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Archive for April 2015

Bryan's work

Inspired by the work of Josh Bryan and his celebrity portraits made up of hundreds of different-sized triangles, I went about in creating my own distinctive edition. My original intention was to photograph either myself or a fellow peer, trace over the photo by recreating their features entirely out of triangular shapes drawn with a fine-liner, and scan and print it out onto white paper. 
The process of creating a traceable copy

However, I would prefer to use his designs as the basis for my piece rather than producing an artist copy. I also saw this as a chance to practice my digital art skills using the acquired computer programs from Adobe. With help from a YouTube tutorial, I began by taking a picture of one my peers. I then photoshopped the image by editing the contrast and clearing away the background, leaving the subject as the main focus. Next, on Illustrator, I created a trace of the image to work with and - using the pen tool - proceeded to create as many triangles over the subject's face and features as possible - all of different sizes and proportions.

The creative process

After creating my trace net, I copied and pasted it on my original image on Photoshop coloured in each individual triangle with the gradient tool, which created shading and toning to each shape. At one stage I had various gaps in the piece due to forgetting to add shapes to them, but I believe I creates a unique effect and transcribes to tell the viewer that the piece is about distortion of shape.
My "incomplete" design, followed by three colour tests depicting different textures

I completed my design by filling in any gaps that I missed, manipulating the saturation and brightness, and adding a gradient-coloured background. I also took the time to experiment with different colour hues and filters as a way of creating playful art.
My final design, as well as four experimental pieces

Overall, I am proud with the outcome of my design and believe it inherits the technique from Bryan's work well while standing out a distinctive piece of work. I am also proud that I managed to enhance my skills in the above digital media programs and I feel more confident in creating further pieces of art using them. I later documented this in my sketchbook as well as the processes and final outcome:
In relation to my project of 'Inside Out', the use of shapes to make a distorted image differs from traditional art styles and exploits the subject's feeling and meaning of feeling distorted; not well, neglected, out of shape as it were - and transcribing that inner feeling to their exteriors for people to see.
Development 6 - Triangle Face Full View

Although I possess a considerable skill set in Adobe's Photoshop and Illustrator programs, I believe I need to reassert my skill levels in After Effects as right now, I have a vague idea of creating a motion graphic to contribute to my final piece. Following a basic step-by-step YouTube tutorial, I learned about the basic of the editing program and some of its key features.
Screenshots from my testing piece

A handy feature that I feel I will benefit from in future is the use of the "stopwatch" icon for each layer of content, as it lets me turn certain features into animated content. Other key features I discovered include the special effects option, the integration of image and video content, and the of text and shapes, among others.

video

Although my video offers nothings visually impressive, it showcases the basic skills I have learned from the tutorial, and I believe that with enough practice, my skills can be greatly enhanced for future developments of work and possibly be used for a motion graphic piece in relation to my 'Inside Out' project.
Learning How to Use After Effects Full View

Street art in Antwerp, Beligum

Inspired by the street art I encountered in Belgium featuring the silhouettes of cherubs, I wanted to find a way to contribute this to my project of 'Inside Out' in a way of showing off a person's personality. I originally had an idea transcribing a person's silhouette by filling it up with images relating to them, either a college or a singular picture; something that makes them happy or is responsible for their personality traits (e.g. makes them calm, greatest fear, interests, etc.)
My sketchbook notes, alongside my original idea from my title page

In my sketchbook, I explored this idea further with further sketches, research and ideas. Choosing between two ideas I ended up going with one where a person's silhouette fills up an image, over my second one where the silhouette is made up of text of words concerning said person.
The photographs of my peers I took

I begun by taking photos of select few of my peers and I interviewed them on what they believe influences them as a person and their traits (e.g. favourite things, greatest fears, love interests, likes & dislikes, etc.). They are as follows:

Muniba - Disney; ethnic patterns
Ishti - Barbara Palvin (model); relaxing environments
Anthony - Matoro (fictional hero from Lego Bionicle franchise)
Nawaraj - Pandas

I then began the creative process on Adobe's Photoshop program. Initially, I thought of creating a college of images to represent each person but I ultimately decided against it as it would of made the final piece look too visually complicated. Instead, I believed a single image would contemplate better.
The creative process

To start off, I cut around the person in the image using the quick selection tool and separated it from the rest of the image. I then edited the opacity of the piece and made it semi-transparent, before adding a new image behind said person that represents a personality trait.of theirs. The edited opacity helps to bleed the image through the person, projecting outwards from them. I repeated the process four times for four different people.
First outcomes

Afterwards, I saw a chance to experiment further with my candidates' silhouette shapes and their chosen images as one of my first outcomes (above, left), I believe gives off a better effect than the one opposite as it is more of a tinted shadow with the image being shown rather than a blend of both as seen in my second one. I chose to experiment with this style further and another in the following pieces:
Muniba - ethnic patters & Disney
Ishti - relaxing environment & model
Anthony - Matoro
Nawaraj - Pandas

In the triple image sequence seen above, the first features the person while a silhouette copy shadows them from behind featuring their 'personalised' image. The second is their silhouette completely opaque with a tinted version of the image filling it in, while the last one has both the person and their image semi-opaque and both of their features visible to see to an extent. I later on documented this development in my sketchbook as seen below:

In final, I believe these are one of my successful development designs to date as they are both visually stimulating and relate back well to my project of 'Inside Out' of exploring interiors and how they influence their respective exteriors. I will continue to develop designs for this project and explore different techniques as I approach the build-up to my final piece.
Development 5 - Visual Silhouettes Full View

As another experimental development into exploring 'Inside Out', I investigated the shapes of various fruit and their cores (e.g. interiors). I started off by drawing out a few well known pieces of fruit, including an apple, a lemon, a melon and a pear. I also drew an onion as compensation towards the use of vegetables. I drew each as a whole fruit, then with a quarter cut off revealing the flora inside, with a full half cut.
The drawings in my sketchbook

Then - using my drawings as a basis - I recreated them digitally as 2D shapes on Adobe Photoshop and induced text with pun related to that fruit. I created them using basic geometric shapes and overlaying them then colouring them - some with gradient-washed colour to give off a slight sense of three-dimension.
I later documented the experiment in my sketchbook, as seen below. If given the chance in the tight time limit I have, I would like to recreate these designs as physical stencil cutting layers; cutting in towards the core of the fruit upon each layer and forming a textured, revealing piece.
Documentation of development in my sketchbook

In conclusion, while I am satisfied with the outcome of these designs and their obvious relation to my project proposal, I see that they only serve as a progression to the latter. However, they help to build up the foundations towards my final piece and therefore I am grateful for its inclusion in my work.
Development 4 - Cut Fruit Full View

Collection of fossilised dinosaur bones and animatronic recreations

To get another alternative look-in of exploring the interiors of certain objects, I ventured to the Natural History Museum in Kensington, London to get a proper insight of animistic skeletons - specifically skeletons - and seeing how they influenced their former flesh exteriors.
'Dippy' - the famous skeleton of a Diplodocus dinosaur

From what was on display there was a great in-depth look into the history of the animals, and how their remains have been discovered by archaeologists. The first dinosaurs appeared about 230 million years ago and for the following 160 million years they scoured the Earth. What I found the most interesting was how the museum recreated some of the breeds are animatronic displays, as they do not have skeletons within them as their original counterparts.
The "outside" and "Inside" of a Tyrannosaurus, as well as the skeletons of a Stegosaurus and two Dromaeosaurus

As my project revolves around exploring the insides and outsides of subjects and how they influence one another, the museum as inspired me to think what could influence a dinosaur internally rather than bones and organs; what makes them carnivorous killers or peaceful herbivore plant eaters. However, I believe I should develop this out using human subjects and visualise their personality via internally (e.g. their likes and dislikes). Also, I documented my visit to the museum in my sketchbook below:
Documentation of gallery visit, featuring annotations and two sketches

Overall, I believe I didn't gain anything new or inspiring from the Natural History Museum, neither do I believe my final outcome will be based around dinosaurs, however it has inspired me with a new development idea that I hope to carry out soon.
Gallery Visit - Natural History Museum Full View

Investigating the artistic possibilities of a light bulb

Experimenting further with the ideas of spherical structures, I became intrigued with the possibilities of incorporating a light bulb into my work in the hopes that it will lead into the idea of my final piece. 

I'm intrigued by light bulbs because not only are they useful utilities for providing heat and light, they have a vast artistic history, are the metaphorical symbol for ideas, have interesting scientific properties seem somewhat mysterious in how they work and the visuals it can create (e.g. shadows, the electrical charge in the middle that provides the light, etc.).
My original drawing for my proposed poster

I began by drawing out some sketches that incorporated light bulbs, a design of which I had in mind since the start of this project. It plays with the idea of 'Inside Out' while adding artistic value and a purpose for its portrayal in society. One sketch features a typical cityscape at night enclosed in a light bulb, while the second is a broken bulb with the city still enclosed within it, while smaller light bulbs hang out from the bottom of the cracked bulb.
My two proposed sketches

I believe these early designs relate well to my project of exploring interiors and exteriors as the depicted subjects seen in them somewhat swap places; while loads of bulbs are present in one city, the drawings show the opposite in that loads of city skyscrapers sit inside one light bulb. This brings the bulb INSIDE OUT of its respective habitat, reversing the two subjects in place.
Visual research into cityscapes at night

Based on the sketches, I wanted to produced a digital poster out of the idea shown, specifically the second sketch with the hanging bulbs as I believe it looks more appealing. I started with research into different cityscapes and night to see what kinds of buildings stand out and if a uniform collection of them was necessary.
My outline sketch painted over in water colours

I drew the outline of my poster and scanned it to use for later on my digital poster, before watercolouring the piece with the ideal colours intended for my image, so in a way acts as a marquette to my poster design. This was followed on by brainstorming for what I should campaign my poster towards, and I came up with the environmental issue of Light Pollution, a campaign that it not as well known as others affecting society, so I thought it would be a unique task and try to make people more aware of the dangers of illumination.
Early notes on light pollution

I designed my poster using the Adobe Photoshop CS6 program. Using my page scan, I placed several small yellow circles over the windows of the buildings to act as their lights. Afterwards, I removed my page scan knowing how to place my buildings while also noticing the piece actually looked satisfactory - even though vague - without the shape of grey buildings to back the yellow circles, hence motivating me to continue producing more different-sized circles to form more buildings, deleting some in random areas to give off the typical look of a city night skyline.
The photoshop process of my poster

When happy with the positioning of my circles / lights, I cropped out the shape of a light bulb from one of photos I took of my own and filled it in yellow. I repeated the process several times in different sizes and places on my poster - but mostly around the bottom as it's the idea for the bulbs to grow while they descend and become heavy - before adding yellow lines on top of each of them as they're hanging cable support and a navy blue background to act as the night sky.
Three takes of my finalised poster

In order to promote the issue of Light Pollution, I enhanced the poster with the broken bulb shadowing over the city and hanging lights. I will add text to for my campaign at a later date. The final result can be seen below:
While the cityscape without the cracked bulb (seen second-to above) represents the beauty that we see in the night skyline, the one above further transcribes the opposite; of how the danger it is causing to urban society and what they should do to reduce the amount people use. From this, I will study the effects of Light Pollution thoroughly and collect information and statistics regarding the issue before going on to create further developments similar to this poster and my final piece.
Development 3 - Light Bulb City Poster Full View

Exploring triangular art further, I came across a series of digital portraits by the young English artist Josh Bryan. While at first glance these black and white portraits look like they were created using such programs like Illustrator, they are actually pen drawings.
A selection of Bryan's work

Aged just 20 and armed with only a black fineliner, Bryan created these unique and distinctive portraits of famous celebrities including Johnny Deep, Amy Winehouse, Albert Einstein and Marilyn Monroe - among others. Hundreds of tiny triangles make up each face. The repetition of the abstract, geometric forms create the volume, lights, shadows and tones that gives his portraits their powerful look.
Some triangles have lines in them to present the dark tones of the subject

The technique to create these involves mapping triangles over different toned parts of the subject's face. Lines are added in afterwards to the select triangles over dark portions of the face to determine the amount of tone needed in each triangle.
In my opinion, I see how the pieces combine famous and common subjects (i.e. the celebrities featured) and an uncommon technique of recreating their portraits, with the idea of using just one shape to do so is beyond amazing. I especially admire the Marilyn Monroe portrait as it is a simple, pure way to view the late actress, especially with her infamous demise.
Bryan's Marilyn Monroe portrait

In relation to my project, I believe I could use the technique upon my own work as an experiment of skill testing, on portrait photos of my own, representing the pain and trauma one person has gone through in their life time, the shape edges of the triangles on their face representing this - as sharp points can hurt and wound - taking their pain OUTSIDE of their mind. This will also test if I want to work further with geometric shapes in my project.
Artist Research - Josh Bryan Full View

As a side development, I experimented with further kids of shapes and making them 3D. After my circular Yarn Balls, I decided to work with triangular shapes and how I could make them represent my project of 'Inside Out'.
Outline of my idea

I started by playing around with 2D shapes and came up with the above which I believe can relate well to my project; the idea of having one triangle inside another, as well as creating an optical illusion when seen in 3D. I begun the process by creating a marquette; I stencilled out a triangle and drew three more triangles inside it before cutting it out and folding the edges inwards, creating a pyramid. I repeated this for a different coloured piece of card.
My triangular pyramid stencil

Next, I cut out triangular holes in all four sides of my original pyramid with the intention of pushing the latter pyramid into the former so its corners would stick out the holes cut. This proved to be a failure due to the holes not being big enough.
My marquette piece

Learning from this, I remade my model by creating one pyramid and spotting four smaller ones onto each side with cellotape, giving the illusion that the pyramids went through one another like an optical digital blip as seen in computer games when one graphic unintentionally enters another.
The final piece

I documented this development in my sketchbook as seen below. It explains the origin of the idea, the tools and process, and the outcome of it, all in an incarcerated in a triangle colour collage as seen below:
In final, while I like the idea I made in this side experiment, I believe the use of materials and size contributed could be massively improved. The piece could appear with a cleaner finish if I made out of cardboard or another stronger material, as well as in a larger format, and instead of using loose pieces of tape use hot glue from a glue gun to permanently secure the pyramids. But overall, I feel that I will stick to circular arrays of work for my final piece, give the tricky outcome of this development.
Development 2 - Double Pyramid Full View

After attending the Magnifcent Obsessions exhibition at the Barbican Centre in London, I became interested in the hanging wire sculptures by artist Pae White. While they described the importance of recycling the the current environmental issue of unusable waste, I found the appearance of the sculptures in themselves quite interesting.
Pae White's wire-based structures "Recycled Goods" hanging in the Magnifcent Obsessions: The Artist as Collector exhibition

The quadrilateral pieces are made up entirely of plastic wiring - each of a different colour - and when hung together they look like a set of maps weaving their way through one another, with the empty gaps between the wiring acting as landmarks. This gave the inspiration for the following development.
My tools and materials, along with my structures drying

My idea is to create a set of wire-structured objects similar to White's, but out of embroidery thread. I blew up a set of balloons and wrapped a coloured piece of thread around each of them after dipping it in a mixed solution compound of liquid starch and flour, before leaving to dry overnight.  The next day, I popped the balloons with a small pin. They shrivelled up upon the pin's poke and were removed, leaving the now-hardened thread in the balloon's shape (i.e. a ball of yarn).

video
Popping the balloon

I see the first set of yarn balls as failures to an extent due to the solution I used. When dried the compound didn't discolour as I expected like PVA clue, but instead stayed on the thread like crust and could only be removed if I forced it off either with my hands of a scalpel knife, damaging or softening the piece. 
The dry layers of solution stuck to the above pieces

I fixed this in later creations by threading the string through my fingers; stripping off the excess fluid yet keeping the it sticky enough to stick to the balloon. These ones turned out better in colour and featured little-to-no crust.
My fixed up structures without the excessive compound

In relation to my project proposal of Inside Out, the yarn balls symbolise a subject after its driving force of which sits inside it has been removed, leaving only a stripped outer shell to dwell on. I documented this devlopment into my sketchbook at a later date as seen below. It is a fold-out feature detailing the process of creating the Yarn Balls and what they mean and contribute to 'Inside Out'.
In final, I enjoyed the creative process of this experiment and the outcome it produced and might possibly make more for fun. I feel like I have a clearer direction into where I want to take this project, but I still intend to experiment with more mediums before deciding on the basis for my final piece.
Development 1 - Yarn Balls Full View

While exploring the city of Antwerp during my trip abroad in Belgium, I came across the particular street art seen above. It depicts the outsides of a set of cherubs spray-painted onto a wall with what I suppose is a set of stencils and spray paint. I couldn't find any backlog information of a particular street artist who operates in Antwerp, nor any other kinds of graffiti similar to the angels, but I believe this style is similar to the London-based anonymous artist Banksy, as it is suggestible to public interpretation and has no straight-forward meaning.

In relation to my project of 'Inside Out', I see the empty space created by the outlines  of the cherubs as an identifying space; a space that should be filled with the embodiment of that person; likes and dislikes, phrases, images, text, etc. all relating to them, and transcribing their personality outwardly, similar to how an x-ray is displayed perhaps. Purpose-wise, I want to find a way to incorporate this idea into my work and come up with a development for it.
Street Art in Antwerp Full View

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