Tutor Feedback – Assignment Five

Tutor Feedback – Assignment Five

06/11/17

Response and Reflection on Assignment Five

I have taken excerpts from my tutor’s report that reflect areas for improvement and/or suggestions for research and/or experimentation. My responses and reflections are noted beneath each.

Overall Comments

“…You are technically very able and show great potential as a printmaking. I hope its something you will continue with.”

Funnily enough, I was so relieved to finish the last project due to a looming deadline, I thought I’d enjoy a break from printmaking. It turns out, I’m really missing it. I keep thinking of new themes to work on. I really feel as if I will be actively looking for ways in which to include an element of printmaking into my future course work and personal projects. I have also been gifted a small die cut machine that doubles as a press for up to A4, and longer if I make an extended base, therefore, I have no excuse not to continue to incorporate printmaking in my work.

Feedback on Assignment

Demonstration of Technical and Visual Skills, Quality of Outcome, Demonstration of Creativity

Task 1 (Project 13)

“I’m unsure if you need all the text, perhaps the only word you require is ‘greed’.You have to leave something for the viewer to imagine. Sometimes less is more!”

With this particular image, I was quite excited by the idea of using text as the tower blocks being cleared away. I don’t think the actual result was quite as I had envisaged and this may have prompted this opinion from my tutor. I do, however, understand that I sometimes do over think and subsequently over do the explanation. I had similar feedback on Project 15, which I respond to below.

Task 2 (Project 14)

“These are beautiful little chine colle prints. This is an incredibly difficult process to master and you have technically very able work.

The composition of the shapes, colour text and chine colle had led to sophisticated imagery.

I enjoy the fact they are more ambiguous on first inspection. Again you are referencing your personal voice and working out your approach made evident in your sketchbook.

Collage may be something you wish to explore further, it may help you to place images and text together to explore new ideas and composition further.”

I have included this feedback, as although, there is only the encouragement to push the incorporation of  collage further, I want to remember the success of the ambiguity of text and shape. To remember not to give too much information and allow the viewer to make their own interpretations. A very valid point that I need to absorb for future work.

Task 3 (Project 15)

“This task sees you pushing personal voice further. Your imagery is referencing political posters, propaganda and protest art.

The linocut of Putin is very much in the style of Roy Bizley’s political linocuts.”

http://www.leicesterprintworkshop.com/exhibitions-and-projects/exhibitions/woodcuts_by_roy_bizley/

I was not aware of Roy Bizley and so have researched him and his work as suggested. Unfortunately, there are few images online except for John Major, Edwina Curry and I believe Kenneth Baker. I can see the similarities, although Roy Bizley caricatured these portraits, which I was trying to avoid. These images prove how powerful printmaking can be to push home a point when in skilled hands.

“The people’s history museum has a great collect of posters.

http://www.phm.org.uk/our-collection/introduction-to-our-collections/ “

The banners and posters within the People’s History Museum is fascinating. As well as the overtly party political posters, I was drawn to the “This is Hull” anti-racism 1979-1982 examples. The strong colours and textual imagery are very powerful. Perusing their website was frustrating as it hinted at so many great images. I love where I live now but this is one of the main drawbacks of inhabiting a small volcanic island off of the African coast. We have a lively arts and crafts culture and community here, however, I miss out on the wider choice of viewing – at least I have the internet!

“Your bravery and approach to making meaning artwork is to be applauded. The lino of Putin is well cut. I’m unsure if you need all the text. Would the image be stronger if it said ‘ From Russia with?’ This would leave something for the viewer to reflect upon further.

All the images may have benefited from further drawing and working out especially with the quantity of text. Maybe the only word you needed on each image is power?

This work is certainly ambitious and exciting. I believe it poses many questions for you about the kind of work you want to make.”

I really wish I’d thought of the “From Russia with ?” !!! However, I was researching Putin’s influence and consequences and came across a photograph of a poster from a demonstration with Putin’s face made up as if in drag, the rainbow and those words. As my tutor points out, maybe if I had taken more time to draw it all out prior to committing, this sort of thing may have been more obvious. It really does drive it home, that there is a fine line between planning and naturally evolving a piece of work.  Again, any text has to be relevant yet not specifically spelling out meaning – I need to leave something for the viewer to become involved with – or they will just walk by. I have learned that myself, as I like to keep looking at artwork and keep seeing more.

Sketchbooks

Demonstration of technical and Visual Skills, Demonstration of Creativity

“Your sketchbook has continued to be used as an integral document throughout the course. You have combined imagery and text to really plot and plan your work. The journey through all your processes and thinking is here. You are combining thumbnails and drawing. It may help you to include more sample prints as well.

Would an A3 sketchbook help you? You feel very contained in this book especially once you started embracing more personal themes.”

Again very valid points, towards the end of the projects, I did add a couple of practice/sample prints and it made my jottings in my sketchbook more coherent. I think prior to submitting for assessment, I will see if any of these will be relevant to add retrospectively. Regarding the A3 sketchbook, I have to agree that the A4 books were beginning to constrain me and I found myself planning out on separate sheets because of this. Nothing wrong with that, but to keep everything together it is something to really consider. Beginning the Level One courses, I really enjoyed the A4 books and love the series of sketchbooks I have accumulated over the time and often look through them. However, the further I travel this degree path, I feel that they may be limiting my experimentation and flow of thought.

Learning Logs or Blogs/Critical essays
Context

“Your learning log is very well organised and easy for the reader to follow. It has developed in a reflective manner throughout the course. You are posing questions to yourself around themes and technical decision making.

Living in Lanzarote you have less access to contemporary galleries than the UK students. I recommend looking at Tate shots on you tube.”

Noted and will keep referring back to this and Youtube, thank you for the tip!

Suggested reading/viewing
Context

“Have a look at Banksy.”

This was an enjoyable and thought-provoking perusal of Banksy’s work. The images are often minimal and demonstrate what my tutor is trying to make me realise. I do not have to spell out my message explicitly, it just needs to be enough to make the viewer stop and think. If they come away with a slightly different message, then that’s fine, maybe they’ll keep coming back and depending on their circumstances will find more in the work another time. The key is to keep them looking and thinking. I can see that stencils are sometimes used and are repeated to say something different depending on the location, this is something in common with printmaking. I’ve noticed printmakers doing this before in my research, a repeated motif does not mean unoriginal work but a progression and expansion of a message or theme for example Clare Curtis repeats her forest elements regularly.

“Many artists during the 1960s and 1970s visibly opposed the Vietnam War including Ronald Haeberle, Peter Saul, Carl Andre, Norman Carlberg and Nancy Spero and produced artworks that raised awareness and called for the responsibility.”

Ronald Haeberle – When I was young the Vietnam war on the news every evening, I don’t recall anything about this, yet I can appreciate that this was a brave photographer. He did his day job by taking official army photos yet also recorded what he was witnessing on his own camera in colour. I’m sure he could have been in a lot of trouble should this have been discovered and he was instrumental in bringing evidence at subsequent Court Martials. – his pictures were truly shocking but served their purpose.

Peter Saul – activist pop art? His work is so colourful, yet as one headline says “the grotesque art of Peter Saul”, and when closely viewed, some of it really is grotesque, yet meaningful in its imagery.

Carl Andre – famous in the 70s for his brick sculpture in the Tate, he builds his sculptures on site in the exhibition space sourcing local materials. From the information I could find, I struggle to connect his work with the social commentary aspect we are discussing, however, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a relevance, maybe I just need to look harder.

Norman Carlberg – a sculptor and printmaker. He is associated with constructivism movement and I find his work very undulating and although completely man-made, it has an organic feel with curves and angles that seem natural. I found one painting relating to the Vietnam war that was credited as courtesy of Norman Carlberg, which I assume means he was the artist? It depicts a  darkened room full of caskets draped in the American flag to symbolise the lost lives of soldiers in the Vietnam war.  It does have a patriotic ambience but also a respectful one – the room itself is constructed of the US flag. Although it has the style of his sculptures, being minimalist, graphical and geometric in design, I was surprised that it was a painting.

Nancy Spero – I’m so glad my tutor has brought this artist to my attention. So many of her themes are still relevant and extremely important to me. Her war series are quick gouache and ink sketches that say so much with so little detail. Researching her, she is glibly (in my opinion) described as a feminist artist, she is so much more than that I can see from a brief overview. I will spend more time looking at her work and have found a website of her quotes about it and how she thinks. I note that she also uses text within her work.

“One of the most famous figures associated with political activism in contemporary art is certainly Ai Weiwei. Using his art to address the corruption of Chinese government and their neglect of human rights, but also other politically touchy issues, Ai Weiwei has become a synonym for disobedience. Some of his most memorable pieces are the Study of Perspective series where he took photographs of his middle finger sticking it up various monuments around the world including Tienanmen.”

Ai Weiwei – I think you cannot not have heard of Ai Weiwei. Just reading his Wikipedia page, it is difficult to believe all that has happened to him, his family and associates, and that he still finds it in himself to continue his activism and social comment. I remember watching a documentary about the Sunflower Seeds and marvelled at the fact that they are all individually made of porcelain and hand painted by Chinese artisans. I take from this the inference that we are all individuals but en mass we all look the same – so why the division – and it’s only getting worse.  Again, another artist that needs so much more research.

“Have a look at Arab Spring Graffiti.

Despite not being a coherent art movement, some of the most immediate, insightful and human art seen for some time has been produced during the Arab Spring in 2011 when protesters armed with spray cans articulated their interpretations of the uprising on the walls around them.

These are a few artists that may be of interest. Reflect on how they engage their audience with their message and how they use different methods.”

Researching Arab Spring Graffiti and Art I came across this Telling the Story of the Arab Spring: an Interactive Graffiti Map. This is fascinating and again, shows the bravery of expression, allowing views and opinions to be shared and debated openly.

Artistic activism can be so powerful and strikes fear into oppressive regimes, particularly now as the (anti-)social media explosion spreads the visual “word” far and wide. Cleverly, it need not be overt or particularly aggressive, just visible.

“Pointers for the next assignment

  • Continue your development of themes and personal voice in your artwork to give meaning to your making. Keep asking yourself what am I making work about and why.
  • Use your ability to sketch to work out imagery include biro and marker pens in your line work.
  • Keep the passion in your work.”

My tutor has pushed me to use pens and markers before in my development work and, in Project 13, I did just that. I do keep forgetting and naturally reach for a pencil, which is ok, but maybe not as expressive as other implements would be.

With this course and tutor, I feel that my personal voice, although in its infancy, is coming through. It needs refining to a well-considered point, although the occasional “rebel yell” is valuable! Inspiration for opinion based subjects is flooding into my head. Although, this is a strange and troubling time globally, it is not short of subjects, issues and reasons to speak out in visual art. I have a passion for image making and now have a vehicle through that to share my passions for social justice. This last research has empowered me to say what I think in a way that overrules my natural reticence.

 

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