PART 1 - INITIAL RESEARCH
To start the project I wanted to familiarise myself with Walala’s work, even though we would receive a full introduction to the artist herself throughout the week. This would allow me to identify aspects that I should be looking for in the gallery visits, as well as guiding my documentation of the meal to a print based idea.
The illusionary quality of these pieces (ABOVE AND BELOW) struck me as they use primarily monochrome colours, yet are arguably more eye-catching than many of the brighter pieces. I particularly like the idea of creating a print that follows the same idea, possibly an ‘impossible’ print inspired also by the visual artist M.C Escher.
Walala’s work is all very coherent, yet when each is viewed separately the influences appear entirely different. The design on the left appears almost like a comic book due to the use of angular lines and colours. The piece in the right however looks very much a Rennie Mackintosh design with the use of thick black lines and rectangles.
PART 3 - MEAL DOCUMENTATION
We were asked to do this as initial research, given Camille Walala's interest in food, and this often acting as inspiration for her work. I chose to document a takeaway curry as my meal, due to the colours of the food being stunning, and the interesting packaging; foil and paper bags. I noticed through my studies that a circular motif occurred throughout in different sizes and irregularities. I also thought that the rice dish would be particularly interesting to further study, it is possibly the simplest and yet most intricate, given the tiny grains. What I found interesting when documenting them, was how instantly my sketches etc. resembled print designs. When colour was extracted from the foods, or certain elements enlarged, it was often impossible to tell what the food had been from the study alone, the studies simply appearing to be design ideas. This is promising for the design development process.
PART 5 - MONOCHROME
SOURCE; ‘SLEEK’ & ‘COVER’ MAGAZINE While I intend to use colour in my print designs, I wanted to look into some monochromatic images to inspire new ideas. The garment image uses linear and block shapes beautifully, as the wind distorts this and makes it softer. The combination of harsh geometry and more free hand designs could be quite beautiful.
PART 7 - ARTIST RESEARCH
Dutch artist Desiree Palmen is no wallflower, but she knows a thing or two about blending into the background. That's because her latest project is literally aimed at making people disappear -- in plain sight. What we mean is this:
Countless painstaking hours go into hand-painting the cotton suits she creates, meticulously crafted to blend into their surroundings. She got the idea, she says, from an increasing paranoia about 24-7 "Big Brother"-style surveillance: "I wanted to make a suit for the non-criminal citizen whose house is being watched 24 hours by street surveillance cameras. I'm also responding to a wish to disappear."
'In the natural world, the chameleon blends in perfectly with its background.
In the urban jungle, Desiree Palmen decided to attempt the same visual deception.
She makes cotton suits and paints the camouflage on by hand, painstakingly matching it to the chosen background. Either she or a model then poses in the suit in the chosen place.
The scenes are photographed and filmed and then put on display.
"People always react strongly when they see my work," she said.
"They have mixed reactions: confusion, surprise and interest."
She added: "Mostly people like the idea of wearing garments that make them invisible."
She said: "I'd like people to consider what it means to let the government control our daily lives.
"When we are controlled we hand over our individual responsibilities to the state. I wanted to make a suit for the non-criminal citizen whose house is being watched 24 hours by street surveillance cameras. I'm also responding to a wish to disappear."
Miss Palmen, who studied sculpture at The Academy of Art in Maastricht, sells her pictures for around £1,500.
She has enjoyed success at dozens of exhibitions around Europe but has yet to bring her work to Britain.
She finds that children are often fascinated by her work.
"There was one little boy in Jerusalem who kept coming back to the camouflaged figure over and over again," she said.
Although not a print artist, Palmen’s work fascinated me, as it linked beautifully to the idea of visual illusion, and camouflage into surroundings.
PART 2 - EXHIBITIONS
DALSTON ANATOMY AT THE PHOTOGRAPHER'S GALLERY
'Lorenzo Vitturi: 'I wanted to capture Ridley Road market's edgy dynamic'
The Italian-born, London-based photographer wanted to capture the vibrancy of an east London market before it falls victim to gentrification. His stunning, colour-saturated vegetable sculptures and surreal portraits do just that
Ridley Road market in Dalston is one of the last remaining examples of a working-class, vividly multicultural London: the type of neighbourhood that is fast disappearing under the tidal wave of gentrification that has transformed swaths of east London over the past decade. Inspired by the hustle and bustle of the market's African, Caribbean and Asian food stalls, art photographer Lorenzo Vitturi set out to capture what he calls its "crazy aesthetic".
In Vitturi's images, surreal organic shapes hang suspended against eye-dazzlingly bright backgrounds, human faces are obliterated by small explosions of coloured chalk and pigment, yams and sugar cane are arranged into creature-like organic sculptures. Here and there, relatively straightforward portraits of stall holders and passers-by punctuate the creative iconoclasm.
Vitturi photographed the market and its regular characters, but also used it "as a kind of prop house", buying materials such as paint, dyes and chalk from the local traders and using them creatively to deface his images. Daily, too, he would bring home discarded fruit and vegetables to be transformed into surreal sculptures in his nearby studio.
"Every day people are inventing ways to present themselves and their small shops to the passing public," says Vitturi. "It's an endlessly creative as well as commercially competitive place that can sometimes be a little overwhelming, but it is that edgy dynamic that I wanted to reflect in my images. I was trying to recreate the identity of the market through whatever I could find there that served my vision of the place and its energy. So the coloured chalk that is used to cover some of the faces in the images is sold in little baskets on a stall on Ridley Road. Later, I found out that the chalk is used as a painkiller in west Africa for women who are pregnant. Every picture has a hidden story."
I found this exhibition fascinating due to the colours VItturi captured and created from fruit that was often decaying. The decomposition of the fruit is stunning to see, as well as Vitturi’s exhibition space being used to further evoke the feel of a London market. It has definitely opened my eyes to how important colour is to the mood of the pieces, and perhaps the more surreal the better, as Vitturi’s work is certainly successful.
YAYOI KUSAMA AT THE VICTORIA MIRO
'Kusama has been busy making pieces for an exhibition, “Pumpkins”, at the Victoria Miro gallery in London next month. The humble root vegetable is an enduring motif in her work.
“Pumpkins are visually humorous, in terms of their shape, and the way they are scattered about fields when they’re growing seems very spiritual to me,” she says.
She has drawn pumpkins since she was a child in Matsumoto, a small city encircled by mountains in central Japan, where her wealthy family sold seedlings and kept plant nurseries. Drawing was a way to express, and thereby soften, the terror of visual and auditory hallucinations she experienced. The polka dots and nets that would become her best-known motifs derived from the blotches that swarmed her vision.'
It was good to see these pieces by Kusama, however slightly disappointing that more was not on display. While colour is an essential part of her work, these pieces were more focused on the design themselves, using a basic polkadot design to incredible effect. The scale changes are particularly successful, transforming a standard design into something far less ordinary.
KAZIMIR MALEVICH AT THE TATE MODERN
'Kazimir Malevich painted his revolutionary Red Square one hundred years ago. It still looks staggeringly new at Tate Modern. Even after a century of abstract art nothing seems quite so radical as this dazzlingly simple form – more parallelogram than square – leaping into scarlet life out of pure white space, tilting eagerly forwards. The painting remains for ever young.
To see it in this intensely moving retrospective – the first in Britain since Malevich's death in 1935, isolated, impoverished, purged by Stalin – is to realise just how romantic the painter's dream of art could be. Suprematism, the movement he pioneered, believed in the radical reduction of painting to nothing but shape and colour. Paintings would not be pictures, they would depict nothing, state nothing, resist all aesthetic conventions. They would spring free as the revolution itself.
There is a heroic daring in the self-sufficiency of Malevich's art, which relies on nothing but its own fierce beauty at a time when his contemporaries were still turning out icons and onion domes.
The final room is shattering. The story reaches tragedy as no other exhibition in the history of Tate Modern; what you see is the aviator shot down. Malevich is forced back to Earth, forced to go backwards, to paint (almost) in the approved socialist realist manner. The peasant woman appears in headscarf and apron. The worker stands proud with his Stalin moustache.
While I did not actually visit the Malevich exhibit, I wanted to undertake some brief research so that I would have a broad understanding of print design possibilities before starting to design. The simplicity of the work struck me, showing how a white background can work as well as any other colour.
PART 4 - ARTIST RESEARCH
"The UK still leads with edginess and also with colourful print concepts, they're different from the rest of the world"
- ZANDRA RHODES
Rhodes is known for her unique print designs, and I was interested to see her influences in historic and foreign art, when researching her in the CSM library. The designs have instant impact due to the colour and larger shapes, yet also are very detailed, as the close up photographs show.
PART 6 - CAMOUFLAGE
These advertising images linked back to the idea of VISUAL ILLUSION, discussed previously with regard to Camille Walala’s work. These look nothing like her work, however the figures and items photographed here seem to blend into the surroundings as they are covered in the same print. Kusama also explored this with incredible effect. This is a very interesting take on the classic visual illusion. SOURCE; ‘SLEEK’ & ‘COVER’ MAGAZINE
PART 8 - DEVELOPING MY OWN PRINTS
The above images show some of my working design ideas, using copper/brown, silver/grey, red and black as my colour palette, inspired by the food and packaging of the takeaway curry. I tried to experiment with as many techniques, shapes etc. as were relevant to my inspiration, as I had no desired look from the start, I was very open to the designs beginning to change. These images were taken in an experiment with scale, as they show certain areas of my designs very close up, this inspiring new design ideas.