Friday, 13 April 2012

I Wish I'd Done This

For university I have to write about a piece of work that I'd wish I had made myself, at first I found it difficult to choose just one piece that I'd wish I'd done because I have so many interests and influences from fashion, wallpaper, fabric, sewing, print and drawing, but I finally decided on my favorite wallpaper and fabric designers, Timorous Beasties.

Timorous Beasties are a surreal, modern and innovative textile and wallpaper designer duo based in Glasgow, founded in 1990 by Alistair McAuley and Paul Simmons, who met at the Glasgow School of art. Nearly all of their work is both hand drawn and hand printed, continuing a printing tradition that has been around for years, and also a tradition that is quickly being replaced by machinery and digital printing.
My favorite collection from Timorous Beasties was the Rorschach collection. 
This collection is made up of six different designs/patterns in numerous different colour ways. All of the wallpapers were taken from the initial idea of the staining of damp blotches. The blotches were then overlapped with traditional damasks to create these vivid and interesting wallpapers.  
Damask is something that I’ve not heard of before so I decided to look into what it was and how it would link to the work of Timorous Beasties. Damask is a specific type of fabric/material associated with drapes, and upholstery. Classic damask is made from silk, it is recognized by it’s flat background which raised designs appear. 
Damask prints is a reoccurring pattern and design in Beasties works and you can see that in their collections such as Hornbrook and Rogues a lot of inspiration is taken from traditional damasks, and then changed and modified to a modern and contempory fresh print/design.  
One of my favorite wallpapers from the collection is Grand Blotch Damask, a beautiful vivid orange, blue and yellow design where all the colours have blended and mixed together to create greens and browns, (this is only available in one colour way) The print reminds me of beautiful coloured coral from the sea and because all of the colours are watered down and have bled and ran into each other it makes me think of the sea and ocean.
I think that because it is on a white background it really makes the print stand out from the neutral back ground, if the design was placed on top of an orange or a different coloured background it would have been to overbearing and been too much in a room and too much for the eye. I think that this wallpaper would look beautiful in a modern home as a feature piece for the whole room. I would have loved to see a photograph of the wallpaper in a room but couldn’t find one anywhere, I would have liked to see how people have put it in a room and how they have styled the rest of the room to fit around the strong and bold wallpaper.    
Grand Blotch Damask
Timorous Beasties 
Another one of my favorite designs from the collection was Chic Blotch a similar wallpaper to Grand Blotch Damask however this one comes in six colour ways and is more filled in than Grand Blotch Damask. My favorite colour way is pink, I think that this is my favorite because it has shades of purple, yellow, orange and peach in the wallpaper, this creates more depth and detail. Because of the different hues and hints of colour it picks up the detail and intricate patterns, making the wallpaper more interesting
and creates more depth and dimension. This is also helped by the strengths of the inks, some of the ink is quite strong in colour creating a bold look, whereas other colours and shades have been watered down to create a soft and watery look, these two mixtures of technique and mix of ink strengths create a dimensional and interesting design. 
Chic Blotch
Timorous Beasties
This is a close up shot to see the intricate detail and patterns that are in this design. Because from a distance I don't think that you can see and appreciate the intricate detail in the pattern.

Although this work is nothing like my own work, I still appreciate and think that they are beautiful and imaginative. I think maybe because they are so different to my own work it draws me towards them and makes me wish that I had created them myself. In my last brief I had to create a wallpaper design for Anaglpta, and I found the layout and the print difficult to envision in my head and it took a long time to mock up on tracing paper and come up with a balanced and pleasing to the eye design and found it difficult to work out the drop and repeat.  So looking at these images and other wallpaper from Beasties has helped me to understand how to design wallpaper, and appreciate what a long process creating wallpaper is, from collecting images that inspire your work, then drawing designs and creating the final design to print my hand on a screen. Another reason why I am drawn to the work of Beasties is because nearly all of their work is printed by hand using silk screens, in an interview I found they joke that the reason why the duo started the company as a duo was because it takes two people to print. I think that carrying on traditional techniques is terrific, because hand printing has a different look and feel to wallpapers that have been produced in mass by a machine.  

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Best Three Pieces of Advice

As part of semester two I have to write about the best three pieces of advice that I have been given for my blog. When on a degree you are always been given advice from tutors, visiting artists and also your classmates, some of it just becomes a blur but other pieces of advice really stick with you and have a lasting impact on you and your work.
1.  Draw every day- Everyone says that it is important to draw everyday, including tutors and artists but I never really followed this advice until I noticed that I just didn’t feel as comfortable drawing as I used too, I remember that in school I was always drawing and doodling when I should have been doing algebra or learning about atoms and then I would stop drawing over the summer holidays and then when I started my AS I noticed that for the first couple of months I just couldn’t get back into drawing and as soon as I felt comfortable again it would be summer and again I would stop, it was just a constant circle. However since I have started to draw everyday with the personal passions brief I can feel and see a different in my drawing, so as it is my final year of my degree this September I am going to especially try hard to draw over summer.
2. Don’t worry if you haven’t found your own style yet- I’ve always been worried about finding my own style and what I want to do as a career. When I did my art foundation people always said this is the year when you find out what you want to do and find your own style. Although I did find that I was really interested in surface design and find the right course for me, I didn’t find my own style. I then went to university and in my first year again didn’t find my own style, and now nearing the end of my second year I still don’t fell as if I have found my own style. I think that this is because I’m always changing my style sometimes I draw, sometimes paint, also collage then I also sew and print, so for me I find it difficult to settle on just one practice or technique, as I want to experiment with different techniques and materials. Every artist that has come in to talk to use over the past year have all said, don’t worry if you haven’t found your own style yet, as they didn’t when they were in the same situation as us, only time and experimenting will help us achieve our own style of art.
3.  Don’t give up!- Although sometimes I do feel that I’m in out of my depths and am worried about finding a job after the degree is over, don’t give up! Art is something that I have always been passionate about and without it I have no idea what I would be doing with my life, I always knew that I wanted to do something in art but just didn’t know what, now I have finally found an art course that is right for me and I do want to work for a stationary company like paperchase or bellybutton would be my ‘dream’ job.  And just because it is difficult to find jobs for graduates at the moment don’t give up! 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

The Book of Skulls

As I have found it really difficult to research Mexican art and find relevant books on Mexico I decided to get some books myself and as it is a subject that I really like and will be something that I will always go back to in some way in the future I thought that they would be helpful and relevant books to have in my collection. 
The first book I got was the Book of Skulls, Faye Dowling, an it is exactly what the title suggests. It is filled with different types of skulls, form illustrations to sculptures and tattoos to jewellery, and has introduced me to some new artists and illustrators that have been very useful for my current project. 
The skull is one of the most iconic and used symbols today, once scary and used in horror films made it's way into modern culture on rebel rock t-shrits and threatening tattoos but is now a reoccurring print in nearly every high street shop, and also on the catwalks of many designers, probably most famous are Alexander McQueen's silk scarves. 

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Damien Hirst: The First Look

On Monday I watched the Channel 4 programme about the new exhibition opening at the Tate Modern London on Damien Hirst's works, it opens on the 4th of April until 9th September 2012, it was presented by Noel Fielding comedian, actor and also artist, and he had a preview tour around the exhibition and was talked through it by Hirst himself. Like many people I have mixed feelings about Hisrt and his art, on one hand I think that he has a brilliant mind and way of thinking on the other hand I find the way he produces and makes art difficult to understand. 
Hirst is one of the most famous living British artists and is one of the richest living British artist. The exhibition has taken over four years to plan, the work had to be put together on site, not by Hirst himself he had six technicians to do it for him, to paint the famous coloured spots, to fill boxes with tablets and cigarettes, and pickle the shark, cow and calf. Hirst is probably most famous for the controversial work of the cow and the calf that were cut in half and ''pickled'' in formaldehyde, however he has made most of his money from the spot  paintings, probably because they are decorative and desirable and could fit comfortably in most people's homes.  Only 20 of the paintings were originally painted by Hirst himself the rest nearly 400 of them were painted by his ''Army of assistance''.
As Hirst became more famous he had followed in the footsteps of the famous artist Andy Warhol by turning himself into a brand, his ideas that he had only envisioned in his head were behind turned into artworks, paintings and sculptures by his team. In 2008, just before the British banks and economy were about to go into a meltdown Hirst had an auction of some of his works that made £111,000,000, making him one of the richest living British artist's ever. The previous year he had made "For the Love of God", a skull covered in diamonds, that cost over £14 million to make, however it is know worth up to £50 million, in the exhibition it will be in it's own vault and be protected by a team of security guards and only a small group of people will be let in at any one time. 
Although I have mixed feelings about Hisrt's work I do appreciate the deep and meaningful ideas behind his works and how they are not just created for art's sake, like many people think they are, they have true meanings and feelings behind them, for example could the diamond skull be a making humour out of himself and the money that he can make art from and then the money he could make on it. Death is a reoccurring theme/idea in his works, the fear of life and death, and also the beauty, such as the shark, pharmacy 1992, and cigarettes. 
 From the parts of the exhibition that I saw on the programme I really liked the piece "In and out of Love'' which consists of large painted canvas' that have butterflies scattered on them, then in the next room it is filled with living butterflies, that have been born from the cocoon that have been stuck onto a canvas and then the butterflies come out of the cocoon before your eyes. Another butterfly piece that I really liked were  the butterfly stained glass windows, I thought that they were really beautiful and were different to his other darker and sinister works.

Strangely I also really liked the pharmacy collection, where he has collected bottles of medicines, tablets and pill boxes and presented them in an old pharmacy cabinet. Although this piece looks like it could be from a film set or from a real pharmacy I still really liked it, maybe it's the OCD inside me and how I love everything presented in boxes and glass cabinets, and also my love of Joseph Cornell and how he presents things in glass boxes and cabinets, which also reminded me of this. 
From the show I also found out that he has a house with his family in Mexico, and found it really interesting the love and admiration he has for the Mexican culture, and specifically the Mexican Festival of Day of The Dead. He admires the culture and how they celebrate the dead and their lives, instead of the British view on death as we tend to ignore it and sweep it under the rug, and protect children from knowing about death. Where as the Mexican people know and celebrate death form a young age. 
In the programme I think that Hirst made a good point he said, when some one walks into a gallery of modern art they say a monkey could do that or my dad could make that, when you can do a drawing of me that looks like me then your a real artist. I think that this is a relevant and true point that people who don't have an open mind or appreciate art they only think art is only 'good' or 'nice' when it looks realistic and true to life, however not many modern artist work in that way anymore. 
Hirst is a showman and knows how to put on a good show in this case the exhibition the mixture of works from the ones from his days as Goldsmiths college of art to his most modern and newest pieces and collections. 
I think that watching the programme has made me not judge Hirst's work without knowing too much about it, it has made me open my mind to new kinds of art and a new way of viewing them. Although he may not be my new favourite artist and I don't really agree with employing people to make the art, I think that I can understand him more, and I would really like to go and see the exhibition in person, not only to say that I have been there and seen it, but to maybe to understand his views and ideas even more. 
Also when I was researching into Hirst and his works I also found out that he did the album cover art for Red Hot Chili Peppers new album I'm with you, I thought it was interesting that he is know branching out into new types of art, and also how the band appreciate and admire art too. I have seen this album art work a lot and I didn't know that Hirst had created it, but know I look and think about it I think that it is quite obvious that he has created it, as both pills and flies are both reoccurring objects/themes in his works.  
Here are link's to the programmes that I watched: