Reflections on the Brief (A fair amount of rambling)

After steaming ahead with various research strands and coming up with lots of final pieces in my head (that I should probably draw in my sketchbook rather than letting them disappear into the void), I felt that despite having these ideas and piece designs that the research backing them up wasn’t really full enough. If I wasn’t on a degree course I would just crack on and make the pieces but being on a degree I have to work in a way that gets me marks.

I have gone back and re-read the brief. The starting point it suggests is “We would like you to produce a critical journal over the summer that not only locates you in the broader historical and cultural world but also explains the journey you have taken whilst you research.”

Locating myself in the broader historical and cultural world is quite difficult. I like some of everything. I like animation (Anything so long as it’s creative. I tend to like stuff that’s either technically amazing or visually distinct. I prefer 2d animation to stop motion or CGI), video games (Any genre so long as it’s interesting and distinct, from big budget AAA titles to the poorest of indie developers working out of their bedroom), quirky atmospheric music (Film scores, jazz, klezmer, folk, rock, prog, funk, electro, blues, soul, grunge, trip hop, avant garde and probably lots of stuff that doesn’t fit into any of those genres). I’m vegetarian and care about animal rights. Politically left wing, although probably more centre left in some ways. I don’t get out very much so in terms of my actual life due to social anxiety issues and depression so I’m largely a single, bedroom dwelling person. Is that a part of the broader cultural world? I guess bedroom dwelling media sponge is me. Maybe that can be a new subculture.

In terms of my practice it’s probably more difficult. I’m a huge fan of just black line on white paper, drawn with a pen. One of my strands of exploration involved using very small, simple line drawings with gel pens to create frame by frame animations with very little planning and no measuring at all. I love doodling and I still think my animation work is the strongest work I have ever done, although I can’t really follow it through without 3d elements for this course which means I can’t do the animation I enjoy so it’s maybe not worth categorizing myself based on that aspect of my practice.

I really like abstract painting and sculpture. I am aware that this is a HUGE proportion of all art that exists. I think more specifically I like work that is self contained and that one can get a lot from without knowing about the history or culture of where I’m from or my background or trying to find political implications within it. Anish Kapoor is a great example of someone like that. He makes things that he wants to exist, and they are self contained objects which are just about themselves, and to an extent the area around them. They are about colour and form.

According to my tutors I have a thing for surface pattern, although I think it’s more of a by product of my actual interest. I have a thing for creating objects entirely, and covering the surface completely allows me to make the object look exactly how I want it to without having to be too limited by the qualities of the building material. The fact that surface pattern is sometimes necessary to achieve that is just the by product of wanting to create interesting objects.

Work by Anish Kapoor

From what I’ve seen in the world of animation, I don’t think I fit anywhere. I have my own completely unique thing that is literally Benjamin Scott-Pye. I suspect that this probably isn’t the case but after years of searching I’m yet to find anything genuinely relevant.

When I started on Contemporary Craft I had just discovered Alan Shields and I was really excited about the prospect of building structures and coating them in cotton pulp. This is something that I definitely want to explore when I go back now I have some creative freedom. From what i can gather it’s a technique most relevant to paper making and since looking into it I have found that paper can be cast into plaster moulds in various different ways, as well as being able to use many objects as armatures, both found and handmade.

My favourite piece by Alan Shields, “Headline Bus Driver” Cotton pulp on steel

The problem I have then, is that I have a lot of things that I want to experiment with to learn about the properties of how materials interact with each other and what works visually and what doesn’t, but not much in the way of a driving concept. On top of that I’m not really sure how much concept is necessary. If I were to just dive in exploring these materials with no concept, would I lose marks for lack of a concept. If I do focus on a concept, will it lead me away from being able to explore these materials I’m so excited about, and will it be a waste of time anyway if it turns out not to be so important for my marks?

“Stepwell” by Alan Shields 2000

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