Who Is Artist? Final outcome.

Creating the final outcome, a short film composed of 781 frames/ images, costume, video editing, design, and photography un-surprisingly was quite a long process. Although, I was able to finish it within the deadline that I had set myself.

In order to secure myself meeting my final deadline (2 weeks blanket extension applied), I decided to keep myself organised by creating this schedule. I believe doing so has made me more motivated to do work, as I was initially creating work with a large amount of stress overbearing myself, causing my production and development to be prolonged; this was because of me believing that I would not be able to get all of my work done in time by the deadline, as I kept recalling different requirements I had to meet by my deadline, such as updating my website, my portfolio, submitting an artist statement, presenting a professional practice slideshow, and more. Thankfully, by creating this schedule I am able to see what to do on each day, and have ensured to leave myself plenty of time to allow breaks in between completing work. I have also ensured to allow myself one day a week to do whichever and whatever I wish to do, in order to keep my mental well-being sufficient in these difficult times.

After following this schedule, I have been able to finish my extra puppet animation on-top of my previous submission. I will however be creating some extra still images, and collages with my puppet as some side, still illustrations.

In the curation of this film, I found my sound effects from 2 sources that offer students free sound effects to use in educational films, the links are below:

http://soundbible.com/?fbclid=IwAR1wPE4vc5K6n7B1NwkyJnY5fBc5OyhfdU_1xQHPYXtnNZcFHRVMY5HRM4k

http://bbcsfx.acropolis.org.uk/

All of the sound effects I used were either licensed as Public Domain, or as Attribution 3.0, meaning that they are able to be used for personal, as well as public function, meaning that it can also be used for commercial purposes. I will give credit to the creators of the sound effects which I used below my film.

I used Adobe Premier Pro to edit my film together. It is fair to claim that I am out of practice of utilising the software and tools provided by such, although I was able to create the movie that I had envisioned in my creative-mind. If I had more time, or was able to re-do this animation, I would create a stronger body for my puppet, as it was too heavy to stand by itself. Although, I was able to offer more flexibility to this puppet than my previous puppet. This meant that there were more areas of the puppet that could be manipulated, and animated. This included the thigh, calf, and head as well as the puppet’s arms. I would also get access to official tools, such as cameras, tripods, lighting, and a clicker. These would make the animation smoother, and effectively more simple to create, as I struggled to take photos with one hand and move the puppet with the other which resulted in slowing the process.

I also decided to have a constant quiet ticking clock sound effect in this film, with an alarm at the end of the video, in hopes of communicating that it is time for people to wake up. I don’t believe that people outside, or even within the art world truly see the dark side of it. However, my hope is that this film may offer an insight to those emotions and fears.

I also went on to make some side pieces, as well as photograph my puppet in order to show the physical outcome as well as the video outcome. These will be shown below the sound effects credit.

Sound effects:

[Printer] by dersuperanton, freesound.org

[Painting, roller.] by bbc sfx

[Fast Drawing] by Daniel Simion, soundbible.com

[Fire Alarm] by battlestar10, soundbible.com

[Judges Gavel] by minuteman, soundbible.com

[Kung Fu Punch Sound] by Mike Koenig, soundbible.com

[Squishing Sound] by Mike Koenig, soundbible.com

[Tape Measure] by Mike Koenig, soundbible.com

[Microwave] by KevanGC, soundbible.com

[Rockslide small sound] by Sound Explorer, soundbible.com

[Ticking Clock] by KevanGC, soundbible.com

Height of puppet: Approx. 30cm,

Width of puppet (with arms resting as in “no strings attached” piece): Approx. 20cm.

Who Is Artist? The New Work In Progress.

Now that I have filmed the creation of the foundation of the puppet, it seems fitting to do a reflection on how my concept is developing so far.

I have decided to use a alternative clay to what I had used for my previous puppet. For my first attempt at my puppet I had used FIMO doll clay, and although it worked well, it was hard to work with, as the clay needed to keep heated in order to be malleable. This time I used Super Sculpey, which has a similar feel to the FIMO clay, although it does not need to be kept at a certain temperature in order to be worked into.

So far I have decided to have phrases sneak onto the display, asking questions which I am curious about in the art world. I believe the animation at this current state is quite simplistic, which is appropriate as I wanted the focus to be on the puppet being formed at the beginning of the animation, as a way of showing how an artist isn’t one human, but rather something made by other forces, such as other people being critical in judgement. The next step is to paint and design the clothes for my puppet. I will then be able to create the story line appropriately. Unfortunately, it has become clear that making the model is always quite a slow process, as I intend to be quite precise and use multiple tools to get the structure that I envision into my creation. I am also a novice at designing clothes, although I have finished making the jacket and it took myself half the amount of time to create it this time than it did previously.

I also wanted my puppet to have more of a feature to it to make it not look completely human like, so decided to make the head of the puppet slightly smaller than normal, to further my intention of the puppet looking manufactured, as opposed to a natural person.

Unfortunately, I could not find anything to use as a tri pod as I wanted to zoom and move the camera angles throughout the animation to create more sense of space. As I get to the next stage of filming my puppet moving, I believe I will be able to find an angle/ space to place a make-shift tripod to keep the camera’s placement still/ non-shakey, to give time for the puppet to receive full focus.

I believe I may keep the audio of my animation to be simple sound affects, I don’t want to drain the essence of the story telling in my animation by covering it with music, although simple sound affects that follow the movement and development of the animation should accentuate the metaphors and make the animation more appealing to view.

Below is the first 10 seconds I have filmed for this animation.

Update: 17/04/2020

I have now finished focusing on creating the clothes and colouring the face of my puppet as shown below, and can begin the second stage of my animation.

Artist Research: Puppetry Stop Motion

Once deciding that I am now going to create a short stop frame animation to accompany the final artefact being the puppet itself, I was concerned that I would not be able to find a past artist who has worked with these 2 mediums combined easily, in order to research and gain inspiration to create my work.

Fortunately, I was able to find multiple artists who have worked in stop frame animation whilst using puppets, as opposed to regular clay animation. This is the information I gathered through my research:

Ladislas Starevich

The stop-motion animation of Ladislas Starevich | Den of Geek

Ladislas Starevich was a Polish-Russian stop frame animator and film director that lived from lived from August 8, 1882 to February 26, 1965.

Starevich was the first individual to create a puppet-animated film, called ‘Lucanus Cervus‘ (1910). Starevich would use dead insects as well as his puppets as protagonists in his films.

Starevich was once the director of the Museum of Natural History in Kaunas, Lithuania. It was during his time in this museum that he wished to create a live action fight between two stag beetles to add to the various live action documentary films which he created for the museum; but the beetles would die during filming due to the stage light. It was then that Starevich decided to remove the beetles legs and replace them with wire, which left him with an insect puppet.

An example of one of Starevich’s animations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHxBnMao1To&t=78s

Starevich’s work was with no doubt highly innovative. Due to the films being vintage it is unfortunate that his best known works are quite difficult to distinguish and make sense of. Although I am not intending to use bugs in my stop motion. Starevich’s full puppets are quite advanced and appear as though they are their own person, although I want my puppet to clearly appear as a puppet, with strings, handmade/ rough aesthetic etc.

Jiří Trnka 

A Midsummer Night's Dream & The Hand, Jiří Trnka

Jiří Trnka  lived from 24 February 1912 – 30 December 1969, and was a Czech Puppet maker, Illustrator, film director and motion picture director.

Trnka developed his puppeteer passion through attending the Prague School of Arts and Crafts through an internship. Trnka had enjoyed making puppets since childhood, where he was sculpting puppets from wood and putting shows on for his friends.

After graduating from Prague’s School of Arts and Crafts, Trnka created his own puppet theater in 1936. When World War II began the puppet theater group was disbursed, and Trnka moved onto designing stages and illustrating children’s books for throughout the war. Once World War II finished, Trnka teamed up with 2 other artists to form their own animation studio. During this time, Trnka experimented with 2D animation, and created several films, 2 of which were awarded at the 1st Cannes Film Festival. Although, despite the films earning Trnka recognition and awards, he felt more comfortable making puppets, so ventured back into making puppet animation films.

Trnka’s stop motion is beautiful, the movement of each character adds to their personalities, the scenery also creates beautifully toned still images throughout the films if you were to pause it at any given moment.

I would like to experiment with the movement of my puppet throughout my film, perhaps I will create more flexibility to the puppet/ more limbs which can be altered in placement to offer more movement to the puppet than I initially intended.

It is important to note that during this current epidemic forcing us to stay indoors, I only have access to my bedroom as scenery, which is why I would like to embrace the fact that I have the desks, which I (as an art student) use to create my art work, allowing those to not only see into the life of an artist through the puppet, but also the scenery/ back drop of the room which I am using to create my work in at this space of time. I also don’t have access to official stop motion software/ tri- pods/ cameras, although I want to experiment with what I currently have access to. This being an app which I purchased in my second year of studying Illustration. I used this app to film the footage below during a project based in Cardiff Museum.

Encounter: Back to the Start

Taking the feedback provided regarding my formative pass/fail submission of the Encounter module, I am now aware that although I provided quality work, I needed to work on the quantity of what I provided.

Unfortunately, during this formative submission I was met with unfortunate circumstances, such as mental health deterioration, losing my family dog, and other personal issues that affected my progression and speed of creating during that time.

Now I am revisiting this module, I decided that I would like to continue with what worked best, such as my time lapse. Although, to explore more skills I would like to create a stop motion animation. It would be similar to my time-lapse, but could also feature some movement/ action of the puppet after it’s creation, perhaps showing myself ‘controlling’ the artist/ puppet, therefore emphasizing my metaphor.

I can recall suggestions of having the puppet represent myself, in a day in the life of an artist. Therefore, place the puppet in scenery and show how it is controlled by views, critics, and judgement.

I have created a story board to collect some possible sequences to portray the struggles and uncertainties that is faced in the art world.

Ideally, I would like to continue with the idea of basing my puppet off the character that I created for my graphic novel project last year. This is because the graphic novel’s purpose was to discuss the issues of art theft, so the character has already been used to discuss the ‘dark’ parts of the art world. It would also be interesting to place this character in the real world by creating a puppet representation of it, and view how my character would interact with objects, how it may walk, react etc.

I would like to have the stop motion illustrate the feeling of an artist being a puppet, being controlled by the media, or a critic, or their surroundings. I’d like to also leave the stop frame animation have some opportunity for interpretation, so for the audience to perhaps converse amongst themselves to figure out the signification of certain aspects of the short film, such as if the puppet was to receive a magazine, what magazine is it? Why has it got this magazine? Why is it reacting the way that it is?.. and so on.

I will also remake the puppet that I initially created as I believe my skills have improved since the creation of that first puppet. It will also fit with the new stop motion animation, to see the ‘construction of an artist’, as opposed to an artist forming naturally, the fact it is being formed and almost manufactured furthers my metaphor of an artist being controlled/ created by multiple outside sources.

Who Is Artist? Reflection.

As I am near my Pass/Fail summative assessment, it is now the best time to look back at what I have achieved so far and assess what has and what hasn’t been effective in my approach to my thematic project.

When I began this topic I decided that my main audience would be those currently working, wanting to work or confused about what goes on in the art world. This is to talk about how my experience has affected me, and to show how even though I have struggled to gain a full grasp of what it means to be an artist, you forever learn. There is no such thing as a ‘perfect artist’ or a ‘perfect piece’ as there is always room to improve and make something more magnificent than that which has been done before.

I wanted to show this by the exploration in materials, emotional input (being confined, breaking free), and by showing the process of making.

I believe I have been able to achieve that so far in my collection of mixed media approaches, and different forms of documentation (film, blogging, sketchbook work, marker work, gif making etc.).

I wish I had broke free of my prison which I had built myself into a bit earlier on in the process as I believe I would be even further into completion of the final outcomes at this point.

I am pleased with the responses I had to my work, many saying that they find the mixed media approaches effective and that they are also excited to see the puppet in completion as they think the metaphor will become more clear.

I would like to continue with this project, but slightly limit my area of research. Perhaps look more into escapism and what it means to people.

If I were to continue with this project, I would also possibly remake the puppet to be of a higher standard/ less delicate. I would also compile more speed-paints together and create a short film explaining what/ who art is to multiple people, and let the audience deliberate it themselves.

I was also able to explore life drawing this term, as I believed the vulnerability of the model linked to the fact that I, myself am opening up to myself in this project, therefore also making myself quite vulnerable. The life drawing lead to the creation of one of my lino prints, which I then began to create a concertina with (another one of my outcomes).

The contertina was made in order to try and convey how the artist’s mind works (also that I am slightly losing my mind). This is represented by showing how when some may see a glass of water, an artist may see a dancing wave of character, with story and emotion. The body and glass is a pure limitation (containers), where as ‘looking in between the pages’ allows the imagination to swirl, which further states my aim of showing what an artist is capable of.

This project so far has been quite enlightening, which was ideal, as I stated at the beginning of this project that I wanted it to allow me to further experience self discovery, as my past projects have done. I have found methods/ techniques of working which I had never tried before to be fun, such as lino printing and model making. I have also found that I am able to make work, I just have to trust my own opinion more, as I AM THE ARTIST. The critics are there to offer advice, not change my work/ do the project. Therefore, not everyone’s opinions matter. It is important to learn to take criticism and respond to it in a way which is necessary. Not change your entire work mode to fit one individuals opinion, as opinion varies. This is an important point which I struggle to remember sometimes. I will now make sure that I always take into a count that I am the artist. I am in control.

Who Is Artist? The Development.

I decided on the first day back on certain things which I would like to explore in order to expand my range of tools/ techniques. This included exploring my strengths which were markers, ink and sketching, as well as exploring my weaknesses, which is print making and acrylic painting.

I began by doing free sketching, AKA drawing for fun, as the best ideas seem to arrive when you have shut off your mind to the context, as there is always a bit of thought left in your subconscious regarding the topic which is being studied.

Above are some examples of work that I made to generate ideas. I was still struggling to find an idea which I could take further.

It was during a Vertical Studio talk, held by one of my lecturers at Cardiff Metropolitan, Amelia Huw Morgan which had me inspired.

Throughout her talk she discussed how she approached art, and how she found her profession. One part of the talk that struck true to me was when she explained how she felt stuck in a box, tied together by string, and needed to cut herself free.

This metaphor struck true as I had been struggling to find my way out of an art block/ and find a metaphor to explore further. As I had been desperately trying to find philosophical meaning to what an artist is, that is when I decided to home in further on my topic.

WHO IS ARTIST: I AM ARTIST.

This topic allows me to research/ explore what I am capable of, what art is capable of, and what it means to me to be an artist. This then got me thinking about how I really felt like a puppet, as I was so afraid of judgement from peers, critics, lecturers and the outside audience that I was creating work that I think would fit them best. It wasn’t until I ‘cut myself free’ that I started creating work (shown below).

I ended up exploring lino print, 3d design CAD software, spray paint stencils, GIF making, acrylic paint and more. I decided to compile a collection of clips I took of me creating my work.

As you can see in the clip, I also decided to experiment with 3D making, and have begun to make a puppet. I would like to redo the head of the puppet as I believe I can create a better form, although other than the head the body seems secure and strong in structure.

I want to make a puppet as I believe it displays the metaphor of how I was controlled by judgement and other’s opinions. Therefore the puppet is an artist, based off one of my characters I designed for a graphic novel project in my previous year. The puppet will be able to be interacted with by anyone, and will hold a paintbrush in one hand, which will be able to be dipped in ink and can will be able to paint on surfaces, (as shown in the below diagram).

The amount of material exploration so far has got my hopes up, as I am constantly learning and exploring new methods to work. This puppet will be one of my main outcomes for this project, as well as concertinas, speed paint/make videos, posters or books. Essentially I want the outcomes to show the range of approaches you can take in art, to further emphasize how art can differ, in aesthetics as well as method.

I am looking forward to seeing what I will be able to complete by the degree show.

Who Is Artist? Exploring London.

This year, we were offered the opportunity to venture up to London in order to explore galleries, art markets, and the generous artistic sights.

During my trip in London, as well as going to see exhibitions and museums, I was able to stumble across some lovely installments scattered throughout London.

London has various sculptures/ artistic pieces installed throughout the city, allowing a sort of scavenger hunt to find all the hidden pieces. The above shows one of the pieces I happened to find whilst exploring. This made me feel quite revitalized, knowing that art is springing itself upon people by being hidden in various parts of the city, making you feel like you have been transported to a different world when you turn a corner and find one.

I was also able to visit the House of Illustration which allowed me to view some Quentin Blake original art pieces.

Seeing his work left me awe struck, as it feels very special to be able to see the pen strokes, brush marks and slight errors Blake made in his work. I say this as I noticed that one of his works on display seemed to have either white acrylic paint or correction fluid on part of his page! This also made me relate to Blake, as I could see that even artists with loads of experience make mistakes.

I also went into the design museum, as I had read that an Illustrator who I wrote about in my dissertation last year had their work on display there. This Illustrator was Chesley Bonestell.

Chesley Bonestell used to draw space and planets from the perspective of if you were standing on them. This was done before photos could be taken of outer space. Bonestell’s Illustrations were then published in a magazine, which lead to people wanting to explore space as the images appeared to gather an audience who wanted to experience standing on the planets which Bonestell Illustrated. This arguably meant that Bonestell helped initiate the wish to create space travel.

Seeing Bonestell’s work face to face was astonishing. To think that years ago, this is all people viewed of space. As not everyone could go into an observatory and look into the sky, therefore these illustrations were the only connection the layman had to space, where as astronomers obviously had more understanding.

The markets in London also had multiple stands by artists, makers, textile creators and illustrators. Overall, it was quite an exciting experience exploring the markets as there was so much range in what was being sold that you didn’t know what you were going to see once you turned a corner. There were markets on the streets outside the hotel which I was staying at also, which created a sense of community as everyone was there for the same reason, to see what was being presented and possibly purchase some items.

The London trip has left me inspired, motivated and refreshed. This visit was a nice way to take a break from constant working, yet still acquire some research which has left me excited to get back to creating.

TAX: How to be your own Boss.

Today we were able to have a talk held by an established Illustrator: Anna Steinberg.

In this talk, Steinberg discussed how to handle tax when you are working in freelance, as you become your own boss.

Above are some notes I took during the talk.

This talk was useful as it gave us tools that not many people have been able to have a talk on.

As I have stated in one of my previous posts regarding professional practice, I have considered doing freelance. Now that I am understanding more about how the inner workings of being a freelance illustrator works, I am growing in confidence about handling working for myself. Although, as I also stated, I am still concerned about the unsteady income.

The talk touched upon this and told us in order to ensure we have enough money to essentially live, we have to make sure we budget. This also concerned me. Not the budgeting part as I have always been one to keep track of my banking/ spending, but the fact that an individual who works in free lance also stated that she has to budget as her income is not always stable, and has found herself having to be very careful with her spending. Even though it is useful to know, and working for yourself sounds like a dream, this factor really concerns me, hence why I have decided if I were to work in freelance, I wouldn’t want to do it long term. Although if I do go into it, thanks to the talk, I have the essential tools, links and understanding on how to look after my money and ensure I pay my taxes if it does work out.

The link to Anna Steinberg’s website is here, if you would like to research into her work: http://annasteinberg.co.uk/

Creative Play: Production through Fun

As you have probably guessed, or experienced yourself; coming up with new creative ideas constantly as a profession/ major can become quite difficult. Sometimes you’re not in the right frame of mind to sit down and contemplate new effective ways to captivate an audience.

In order to expand our tool kit and methods of working within the art field that is Illustration, we were met with a workshop to assist us with finding ways to get a project in movement.

To begin, we all sat down and were told to explore the various art games laid in-front of us. Some were flip books, some were construction kits, and some were card games. All of which were ways to get the creative mind moving and get you wanting to create.

The ability to touch and move these objects already gets the brain in movement as you are able to explore the different senses and the ‘not knowing’ what to expect made our imaginations take off in order to try and anticipate what was to happen next.

We were then told to cut, draw, and create. We could create anything. A game, a collage, an object or anything that came within to existence. We were told to shut off from our surroundings and have fun with what tools we had available.

I had brought all of my development work with me as well as a watercolour palette, scalpel, glue and markers. I decided to create an interactive collage, entitled ‘The Artist’s Studios’ to allow those to have a glimpse into what it is like to be an artist, in particular the confusion and uncertainty in the life of an artist.

This workshop reminded me that it is good to have fun whilst working. It is not always appropriate to create in a logical way as it can take away from your motivation in approach to the topic. The main points I am taking away from this project is to enjoy making. Allow myself to be free and have fun with projects, even when in a slump because sometimes it just takes the free space and a clear mind to be able to get back into the swing of things.

Beginning the End: The First Crit.

Walking into a large room full of peers knowing that you are about to be judged is never an exciting experience (at least it isn’t for me anyways).

Whilst looking around I could see that about 90% of my fellow students in the class had either done more, or the same amount of work as myself. This initially made me feel quite apprehensive to show my work.

As I stated in my previous post, my summer holidays was jam packed with playing catch up on my dissertation proposal due to my unknown mental illness at the time taking control of my progression. This in turn lead to me having less time to create work towards my project over the summer, as well as me having to focus on multiple things at once (which is precisely what my illness makes me struggle to keep control of), which lead to me being demotivated, drained and confused. Knowing that I was about to put my work out to be judged for what it is, knowing that no one will know why I was unable to create the amount that I would have been comfortable to display, made me incredibly anxious. Nonetheless, I know that despite the fear of judgement, it will be beneficial. And that, it was.

After laying out our work, we were asked to consider what we think is working in our development so far. I believe that my concept for making something 3D/ an object as well as 2 dimensional illustrative images is quite good, as it will be captivating when stood upon the mountains of paper illustrations/ development created for this project. I also like my use of mark making as I believe it gives the image a certain texture, that makes it less 2 dimensional.

We were then told to pick something that we would like to leave behind and not explore further in our development. For this I chose to not look further into how galleries’ stances can make or break an artist as I found this topic to be too limiting on exploration of work.

Finally, we were told to take note of what others have liked about our work. After showing my work and explaining my intentions on where I would like to take this project further, I was told by my peers that my idea of making an interactive artist puppet would be a really fun idea, as it would engage an audience with my installation. I was also told that my observational images were ‘lovely’, as they transported the viewers to the scene which I had drawn, ones of which offered serenity.

I was told to potentially look into a book called “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”, which offers questioning of what art is, or what it could be. This added to my previous artists who I have researched has helped me build a strong foundation for potential areas of research.