Evaluation

 

At the beginning of this module, I had several ideas that I was working with so I did very wide research for all of them before deciding on the ideas of the similarities between different cities. I feel like I researched all of my ideas and processes well, despite the main focus of my project being based on only one. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino quickly became a focus point for my development in this project and was a huge inspiration for my work. I feel like I could have done much more research to develop my idea further though and analysed the artists’ work and how it related to my own practice with much more detail.

My idea went through an extensive development with lots of testing and changes that helped me to refine my piece until I had a result I was happy with. The mix of media in my final piece was a product of this testing which helped visually communicate my idea.

I have a tendency to set myself too much work and be over-ambitious with my ideas, which means that I always have a heavy workload and this project was no exception. Through setting myself to-do lists and planning my time, I managed to stay on top of my workload and have everything finished in time. This didn’t mean that it was a stress-free process, but I managed to not let stress consume me, which has been a problem in the past.

Working collaboratively for elements of this module was an opportunity to pool ideas and style of working to create a product which was something I’ve not really done as I like to work independently, but I really enjoyed making the zine and documentary film collaboratively. It gave me the chance to take a step back and be less controlling of the design process, which is something to further, improve upon in the future.

I have struggled with deciding which idea I wanted to pursue which held back my development quite a bit and meant that some of my research was irrelevant to the idea I followed through with.

My biggest strength during this project has been the amount of testing and development I did to refine my idea. Managing my stress was also a huge feat for me and something that I feel I did well.

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Inspiration – Street map of Bath

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Because I’ve been working in a circular format for the majority of this project, this tourist map of Bath, immediately caught my attention.

It’s rare to see a map that isn’t a piece of art displayed in such a stylistic format, however, for city centres I feel it works very well as you can encompass the entire thing in a way that is stylish, easy to read and shows all the details you need in it.

The circular format also gives to the idea of it being the border of the city, or the border of the city centre, encircling the entire thing so that you don’t get lost in the detail of the surrounding area. As well as this, it feels as if a magnifying glass has been placed over Bath to highlight certain parts of it and show you things you may not have otherwise found just walking around or using google maps.

It’s very useful because it works in any direction, whichever way you turn it, if you photographed it to show you your way around and it’s focused on a central point.

This map shows that a circular format map is both aesthetically pleasing and functional for a tourist’s use.

Artist research – Rebecca + Richard Walsh

I stumbled upon the artists’ father selling their work on a stall in Bath city centre and, because of how much I love map art, immediately took interest and went to talk to him.

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The way they very stylistically create maps of cities looks beautiful and gives a life to the city that maps don’t usually give because they’re only displaying the geography and not the vibrance and personality of the city.

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I really love that they’ve kept to segments of the colour wheel in their palette for each one because it gives this cohesive depth of field in looking at the city that a more varied colour palette would make look very messy and unorganised.

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The greyscale images however contrast this hugely because they are only using tonality to create the same depth and definition as the colour ones but because of the cell shading of each segment of the pieces, I think they can stand up as just as powerful and impacting as the colour ones.

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I do prefer the colour ones though as they show a vibrancy that maps don’t usually have and show much about the individuality of the city than most maps usually do.

Artist Research – Humans of Leeds

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A project inspired by the more famous, Humans of New York, Humans of Leeds looks at the lives, stories and aesthetics of the people who live in Leeds.

This photographer takes the time to talk and get to know his subject as well as simply taking their photograph and then pairs a quote from them with the photograph so the viewer can almost get to know the subject through his work.

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He takes ordinary people, who you would see walking all around you in the street and shows them for the multi-layered, complicated people that they are that you wouldn’t be able to determine from just walking past them in the street and you may not even take note of these people as you are walking through Leeds.

The photographer’s way of showing the extraordinary in the ordinary is really very beautiful and inspiring and it’s something I’d like to look at in terms of the city as a whole, rather than just it’s people.

Artist research – Jessica Jones titles

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The animated watercolour collage style of the title sequence for the Netflix series, Jessica Jones immediately inspired me because of the dark silhouetted imagery, contrasted with a wash of colour and limited definition without losing the detail of the picture.

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The use of limited colour palettes per frame is used beautifully to portray mood for each of them and tell you things about characters that you may not have even met yet. It heavily plays with colour symbolism due to purple being a huge part of the show and the characterisation of the antagonist (Kilgrave/Purple Man).

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The transitions and layering across the animation shows a beautiful spread of the setting Hell’s Kitchen (New York) and shows you across the city as well as using the watercolour style to show both the vibrancy and life as well as the mess and filth that you can see across the setting for the show.

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The kind of imagery used in this title sequence is what I have been and want to continue looking at through visual exploration and explore how I can show so much of what my work is about in such a concise and limited way.

Metalwork

Etching is something I’ve never done before because of the expense so I was really excited to make my etching plate in metalwork.

We printed our images and photocopied them onto acetate so we would have our positive to expose onto.

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We then had to cut our metal to size so as not to waste lots of metal we didn’t actually need for our plate.

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After this we were ready to put the photo film onto our plates and go up to the print room and expose them. Once they’d been exposed, we brought them back down to the workshop and put them in chemicals to stop the exposure process, washing off the film on it.

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Once finished, we left them to dry so that later they could be dipped in acid before we printed with them.

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I did enjoy this workshop, however metalwork has never really been something that inspired me so I don’t think I will be using it too much, but the opportunity to learn new skills has been great.

Research – Cities as living, moving things.

While looking at the idea of cities as living things, several things came to mind.

The first was the legend of the vanishing isle.

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The vanishing island is supposed to be an island that appears in various spots around the world for a short amount of time and then vanishes again. The legend says that the reason for this is that it’s on the back of a giant turtle and appears when the turtle needs to surface for air.

The fate of the city is governed by the turtle, if people resided in the city when the turtle dove, they would all drown, if fish were swimming in it when it surfaced, they would be choked to death. As well as this, the city is so hard to find that no one really knows much about it as it is continuously moving and changing as the turtle swims and grows and travels

This made me think of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld.

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The world where Pratchett’s books take place is flat and carried by four elephants that stand on the back of a giant turtle, swimming through space. When you reach the edge of the world, you’d just fall off entirely.

The people of Discworld rely on this turtle entirely to sustain their world, carry it in the motion around the sun for their calendar, heat and light. The world simply wouldn’t be able to exist without the turtle.

I also thought of the creatures in the game Shadow of the Colossus

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These colossi are so big that, like the turtles of the vanishing isle and Discworld, they could probably sustain cities. As well as this, many of them appear to have plants growing all over them.

The final colossus in the game, Malus, has also been given the name the tower because he is so big and looks like his body is one huge building.

Others such as Quadratus and Pelagia, walk on all fours in a way that could give space for a moving city to be built on top.

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All of these examples bring in an element of movement, which reflects the ever-changing feel that most cities have. Almost nothing in a city is a constant, people come and go, old buildings get destroyed and new ones get built and the borders of the city are ever expanding.

There is something very fantastical and beautiful about moving cities and using these as a reference, it could be something very interesting to explore.

Photobook research – Intimacy and Confusion in the digital age by Jaja Verlag

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Verlag’s book used several stories told through images to describe how he feels technology is influencing intimacy and social interaction in today’s society. The stories always start as normal, mundane days in people’s lives and then something extraordinary happens and their life is changed.

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The simplicity of telling a story through panelled stills is what I like so much about Verlag’s work at the juxtaposition of imagery that he uses works so well to create a suspenseful and engaging narrative

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In this scene, he contrasts a man dropping a sugar cube into his drink with a man falling from a building. The way he puts these two simultaneous plots side by side makes you feel as if time is slowed down and neither one of these actions is more important than the other because you are intensely focused on both of them.

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Artist research – Ed Fairburn

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Ed Fairburn imprints people onto the landscape in a way that forms a beautiful connection between people and their land. The way he makes the contours of the girl’s face mould into the contours of the land in a flawless blend is very clever and helps to strengthen this connection.

The way her face is fragmented is interesting because, added to the girl’s expression, it gives the piece an air of brokenness and fragility.

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There’s always been a huge connection between people and the land they come from. People hold a lot of standing with where people are from and where they live. People also hold pride, hate loathing, jealousy, admiration and so many other feelings towards others based on their nationality.

With the amount of death and destruction across the world and people having to flee their homes for fear of attack, that connection is made stronger and that hate and adversity is being shown more widely as well as a huge wave of acceptance for those people despite it.

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Artist research – The little lost project

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This is an adorable project that gives life and personality to the objects we lose on the street everyday. It makes people emote with them in a way that makes them more concious of their belongings and what they drop. It reminds me of how much Toy Story made me think about what I do with my toys and what they see and hear.

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The sign on these tissues is great because it’s such a hopeful and desparing statement at the same time. ‘It’s going to be alright’ is such an uplifting statement to whoever reads it, it’s a little reminder to think positively about things. Putting it on a pack of tissues works so well because when you’re ill or crying, tissues are the thing that clean you up and give you that small comfort when you’re feeling low.

It’s also quite a sad statement because it’s something you only need to hear when you’re sad or ill or generally down so it’s based on the assumption that this is the case. However if that is the case then it’s very uplifting to hear.