Thursday, 29 October 2009

Straight Edges, Number Generators and Dolphins Wearing Lipstick

When looking at work by Ian Davenport, i really liked the fact that in a way he used the world around him to create his work, allowing gravity to affect the spread and flow of the paint. I have been thinking of doing the same, using acts of randomness and chance to depict how my work turns out. I had the idea of wrapping paint or ink - food colouring what ever in cling film, suspending it above the canvas or surface and piercing holes in the cling film allowing the medium to drip onto the canvas. Another idea i had was for the ink blot style works i want to create - i would draw a grid out onto canvas or paper and use a number generator to depict where i place my medium then fold the canvas or paper in half creating a pattern.

These are just a couple of ideas i came up with - i think for now these could be a good way of exploring mark making and staining canvas.


Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Rorschach, Davenport and Chance.

Ian Davenport is an English born artist, who in 1990 after being included in Damien Hirst's Freeze exhibition, began creating works usually on a large scale allowing gravity to control the spread and movement of the paint.

"His large-scale wall paintings are made using a syringe to pour paint, in vertical stripes, from the top edge to the floor. The painting process is formal and repetitive, like a scientific experiment, but the final image contains irregularities, where the paint is diverted by the wall surface, and surprises, where particular colour combinations create unexpected visual results"

Quote from Wikipedia.

I really like the fact that Davenport creates work with the use of gravity, almost allowing the world around him to participate in the work he is creating. I remember on Monday in the talk with Michael Howard that he said about chance and luck being the secret laws of the universe - i really like that. Rather than mechanically applying a medium with your hands, paint brush pallet knife, what ever, how about letting gravity, chance, luck, randomisation take control over the painting - let fate so it be decide the outcome of the way the work should look.

Ancient Greek Philosophy had 2 concepts of chance.

  • Tyche - or luck - operates in the mind.
  • Automaton - or chance - operates in the realm of nature.
To many early Greek Philosophers chance did not exist and the world was completely deterministic (events are determined by a chain of unbroken prior events). However, to Aristotle Tyche and Automaton where everyday occurrences, and that chance events were the effect of 2 casual events.
So if to create work using chance then i must concur 2 casual events right? I think i need to look into this more later on.

The Rorschach test, or Ink Blot test was devised in 1921 by Hermann Rorschach to examine subjects personality and emotional functioning. I remember as a child in school creating ink blot style paintings by simply applying paint or ink to paper, card what have you and then simply folding it in half creating wonderful symmetrical patterns. I think this could be a great way of creating patterns that are open to analysis as they were not created by hand so to speak - created more by the acts of folding paper and letting the ink or paint spread and disperse as it may.

More of this to come.

Image from:-


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Colour Field, Ink Blots and Havana

When working from the subject of dreams i wanted to look into artists that used emotion or tried to convey emotion in their work.
The Colour Field move ment was a branch from Abstract Expressionism which emerged from New York City in the 1940's and 50's. Colour Field dealt with large block of usually unbroken colour spread or stained onto canvas with less emphasis on brush strokes and gesture, more on form and process. Artists like Barnett Newman and Clyfford Still used reduced forms and a highly psychological use of colour to provoke emotion and even a meditational response in the viewer.

Clyfford Still is seen as one of the foremost Colour Field movement. His flashes of colour give the impression that parts of the colour have been torn off, revealing others underneath. Unlike others in the Colour Field movement, Still did not apply paint in a flat uniform manner, however he
applied his paint impasto in a thick almost unregimented way causing different tones to appear in
different lighting situations and angles.

"I never wanted color to be color. I never wanted texture to be texture, or images to become shapes. I wanted them all to fuse together into a living spirit." - Clyfford Still

"It's intolerable to be stopped by a frame's edge." - Clyfford Still

Quotes from Wikipedia.

I think this is how i want to work. I dont want my work to be a mechanical process, i want it to be spontaneous and free, not having boundaries and limits. Its for this reason why i used a syringe to create the previous works i did, not wanting to be limited purely by what my hands wanted to create and what my brain wanted to see, but adding a surprise random element to things. When i look at Stills work i see sometimes see shapes and patterns much like i do in my own work, shapes and patterns that were maybe not intentionally put there, yet have emerged due to the combination of colours.
As well as the use of large blocks of colour to create shapes and patterns, i also want to look into ink blot tests as they are also shapes and or patterns by somewhat mistake that can be seen in many different ways.

Image from:-


Monday, 26 October 2009

Arabic Thinking, Da Vinci Code and Fantastic Mr Fox.

I had a talk today from Michael Howard, who took a lecture a while back on how we see the world and about looking. Seriously some of the most interesting stuff i've heard in a while, really enjoyed that. Had him again today for a thing about a show on about Leonardo Da Vinci at the Manchester Museum of Science andddd Technology? I cant remember, but honestly fascinating, absolutely amazing. Im a Da Vinci fan as it i...well i say fan but i dont actually know a whole deal about him, but i learnt an awful lot today. There is a project that we have to do involving an idea/drawing/machine that Da Vinci never got round to making - YES! I love that kind of thing, im soooo into it. I have a few initial ideas like, the automatic sun cream applicator - Dont you hate having to apply sun cream all the time on holiday? Automatic sun cream applicator does it for you - or even a sun cream that lasts all week? The automated guitar smasher for the aged rock star - seems every band under the sun is reforming these days, but they're all getting on a bit, so to make it easier for them to end with a bang - automated guitar smashing and or fire lighting as an optional extra.
Oh my im so into this.
I started to think during the lecture about something that i've wondered for a while actually. The sea - ocean - body of water - lake what ever. Is it always the same water that is always on the top? Like does it rotate and the water say 100 meters down in the ocean eventually come to the top and be the water we see? Or is that water always going to be down there, never for us to see? I want to find out.

I also went to the library today to try and find some books on Da Vinci, seems they're all being rented out as i couldnt find any...but i did get a book on mad inventions and a book on Arabic folklore and fairy tales - looks like a good read. Im so excited for this invention ideas thing - cant wait to get really started on it.

Now i should have posted some stuff on Clyfford Still that i did the other day, but i was far too excited about this so i chose to do this instead. Along with Clyfford Still and the work im doing, i really like the idea of looking at ink blot tests as its rather similar to what im doing now in terms of seeing shapes and patterns amongst other things. That'll come tomorrow or soon, as for now im going to be reading Arabic fairy tales and trying to invent machines never seen by man. UH-HUUUUUUUUUUUUU.


Wednesday, 21 October 2009

REM sleep, Eric Cantona and Quinine.

When in the library the other day I picked up a book on dreaming and what the mind does when its a sleep. I wanted to find out why we dream, how we dream and why dreams are often easily forgotten, this is what i found out.According to Freud, we are all aware that dreams may be forgotten and therefore are liable to forget about dreams the morning after, and that there is so much that can happen in one dream, it is impossible to remember it all, if at all. The average person goes through about 2 hours of REM sleep a night, thus a person can collect a lot of information and can only be recalled if the subject has awakened just as the dream finis
hes or mid way through.
In essence, it is difficult for us to even remember parts of a dream unless we wake during or straight afte
r as, as little as a few minutes after may cause us to forget what we just dreamt.

The most recent evaluations of dream
s are that they are the "garbage dump" of the mind. As your mind seeks to make sense of all that has happened to it during the day, it pulls out similarities to other things that you have experienced. Sometimes these are just vaguely related,
which is why you ask, why did I think of X, when Y? The answer is that something that day t
riggered a "possible match" in the memory.

So. Dreams it would seem are fairly useless, just our minds trying to make sense of the days events and things pas

I started producing work from my dreams involving patterns and shapes amongst other patterns and sha
pes. I picked up some off cuts of canvas from an art shop and set about randomly displaying my dreams by using food colouring and a syringe. I picked the main theme from the dream
and used a colour to represent it.

After creating my patterns I then set out to try and find shapes or objects amongst them.
Some shapes i found:-

  • Teddy Bear
  • Letter "A"
  • Number "6" or "9"
  • A Fish
  • A Toothbrush
  • A Candle
  • A Starfish


Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Choroid, Shift and Egyptian Pharaohs.

I went to the library today and picked up some books on all sorts, Clyfford Still, dreaming, sight and vision, Greek and Egyptian mythology and the history of the automobile.
As mentioned before I am interested in sight and how we all look at the world. So i think to fully understand sight and vision, I need to do some research.
The eyes basic function is to capture light and focus it onto a layer of cells at the back of the eye and then onto the brain to be processed via the optic nerve. So in essence, witness the world through our own minds, we see what our brian tells us, or at least how our brian understands the signals it is being sent. It's for this reason i feel it is difficult to fully understand an others point of view as their brain works differently that yours and what they see may not be what you see necessarily. However, recently a game created by EA Games called Need For Speed: Shift, captured what I see and how I feel. The game is all about the true drivers experience, trying to put you firmly in the seat of the driver, making you feel as if you are the one driving, not some mechanical process like games of previous generations. I've grown up always loving racing and started racing motorbikes when i was 12 up until the age of 17, and recently i have taken up racing Go Karts. The game truly captures how I feel when I race. The screen blurs leaving a small strip of focus at high speeds, the cockpit becomes blurred while the road ahead stays clear. The colours start to drain and become muted at high speeds, the sound dips as the concentration becomes higher. The camera reacts to all the G forces that would be felt under braking, acceleration, traveling over bumps on the track, cornering etc. The screen blurs, colours drain to black and white when you crash, the sound is numbed, your heart beats faster, your breathing picks up. This is how i feel when racing. I always find it hard to explain to people what its like to race, what I feel at 90 mph an inch or so off the ground, what its like to crash and feel G forces. I find it difficult...but they captured what I see and feel, they took my vision and made it real, well..made it into a game, but, it feels real. I never thought I would be able to fully understand what I feel when I race and feel the way I do, but they captured it. This somewhat makes me question my own beliefs on what we see, but for now I'm going to enjoy it.

Video from:-

Image from:-


Monday, 19 October 2009

Phenobarbital, Batteries and brightly coloured paper.

The world around may or may not be what we think it is. Who am I to say that the jeans I am wearing are blue? They could be black, but my mind tells me they are blue. The use of cameras and photography is not something that I find ideal nor like to use as reference as it ultimately a mechanical view of what I or anyone else sees. I like to think that the world around me is what I think it is, don't get me wrong. But i cant help but feel honed in and forced to believe this mechanical view that a camera produces, I think the world should be how you make it, and you cant really be told your view is wrong as no one will know what you see. I was told by a teacher in my high school that the world may not be all it seems, that maybe we could all be the dream of a 40 year old woman in a coma, and our actual reality is what we dream at night. At first glance most would seemingly brush this off and dismiss this, "I'm here, i know I am, I see my hands, my legs, I feel the wind on my face." But what if this is all a dream, we're not real, we are actually the figment of someone else's imagination.

"The Matrix is 1999 science fiction film, which describes a future in which a reality perceived by humans is actually the Matrix, created by sentient machines in order to pacify and subdue the human population while their bodies heat and electrical activity are used as an energy source."

Taken from Wikipedia about the 1999 cult film "The Matrix".
Could this be a depiction of our lives? Could we be being used as batteries to power machines? To be honest, I'm not sure if we will find out, unless Neo is real...However the concept is something i think could have some weight to it.
Recently i have been writing down my dreams (or the ones i remember) in hope to produce work from them in some way as dreams never seem to conform with reality, stretching to the realms of far fetched. I have decided to use food colouring as a way of staining cloth or canvas in a round about way making random markings and trying to find patterns or shapes amongst that (much like the train seats i saw). Using the dreams i remember and have written down i will select a colour that fits it best and use it to create my pattens, then afterwards trying to find shapes and objects i may have created. As reference i shall look at post WW2 Abstract Expressionist artists such as Clyfford Still as well as the creation of military camouflage.


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Sunday, 18 October 2009

False Cobra, staring at clouds and Crème Brule.

Camouflage is used as a way of concealing colouration as a way for objects or organisms to go undetected in its surrounding environment. The word camouflage is thought to have come from the French camouflet, which loosely translates as “Smoke blown in someone’s face.”

Camouflage and its uses can be broken down into 4 main types, Cryptic, Disruptive, Mimicry and Countershading. As mentioned in my blog I like the idea of finding shapes and patterns amongst large blocks of colour and shapes, much like Military camouflage.

Cryptic camouflage is the most common, where an animal has the same base tones as its surroundings. Take a Great White shark for example, they have a white under belly and a blue shade for the top half meaning they are difficult to spot from both above and below.

Disruptive camouflage, unlike Cryptic is not intended to blend into the environment but usually involves bright eye catching colours, which are used to try and conceal or mask dimensions or features about the camouflaged object.

Mimicry camouflage is a when a organism wishes to appear as something different to potential pray or threats. Examples include the Titan Arum, a plant with the worlds largest unbranched inflorescence, emits the smell of rotting meat to attract Carrion flies for pollination. Also the Hooded Malpolon snake or the “False Cobra” imitates a Cobra when threatened by flaring its neck and hissing.

Countershading, also called “Thayers Law”, is the use of normally light colours on normally dark areas, and the use of normally dark colours and light areas, this removes some of the visual cues towards depth perception and can make the object appear flat.

Creating some form of camouflage pattern have it be thought out or randomised, can un earth wonderful shapes and patterns, similar to watching clouds and seeing Europe, a dog, a light bulb. I think this is an area I want to look into, creating large blocks of colour similar to camouflage and bus seats to highlighting shapes I create. With the topic being under the theme of “Food” I think that using some form of food to stain cloth or canvas is where I shall begin.

Image from:-


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Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Arabic numeracy, linguistics and telecommunications.

Totally forgot that one of my friends does Arabic at Exeter University. I really like the idea of basing some of my project on foreign alphabets, as it's an area that fascinates me. Hopefully I'll be able to go see her soon and quiz her on the ins and outs of Arabic culture and linguistics.

In other news I finally got round to getting an eye test today and found out I'm long sighted in my right eye and I now have glasses. That isn't the interesting part, but what is, is that they took pictures of the back of my eyes and I could see my own blood vessels when they were shining the light in my eyes, it was rather spectacular seeing my own eyes without looking in a mirror. It was such a good experience as I'm really interested in the act of seeing, how eyes work and how everyones eyes are different, so it was a definite helping hand into gaining some sort of inside knowledge on this area of anatomy.
Hopefully I might be able to get some of the pictures they took and use them in my project some how.


Monday, 12 October 2009

Scorpion doing front crawl

On the train back from Leeds last night I witnessed the seats and they had some intresting patterns which one even looked like a Scorpion being forced to do front crawl. Alas I didn't take a picture of the actual seats, but i really like the idea of finding patterns amass blocks of colour and other patterns.

Other shapes i witnessed:-
Several Bats (winged animal with sonar)


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Saturday, 10 October 2009

King of Saudi Arabia, for a day.

I don't know who the king of Saudi Arabia is or even if they have one but I rather like the idea of being him for a day, maybe 2. I think it would be great not being me for a day and being someone else (like the king (or not) of Saudi Arabia, a Dutch Prince, Prince, Andy Roddick, Barry Manilow, Charlie from the chocolate factory etc). I quite like the idea of being anonymous, keeping your identity an enigma, not divulging the secrets of your deepest thoughts or exploiting traits of your character, however letting what you know or do best do the talking, kind of like the 1967 experiment by Charles Goetzinger involving no more than university students, a bag and a theory.


Monday, 5 October 2009

Another Universe

"And you'll never be last one and you'll never be the first"

Lyric quoted from Golden Silvers song "Another Universe" off their debut 2009 album "True Romance".
It's more than fair to say that music is an influence on how i work.
Even though this lyric isn't about the struggles of modern art, i find it difficult sometimes to be the first when it comes to being creative. It always seems that someone else has had that idea before, or at least something similar. Thinking of something new and creative takes time and I definitely don't want to be the one who rushes things, I want my work to be the first.


Friday, 2 October 2009

First Post

I've always wondered what it is like to be someone else. What they see, what they think, and how ultimately you can never fully understand what other people see, or think about.
I've always wanted to know what animals think about, how they feel and what they dream about. Does an Eagle dream? How are those dreams? Beautiful? Melancholy? Drab? I don't think anyone will ever know, as only the Eagle can see the world through its eyes.
There is something beautiful i think about trying to see through an other ones eyes, trying to replicate what they see and envision. Regardless of how hard you try, ultimately what you are facing is the unachievable, the world can only be seen by you.