Thursday, 16 December 2010

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Quentin Blake Article

15 December 2010 Last updated at 01:53
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Quentin Blake on the art of illustrationBy Tim Masters Entertainment and arts correspondent, BBC News
Quentin Blake was appointed the first children's laureate in 1999
Ahead of an auction of works by some of the world's best-known illustrators, Quentin Blake talks about his work with Roald Dahl, and how he is taking art into hospitals.
"I'm trained as a teacher, that's the only thing I've got a certificate for," admits Quentin Blake. "I haven't got anything for art!"
Blake, who is best known for his famous illustrations of Roald Dahl characters like Matilda and The BFG, has rallied fellow artists to help raise funds for a centre dedicated to the art of illustration.

“I'm trained as a teacher, that's the only thing I've got a certificate for”End Quote Quentin Blake on his artistic qualifications
The likes of Raymond Briggs, Eric Carle, Ronald Searle and Gerald Scarfe have submitted original works for the auction at Sotheby's.
Blake has been a driving force behind the House of Illustration project. The building will be housed in the King's Cross regeneration area of London, and the charity is looking to raise more than £6.5m.
"There is currently no building that says illustration over the door," says the 77-year-old artist on his reasons for supporting the project. He has promised the future museum his archive of original works, spanning some 300 books.
"Our vision of it is of a very active place, not somewhere where you put away drawings and don't look at them. There are huge quantities of the illustrations of the past in the reserves of the great museums, but they don't have the chance to show it."
Blake's own contribution to the auction is a watercolour of Roald Dahl's character, the BFG. His 15-year working partnership with Dahl is one of the best-known in publishing.
Dahl would always refer to Blake as "Quent" and liked to poke fun at his white shoes.
"That came with the territory." Blake slips into an impression of the late author: "Here's old Quent, he's taking her out to dinner and he's wearing his plimsolls."
Blake slips his legs out from under the table and shows off his dazzling footwear. "I don't walk very well, they make me feel more fleet of foot, but they're not plimsolls!"
Punch debut
Quentin Blake worked with Roald Dahl for 15 years
Quentin Blake was born in 1932 and went to grammar school before studying English at Cambridge. His first drawings were published in Punch when he was 16.
After National Service he did a postgraduate teaching diploma at the University of London.
His first children's book was John Yeoman's A Drink of Water in 1960. As well as his famous collaborations he also writes and illustrates his own books, creating such characters as Mrs Armitage and Mister Magnolia.
For many years Blake taught at the Royal College of Art (he was head of illustration from 1978-86). He became the inaugural children's laureate in 1999 and was made a CBE in 2005.
After such a long career, is he taking any time out from illustration?
"I draw every day - unless I'm being interviewed," says Blake. "What is nice is to have different kinds of things to do."
He mentions his recent work in hospitals and mental health units. "It's a different kind of brief, a different kind of audience. A lot of the pictures I do in hospitals are to cheer up gaunt surroundings.
"I'm just doing a maternity hospital in France. So I've got the full range of ages. These pictures are going to appear in the delivery rooms - so for some of these poor children it will be the first thing they see!"
I remark that a great deal of Blake's illustrated characters - like Matilda and Mrs Armitage - seem to have an ever-present smile.
"There are a lot of smiles about, it's true. People have come up and said thank you for your work - and joy is the word they've used, but I've also been reproached for it, for being too cheerful.
"But if you add a a smile, it doesn't make it necessarily joyful."
He refers to the doodles he does while on the telephone.
"They are strange-looking monsters indeed - a lot of them are creatures of the desert: birds and animals hitherto unknown. They've all got problems of their own.
"They haven't all got smiles."
The 28 drawings in the House of Illustration auction are on sale as part of Sotheby's winter sale of English Literature, History, Children's Books and Illustrations on 16 December.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

My Powerpoint presentation is done (for the second time!) My silly laptop decided to go and break itself earlier and as a back up I've had to re-do it all. All in the name of a good mark!

I think I've got it nailed - or at least I hope I have. We have a trial run on Tuesday so I'm sure I'll get some feedback before I go for it.

For my visuals for the presentation I'm going to focus on creating an A3 poster which could be put in community halls and areas where homeless would usually congregate. I have also found my way to engage my audience, but that remains a secret until that day of the presentation. Wish me luck! :)

Friday, 10 December 2010

Presentation skills workshop today... how invigorating!

The workshop was to try and help combat nerves and the complications that can arise during the presentation. The structure was also given.

Thankfully, my primary and secondary research has just about been finished and I have a lovely thick file on my desk at home to bring in next week to evidence this. Whether the tutors will look at it or not is entirely another ball game.

I am trying to think outside of the box (again) with this one. I would like to do a presentation where I can engage the tutors in physically doing something. Not only would this make me feel more comfortable because not all eyes would be on me but on them also, and it should make it more fun for my panel. Come on guys, I need all the marks I can at the minute! As of yet, I am against that bloody brick wall, but as soon as I figure it out, you will be the first to know
My conflict has evolved back to the homeless idea.

Instead of focusing on food shortages however, which admittedly reflecting on it now is not a conflict (apologies) but indeed a problem, I am now focusing on the abuse which homeless people get from passers by whilst begging for example. It is suprising to know that the rate of abuse towards homeless has increased dramatically in the last 5 years. Presumably due to the increase in drink and drink in the underaged. (This however will need to be researched (another trip to the Wellspring methinks!))

I asked some questions to the homeless at the Wellspring, a charity which provides hot meals to the homeless, and they were very genuine and honest in their answers. Stan-the-man was a lovely old chap who claimed not to be homeless (others had other thoughts), it seems that even the homeless do not like to admit to it for fear of the preconceptions of what others will have and to avoid the abuse that I will be looking into.

On Athens, there has been much secondary research sourced, some of which was quite suprising and I am glad to be learning again. At one point I thought that had stopped and I was stuck in a rut of turning up and gaining nothing.

This weekend I will be doing some observations of people who sell the Big Issue to see if they are victims of abuse (lots of layers will be required methinks!) and also to do some interviews if I can find people who are willing to particpate. It may also be a good idea to hand out questionnaires to general people to see what their attitudes are like to the homeless (further evidencing if these attitudes exist)

I also have my post modern essay to be getting on with and I will post some of the research into Riitta's inspirations and the YouTube videos I found showing abuse on the homeless.
Riitta Ikonen

Ok, so her work is not really to my taste, and with all due respect she was a little bit difficult to understand. But it's good to know about these artists who are current and relevant, right? Cool, so here was her presentation at college this week...

She is a Finnish theatrical photographer who works from London and New York and studied illustration at Brighton. What opened my eyes more than anything was that she is actually an illustrator but does not conform to the typical illustrator stereotype, in other words she thinks outside of the box and produces work that excites her

I noticed that she produces a vast amount of work over relatively small time frames and she is very well travelled. (I wish I could get the opportunity!!)

People that inspire her and threads I need to research are Dia Beacon and Brigette Riley

Art is 20% skill and 80% attitude!

I like this image of a snowflake and her story behind it. The way her work is very personal intrigues me. This particular year it had not snowed in her home country so she has to represent it instead

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Heard this and it excited me, hope you enjoy it too :)

By the way I got the 'conflict' sorted too! Productive week actually, more on that at a later date...

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Now I'm told that my 'conflict' is not a conflict but a 'problem'. I need to find a conflict, one where people are not talking and the aim is to get them talking.

I really am starting to despise this brief ... it is not illustration! After the last brief and my low mark, I was really looking forward to getting stuck into something with some substance. I feel that I am producing work because I have to and not because and want to and because I enjoy it anymore. It is such a shame, last year the briefs were fun and accessible, this year they are mundane and about as far away from art as you could get.

Concentrating on my new conflict then - I have decided on Muslims vs. BNP. This is definitely a conflict where two opposing thought paths do not talk. In a way, for me, it is two cultures that clash. British Nationals want to keep the British identity and don't look at what others can offer. Muslims don't understand the keeping of the Bitish culture but their homelands would not allow Christianity to become the dominant religion. It will no doubt be a sensitive issue but I think I could access first hand information from Muslim's that I work with.

My first step will be to devise a questionnaire for Muslim's and one for BNP followers. From their answers I will be able to see what it is that they don't see eye to eye over the most. With it being a majorly cultural conflict my solution will probably be based around food, clothing or music etc.

Looking at things on another level, I could have a look at Muslim/Indian art to see what is different in comparison to British and also ask the Muslim's what artists they like.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Here is my final piece for the Stolen Peace competition brief. I had the idea of combining all three elements of the bones, the peace and the solen. To do this I've photographed some carcasses and layered a stencil over the top which spells out stolen in the peace symbol. I wanted to create a simple yet striking logo that would become synonymous with the band and what they stand for. Enjoy!
Possible Solutions to Hunger & Homeless:

1.For the government to issue a voucher for food (Tesco, luncheon etc)
2.Tesco to issues vouchers
3.Private companies making a certain profit should donate meal vouchers
4.Tax reductions for companies donating food
5.Compulsory donation stations at places of work
6.Rota in villages of which companies donate in which month
7.Free labour in return for food
8.School canteens etc. to donate excess/unwanted food
9.Fines for disposing of good food
10.Setting up of stations for people to leave left over’s from meals
11.Make food cheaper
12. For there to be no empty properties
13.Fines/convictions for empty properties
14. Free food at struggling restaurants to attract more customers
15. Make healthy/more nutritional food cheap and higher taxes on fast/processed food
16. Stop waste – recycle everything
17.Government to guarantee a certain amount of free food per person out of their taxes paid (percentage maybe?)
18.Setting up of an individual taxes scheme (where the amount of taxes one pays over their lifetime accrues and they can choose where to spend it whether in hospital on the roads etc)
19. Homeless to visit food chains at the end of service for example Greggs
20. Luncheon vouchers incorporated into their benefits not just handing over money to help alcoholics etc to eat

These are some basic ideas and I am sure that I can come up with more. There is plenty of potential for these to be developed further. I will look at the strongest and present them to the Salvation Army and see what their thoughts are as a starting point.

I am unsure as to why, but this is a conflict that I am very interested in. Maybe it is becuase if I were in that situation I would hope that there would be someone there to look after my interests :)
I have finally stumbled upon my conflict!

Going to the tutorial on Tuesday was really helpful. Before I was concentrating on the end product and not on the conflict and research about it. For example I was looking at a remote control for a television which has a random button for when the family are arguing about what to watch, the tv would randomly select something for them. However, I have now seen the error of my ways and although I didn't want to be too ambitious in case I couldn't fulfil my propostitions I have also learnt to try not and restrict myself.

I am currently looking at homelessness and how shelters are struggling for food to provide to these needy people. I have chosen food as it is a basic need and requirement for humans to survive. Clothing etc. could be looked at later on but I do not see it as such an immidiate threat as a lack of food, especially in this freezing conditions!

My starting point is to talk to the local Salvation Army centre to see how they operate and just how vital food supplies are for the homeless. From here I can see what shortages they have (if any?) and how I could potenitally help them with this conflict. It may come to light that there are other conflicts within the homeless field which are more vital or which I could do more about to help with.

After this, I will devise a questionnaire for the homeless to see what they think of the food situation and what they would like to see happen within this area.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

On to organised art. There are a few artists I found who seem to compartmentalise their illustrations, see below and you will understand what I mean. Nina Chakrabarti does these beautiful illustrations where everything seems to have it's own little place created especially for it.

Of course, if it is a representation of an acutal wall then I'm sure it looks identical but I think that these are the little tools and techniques Ian is on about me utilising as it shows my character and personailty in being a tidy and neat artist.

Another artist I like of late is Mark Fredrickson. With my ongoing experimentation with paint I have discovered his style which through charicature looks superb and so life like. Understandable he uses a lot of parody to mock the people involved and I'm sure t runs much deepe than what it appears on the surface to an auidence but it's funny to look at.

I had a look at the illustrators that Ale was influenced and inspired by and I am amazed at some of the work that came up in a simple Google search. It shows just how much I Don't know about the art world. Dave Mckean has some gorgeous if not slightly edgy work and I must say that all the names I typed in had some really beautiful work. Maybe my next step will be to contact some of these artists too and get their outlook on the world of illustration. Who knows they may even be as frank as Ale.

Here is a small selection of the works I particularly liked...

This one is by Dave Mckean, I really like the use of layering and texture, it gives it a really antiquated feel. The style looks quite old due to the layering and texture and it has some historical revival elements to it.

This one is by Nicoletta Ceccoli her characters are very similar to those that Ale creates. I think the major difference between the two illustrators is the use of colour. Nicoletta tends to use a more gloomy palette compared to Ale's vibrant colours which reflect her bright Mexican background and culture.
Again I really like the texture and the composition is beautiful. I think that if this is something I aspire to acheve I need to experiment and explore more with my technique and media. When I am given a project, the first thing I do is pick up a pencil, that is just the way I am programmed but for the next brief I will try and pick up a paint brush for example instead. I think I feel safe and comforted by pencil because it can be rubbed out if I'm not happy with the result. That blank piece of paper can be very uninviting and scary and with a pencil, I know it's properties and what I can do with it, how it can be manipulated etc. I definitely needs to push my boundaries and comfort zones to be producing work that I feel better about and that way will feel the need to show it off. A lot of the work that I post on my blog are from other atists becuase I do not feel comfortable in my own work yet, it needs imrpovement.

Friday, 19 November 2010

OMG! Here comes Ale's actual response to the questions I asked her, unlike Sara who just redirected me rather than taking the time out to think about the questions I posed to her, lets see what she had to say:

Hola Chloe,
I am back, I was taking a late honeymoon at the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, hahaha, finally after 3 years of being married :) I finally got one!
I've taken some time to reply to your questions, here they are

1. What are your inspirations?
I am originally from Mexico City, so I grew up in a culture filled with magic, surrealism, and very colourful traditions such as the "Day of the Death" (have you heard about this holiday?) So, growing up surrounded by this culture obviously affects how I see the world. So, as I go through my normal day, the most common, or trivial situation can become a story for a painting or a comic. Sometimes I am not doing anything and some great ideas will come into my head, but if I don't write them down immediately I forget them quickly. I find for me it is more difficult to actually sit down and start and finish a project, than actually generate ideas for them. I have books filled with little notes and fun stuff, I just need the discipline to sit down and actually create them into finished pieces.To answer you questions more specifically, I am mostly inspired by humourous situations, cultural mythology such as "the Day of the Death Celebration", characters, animals, magic and feminine power.

2. I understand you left your permanent job recently, how much passion do you have for your subject? And what drives you?
Yes, after I graduated from Illustration I encountered the reality that I was good at many things, but did not have a specific strength. For example, as Illustrators, we can do Graphic Design, and we might be good at it, but we were not trained as Graphic Designers. We can also do animation (sort of the animation you see on MTV channel, fun alternative stuff) but we might not necessarily have the specific skills to work in an animation studio. And the full-time illustration jobs, as almost non-existent. Pretty much solely as an illustrator we are almost meant to be freelancers.I worked at a couple of companies as a graphic artist, which in reality you do not get to express your creativity at all. These companies only want you because you know the software such as photoshop,, illustrator and corel draw and, you are basically a production monkey, getting paid minimum wage. So I got tired of these situation. Since I quit, I have been helping my husband with his business and designing his promotional material, such as flyers, website, business cards, etc. I have done a few design, illustration and one animation project for some clients as well, but to tell you the truth I am struggling with my finances.At the moment I am looking into the possibility of joining a multimedia animation studio, just because I would be thrilled to be surrounded by creative people working together :), and also because there would be more financial stability as well. But I would never give up on continue developing my personal business.You know, when people ask me, "why do you paint?, why do you want to do this?" I say, because it is who I am, it is inside of me and it wants to come out, I am the happiest when I do it, I feel everything is at peace when I do it, when I don't do it I am in a constant state of stress.

3. Would you class yourself as an Illustrator or a fine artist?
The way I define it is, I am an illustrator, whenever I create art for someone else ( whether its an advertising company or whether its your uncle) So basically you are creating an image, based on a specific or non-specific description of what someone else wants, and you get paid for it.I am a fine artist when I create art for myself, it can be a series of paintings for an art show, or paintings to explore a certain subject, but I paint something that I want. And someone else can buy it if they like it. As a fine artist you exhibit your work to the public through galleries susually.But surprisingly, we, as artists/illustrators are also some other things as well! We are business people, I pretty much write my own contracts and negotiate my payment rates and schedule. I also get to research how to protect my art and my copyrights, and how to become a better seller. You can also get an agent to do this for you as well, but it is simportant for you to know how it works.Also recently, I opened an online store and I am looking into a retail perspective for selling my art. So, as an illustrator or fine artists, you are targeting companies and art collectors to hire you, but as a retailer, you are looking the average person to buy your art as it is printed in products such as bags, t-shirts, etc

4. Why? As explained above

5. Who do you aspire to be like, if anyone?
This is a tricky one :) I do have several illustrators whose work I love and I usually visit their sites for motivation mostly. They are, Dave McKean, Nicoletta Ceccoli, Anita Kunz, Joe Vaux and Alyssa Deville. Alyssa is actually a recent graduate, the other ones are established illustrators.I would say I aspire to be like them for their success as illustrators and I admire their styles. There is something inside of you that either connects or doesn't connect with art. I strongly connect with their images and their narratives. But every one is a world on itself and I would say I aspire to be successful with my personal style and develop it to the point that it allows me to be an established illustrator with my own work.

6. When you are stuck for ideas, how do you dig yourself out of the 'hole'?
As I mentioned before throughout the day I am bombarded with ideas for personal projects. I usually get stuck when I need to create a piece for someone else, hahaha.So I invented these little process for myself. a)As soon as I get an assignment, I sit down and write anything that comes to my head related to it. I usually use bubble format and connect words that are related. Then I proceed to do little drawings of anything that comes to my mind, no matter how silly they seem. And it takes discipline, but I just sit down through it until I empty my brain and I do not know what do draw or write anymore. Then I take a break and go do something else.b) After I 've done this, I do research on the subject and maybe look at how other people have illustrated it. I do this as a second step, that way I make sure I do not get influenced by what I see for my first and original ideas.c) I sit down and look at my initial ideas and at the research I've done and basically I try to pair up the best stuffm or draw any other ideas that come into my head . I usually select about 3 - 5 of my favourite ideas and clean them up a little bitd) I narrow it to the to best ideas and redraw them a couple of times. Sometimes there is absolutely just one perfect idea and I only work on that one.e) Create the final piece.Now it is important to say that I follow a different approach when I am dealing directly with clients, because you will find that is often more important for them to be specific, clear and fast.So my process with clients is as follows:As soon as the contract is signed, after doing a) and b) of my personal process, I supply them with 3 - 5 thumbnail sketches, unless they require less or more ( it depends on the client you work with) and then we work the final from there. Sometimes if you give your clients too many options they get indecisive and confused. So make sure you show them your bestest and most clear ideas, and do not change the drawings once they have approved of them.There is a really good little book I got from my brother called: "A Technique for Producing Ideas" by James Webb Young, and basically describes a process similar to the one I invented for myself, its a good one, I recommend it.

7. What do you think of collaborations? And is it something that you would consider?
I've done some collaborations in the past and I love it. Just like life, sometimes art is better when its shared and I love how other people see different things in my art that I do not see, and when we collaborate we share new and different perspectives.Yes I am open to do a collaboration, if you have something in mind let me know! Also if you have some of your art online, let me know, I would love to check it out!
And, I have to ask, will you be doing any exhibitions in England anytime soon?I do not have anything booked yet, but hopefully I will. Is it ok for me to add your email to my mailing list. I usually send no more that 1 update a month about new work, online store and any news.
Thanks for writing Chloe, hope you are enjoying your studies!

How sweet an email? She sounded genuinely interested in me and my work and took the time out to write some good lengthy reponses opposed to one word answers. Thanks Ale, I will most deinitely be in touch in future :)

Thursday, 18 November 2010

I started my 'painting' phase the other day, a rule which I stuck to! I am very impressed with myself. This organisation will pay off yet!
Portraits are something that I've never truly felt comfortable with, so I'm trying out my technique and being proactive for a change! The top one is of my Dad and the sketch is of James. I think that the paint is good as a base but more definition needs applying on top. I have no idea how to go about doing that or even which type of paint would be reqired or if artists even mix their type of paint. I will therefore do some research around this too and which type of paint is best for which purpose. I don't want to be painting just for the sake of painting, I want it to be done properly.
I miss James very much as I'm sure you can imagine, I've tried to keep my personal life out of my blog as much as I can, but I have started to paint and sketch quite a few of our happy times together, and now I know he's coming home I have good reason to carry on! hehe :)
Certainly, defiinitely, 100% not inspired by being awake at half past 3 this morning trying to advertise my beds on the internet, they were giving me nightmares to say the least! Bit of a shabby start to the day, however some good news... I contacted Ale Diaz about a week ago but she was on 'vaction' so I should be hearing her response today when she gets back, so excited!!

Also, only 6 days until my gorgeous fiance is home for a short visit, things could just start looking up in the land of me :)

Down to the serious stuff, I have an essay coming up on Postmodernism and would really like to talk about Andy Warhol, except I don't think he can be described as an illustrator and the artist needs to be specific to your pathway. In a lecture last week there was mention of a Jamaican artist called Errol something of other trying to portray black children in a positive light for the first time. It could definitely be interesting and the themes would be plausible for the essay type, but the essay on text analysis was on racism too. I do need to find somebody/something that I am really interested in to make my essay more credible.

i will start with some basic research into Errol's work as a starting point and see what happens from there...

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

I emailed Sara Fanelli earlier today. OK, I said I wasn't a huge fan of her work, but I was inspired by her creative characters and use of texture. Here's what the exchange of emails looks like...

Dear Chloe,

Thank you for the very nice message.
I think that most of your questions will find answers in an interview I did for Varoom Magazine.
I found the pdf online for you:

I am not having any exhibitions but a new children's book will come out in the spring!
With all best wishes for your work and future

On 16 Nov 2010, at 08:59, Chloe Jones wrote:

Hi Sara, I had a look at you work recently, and I have to say it is beautiful! It is so inspiring to see such a nice combination of texture, colour and character.
I am a second year illustration student studying at Stockport college and I was wondering if you could help me with a few points:
1. Where do you get your inspiration from?
2. Does any of your inspiration show in your work?
3. Who do you aspire to be like if anyone?
4. Do you collect media for a piece of work individually or do you draw from a large resource you already have?
5. When you hit that 'brick wall' how do you overcome it?
6. Do you work from comissions or are you employed? Do you prefer it either way?
7. Are you doing any exhibitions this year?
I understand that you are a very busy person, and so it would be much appreciated if you could find the time to answer my points I am struggling with
Kind Regards Chloe :)

How exciting?!
It appears that although these quite 'big' illustrators are very busy and working hard, they appreciate that they were once in the same position and help out where they can.
Thanks Sara, much appreciated :D
'Start wearing purple' by Gogol Bordello was brought to my attention by one of my fellow art students when playing it loudly on his iPod. At first it made me laugh with the strange combination of country backing and rock vocals. But after a while it became a catchy lyric and I now cannot get it out of my head. Here I share with you a bit of Gogol...

Monday, 15 November 2010

I am soooooo glad Aiden was voted off of X-Factor last night! I'm no big X-Faxtor geek, but I hate the whole 'goth' depressed stage that the world seems to be going through at the moment. I don't understand why people cannot inject the place with a bit of colour and vibrance. His whole attitude and presence made me want to vomit, he looked like he was having a stroke everytime he started to sing (no offence intended to anyone ever suffering from a stroke). Plus, the way he acted with Katy at the end was horrid. She was clearly petrified and he was like a piece of ice.

I am voting team Mary all the way, now when she sings the room lights up, and for me that is what music should be about. Go Mary!

Friday, 12 November 2010

So I started researching artists who combine colour and montage and I stumble upon Sarah Fanelli. Her work seems genuine but I don't like the style. She seems very vague and sketchy. To me it lacks the confidence and balls that Ale Diaz has in her work. Where Diaz seems to embrace the colour Fanelli seems to dilly-dally with it, in a sort of should I? shouldn't I? way.
For example, the image below has a genuine, childlike quality about it, she does experiment well with collage and media and it is still playful but it just doesn't grip me as much as Ale. Sorry Fanelli, but you just don't cut it for me...

I understand that I may come across as not having a particular 'style' and at the moment I think that I am still searching, I am still on that road of experimentations until I find something that I am comfortable with. I will just mention that I find a mixture of things very interesting and aspirational at the moment.

Towards the end of last year I was looking at Andrjez Klimowski and montage'y' type artists as I like the idea of mixing medias and techniques. But there is also a female Canadian artist Alejandra Diaz who I have fallen in love with. She is a young artist who seems to specialise in the very vibrant and enjoyable. Her characters are just adorable and her technique is fascinating. I definitely love her use of colour which you just don't seem to get here in England. When I was in Cuba earlier in the year, it seems to be a Carribbean trait to incorporate gorgeous bright, vibrant and gripping colours. I think that on a glum, dull day such as
this where the weather is so miserable and the people even more so, looking at work like hers can bring a smile to anyones face. She is an inspiration and if my work could take that shape (in a roundabout way) I would be the happiest person alive.

Predominantly working in paint, which is a media I need to start to use more and would love to start using more as I find it a very enjoyable media to use but just a little bit messy at times for OCD me! By surrounding myself with canvasses and paints however, I don't think I would have much choice but to face up to the concept.

It has been brought to my attention that I could also look at organized or structured art as this is a trait I seem to have. Art which follows systems and is very regimented. Working full time and studying full time means that I am very much like this in person and it would be a excellent choice to look at. For the time being here are some examples of Ale's work:

Stolen Peace

I have decided to take on the extra work of designing some pieces for an up and coming band from the north wet called Stolen Peace. Their first album debuts in February and I have been in touch with their representative to submit some possible designs. I am extremely excited at the opportunity to expand my portfolio and get some of my work out there into the actual world of art. I am dedicated to this brief as I see it as a real opportunity and have already had some fascinating ideas and design threads starting to unravel. I will be posting some of my ideas in later posts, so keep your eyes peeled!
You can see what the band are about at:


Got my mark back for the first module of the year, and to say I'm a bit disappointed would be THE understatement of the year. I have decided however, that I have had some serious obstacles and challenges this academic year so far and moving forward I can devote all of my time to my course and will learn from my errors. I intend to take on board the feedback I have been provided with and work with it to produce some fascinating work in the coming months and rise to the challenge and expectations that I have set for myself.
Next week when the Berlin residential is taking place, I will utilise my time well by working on my essay and my Illustrator skills, which could definitely do with a good brushing up :) Positive outlook for the future

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


I went to see Red at the weekend, starring Bruce Willis and Helen Mirren. I have to say I was surprised at how much of a comfortable comedy it was. Expecting high action packed filth it was a disappointment in comparison to Willis' usual get up, however the light hearted laugh it ignited more than made up for the lack of six packs. It is about retired CIA agents who are targetted as part of a political campaign in order to win presidency. 4.5/5!

Final Push!

Our collaboration has come on a treat and in the last few days everything and everyone has really come together. Our exhibition space is gleaming after a new lease of life with a lick of paint and our final outcome really takes centre stage. It is nice to reflect on what we have achieved as a team but also to look around and see what others have offered from the same brief.
I must say that we appear to be the only group who have not got some type of installation or animation on offer. Although, it was planned that way, we wanted to think outside of the box.
I have spent this morning creating our synopsis for the exhibition area. It goes along the lines of ... 'our final outcome is a reflection, understanding and journey. We have not focused on a major piece but the journey we have taken whilst working together. We have new experiences and friends that we can utilise for the future. Our work starts at the door together and finishes on the wall together, but the bit in between was us all having our own character and personalities along the way. All of us have brought something new, unique and special to the project'.
Overall, I am pleased at the outcome. It was a lot less stress than I had originally anticipated for and our exhibition space looks really neat. I am excited to present our work on Friday 12th at 11:30 am :)

Monday, 1 November 2010

I do much prefer the more subtle photographs such as this and the one where I cut the letter into the grass.
I think that they give a sense of intrigue that the other more blantant one's lack. They are more interesting because of it.
However, these are the one's which are more difficult to photograph as the ideas are very spontaneous and need to be captured at that precise moment which is not always possible.

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Here's a small taster of what I've been getting up to this holidays so far... enjoy!

Sunday, 24 October 2010

A little more on colaborations...

How do these two manage to keep straight faces? Although, I'm not sure that I would call it art. Maybe more drama? I guess that drama is a form of THE arts but not art in its rawest form. I'm still on the fence about it, they are fantastic to watch but I wouldn't call it art myself.


I'm pondering then, on the letter 'T'. What can I do with it? Where does it start and where does it stop?
Wikipedia - T ( /ˈt/; named tee)[1] is the twentieth letter in the basic modern Latin alphabet. It is the most commonly used consonant and the second most common letter in the English language
I can photograph the letter in and around the environment or I could photograph elements that begin with the letter 'T'. This could bring in more of an illustration thread for me. Things such as trees, tractors and telegraph poles. There are also less obvious forms of 'T', for example the skyline of a building may have a cross section that looks like a T.
To add more to my sketchbook it is possible to look at typography:

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah

Kind of relates to the leter T doesn't it?

I'm The Letter T (Sesame Street Plain White T's Hey There Delilah Sendup)


It has been decided that we will each take a letter from the word 'type' and photograph it out and about. Rather than trying to force an idea, we will play around with our letter and see where the adventure takes us. As we are not in the studio it would be great to really get a feel for the brief and get stuck into something completely different compared to what we are used to.

I have even found a 't' (my letter) that has fallen off a shop front, so obviously I gave it a proper home rather than leaving it on the street to freeze. What a good Samartian I am :)

My idea for now is to take my 't' on a journey and photograph it in all manner of places although I do still like the idea of forming the letter out of natural materials such as leaves and food.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Reeves & Mortimer

Reeves & Mortimer have just finished their first week of working together, and the veridct? It's really not as bad as I first thought. The people I am working with have got so much talent just in different specialisms and it's actually fascinating to look at some of the work they have produced so far.

Our idea has taken shape. We were toying with the idea of a mouse trap style installation but soon realised that was the route everyone seemed to be taking. Trying to be one step ahead of the game we came up with the idea of kinetic type only not in it's obvious form. Some of the kinetic type videos on YouTube are awesome but it's just a little bit too obvious, kinetic type belongs there, so we are going to MOVE it out. (get the kinetic theme here? :)

The idea is to capture words in the environment where they are free to move around. The great thing about it is that although we are working as a group we can still go off and do our own work. When we bring it all back together it will look fab!

I'll post some of the cool kinetic type videos we found anyway because they lok the business...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Eminem - Love The Way You Lie ft. Rihanna

Rihanna, Eminem and Megan Fox - now that's a collaboration!!

Fits quite nicely with the way I'm feeling too ...

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Gilbert & George "Bend It"

This could light up any dark a morning :)

Cross Pathway Project

Ok, so for this, I have been you could say, more than just a little bit, apprehensive. When I am working on my own I know that I have to rely solely on me. I can work to deadlines and I can ensure that everything is completed and handed in on the due date. Can I guarantee that 100% working as part of a group? No. And this is my problem...

Having seen my group today however, I feel slightly more at ease. Our group has been labelled 'Reeves and Mortimer' - Who? This MUST be my first point of research, it has been bugging my clearly uneducated brain all day!

As so neatly put by Wikipedia, they are a 'comedy double act' - fab! Does this imply I am a joke? Of course I am merely looking too deep into things. Most probably the tutors are highlighting the collaboration of artists in years gone by.

Yet, if it's a collaboration you want to see I know just the clip ...

Sunday, 10 October 2010


Sad face :(
Blogger will (hopefully temporarily!) not allow me to upload any more of my fascinating work!
Sort it out Blogger!

Instead, I'll do my analysis for my product design and production:
Box Project – Part 1 Object

Although I have risen to and relished the challenge of the designing and producing of a product individual to me, it has not been without its learning curves. Usually, organisational and forward thinking skills are not something that I struggle with, looking back however, I could have done more to ensure the quality and finish were of the highest standard possible and increase my success rate. There are definitely areas I would improve for further development and future practice.

I chose my fabric because of the rich colour and not because of its quality. If I had taken this into consideration, my disappointment with the printing process could have been avoided. In future, it will be easier to work with lighter fabrics and a more cotton base so that the fabric does not soak the pigment in. Also, I have learned that acrylics (which I used accidentally) are purposely for papers and not fabrics and I need to be using pigments for this type of work for future reference. To make my colours more vibrant and sit on top of the fabric instead of it seeping into it, I need to use pigment instead of acrylic and use a process to thicken the pigment so it sits on top. Printing and designing my fabric before constructing my cushion would have been easier rather than trying to do this when the cushion has taken its form already. I am glad for the experience as I now know a lot more about the various processes available to me including flocking and lino cutting, printing and sewing using a machine instead of by hand. By using the sewing machine and getting to grips with that has ensured that my stitch is as neat as it can be.
Next time I will utilise a zip to make the edges neater and trim the edges too to give a more expensive quality. Because of the other processes I have used, the cushion cover could be washed and to make it more practical adding a zip would have made this possible.

I am happy with my outcome as a prototype only, there are too many things I would change going forward to continue to manufacture them in the same way. I am happy that I managed to carry my design through from the summer project into Illustrator and onto my cushion and I have a real sense of achievement being able to do that. Next time as well as a cushion, I would like to design a whole range that fits together, for example, a sheet of wallpaper, a chair and a lamp. I know that doing this will be quite time consuming and therefore would like to keep this for one of my seven week long projects for later on in the year.

It's been a while!

With a severe kidney infection and a weeks stay in hospital behind me, it's about time I started blogging again and to make a pact, that from now on I will try to post at least twice a week.

The last month has seen me plough through a heap of work and I will try avidly to share it with you.

Firstly, was a project to design a product unique and personal to me incorporating a design or pattern used in the summer project. Fortunately I had a design that I was happy with:
The horse above is a horse shaped baking tray which was cut from an Ikea catalogue. I liked the cimple shape and the way it fit with Craig-Martin's simple technique.
I scanned this into Illustrator to make a vector and from there made some lovely patterns which I was to print onto some lush fabric to make a cushion (photo's to follow!!)
I then did some more horse shaped lino cuts in flock and glitter lino which I heated onto the fabric to create more new shapes (by overlaying them)
My overall result is good but not excellent. There are many areas I would change if I were to attack this brief over. I have decided therefore to assign this brief to myself again with a seven week slot either later in the year or next year. I aim to re-do the cushion (maybe with a different design etc.) with matching lamp and chair.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A couple more to keep you sweet!

Adopting a more pop art style ...

Montages here we come

I have started to add montage to create different images and I feel much more confident working in this way. I particularly like this one because of the face that has appeared. I am going through a 'magpie'
phase where I'm keeping bits and bobs of everything! Anything that I think may come in handy further down the line for my montages.
I am also starting to deviate from Craig-Martin's palette. Although keeping the colours similar they are not exact. For example the background of this one is still yelow but not as vivid as the yellow he utilises.
I think that this is a successful image and I am really happy with it!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Goodbye Happy Timess :(

After 4 beautiful years ... hope that we can hook up again sometime baby x

Monday, 16 August 2010

In a weird but wonderful twist, I have decided that this type of work reflects Craig-Martin's quite well. The different images interacting with each other is similar in style although the colour is not there. I think a good idea would be to creat emy images like this and then possibly paint over them to create a Martin-esque like feel. I really like the antique-ness feel that these type of images give. You could look at it for hours and still find new details. I will continue to work in this method, some without and some with the aid of Photoshop. At the moment I am using Photoshop just for colouring and I want to break from this as it starting to get a bit monotonous and I hate to say it 'boring'. My ork should inspire me and be full of enthusiasm, not doing something for the sake of it.
I want to add a really 'pop' and edgy feel to my image which I feel that they are lacking presently. More collage will definitely help and maybe the introduction of some black inky cartoons. I know how I want my images to look and feel up here in my head but am struggling to let them flow out onto my sheet.
I have however, bought some gorgeously expensive acryllics which I would like to start manipulating. My work space is starting to become a real feature of the house! I have everything EVERYWHERE! The blank walls did nothing for my imagination so decided to give them some character - pictures to follow shortly!

Adopting fresh ideas!

Here is my first attempt using a different technique and I lav it!

All I have done is scan in some different shapes and colour them with the pipette tool to copy Craig-Martin's pallette. I think that working in this way is much more 'me' and less 'trying too hard'. I love working this way and actually can't wait to get stuck into some painting - please go to work James, I want to make a mess! (for a change)

I have printed off some of my images now and have added extra thicker black lines with a marker pen to try and emulate Martin's style more. It really isn't me and from the results that I have posted thus far I can start to tell that I am not this person I am trying to become. However, I think that Becca will be working with the material well - good luck!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Complete Drawing no.6

With this image I continued with the same technique I have adopted in all of my previous attempts. However, I have used the same palette as Alex to show his influence on my work in progress. The way in which he wrapped his image around a shape did not work for me and on all of my attempts I could not master the technique. I have used the dropper tool to utilise the exact same colours as Alex, however I do prefer the palette of Craig-Martin. I think that Alex produced his image in these shades so that I have something to work with, but rather than working on top of his image I preferred the option of taking inspiration from it and incorporating that into my own works.
I am now starting to use more detail but I am still leaving blank space (albeit lesser than before) to give a background effect rather than filling the whole space.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Complete Drawing no.5

This image has a lot more deatil only I have reverted to plain backgrounds rather than filling all the available space. The colours are looking good and are aligned with those of Craig-Martin. I will start to use objects which do not have a relationship with each other for example a tin of beans and a tap. This image incorporates objects that all relate to my creating of the piece. I think that if there wasn't such a blank background this piece would be the best so far.
I need to start using montage to create these images and so will start to photograph different elements on my travels. By using this method however I will not be able to fill the colour on PHotoshop and may therefore use acryllic over the photographs instead.

Completed Drawing no.5

I really like this attempt utilising Craig-Martin's style. There are now no white areas left and it looks better for it, unlike my previous attempt there are no distractions and the eye can roam over the piece equally. I still think that there is not as much detail as on Michael's work and the black lines could do with being slightly heavier. Also, on this attempt particularly, the colours are not distributed evenly as the top section appears lighter than the bottom. The more details that I can incorporate the more evenly I can distribute the colours as there will be more fiddly bits to fill.
Michael's image does not have such vast areas of plain colour where mine has. By incorporating patterns and more detail I can break this blandness up. The radiator at the top of the image has more detail which works better than the remainder of the image.
Another idea that I have come up with is pencilling the design and tracing onto colour paper rather than keep using Photoshop.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Alex's Interpretation

This is the first image out of our three swaps that Alex sent to me to either work from or with. Alex has dupilcated Craig-Martin's image to create some more and weird shapes. My initial reaction was to add colour to it but after trying it and some consideration, I think that a better way forward would be to try and work in this same way myself but with one of the images that I have created previously. I did try to add colour to this image but it became very pixelated. I will create some more images utilising the same method that I have been using in the previous images I uploaded and try to adopt Alex's twist. His image reminds me of one of the sections you can see looking through a klaidescope and I think that it will be much harder to imitate than what I first thought.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Complete Drawing no.4

In this image I have tried to incorporate more information. Looking at Craig-Martin's image against my previous attempt, there was too much spare background. His image is brimming with information and there are no blank spaces.
Although a better attempt I still think that this one needs more elements so that there is no background colour and instead more objects. Using his palette is definitely working however and am enjoying the process of scanning in my images and editing them on Photoshop - for a change! Also, I need to find objects that do not use the colour white as the two white areas here are too distracting from the overall image.
I will need to sit in the kitchen and raid my cupboards for more interesting shapes. One idea that I had was to scan individual elements in and make a whole image by adding lots together. With the amount of layering that would need to be done I think that I would make this too confusing for myself.
The process that I have developed seems to be getting the desired results and I will continue to utilise it until it runs out of steam.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Complete Drawing no.3

Here the piece is utilising the same palette as Craig-Martin. I think that the colours do work much better than the random one's which I picked first time around. The colours are a lot more subdued than the one's I chose, mine seem to be a lot more primary - although he has utilised a very bright palette the colours are not primary.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Complete Drawing no.2

This was a really quick attempt at trying to add some colour to the piece. I'm actually quite please with the results for something that only took 3 minutes! AND I've mastered Photoshop!!
More colour coordination needs to be used and I think it would look quite neat done in the exact same colours used in Craig-Martin's image. Also, I have noticed that Michael does not use white, every last details is in colour - another point which I need to condiser when colouring my pieces.
I think that the addition of the montage coat works really well as it too is bold in shape and in a bright colour to blend with the piece well. However, I will try and be more subtle with the next images, so that the montage elements don't have so much clout.

Complete Drawing no.1

After my first couple of preliminary sketches, this is the first complete one that I am happy with. Here I was just playing around with the idea of drawing what is in front of me and adding snippets of montage. I drew in pencil first and went over the lines in black fine liner.
I like the idea of playing with scale although at first it was hard to grasp as everything I was drawing came out naturally in normal proportions. I will edit this drawing in Photoshop to add some colour, I don't want to destroy my first image that I like by rushing in with paint etc. I think that it is very in keeping with Craig-Martin's style and I am proud of my first finished attempt.
My next mission is to sit in every room in the house and draw what I can see in front of me... maybe even at work to add another dimension! I like working in this way as it brings a personal element into it.
I will continue to bring in elements of montage to follow on in the style that I am starting to carve for myself.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010


I met Angelo at the beginning of our holidays. He played and sang in the Cuban restaurant on the resort. By 'played', I mean he strummed on his guitar and blew on a leaf to produce a sound ... yes, your read right, a LEAF!! This man is a musical master.
He had loads of stickers on his guitar from around the world including Czech republic. For a communist this is considered a huge achievement. He had such a charm and oozed charisma. It made me wish I could speak Spanish, apart from the odd 'por favour' I'm pretty terrible. He was a walking treasure trove just waiting to tell a story. For a 72 year old man he still runs 5 miles a day and like Nancy is a complete inspiration.
The Cuban heritage completly captivates me. They all walk around with smiles plastered on their faces, waitresses included! The shifts they work are 3pm to 7am the following morning and it does not phase them one bit. The people cannot do enough for anyone, everything that is theirs is yours too, even though they have next to nothing they have such a sense of selflessness; such a quality that is very hard come by in England...

Monday, 19 July 2010

Meet Nancy!
Nancy hates mosquitoes, they feed off her constantly!
I took this photograph in the local village close to our resort in Playa Pesquero, Cuba. Nancy inspires me with her vivacious love of life, her outgoing character and friendly nature. Whenever I passed her corrugated tin hut on my brake-less (eek!) bicycle she would leap up out of her rocking chair, zoom outside and wave her bingo wings off at me with the most genuine grin on her face I have seen in a long time.
To say that these people have nothing would be an understatement but they have everything in terms of their happiness.
In her house she has a small tv and a chair, there is a bed at the back sectioned off with a curtain and she had a tube of toothpaste that a fellow tourist had left her above her sink - she was unsure of how to use it. We brought her some mangoes from the buffect breakfast which she was delighted to receive and on our penultimate day we dropped by with our clothes that we wouldn't be bringing back with us. She was delighted - I am positive I have made a friend for life.
She has changed my outlook on life for the better. These people know no better so they are unaware that they are a lot worse off. But then who am I to judge who is better and worse off? They have a fab quality of life in other aspects, there is no processed food and everything is fresh and organic. There is no competition with designer labels, everybody is an equal. They have fabulous weather year round, even during the rainy season. Children can run around freely with no shoes on and the elders kick back with a bottle of rum sipping in the amazing sunsets. I dream to move there one lucky day.
Her bright dress and wide toothless smile depicts everything Cuba has to offer!

Friday, 16 July 2010

Distorted Proportions

The piece that we have decided to work on is themed around distorted proprtions and scale. For example the light bulb is much larger than the chair. This work has a surrealist feel as it does contain elements of suprise and unexpected juxtapositions. I decided to look at other artists who work in a similar way.
This image by Tim Burton has ethereal, matchstick legs compared to the heaviness of his body which is a definite distortion in proportion, I don't think anyone could walk on those! Although it differs in style in comparison to Michael Craig Martin the objective appears to be the same. The elements that have more importance have more focus and stress.
And the image by Quentin Blake has a cute innocene about it. The young boy has been drawn as small as possible to emphasise the pelican's beak. The general rule seems to be that elements that are out of the ordinary need to be overly emphasised for example the pelican's beak, an elephants trunk or a cat's tail.
Another deatil I have noticed in Martin's work is that all of his elements have a black outline - a detail which I am not completely 'into' myself. The two examples above also follow this trend and all three have a cartoon quality too. The key techniques then have been highlighted, black outlines, cartoon feel and a distortion in proportion. (To follow Martin's lead I will not be able to hold back on the colour front either!)

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Pop Daddy

Whilst we're on the subject of Pop Art, how can I not include some Andy Warhol? The legend that is... for me he is the epitomy of the movement. He is the only artist I have come across that could turn something so banal as a tin of condensed soup into an artistic icon!

There was a freshness in his work by playing with colour but leaving the image solo. He took things which were 'popular' of the era (early 50's in Britain) and gave them icon status.

Marilyn Monroe is another fine example of his pop work. Repitition plays a large role in his work and seems to develop a theme, making an example of the items we take for granted each and every day.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Michael Craig Martin

After visiting Manchester City Gallery, me, Becca and Alex have chosen to do our summer project on Michael Craig Martin's Inhale (yellow). Medium is acryllic on canvas 243.8 x 182.8 cm.
This image stood out to our group for its attention grabbing colour. I like the distortion of scale, it reminds me of a fantasy land or something you would dream up as a child and this sems to be the recurring theme in this piece. It has a simplicity about it where Martin has recreated a scene he probably has sat out in front of him. It amazes me how so many colours can still have a strong relationship without being over crowded.
It reminds me of the Pop Art era but much later, his collection from 2000 onwards ( is very bold and has a graphical edge. I like the idea of making larger works and more public displays, however I imagine that they would be very time consuming and require a huge amount of patience.
This particular image was created in 2002. I don't believe that it is actually painted. He clearly manipulates his tools well, the lines are so definitive and strong. Craig-Martin poduced this as part of his conceptual art collection where the idea (concept) over rules the traditional aesthetic and a lot of conceptual art appears as installations, which looking at his website, he is involved in quite a bit.
For my personal sketchbook part of this project I would like to do some photography work incoroprating installations. I will continue with my collage/montage technique which I was developing at the end of the last acadmic year and will do some preliminary sketches to work from. Making some stencils to create a more graphic effect will probably give a similar finish. I would like to work in the same media as Craig-Martin (acryllic) but do not feel overly confident in my abilty to work it as well.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Cuban Charm

During my stay in Cuba, I had the opportunity to look at some charming Cuban art work. I was particularly drawn to the vibrancy of the colours used, they are just not something I am used to seeing in typical European art. The photographs that I have uploaded are of prints that were hung in our room. The attention to detail in these works is immacluate and is further highlighted by the intricacy of the lines.

Typically, the artwork in Cuba focuses on animals and nature orientated subjects. The typical media of choice and the one which is most widely available is oil paint on very thick paper made from banana leaves. If the artist is wealthier they will have access to thin fabrics. I think that this gives the art work more authenticity and makes it more genuine.