A Change of Heart

When I first started planning my designs for Textiles, I loved the idea of creating something that was super modern and looked very sleek, putting my own spin on a woodland theme. Although I loved the way that my designs were looking, I got to a point where I didn’t know what else to do with them. Originally, I wanted to make textiles designs catered for babies, but I found that the layout I was drawn to wouldn’t really be suitable as there was quite a lot going on.

After doing more research into children’s bedroom interiors, I decided I wanted to change my audience from babies to young children as it would allow me to make more complex patterns. I also wanted to my work to have a more naïve feel to it, so I chose some of my favourite drawings and made them into lino prints as this technique gives a less precise shape, therefore adding to the naïve look.

Once I had scanned and edited the images, I looked at 2018 colour trends for children’s interiors and then I used the Pantone website to look for colours that I liked but also fit in with the trends. I then gathered a range of colours and grouped them into schemes which I thought looked good. I decided to use a mix of muted colours as well as really dark shades of blues and greys so I wouldn’t have to use black, therefore resulting in a much softer appearance.

The Gothic

Gothic is a literary genre, and a characteristically modern one. The Gothic genre is a strange family of texts which themselves are full of strange characters, scenes involving rape and incest, and many other topics which are usually held back in other genres. However, there is no essence or a single element that belongs to all Gothic’s, but they do all have some things in common. These things include: place and time, a powerful character and a vulnerable character, sexual power, the uncanny, the sublime and the supernatural and the real.

The Gothic theme is also regularly applied to popular culture, Fashion in particular. Thierry Mugler’s Spring Couture Collection from 1997 includes many of the Gothic motifs in both the clothing and the show itself. The designs used for the clothing give the illusion that the models look like they are some sort of supernatural character.

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The opening outfit and the way that the model moved reminded me of the film Alien which links to the uncanny. The concept of models looking like aliens is very unfamiliar, but when you see it visually is becomes strangely familiar. The lighting also cast shadows onto the wall behind the models which added to the Gothic theme, as people associate shadows with horror films because of the fear of the unknown.

Colour Palettes and Patterns

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In the past two weeks, I have produced a wide range of illustrations for my ‘Wild Gatherer’ Textiles project. I chose to focus on five different categories: animals, insects, flowers, leaves and mushrooms/fungi. I then scanned these images into the computer so that I could add colour digitally. During this time, I also started to develop a colour palette which will run throughout my work and be suitable for my target audience, which is babies.

Typically, you would associate woodlands with colours such as brown and green, however I wanted to create something that was very sleek and modern looking, which is why I chose a monochrome colour palette with hints of colour. After doing some more research for my brief, I came across a company called ‘Carousel Designs’ who produce all things interior for baby bedrooms. Their ‘Mint and Grey Baby Woodland Crib Bedding’ design really appealed to me as the colour palette they used was unusual for a woodland theme.

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I loved the way that colours worked together so I decided to use something similar for my own work. However, I felt as if the palette was lacking something, so I decided to add a red in a similar tone to what is used in Matthew Ponting’s ‘Woodland Watercolour’ which I spoke about in my previous Textiles post.

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After developing my colour palette, I started to add colour to my illustrations. I also incorporated a similar technique to what I saw in Matthew Ponting’s work, where the outlines were slightly offset, giving the modern look a more juvenile element.

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At this point I also started to put the illustrations into repeat patterns and experimented with grouping certain coloured elements together to make a focal point in the pattern and then using the outlines to fill out the spaces.

The Everyday in Art

“A turn to the everyday will bring art and life closer together.” – Stephen Johnstone

The above quote comes from ‘The Everyday – Documents of Contemporary Art’, where Johnstone also explains that “the rise of the everyday in contemporary art is usually understood in terms of the desire to bring these uneventful and overlooked aspects of lived experiences into visibility.

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Andy Warhol’s ‘Campbell’s Soup Cans’ (1962) puts this explanation into practice. The soup cans are an overlooked object that are used by many people daily, but by turning them into art they become noticed.

Fountain 1917, replica 1964 by Marcel Duchamp 1887-1968

But why the everyday? John Roberts argues that it’s got something to do with “the lure of the ordinary”. Duchamp’s ‘Fountain’ (1917) is a great example of this. He said that the world was so full of interesting objects that artists must not need add to them.

Turning to the everyday will bring both art and life closer together because even those who are not interested in art will still relate to the pieces one way or another. It’s all about finding a common ground, whether that is the subject matter or the materials used to make the piece.

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Annette Messager uses soft toys in her work, a replacement for the real taxidermy birds she used in the 1970s. In ‘Fables and Tales’ (1991), the soft toys were cruelly squeezed between piles of books. Although these kinds of toys are aimed at children and despite the childlike themes of her work, ‘there is nothing innocent in Messager’s work’. This means that adults who are viewing the work may recognise some of the toys from their own childhood, allowing them to connect with the piece, consequently bringing art and life closer together.

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Similarly, Bernard Frize uses ‘commonplace tools’, such as rollers or impromptu painting devices, to create his work. He has previously used four brushes tied together to produce rhythmic paintings that embody passage of time. Therefore, those people who use similar tools on a daily basis, may feel one step closer to the artwork.

AW 18/19 Textile Trends

trendsAs part of my Foundation Art and Design course, we had to choose an area in which we wanted to specialise. My specialism is Textiles and I have chosen to produce work for the ‘Trends’ brief. I enjoy Surface Pattern Design so I chose this brief because it was more commercial-based. We were given three different trends and I decided on ‘Wild Gatherer’. This Autumn/Winter 18/19 trend is all about woodland finds, linear studies and labelled drawings. The trend is also aimed at babies/children. After I chose my trend, I did some research into one of the artists that was mentioned in the trend’s description.

When I first read through the trend, this particular piece of work stood out to me immediately. ‘Woodland Watercolour’ by Matthew Ponting uses a mix of watercolour and line drawings. I really love the contrast of the sharp black lines against the textured colours that the watercolour paint creates. Another thing that I like about the artwork is how some of lines are slightly offset which gives it a more juvenile look, almost as if a child has coloured outside of the lines.

The Fallen Self

“The philosophy of the self defines the essential qualities that make one person distinct from all others.”

The Dictionary defines a portrait as ‘a painting, drawing, photograph, or engraving of a person, especially one depicting only the face or head and shoulders’. However, some people, including myself, would say that a portrait doesn’t necessarily have to look like the person but it must give an impression of them.

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Photographer Gary Schneider produced a book and an exhibition titled ‘genetic self-portrait’. The book was supposed to accompany the exhibition; however, many consider the book to be a work of art in itself. Both the exhibition and the book presented images based on scientific renderings of his cells, a small patch of dried blood, chromosomes, parts of his DNA sequence, dental x-rays, hand prints, iris and retinal photographs and enlarged microscopic images of his hair and sperm. These images ‘make the familiar strange’ as we are familiar with the body parts but the scientific imaging that he uses makes us see them in a completely different way.

Mitochondrial DNA sequence from a hair follicle showing the respiratory chain energy producing gene ND1, 1997

Although Schneider’s work has challenged the traditional definition, it should still be classed as a self-portrait. This is because they are images of the components that make up the self.  The photos also revised our understanding of what it means to be revealed in front of the cameras lens.