Friday, 27 March 2015

The swinging 60's, pop art and Ray Harryhausen. .

Saying I've done in depth research about this subject area at this moment in time would be a lie. I have however done a small amount of research on a wide range of different artists, skimming the surface of the sixties if you will.

Obviously the person who I found most interesting was Ray Harryhausen, the king of stop animation during that time. He worked on things such as clash of the titans, and mighty Joe young. He worked closely with producers such as Warner Bros. and therefore became a well recognised artist pretty quickly. His first film was created in 1953.
Richard Hamilton

Friday, 20 March 2015

Looking back IS looking forward.

Looking into the history of art allows you to see how art in the present, may develop in the future. Only by knowing the past can we anticipate the future. Modern expressionism has never been the kind of work that  I have been interested in, or even understand. But after doing some research into the artists, I've began to see that their work really does what it says on the tin. they are expressing how they feel through the only way they know best, painting.
So what have I learnt from all this.
  1. That artist movements are entirely the product of the environment surrounding influential artists.
  2. Work can be full of life without being full of colour.
  3. Artists react to the world around them, and often fight against the norm. Not to cause friction but to chase change.
  4. I HATE any work produced by mark Rothko and no amount of conversation about his work will change that.

Modern expressionism, Pollock, Still, Motherwell and Kline. . . .

Modern expressionism began after the second world war and began to take form during the 1950's. it was thought to be way for people to release their feelings and thoughts into a more creative outlet. The leaders in this time of work were people such as Pollock, Still, Motherwell, Kline and Rothko.
Something that made some of the modern expressionism work more interesting was the scale that they worked on. They were usually larger pieces as many of the artists have said it allows them to get 'into' the painting. Meaning they can connect with it and feel the way the piece should progress.
Pollock worked on large scale and placed his canvas' on the floor. He also used foreign objects contained in his paint, such as sand, pebbles, broken glass and string. These added a whole new dimension to his work as it began to incorporate texture as well. 
Expressionism allowed for free movement, not having to stick to any compositional rules in their work. Expressionism is so interesting because the whole canvas is the main subject of the painting, unlike a portrait where the subject of the work is the person whose portrait it is. This means that the eye keeps moving over the piece trying to find a main subject of the piece, something to concentrate on.
Personally I like Pollock's work, I feel like I could look at it for hours and still find something new that I had over looked at first glance. However I cannot say the same for expressionist work by artists such as Rothko.

Although many enjoy his work, I am not one of them. I feel that his work is flat and devoid of life, which does not appeal to me. Not only this but it doesn't capture my imagination or interest like the work of Pollock or Kline. I feel like at a glance, I have already taken in all the information that the piece has to offer and therefor their would be no merit in me looking at it any longer. Essentially, I find it boring as hell. I find it strange to thing that work by Rothko is even from the same time period and movement as that of people like Kline.
 Even though his work has barely any colour at all, it has much more life than any of the work I have seen by Rothko. The lines seem to tell a story, represent something and show some kind of emotion to me where as Rothko's work effects me in no means at all. If that is what he was trying to achieve then he has done a cracking job.


Friday, 13 March 2015

Max humphries, and simple mechanisms.

Max Humphries is an amazing puppeteer, who builds full costumes on  the basis of simple mechanisms. He has worked on pieces for stage productions such as The lion the witch and the wardrobe, Romeo and Juliet and Raven Girl.

Carving  from florists oasis is something I have seen recurring in different puppet making techniques. Its incredibly light and easy to carve from using simple tools such as a stanley knife or even just a pencil. Not only this but wire easily held inside it easily. it is also relatively cheap and therefore large pieces of work can be done without spending too much money. 

This mechanism was on Max Humphries website and shows how simple some mechanisms can be. i am going to attempt doing this using a clothes peg from home.

Degenerate Art

Before I start a massive discussion about what degenerate art means to me and how its influenced other work, I think  I should first talk about what it is. Degenerate art is work that was considered  low skilled and offensive by Hitler and his Nazi party in the 1930's. If something was considered degenerate, it meant it deviated from accepted norms at the time.

Works of modern art, expressionism and impressionism were all collected together and displayed in an exhibition which aimed to ridicule the  artists and those that followed the modern art movements. Pieces of work which still today would be considered high end inspirational works were mocked using graffiti, changes in the work title and badly reviewed by Nazi propaganda. Artists featured in the Degenerate art show were those such as Piet Mondrian, Paul Klee, Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh. Over 16,000 piece of work were seized by the Nazi party and were placed on display. The Degenerate art show was one of the most publically viewed exhibitions in history, which toured Germany and neighbouring countries for a number of year. It was thought to have attracted around  3,000,000 viewers. Although not all of those going to view the work agreed with his political views about it. Many fled to see the works as they believed it may be the last ever opportunity they would get to see the works of artists they saw as revolutionary practitioners. After the burning of the books there was no certainty of where, or in what condition the works would end up in once the Nazi's were finished with them. 

How do I feel about it all?

I feel that Hitler's attacks on modern artists were about control of that that he could not understand. He saw those who followed the expressionist movement as communists and Jews, the two things he hated most. Art can have great power over people, how they think, what they feel about certain issues. Hitler only confirmed the influence of modern art by seeing its destruction as a key part of his control over Germany.  

The fact that artists had to leave their country and quash their own creative instinct because someone told them how they expressed themselves was wrong. I also believe that it effected the natural evolution of art and that if the mockery of modern art had never happened then maybe the art world would have progressed even quicker, changing people perceptions of  art and its influence on them. However I think that this lead to a chain reaction of events that benefitted the art world, in spite of Hitlers attempt to remove modern art. The dispersion of the German artists lead to revolutionary pieces of work that changed art history for ever.  

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Making designs a reality

I decided to make my automatic drawings a reality by inflating bin bags on different sections of my body in order to alter the shape of the body.  I did this by securing the bags around my legs and arms tightly and inflating them using a foot pump.

This altered my appearance in the way I had intended and with some fine tweaking could create a cool piece of costume. If not the most practical.

I then began doing multiple bags on different limbs at the same time to see how much that changed the appearance of the costume.
I did like how it worked, it really made my appearance change and threw out the natural body shape you are used to seeing.  I then realised that the red elastic I had used to keep the bag on my head looked like a bow tie, and decided to turn the whole of the bag into the face of the character. This is not meant to be racist, I only had black bin liners.

I then covered myself into a black sheet to disguise the body and face so you cant tell that the head of the character is actually just air and not a person at all. I think this is an interesting idea and I might try develop it further by combining my earlier automatic designs with this practical technique to create a costume inflated by air.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Horse mechanics

After watching an actual video of a horse running in slow motion I then decided to try and create a small model of a horse that mimics the movement. This however is easier said than done.

I think I got the shape and proportions of the horse right, however an issue I did face was getting the movement right. One reason I couldn't correctly represent the movement was because horses legs move from the top of the hip joint, however I had placed the pivot point too low down. There for the movement was not as realistic as I had intended. I realised this mistake after watching the video of the running horse a few more times after creating this puppet.

However I did learn something from this section of my project which is that there are many simple ways of creating pivot points for joints when making a puppet. This was the first time I had attempted making a puppet of this kind and therefore I have a lot more research into the area of puppetry to be done.

This has proven to me once again that research is one of the most important elements of creating work of this kind and therefore will be more in depth with my research at the next opportunity.

Creating the parade horse.

Using florist's oasis I carved a stylised horse's
face. This created a base for me use to make a clay piece of work. My intention was to then work on top of the clay using latex to create a fully functional latex mask of a horse similar to that in parade.

 Working on top of the oasis was a challenge as the fibres of the oasis stuck to the clay and dried it out quickly, so working fast was incredibly important in order to avoid any cracking of the mask. It gave me opportunity to create more distinguished features on the horse. These features were over exaggerated and not realistic looking as this work was intended for the stage where things must be over the top so the entire audience can see the details of the work. I liked how it looked however it was a tough process that took up a large amount of my time.

This work was incredibly fragile which wasn't good as theatre work need to be as durable as possible this was therefore a great issue. However it did look good, which I suppose is one good thing.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Parade, automatic drawings!

 After watching the parade performance, and taking inspiration from Picasso's costumes I began doing some automatic drawing to see if I could generate some ideas of my own in a similar style.
 I used a large range of colours and different media to try and encourage thoughts and ideas to come freely. To begin with I was being too structured with my drawings however in the above picture was where I began to let loose and really let my ideas flow on their own. Some of my best ideas were generated from this sheet of sketches even though they look like complete nonsense.
 I then began to refine these first sketches into something more understandable. I liked the idea of modifying the shape of the body so its unrecognisable. I also liked the element of parade where the man was dressed as a building, I wanted to do the same thing by making the performers look like an object.
 This is one of my favourite designs, although its simple I think it could be developed well into something more extravagant, as well as there being a large range of colour and design options for it.
 This is other favourite of mine, instead of a building the performer appears like an appliance, I went for a washing machine. I want to make dancers into every day objects that you take for granted and make them seem magical.
 This one is a more simplified version of the above one picture.
The last drawing I created was a set design, inspired by the building outfit from parade. I wanted to skew the perspective of the stage, and make the audience off balance. I didn't quite achieve this so I may do some research into how it is done on already up and running productions.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Parade the video.

Oscar Schlemmer and the triadic ballet

Research into Bauhaus. . .

The Bauhaus school of art that was first opened in Weimer in the early 20th century. The school was considered incredibly forward thinking for the time as unlike other art schools, there was more freedom to explore their own concepts as opposed to only learning a given skill. Most other programmes would only allow for learning technical skill, such as metal work or stained glass making.  However the Bauhaus allowed students to put their own ideas into practice; after learning the fundamental properties of their given material.

The school actually allowed for women to apply for the courses, however they were directed towards materials that were considered more appropriate for women such as weaving and printing. The tutors and teachers at the college were all established artists in their own right and therefore could give honest advice and guidance to the students, which was not readily available at other colleges.

The school ended moving to three different locations in an attempt to keep the essence of the place, despite the changing government around them.  Not only this but the directors of the college changed multiple times aswell, meaning the direction of the colleges work changed with it. Some of the directors were more futurist, where as other were more constructivist, this effected the regime of the Bauhaus greatly.