Semester 2 Work

Instinctive Forms

Two intuitive, semi-automatic drawings inspired by natural structures such as roots, bones, and rocks.
I drew both of these forms with identical media and support, in the same place, with the same aim. That is to say no aim at all.These drawings call on my most fundamental influences: the influences which determine the minutia of my visual language, regardless of subject. These kinds of influences, I think, have to be down to a fascination with the form itself, which rings true for me when it comes to natural structures. I don’t know why my hand favours these forms, but I do know that when I subtract everything else (subject, communication, colour etc) my instinct is to compose the drawings in the way you see above.

Even after stripping back the drawing and making it something like an automatic drawing, the forms themselves still take on a different character depending on…what?

I draw them both about two days apart, on days where I can only assume my mood and general outlook was different. I can still see the same instinctive motions pop up in both drawings (that much I think is inevitable. my brain has latched onto something or many somethings to culminate into this tendency towards dynamic, maybe growing(?) structures.), but they differ in how they seem to move. The first drawing is jittery and chaotic, with a gaseous form. The second is solid and more muscular. Both drawings were completely devoid of ultimate aim, and when I was drawing #2 I honestly thought it was turning out the same as #1. It was at the point of realising that it wasn’t that it got me thinking why. Unintentionally, these two drawings act as a study into how mood and outside influence can affect even the most fundamental tendencies involved in my approach to drawing.

When I make a piece of work based entirely off instinct and intuition, I open up my visual language to alterations outside of my control. Or maybe I’m just massively impressionable.

 

Memoryscape, Valley of The Butterflies

Graphite, A4 sketch, possible preliminary sketch for a larger piece

A drawing based off a variety of documentation I recorded walking through the Valley of The Butterflies in Rhodes. 

Being there without a camera meant that I abandoned the usual route of documenting what is there with the lens and instead used sketches and text: small snippets saying what I noticed, how it smelt or sounded, and what stood out. 

Once I committed to just using text and drawing, I began to piece together a much more wholesome view of things than I would usually get with a camera, despite only having a very limited visual bank. When I relied so much on the camera, I forgot to use my senses or memory, and recall my own perspective. With that in mind this sketch recalls bits and pieces from my walk that caught my eye – this is not an observation, more of a recollection instead.

“Satellite I Composition”

This piece developed from a preliminary sketch for a potentially larger piece on canvas, but I decided that pastel worked really well for this particular style of work, a detailed style I don’t usually go for. I’ve been gathering satellite imagery from google maps, after noticing the strong tension between the urban grid and the chaotic natural shapes. The shapes involved in some of the North American images (this piece uses formal qualities from both Utah and Nebraska) are very similar to visual elements in a lot of modernist abstract works.

It’s interesting that these “ready-made” (I flinch at that) compositions are created but unknown in their entirety to the human race, and that irony drew me in. A lot of the work I’ve been doing has been solely revolving around nature in its own right, but these images focus strongly on humanities relationship to natures chaotic quality. Namely, man’s tendency to try and squash everything into straight lines, so really if there’s one thing this piece displays it’s the one-upmanship between humans and planet Earth.

 

Aviemore, Day #1

Haven’t posted anything in over two weeks, so I’m happy to get back to this. I’m in Aviemore, in Scotland at the moment for a proper Christmas holiday, and yesterday was my first full day.
It was Christmas Day, obviously, so it wasn’t too much of a busy day, but me and my family did get out to see some of the local sights, namely the big ass Cairngorm mountains, which were seen best from the railway station.
These are just a few of the hundred photos I took yesterday, the ones which came out half decently, and also a mugshot of me. I’ll probably be posting more of these as the time goes by!

 

Digital Chance Map Series

 

Digital version of this I did a while back, using a similar but slightly more complicated system. I wanted to create pieces quickly so I could get an idea what kind of range of results my system could generate.

It seems there’s a very wide range of possibilities, as all of these pieces were created using the exact same process based off dice rolls and coin flips.

I still prefer using chance as a basis and then working into it, but I think these work well in a series to demonstrate an individuality, and a unique identity in each piece, despite being born from identical processes.

Essay Rant

Rant from my blogger blog, posted a couple of days ago. I was a bit peeved…

So today I spent my time at home adding to my bibliography, and gathering points for my essay. I’m gradually going mad and rapidly losing faith in the whole idea of the essay. The essay brief is to compare two different drawings,one contemporary and one historical.

Except the historical ones have to be from the 20th Century, meaning a drawing made after my birth, in 1997 for example, would still be considered historical. I’m 19.

What.

Pedantics aside, the whole concept of a drawing, a concept which was always fairly concrete in my mind, has been completely upended. I was perfectly happy, and content, and otherwise unhindered by the notion that a drawing is anything made with a drawing implement. But that does no longer apply, after sitting through a two hour lecture seemingly refuting the criteria necessary for something to be described as a “drawing”.

By the end of it me and my peers started asking ourselves questions like “is life a drawing?” or “is breathing a drawing?”. “Hey it’s a linear motion it must be.” All this debate and philosophy over something which is completely inconsequential in every way.

So looking at the essay and seeing that I had to pick drawings specifically, I was, and am, a bit confused. After seeing this lecture I assumed, whilst not fully agreeing, that anything could be counted as a drawing at least for this purpose, but apparently this essay brief is based on the conventional sense of drawing, the convention that it has to be of pencil, or pastel, or so on. The convention that you just spent two hours disproving.

Stretching the definition of “drawing” is fine and good, if a little bit pointless (what does it matter what it’s called?), but to then set an essay based on the very boundaries that that lecture sought to dissolve is basically madness.

I’ve found my pictures, I’m happy with what drawing is to me and I’m happy with the fact that that’s all I need, but why do we need to put so much value into artistic categories, or even the absence of them? Categories are designed to categorise. Not to strive for. Why is it more desirable to call something a drawing, rather than accept that it is a man walking through a field? Yes it’s a good idea, and yes it’s perfectly valid, but it isn’t a drawing. But That does not diminish it’s value.

The only reason I can think of for widening the category of drawing rather than simply justifying or creating your own category is that you don’t fully believe that your art holds value in it’s own right. So to strengthen it you call it a drawing, to tap into the centuries-old consensus that drawing is a superior and non disputable form of art.

Personally I disagree that it’s a drawing. Personally I don’t like that kind of art, because it’s a gimmick and it’s one step closer to an art industry that favours philosophers and politicians over skilled practitioners. But ignoring my opinion, if you believe in that kind of art, then believe in it, and call it what it is. Call it a performance, a painting, or a photo of a man walking through a field. This expansion and acceptance of anything as a drawing is doing the exact same thing to the category of “drawing” as contemporary hyper-conceptual art is doing to the art industry as a whole. Diluting it.

Let the other categories be and have faith in your own, even if people like me don’t.

Rant over for today.

Digital Repeating Pattern

Using a textiles technique of cutting the piece into four then rearranging it so the outer corners all touch in the center, I was able to create a repeating pattern using some of the figures from the Chance Landscape.

This is just a mock up of what the hard copy version will look like, but it was an interesting technique so I wanted to post it!

 

 

5 Minute Blind Self Portrait

I took part in a ceramics workshop recently, which involved getting used to handling clay in a variety of ways, and creating a very quick outcome. We were introduced to a number of techniques including throwing, coiling, and sculpting.

We were given a tour around the facilities to see the kilns and the incredible array of chemical compounds which you can use for glazes etc, and after a very lengthy health and safety talk we were given a huge chunk of clay.

The idea was to create a self portrait, blind, out of clay. This meant that you had to create the sculpture on your own perception of yourself, rather than observation. I probably have one distinct facial feature, and that’s my cheekbones, so I focused on gauging out those gaunt hollows in my face.

It was an interesting workshop, even if it wasn’t the type of thing which excites me, and it did get me familiar with the process at least. I think I’d enjoy playing around with some chemical compounds to see if I can get some unexpected results, that would be more up my street.