Tutorial with Caroline Wright 21/10/14

Reflection on outcomes since last tutorial

To pick more thorns and finish PRICK

Completed and very satisfied with result

To complete the Rogues Gallery of gelatin prints

Have printed 4 but only just obtained more canvas. Will continue to work on them but unsure if I will use them.

To complete the conker abacus and also the masks. Conker abacus still incomplete, but not intending to use it any longer. No further masks required…one mask will be sufficient.

To make other artworks if I have time

Have completed a painting which I am pleased with. Made SPIKE although doubtful if it will be used.

To design a fanzine and possibly button badges to go with them

Fanzine almost completed. Need to get properly laid out and printed soon. Button badges are an extra if I have time…not top of my list of priorities.

To design a poster which promotes the exhibtion, and print out labelling for the artworks

Poster completed…2 options to choose from. Need to get chosen option made into postcards for feedback.

To consider the hanging space carefully, and investigate hanging solutions

Have decided on large canvasses to cover the hanging systems. Will need to get another large canvas made to hang work upon.

Discussions and Recommendations

We began by discussing the venue and the rules and regulations of exhibition vs. event, and the fact that I felt it was not appropriate to have a full blown performance on this occasion, but wanted the audience to taste the weeds which were used to make my artwork. We also discussed my idea of bandaging patients or applying ointments, and that this may be used at a later stage with my work. Caroline also mentioned that this route could make me look further at the implications of the damage which these plants can cause to the body, by invading the body, changing chemistry, reactions etc.

Caroline thought that my painting was successful, and that it was a strong exhibition piece, which gave me a sense of relief, as I liked it, but was not sure if others would, as I don’t tend to categorise myself as a “painter” specifically.

The PRICK piece was mentioned next, and again it was felt by both of us that it was a strong piece, and we discussed the juxtaposition of the thorns and the word itself sprayed white against a soft white background. Caroline thought that the piece was carefully executed, but observed that SPIKE did not have the same aesthetic quality, and this was probably down to the materials used which aren’t easy to create a refined piece. Following this conversation, I think that SPIKE dilutes the beauty of PRICK, so I will probably opt not to use it in the exhibition.

Next we discussed the gelatin prints, and Caroline said that these may not be needed, and I would have to think carefully about how I edited my choices of work to be hung. I will continue to do a few more, but will keep an open mind about this, as I will need to reassess the space and ensure that I have enough 2d pieces to hang.

I told Caroline about my idea for fictitious seed packets of Hogweed, Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed, and she told me to take a look at old seed company catalogues, and perhaps produce a packet with a design which harks back to either the era when the hospital was built, or a 1940’s style in keeping with Poison Ivy’s bar. I will probably opt to do these as linoprints, as Caroline advised me that I could print multiples of them and pin them to the wall as a kind of covering – which would solve the problem of having bare walls!

I asked her about the use of seeds (hogweed in particular) and she recommended that I perhaps consider a similar piece to PRICK which would replace SPIKE, but made with seeds. I think that this would probably be BURN or BLISTER, and already I am picturing an italic joined up vintage font for blister so this is what I will attempt next.

Finally I discussed three ideas for 3D pieces; a bed made from injurious plants with a Barbie doll (Sleeping with the enemy), an interactive abacus frame with conkers and letters printed onto them and a UFO made from Giant Hogweed.

Having ruled out the UFO and the Abacus as being a bit off-track with regards to the rest of the exhibition, I settled for the bed, although Caroline felt that the Barbie doll might trivialise the piece, and questioned the purpose for her.

Current projected aims and outcomes

Essential

  • Seed packet linoprints : design and print multiples of (by hand)
  • Make a small scale bed using hogweed and other injurious plants
  • Get posters printed and postcards (for feedback) of same design
  • Finish off Fanzines and print copies
  • Get another large canvas frame made up for work to hang on
  • Keep blog updated
  • Get email invites sent to SNH staff to sample the weed refreshments on Friday 14th
  • Finalise drinks / cocktail menu…spin the wheel to pick a drink?
  •  

Desirable

  • Source hogweed seeds (if there are any left!) and use to make another piece
  • Distribute lots of posters advertising the exhibition.
  • Make badges for fanzines
  • Source soda syphon

This tutorial was really helpful in that it has made me start thinking more about how pieces are connected to each other, and I have realised that I was in danger of spiralling off in many different directions. I still would like to realise some of these ideas, but will wait until there is an opportunity which they will be more appropriate for. I now feel that I can spend the rest of my time leading up to the exhibition by focussing on making work which is really relevent for this venue.

Testing Boundaries : Tutorial with Les Bicknell 29.9.14

Reflection on outcomes since last tutorial

N/A Start of new session.

New project Testing Boundaries

Discussions and Recommendations                        

I submitted a small slide show of my work to Les and emailed him my outline proposal. My main dilemma was the name of the exhibition. I had initially come up with the title : Invasion of the Body Scratchers, and although I really liked the name, I wasn’t sure if it sounded too jokey and would not be taken seriously. Les said that he quite liked the name, but I had also made a list of other possibilities, and in the end he said that “Scratching the Surface” might be the best name, as it can imply lots of different meanings, but by using the pulp fiction typeface and imagery, it could lead people to Invasion of the Body Snatchers through their own mental connections.

Next we discussed my intentions around the exhibition. I had already established that I would like to make links with SNH as the work that I produce seems very relevant to the organization and there may be a chance of an artist’s residency in future. Les discussed the notion of crusader versus missionary. Do I want to educate or enlighten in a huge sweeping statement, or do I want to get a message cross subtly? I think my work falls somewhere in between. The audience of the exhibition will be very knowledgeable about plants, but may not view all of them in a positive way (eg. Giant Hogweed) . Les agreed that the exhibition was testing both my boundaries and theirs, and it will be interesting to see the outcome. He also stated that perhaps if the organization was very strict with rules and regulations, then it may not be an appropriate place for me to work as an artist if it constrained me too much.

In terms of hanging the work, Les was a bit concerned by the old fashioned picture wires, and how I would get round the existing mechanisms for display. I thought that perhaps I would initially hang (or stand) a white painted MDF board onto which I will hang my work. I do foresee a bit of a challenge here, as I don’t want to seem ungrateful with the space I have been offered, and need to be careful that I don’t offend anyone, as those involved probably don’t see anything wrong with the current hanging system.

Les really liked my idea of tasting the art…serving drinks and nibbles made from the plants I had used. This will be served on the Friday, which was the only day available, and is the final day of the exhibition, so by this time, visitors will have seen the work on display for 4 days, and will have had more time to think about the artworks and familiarize themselves with them. This will hopefully lead to more relevant questions or comments from them on the final day.

Les advised me to try to take the coordinators on the journey with me, so that they felt some ownership of the exhibition and might want to defend it to others. I thought that I might give information sheets to them, so that if asked they could explain what the art work was about. He also mentioned labeling of the art works, something which I had intended to do anyway, and the labels may pose questions or give some indication of what the works are about, as well as naming the pieces.

I also told Les about my idea of creating fanzines which could be given out at the exhibition. This would also serve as another method of exhibiting my work, by distributing them to the public. He really liked this idea, and we spoke again about the title, deciding that perhaps the fanzines could be called Invasion of the Body Scratchers, so that I could use this title too, but having some information on Scratching the Surface within. The fanzine will contain the ideas behind the work, posing questions to readers, and showing images of the work and various plants involved. He advised me to initially print a quantity and put them out on the table, then make more if required.

This then led onto the way the exhibition outcomes would be presented , and I asked if Les wanted a G Drive presentation. He said this would be fine, but if I wanted to use any other format such as a webcast from the exhibition site or other innovative method this would be great too. I mentioned perhaps emailing everyone a PDF of the fanzine which they could print out in advance of the presentation, and Les agreed that this might be good idea.

Current projected aims and outcomes

My current projected aims and outcomes are as follows:

  • To pick more thorns and finish PRICK
  • To complete the Rogues Gallery of prints
  • To complete the conker abacus and also the masks
  • To make other artworks if I have time
  • To design a fanzine and possibly button badges to go with them
  • To design a poster which promotes the exhibtion, and print out labelling for the artworks
  • To consider the hanging space carefully, and investigate hanging solutions