon waking and the circles, triangles and wavy line to capture movement, and to represent water flowing as that was how it had appeared in my dream.  perhaps this flowing movement had aided my calmness when I woke?  The image took an age to create as every time I stepped away from it to look at it, it felt like there was something missing, even once I had finished, however now, looking at it, I am entirely happy with how it turned out and still makes me feel calm and refreshed.  I feel like I have captured what I set out to and that it is a good representation of my dream.

 

The Mindfulness Colouring Book by Emma Farrarons

I know I said a few posts back that I wasn’t going to buy another “creative” book until I had finished my Wreck This Journal and Anti-Journal, but I kept stumbling over this book on Instagram, Facebook, on Amazon as a suggested purchase and on blog reviews.  I never set out to buy this but when out shopping I spotted it out of the corner of my eye and had to check it out.  Let me say this, it was love at first sight!  The designs are intricate and lend themselves to so many different methods of “colouring them in” and the paper quality is good enough that even brand new felt pens don’t bleed colour through them.  The only down side I had to the book, is that it is really hard to crack the spine to get the images to lay flat and get into the crevice to finish colouring the page properly, its like it’s too well made!  But aside from that little bug, I really do like this book!  (And incase you were wondering I purchased this from my local WHSmith’s store as I couldn’t wait for it to be delivered to me if I had bought it on the net!!!)

I’m not going to write explanations of these as they are pretty self-explanatory, I have just added colour to the image in ways that are pleasing to me 🙂

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The Mindfulness Colouring Book – My First Page

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The Mindfulness Colouring Book – Page 2

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The Mindfulness Colouring Book – Page 3

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Wreck This Journal Pages 6 – 9

Here’s my most recent pages, 6 – 9.  This past week I have surprised myself and managed to complete 4 more pages, 2 of them were completed on the same day which helped a lot!  Each of these pages probably had between 2 and 5 hours work put into them 🙂

Here you go…

Page 6

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This is a close up of the page I completed – “Draw Thick Lines And Thin”

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And this is the full-page!  I chose to do “ribbons” of colour that overlap and weave around the other lines as the subject for this piece.  Originally I wasn’t going to have a background colour but towards the end of colouring the lines I felt that it needed something to make the colours “pop” so chose this blue colour.  I used felt tips for the colour and chose to use an unbranded gel pen to make the lines.  I really like using felt pens as it is quick and easy, the colour is stable and the saturation more consistent than when using pencils… well, until your marker decides to run out toward the end (note the middle bottom section which isn’t as evenly coloured as the rest of the blue sections).  That is probably the only thing that I’m not entirely pleased about with this image and can see myself re-colouring it at some point in the future!

Page 7

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Here’s a close up of the start of this page which gives the instructions to “Document Time Passing”.  I had several ideas for this page but upon putting pen to paper, this is what happened…

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I went with a clock face theme and the words “tick tock” written over and over in different sized letters.  This image was inspired by school exams and times when you are bored, all those times when you are super aware of the minutes passing by, when you can hear the tick tock of the clock, minutes can feel like hours and hours can feel like minutes.

I used my Staedtler Triplus Fineliner pens for the outlines of the image and generic felt pens to colour the words.  For the background grey colour I used Aquash watercolour pencils and water brush.

Page 8

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This is the page I created for “This Page Is a Sign, What Do You Want It To Say?”.  I chose the words “Dream Big and Believe” as it is a saying that I try to remember when I need motivation.  I chose to do the lettering in my handwriting and fill the blank spaces with swirls and dots as it seemed to fit the theme of the quote really nicely.  I kept the colour theme to one shade of blue and one shade of pink, partly to fit in with the “dream” wording and because it just felt like the best colours to use for the page.

Page 9

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 Heres a close up of the page “Document a Boring Event in Detail”…

And the full thing…

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I decided to create the page using the phrase “It Was Really Boring” as when I get asked about a boring event that has happened that is how I normally respond.  I used the speech bubbles with “Blah Blah Blah” and “Yada Yada” as when I have to recall things that were said I can never remember them and it seemed fitting for this theme!  I also included the words “Yawn” and “Zzzz” as boring events seem to have the effect of making me yawn and feel sleepy, whether this be a uni lecture or a meeting or sometimes, even going out somewhere!

I have already made a start on my next page after completing another which I will share next time!  If you would like to see them in advance of my blog post then head over to my Instagram where I usually upload pics of the pages as I have finished them!

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?

Insta-Rips and Anti-Social Media (Part 2)

I started to look at the “social media” aspect of #selfie images and how a lot of the images are taken in bedrooms or other places in the house, often away from any “friends” and then uploaded onto the internet for “friends” to look at, like and comment on which seemed to me a bit anti-social.  I then started looking at how we use social media and found a lot of people update their statuses and interact with people on-line when they are alone, either at home or travelling, either way, not really interacting with any human beings in the real world.  This struck me as such an odd thing to do, speak to people on-line via texting or typing messages back and fore, rather than communicating in a more natural way, like speaking face to face.  Conversing over the internet leaves out a whole lot of other communication skills that we have developed over-time and have began to use without even thinking about it, for example, reading body language.  We can tell when someone is approachable, happy, angry, sad, friendly within seconds, just by our ability to analyse how that person stands, how their arms are positioned, how they lean against something which we loose when using social media.  We also can not establish that persons voice tone, typing makes it harder to convey a sense of feeling and with that, meaning, its harder to decipher a text written in a certain way than someones tone of voice.  We also loose other expressions like those minuscule movements of a persons face which give away boredom or hope.  And then the hands, we use our hands to communicate so much, whether its waving to say “hi” or hold someones hand in a show of sympathy or care, or even when waving them around, gesticulating when we speak, that is lost too.  But then we are still using our hands to communicate to a degree, we are using them to hold our phones, grasp them tightly, hold them high to take #selfies, and to type messages out to our “friends” which then becomes a gesture, we use them more as tools to convey the idea that we are being “social” by using these sites.

I started to look at how we hold our phones and the similarities in hand gestures and realized that they were not so far apart.  I have begun to move away from the Insta-Rips and am now concentrating on taking photos of peoples hands, in the poses we see people holding them in when taking #selfies specially, but without the phone present to see what they would look like.

Below is the first edit I have done.  I have used my friend Alex as a model for me, and have been playing around with crops and whether to include a background or not, so far the white background is my favorite, the black being my second.  I like the uncluttered-ness of the background and the way the focus is all about the hand and nothing else, and I like that the hand is also seeming to “reach-out” from no-where to make contact, much like how social media enables us to reach out and grasp other’s friendship when we are alone.

Insta-Rips and Anti-Social Media (Part 1)

How many times have you skimmed through your social media newsfeed only to be confronted by yet another selfie of someone standing in their room, pouting into the mirror?  Or been out with friends and gone to speak only to be met with tops of heads, while they are engrossed in their phone?  It seems to happen to me, A LOT, so I’m guessing its happening to most people at some point or other.

This project originated from the #selfie culture that seems to be taking over the internet and newsfeeds on most, if not all, social media.  I began by taking my own selfies and originally wanted to use them to create something but I couldn’t fathom what.  I think part of idea formation for me, especially with this project, was that looking at images of myself was a bit too close to try and decipher what I wanted to do with them, for me they were just me and that was that.  I moved on to looking at items which define a selfie, from mirrors to mobiles and the apps with which we share these images on.  I started to look at other peoples images of #selfies and did a Google search using #selfie as the search term.  I came across a website that groups all images shared on Instagram by the words they are # categorized with and started to filter through them, looking for images where the phone was in the shot, and the image taken in a mirror and started to download them to my computer.  I then went back through them and started an editing process where I started to get rid of background in the images that didn’t really seem that interesting or relevant to what I was trying to focus on.  In the end that just left a lot of arms and hands and phones floating around inside frames….

Forced Hiatus from Blogging

I’ve really missed blogging here and writing about my projects and haven’t blogged since November 2013, nearly 4 months ago 😦  I’ve missed writing for fun but had to take a forced hiatus of sorts as I had to write my dissertation for uni.  This is now complete and over with now and I can begin to ease myself back into blogging about things I love!  😀

I suppose, as my dissertation took up so much of my time and became my life for such a long time I should let you all know what it was about…  The title for my dissertation was “The Self Portrait and The Selfie”  which sums it up in a manner.  I chose the subject of the Selfie as I have been interested in social media and the selfie for as long as I can remember, not because it fascinated me but because I just didn’t understand why people want to take selfies and post them all the time,  I got myself an iPhone and an Instagram account (@siouxsietench if you want to follow me!  I follow back in most cases…) and so began my own journey into the world of selfies.  My dissertation split down into  3 main chapters, Chapter 1 looked at Self Portraits and the history behind them, from paintings to photography and the shift in technology that helped push photographic images of the self into the mainstream arena.  Chapter 2 was about the Selfie today and how social media (focusing mainly on Instagram) and mobiles have become acceptable ways of taking and sharing the selfie image, how the way we label images changes our perception and interaction with the image and others and how it has become popular culture, Chapter 3 looked at the future of the selfie with regard to developing technologies and movements within the context of the selfie and how we label them (ie; using the # not just as a way to label images but to become a platform for communities to chat about shared ideas (see #felfie )  I quoted Kesha along the way and also linked to the Chainsmokers #Selfie song too….

And eventually I finished.  8989 words later it has been printed and bound and submitted for marking and I’m so relieved.  I can’t say that the process has been enjoyable, for me it has been a struggle to meet the word count as I really don’t like using too many words when a few will suffice so a lot of time was spent expanding on my sentence structures.  My lecturer said that I’d chosen a difficult subject to write about as it wasn’t “static”, which, at the time I didn’t understand.  I know what she meant by “static” now though, in that the #selfie is fairly new and there is so much being written about them in newspapers and magazines, blogs and books at the moment, there has been a bombardment of opinions about the topic and that has been a hard thing to negotiate.  But its finished now and I can get back to doing stuff I love, like blogging and art!  😀

 

#selfie

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.

Summer Project and Dissertation Thoughts

The summer project we were given in uni to work on over the summer was to start researching, looking at and producing work that would see us through our final year and form our final piece, preferably in line with our dissertation which should lead on from our Literature Review that we wrote in the final term of our second year (you can read mine here ).  I wrote about snapshots and how the introduction of technologies, such as the camera phone and DSLR’s, software like Photoshop and photo-sharing (Facebook and Instagram for example) have changed how we take, manipulate and share images.  Many family photo albums have ceased to exist once film cameras have been replaced by digital capture devices, instead these images remain stored as digital data on computers and discs, a selection being uploaded to be shared with friends on social networking sites. 

With this train of thought going on, I have started to turn my attention to the actual images we share.  With software such as Photoshop becoming more affordable and easy to use we can manipulate images we take , never having to share a bad photo again.  I have noticed that many of my friends now go through their images with a fine tooth comb, editing sometimes to the same degree that an advertising image may be edited, before sharing.  Gone are the photos of us with less than perfect skin/teeth/hair etc, as to are the badly framed images where peoples heads are not in the shot, blurry images and those “happy accidents” where the camera has miss-fired and captured something we didn’t mean to capture.  Much of this is down to the image taking capabilities and the method of shooting.  With film cameras we did not have the means to review an image straight away, and the cost meant we couldn’t take images one after the other after the other like we can now.  With film, people were limited to 24 or 36 shots per roll (35mm film) and depending on how much film you could afford to purchase and then pay to get developed, now with digital image taking you are only limited by how many images you can fit onto a memory card or the battery life of your camera.

Anyway, back to images we share, which I’m thinking is where I am going to be focusing my energy for this project and dissertation work…

rene not a pipe

 

I keep seeing this image (above,The Treachery of Images (This is not a pipe) by Rene Magritte) and I am beginning to form links with images we see today.  (Rene Magritte was a surrealist painter from Belgium who lived between 1898 and 1967, the image is currently on display in LA County Museum of Art) .  The image makes us question our relationship to images, this is a pipe, but it’s not a pipe, it is not the actual object but a representation of that object.  In the same way, with photo editing software, we an question photographs and other images we see today, flaws an be removed, skin and eyes made brighter, teeth whitened, people slimmed, backgrounds changed, people an be edited out – a pretty endless list of changes can be made to an image before being shared to the public domain.  Any image we view now needs to be viewed in the same way as Rene’s work as many of the images we see are just representations, not a actual truth which could be captured and less easily manipulated when using film to make images.

With film though, and its the same with digital image capture, as a viewer we are never really sure if an image has been staged to look a certain way or if it is spontaneous, for example, I could decorate my house out with all the Christmas paraphernalia and take images supposedly showing the festive season but have taken them in June… the viewer could come to the conclusion that the images were actually made in December but the truth is way out.

This all then brings me to advertising campaigns, with all this photo-editing going on in our own homes, and fairly easily at that given that there are you tube tutorials for just about anything and everything you could ever want to do, we, as viewers are more likely to question adverts.  But this is not my point… With all images being edited to some extent or other, our “snapshots” that we share have become an advert, something carefully constructed, and thought about in terms of how we are seen in these images by the viewers of them.  As image takers and sharers we are fully aware of what the images we are seen in say about us.  We want to be like the models in adverts with the perfect skin, glossy hair, having fun, being fashionable, being popular etc… that we only ever share the best images of us.

Anyway, this is just a few of the thoughts going around in my head at the moment with regard to my dissertation…

For the project that runs alongside my dissertation I have been looking at film snapshots and Corrine Day in particular as she has shot many projects in the style of snapshot photography, Diary (some images from this project can be viewed on her site here) being one of them.  I am unsure which direction to go in with snapshot photography as I have a few directions and interests on this subject – one of those being to take my own snapshots and focus, possibly, on re-creating or making snapshots of everything I would normally use digital imaging for, or look at the extinction of film photography and photographs, family albums as actual objects, and old film created photographs as the precious objects they once were.

New Project!

I’ve not blogged about what I have been up to for a bit as I have been writing a literature review for uni (3500 words) which has now been submitted for grading.  Alongside that I have been working on my final project of the year which has been about social media, sharing information and is part of our end of year module “Voyeurism, Surveillance and Control.”  My work was shown in our university course’s end of year exhibition “Power and Control” so a week of my life was taken up with sorting that out.  There will  be a few posts covering all of this in the near future.

The most exciting thing that has happened to me is the Pontypool project that I was working on last term, my friend and I met up with artist-in-residence for Pontypool, Alexia Mellor and became her “Consultants-In-Training”, we passed this with flying colours and are now part of her legacy for the town.  our first ever newsletter is available to read, from the beginnings, to a brief outline of our projects to what we are planning!  More info an be found here, so please take a look and let me know what you think!!!  😀  There will be further updates on this project and all of the other projects I have been working on soon!