Thursday, 16 December 2010

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Quentin Blake Article

15 December 2010 Last updated at 01:53
Share this page

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.