The flip side of 'social'
Basically, our project today was about thinking. The first part involved brainstorming some nouns and adjectives and then trying to come up with a meaningful collocation and a way of expressing it. To be honest, it is sometimes hard for me to generate ideas so quickly. Due to the shortness of 1-day projects, we always have very limited time to think about the concept of the work. However, I had several ideas about the given words. Initially, an idea from my previous drawing came to mind. It was about finding an individual way to communicate with each person. I expressed this through a personal door key card for each person. This idea could become the basis of a series of photos of a gif moving image or even a performance with various people whose lips could be coloured with various bright paints corresponding to the key cards.
Besides the fact that I like this idea, I couldn’t deny that it could be too complicated to understand the meaning of the suggested outcome. Incidentally, the collocation for it could be “psychologically found objects/cardboard”.
So, my next idea was “social cardboard” – two huge, black cardboard rectangles with several holes where people could place their heads and talk to each other. The purpose was to free people’s communication from any estimation. In other words, whenever we meet anyone, we always pay great attention to the way the person is dressed, their physique and their height and so on. Consequently, the sincerity of the communication may suffer. So, on my own, I thought a lot about psychology and human relationships. Then, we were divided into groups of three. After the discussion and the exchange of ideas, we came up with a photo of a video project that would be the flip side of communication – loneliness and an unwillingness to contact other people. We made some sharp body extensions from the metal paper and took some photos of the crow at King’s Cross station. Oli, our model, was surrounded by people but his sharp spices were ready to hurt anyone who dared to approach. Thus, our words are the flip side of “social cardboard”.
PS: The photos turned out to be rather expressive as Oli looks like a “fallen angel”. This look could illustrate the teenage years when people are often aggressive and provocative.
I have never thought about letters as much as today. When we were given the task to come up with as many styles as possible for certain words, I instinctively picked up a pencil and prepared to draw. But, suddenly our tutor recommended that we should only use paper rectangles, scissors and our hands to create the shape of a letter. After a while, I realised that the outcome appeared to be impressive.
The shapes of the letters became a hundred times more intriguing through the use of space, shade and other consequences of 3D items. Moreover, by utilising this approach, perspective could be used and the letters could be recognisable only from a certain angle.
The next stage was to create names for our fonts which we would write with our letters as the final work of the day. Above all, I liked my letter “R” as, to me, it resembled contemporary architecture. However, I made it by utilising origami-like folds and cutting some parts. Furthermore, I remade it several times but it was nearly impossible to remake it on a bigger scale in such a short period of time.
In addition, I also liked my letter “A” which looked like the pyramids of ancient Egypt. Such an effect could only be achieved due to the shape of this particular letter. So, finally, I chose the font that looks a little bit like a spiral staircase with triangular steps. The benefits of this shape are the play of light and shadow, the legible letters, the staidness and the rapid manufacturing so I would have time to think about the setting for a photo. I chose the words “up and down” and took a photo of the staircase at first. However, I was not satisfied with it: I didn’t like the lighting there or the colour, material and size of the stairs. As a result, the picture looked dull. Then, I decided to use the fake grass stars outside the college. It was hard for me to decide whether I should take a black and white photo or leave it as colour so I came up with two versions. The tutor’s feedback is worth mentioning. She said that as there was only a little background on the photo and the fake grass is not common material, it is not obvious where the photo was taken. This fact intrigues the viewer.
“Lost letters have been lost,” said our tutor today. So, today, we explored just two ways of printing: screen printing and linocut. However, due to this change in the programme, we had more time to think about our work and to come up with a visual way of telling some sort of story. Therefore, screen printing was the first technique used. This allows us to achieve very decorative shapes with a bright and solid colour.
My first thought was to make something really sharp and geometrical. Thus, I chose broken glass and debris to start with. Next, the Russian artist Malevich came to my mind. I visited his exhibition at Tate Modern a few weeks ago so I made a sketch of something which refers to “suprematism”. But, as we had quite a lot of time, I decided to think about more specific objects such as paper aeroplanes. I have always admired the art of origami. It is fascinating how the variety of intriguing decorative shapes can be achieved just by folding paper. If I am looking for a very geometrical way to depict an object, I always look through origami books. Finally, I decided to use triangles to draw a string of paper aeroplanes. Then, I just wanted to try a different approach and use natural, floral shapes. Thus, I finally found the necessary balance between geometry and nature, abstract and realism.
My final shape was a pomegranate – the whole piece, the half and even the seeds. The thing I like about a pomegranate is the combination of the large forms with the tiny seeds. Moreover, its shape is quite geometrical but still streamlined. Also, as the colour is red, this will make the pomegranate easily recognisable.
The second technique used in this project was linocut. The outcome from this differs dramatically. Besides the fact that the colour was black, thousands of shades and structures appeared. The lines and shapes could be as messy as you wanted which made for an intriguing contrast with screen printing. To put it in a nutshell, I first thought about a girl walking/standing on the pomegranate. However, after I saw the flashy red colour of the screen print, I decided to add more dynamics and expression to the human pose.
I had a look through some hip hop dance photos and chose two people to transfer their poses into linocut stamps. Due to the limited amount of tools I had (I only had a thick tool), the lines appeared to be thick, loose and abstract which contributed a lot to the final outcome.
Finally, as I had an empty corner in my work, I made one more woman’s head with an open mouth. It seemed as if she was swallowing the pomegranates and dancers.
Today, I have used various printing techniques and it is really difficult to decide which one I like the most.