Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Quick quick quick

I just had a tutorial with Mack and he told me to try taking some photos of my photos on screen to distort them and make them look more interesting. I just took 254 photos! So here are a few just quickly. I LIKE them, I think it makes them more of a challenge to look at, could tie in with my theme of censorship.

Now I'm off to see 'Up'! Exciting!

Kino4 so far...

So I realised that I haven't actually blogged about any of the films so far so I'll just crack on with that then!

Rollerball (1975) directed by Norman Jewison

I have to say that I think my opinion of this film was highly influenced by the fact that I felt ridiculously ill while I was watching it so I didn't think too highly of it immediately after it had finished. However after some time to reflect I realised that the film was actually very good but not the kind of film that I would choose to watch on my own: I find the futuristic, dystopian setting very depressing. I found the extent of control that the corporations had over people quite chilling, especially during the actual rollerball games. The game was used as a distraction and the way that the fans and the players were so brutal towards each other in comparison to the still and calculating character of Bartholomew watching over them was really unsettling to watch. The film was interesting in it's approach to the theme of control and mediation and I could see links with some of the documentaries by Adam Curtis and the film 'The Corporation' itself which explore the idea of the dominance of corporations in society today.

If...(1968) directed by Lindsay Anderson

I really enjoyed this film, I think the public school setting really drew me in as this is something that I have always found interesting; the language and the rituals of public school boys is always something I've found quite fascinating. Again there were themes of control and rebellion similar to 'Rollerball' but I found it much easier to watch than 'Rollerball' I think the element of camaraderie in 'If' made it seem a lot warmer in a sense than 'Rollerball' where Jonathan was pretty much fighting his battle alone. I liked the structure of the film, it was set out in sort of chapters which all seemed to build up to the crucial point at the end where Mick Travis and his friends carried out their brutal attack on the school. This film addressed a lot of issues about the reactions that people have to power, command and restriction; it was possible to understand the reason why Mick takes action against the school authority maybe not in such a violent way but you can see him being pushed throughout the film. This was definitely a thought-provoking watch.

Let The Right One In (Låt den rätte komma in)
(2008) directed by Tomas Alfredson

This was surprisingly a very beautiful film, both in story and setting. The whole film was completely different to what I had expected after hearing that it was a film about vampires but the subject is approached in quite a moving and tender way. The film is set in Stockholm, the main characters Oskar and Eli are both 12 years old but Eli is a vampire. There is a real feeling of sorrow that comes from Eli and you can see how hard it is for her to cope with the murders that she commits. The film begins with her father brutally murdering someone and draining their blood; however when you realise that he commits these crimes only out of love for his daughter they become less sinister. It brings up a conflict of morals as you want the little girl to live. Although the vampire theme is dominant throughout it never becomes ridiculous as in most horror films, the violent acts are all out of necessity rather than just for shock value.

I found it quite horrific to watch the scenes of Oskar being bullied, especially towards the end of the film but it was quite uplifting in a way to see the courage that he gained from spending time with Eli and later in the film to see how she protects him. The feelings between the 2 characters is really believable considering they are so young and you can see how much they rely on each other for support.

I thought this film was stunning to watch, the snowy setting and the dark wintery days created the perfect atmosphere for such a chilling yet moving story.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

What a nice way to spend my money.

A couple of weeks ago while I was away in Leicester I visited the local Borders for a browse, something I always enjoy. While I was there I found this lovely book about sketchbooks featuring images from the sketchbooks of a lot of very good designers and illustrators (even Johnny Hardstaff has a few pages). Here are some of my favourite pages by Ed Fella, Oliver Jeffers and Pablo Amargo

Everytime I look through the book I find new things which is exciting and the whole thing is so inspiring, it's refreshing to see unfinished and personal work from designers who are usually so polished. It's made me start using my own personal sketchbook and it's really good to just play around with different materials. Each designer/illustrator also has a chance to explain the way that they use sketchbooks and it's actually really interesting to read. I want to research the professional work of some of the people I've never heard of to see if there's much of a difference.

Here are some pages from my own sketchbook that I've been playing around with in the past few days and weeks:

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Can't take pictures..will do it anyway

So I don't really think my blog has been receiving enough attention recently, probably because my fingers are so cold that it's difficult to type etc. BUT anyway, I thought it was about time that I put some of my silence work up here. This is the later part of my project (not silence part 2) the first part was a book of drawings and paintings surrounding the theme of cats and I'll put those up here when I find a nice way of capturing them.

I've taken some photos of the 3D work I've been making but the quality is pretty poor, I just can't be patient with a camera!

The idea behind this work is based on the lives (well, correspondence) of Prisoner's of War from the 30's and 40's. There isn't a real narrative yet, I came across the idea after I visited the 'Captured' exhibition at Imperial War Museum North. I basically started linking the idea of silence to the restrictions that the prisoners had with regard to communication, whether with each other or with their families and friends. Themes such as censorship and secrecy are what I was thinking about. I made these three 3D pieces over the past two weeks using photocopies of some letters, postcards, newspapers and photographs that I have from the time period. The imagery isn't specifically related to Prisoner's of War but they have the essence of that time which was all I needed really. I suppose they are meant to represent the way that the prisoners were trapped, they're weren't able to talk freely about things. Letters would mount up or become lost and a lot would be censored. The censorship that I've used is really just the cutting up of the letters, it makes them illegible and useless because so much of the text is missing.

The images above are the first structures that I made out of cardboard and baking paper prints. I wanted the sections of letters to have a slightly transparent quality to them, making them quite flimsy and fragile in a way and the baking paper helps to achieve this look. I also didn't want to use the originals of the postcards etc that I had. The structures didn't really turn out as I had planned, I was looking a lot at Joseph Cornell's work and obviously that is a lot more sophisticated than the pieces that I created. However I did make them in a very short time.

This is the third 3D piece that I made, after showing my first attempts to Hitch he said to try and bring the paper out of the structure and he said to make the pieces more beautiful. I decided using a frame would tie in well with the theme as the whole correspondence idea is a very personal one and has links with family and memory which is the whole point of keeping photographs in frames. I'm really pleased with the structure, it's not completely finished yet as it's very fragile and almost impossible to move around and I want to add some more detail once I have a narrative to go with it. I love the image in the background of the people, especially the woman, she really draws your attention.

Monday, 12 October 2009


Final Design

Original Design

Last week I took part in a live brief for the Elemental Opera company who are producing Benjamin Britten's 'The Rape of Lucretia' later on this year. I was actually unsuccessful but the piece that I made is still being shown at the venues which is good news and they seemed to really like my work.

I was asked to produce something 'stark and visceral' that conveyed a sense of 'high drama' using the colours red, green and white. I ended up making the poster in one day which was quite intense but I think I did quite a good job of it. I used watercolours for the background and a red ribbon as a symbol of control and death. I used photoshop to enhance all of the colours and add text. I wanted to pick out some of the background layers darker than the others to link with the personalities of the 3 male characters.

I'm disappointed that my work wasn't picked for the final design however I think I gained a lot from the brief, the quick turnover was good for me as it pushed me to use alternative methods which worked out well. I also felt comfortable expressing my ideas to the people involved with the company and I look forward to designing more work for them.