Stage 1: The final countdown!

Well, what a few weeks it has been. This is my last entry for stage 1 rotation.  Am I pleased with my work?

Yes because I completed everything in time and I researched practitioners that will be a new influence.

Yes because I experimented with a lot of media to various degrees of success.

Yes because I am surrounded with creative people, who are a daily inspiration.

Yes because of the essay proposal on illustration.

Yes because I am most definitely 100% sure about the Viscomm pathway I am choosing.

No, because I can see the faults and I have not had time to try again.

No, because I am not sure I would know how to put it right in some instances.

No, because some things like 3DD are definitely not for me and never will be.

No, because my organisation was a shamble at times.

No, because I failed to have fun on a couple of occasions, losing track of what’s important. You can learn from your failures.

But as whole, yes because I feel I am changing and I will continue to do so in the months to come.  I can’t wait!

And by the way, because Viscomm is my pathway, I had a go at tweaking my typeface. It will be a challenge that I am looking forward to.

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Design for 10,000 years from now

The design phase  took far longer than the making. I started thinking of a whole outfit. What would it make it unique? I didn’t want to have to sew even for the fashion rotation. I wanted it original.  I lost focus of what the body adornment was for and how it would fit the world I had created.

Then I thought about what made my world unique. The fact that we had survived and now lived in a smaller community was not unheard of. What was ? Our thoughts could be heard and our voices defined the clan we belonged to. This in essence could be a potential threat given the scarcity of resources. Therefore we needed to protect our thoughts and disguise our voices. The design became a head adornment.

Still no fabric But paper, tissue paper, wire, plastic bands, curtain hooks, buttons and wool.  This is the outcome.

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Making a type of chain

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Making a flower out of buttons

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Flowers out of tissue paper

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Hair band/ protection/aura

It can be futuristic, functional and pretty or so I decided. However, it had to be more of a statement. Bulkier and bolder.

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like a helmet

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and a voice changer

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Although Fashion and Textiles will not be my pathway, I am very pleased with the way I conducted the project. I struggled a lot but by pushing myself to explore different avenues. I came up with an outcome that was very far off the original plan of a sci fi garment. There are sci fi elements in it – the high tech hairband and mouthguard but i also focused on colour as a contrast to the black and white world that I created. It might be a bit too much on the pretty side…

Having missed the 3D workshop induction, it was impossible for me to experiment with plastic moulding…Given more time, I would have liked to use different materials and have a go at sewing.  My knowledge and experience in textile is nonexistent almost.

Still, starting with a moodboard was a new way of working that I will definitely use again.

Futurism looks amazing

I have discovered Gareth Pugh and am taken by all his collection. This English man, who moved to Paris (I have done the opposite!), makes dark futurism look amazing and this is what attracted me to his distinctive aesthetics. But all his other collections are a spectacle and ooze drama in their own right, They are all truly edgy!

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“It’s that idea that if you’re pleasing everyone, you’re doing something wrong! Sometimes you’re trapped in the expectations of what other people think of you.” Well, there is no risk of that Mr Pugh!

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If we want to see his avant-garde designs in the flesh, well we can go to Selfridges or Liberty where they are sold.  I know I will.

Fashion design rotation

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Initial sketches after the creation of moodboards.

Searching for the best adornment – for body or face?

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Moodboards are photomontages and watercolour washes.

Environment : Nuclear disaster

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The swirls evoke a disaster that is irreversible.  The world as we knew is gone.


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Our dwellings are as bleak as our surrounding. We live in bunkers type accommodation. The tall buildings are derelict. The hierarchy is clearly determined and headed by a higher authority that will make sure we can not repeat the errors of the past.

There is a world beyond – prettier and full of hope of a better future.  We need to ear the reward.


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We will all look different but with one thing in common: bigger heads. We live in clans and our thoughts are no longer our own. The tone of our voices indicate which clan we belong to.

Our days are spent living in a community and contributing to the renewal of resources in very short supply.  Those who refuse to contribute are sent away (nobody has found out where but they have never come back)

We eat a pill a day and are allowed a proper meal on our birthday.

We are an atheist society and are meant to share the same belief: the good for all. Because of the lack of water, that has been contaminated by the nuclear leaks, there is a rivalry between clans. There is a risk of civil war at any time.


London Art Frieze

London Art Frieze

This year of all years, I missed it.  I did not book tickets in advance not knowing if I would find the time to fit it in and when I decided I would I couldn’t get any tickets. So I had to console myself with previews and reviews. You get the good, the bad and the wow I wouldn’t have thought of that. is this art? But as far as I am concerned as long as it stretches you, makes you question things and does not take advantage of people’s good nature or pockets, then it is all worth it.  I shall certainly not miss it two years running.  See you in 2014!

What reconstruction?

Having played with the concepts of construction and deconstruction, why not venture into reconstruction?  I took my dog for a walk to mull things over. I love autumn…the colours, the smell, the fact that it is not too cold yet so you can walk at a leisurely pace and take it all in. My mobile is full of pictures I may or may not do anything with. Logistically, my timetable allowed me just Friday to complete the rotation. I found that from week 2, giving myself the same deadline as the Foundation students was a good target to aim for. So I had a few hours to come up with a strategy and a ‘doable’ one this time. I couldn’t afford to be indulgent and dream of a big installation.

This is what I saw on my walk or rather what tripping over made me see.


A thought emerged from the randomly scattered roots: Devastation. I squinted my eyes and imagined a disaster like the ones we see on TV.  I rushed back home to experiment with different and quick media. Charcoal and ink, which I thought were appropriate for the somber mood. By smudging my charcoal, a mask formed on the paper, full of pain and despair.  I knew then what I was going to do.  I picked up some twigs, leaves and printed them on paper. I added string. The lucky accidents are just the best.

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I had my narrative to be arranged on a A2 PDF board as I still felt committed to a 3D piece. And if plaster could not be used, nothing stopped me from trying out polyfilla. I expected some loss of texture and sculpting quality but I was determined to make up for this by adding twigs, glass, stones, sanding paper, timber shavings and making look like everyday items washed away by a hurricane.

The face coming out of the chaotic scene is yelling without being heard or noticed. I took inspiration from The Scream by the Norwegian expressionist painter Edward Munch. The busy organization of the painting was undoubtedly echoing some of Willem de Kooning’s work such as Excavation. I particularly enjoy the energy coming out of them and the sense of incompletion. De Kooning continuously reworked his canvases. Excavation was represented at the Venice Bienale in 1954.

Picasso had inspired him early in his career and for me there are very few paintings that speak as loudly as Guernica.

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I applied Heavy Body acrylics paint  in a painterly manner.The furious brushstrokes are there to convey that the flesh is being ripped to shred not by the speed of the wind but by our indifference.  It shows signs of rotting already.  Can we sustain the gaze?

I was also keen on using materials which could be adapted in an artistic context. I found it fascinating and challenging to deal with materials not directly associated to art. In this, I am not alone, the artist Tara Donovan uses everyday manufactured materials such as Styrofoam cups, toothpicks, drinking straws to create sculptures on a very large scale.

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‘In a sense, I develop a dialogue with each material that dictates the forms that develop. With every new material comes a specific repetitive action that builds the work, thus I feel safe in saying I will be able to keep finding new methods of production.’ Tara Donovan.

I enjoyed this project very much. I am relatively happy with the outcome but would have loved a much larger scale and even more 3D piece. I suppose I enjoyed it a lot because Fine Art encompasses the other disciplines and the sky is the limit  as long as you stay true to yourself.

I am also pleased with the theme that I have developed. The sufferance and indifference of those in need in the aftermath of a disaster is all too real. They lost their homes, their families but the media swiftly move away to hype up the latest news elsewhere. What happened after Katrina?

By chance, the outcome of my fine art project tied up with the response to a crisis from the 3D brief (which I felt was poorly executed since I could not use the workshop having missed the induction and I wanted to redeem myself.)  And if this is not obvious, this work is about the lack of reconstruction.

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Hands on

From the beginning of time, we have used our hands to construct and create everything we have used or contemplated. I have always been fascinated with the beauty and the power of our hands.

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I therefore decided to sculpt some hands with clay. This is such a satisfying medium. So responsive. So therapeutic! I did one hand. Then two joined together. I ran into two problems. So what? It is a good starting point but given the nature of sculpture, the rotation gave me limited time to finish it in time. I am not an accomplished sculptor by any means. I completed a couple of pieces in a short course by being given guidance all the way through. The technicality was too daunting and the end too uncertain.

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With the clay left over, I decided to create a relief instead. The process is much easier and straightforward. I copied an easy design: a rose sketched weeks before.  I lack experience to add all the flower’s folds. Casting it with plaster was also fun. However, waiting for it to dry properly and carving it out proved time consuming and frustrating. My mixture could be to blame or the rainy weather. I gave it a wash in diluted acrylics to see how the plaster absorbed the paint.  I was pleased to see that I could treat the relief like a normal canvas.

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The plan then was to create more figurative reliefs and statues made out of cardboard armature like my own take of Brancusi’s Kiss I made last year. Then smash them and reflect on the loss of great civilizations. I wanted to play with the notion of construction and deconstruction. Human beings seem to be experts at building great worlds that they destroy centuries later. History seems to repeat itself constantly.


Given more time, I would probably have experimented on a larger scale. Unfortunately I felt I had to give up this experiment if I wanted to end up with a medium to a large scale project that I had in mind. I was slowly but surely running out of time on a rainy Thursday afternoon.  I had experimented with lots of things but was not really clued up how to proceed further. I took a deep breath and decided to revisit my brainstorming ideas from earlier in the week. Back to square one!