Wednesday, 30 May 2012

At the Turn of the Last Century

At the turn of the 20th century there was a change in culture all over Europe. The idea of having commodities and designing being as important as function was born. Machinery and technology meant that high quality products could be made at a much lower price than before. As a result more attention can be spent on function and how it looks. Not only were these products functional, modern and sexualy utilizing the very best that science and technology could offer but they would change how we viewed art. It would change the way the masses would consider what art was, how it should look and who was allowed it.

Technology and science grow at an extremely fast rate man was learning about the world he lives in more and more. This relentless growth was only matched by the imaginations of the designers and artists that would sculpt the landscapes of the cities and factories we would occupy. This grow would come with a toll and that was war, but this wasn’t going to stop the growth but make it faster and both the first and second world wars would change our lives forever.
I really enjoy the unique aesthetics that was born during this period of time and find that it not only influences my creative taste but it truly satisfies my ideas. In the early part of the 20th century a lot happened and ideas of lifestyle began to change on both ends of the spectrum. In Russia there was revolution and the birth of communism in Europe the idea of commodity was born. Both ideas having a very similar undertones making life better for all through growth and mass prosperity.

Art became the platform for these ideas with artists like Marcel Du Champ, Dmitry Moor and Joseph Csaky describing the then current culture and making their work available to the masses. Using their work they encouraged men and women to support the current political climate. Describe the beauty of industry and show us how science will inevitably make are lives better even though we are just animals. Or simply making art available for the common folk. These artists and many more also speared the imaginations of millions and pushed the ideas of future in to our hearts and minds.

Below is a series of images that I have chosen for their aesthetic qualities mostly. They are a range of media, architecture, sculpture and feature. There is a common theme running through the selection, they mostly depict images from the early part of the 20th century but there are some modern images also. These more modern images have played a massive role in the selection of the other images like the 1998-2001 Batman images. (I spent a lot of my childhood playing with batman toys.) These batman images also explain my selection of human figurative images that I have made. I love the very athletic look that has been given to all of the figures both male and female. Yes they are very attractive but I believe it is more that they are also capable of fighting or working that makes them most appalling.

I have also selected images that have a certain line and shape quality. The shape and line selection is very stylish but have been carefully chosen. There is a sense of simplicity to the images but they hold a massive amount of details and information. The image, especially the figurative images have a very emotive feel they show stronger powerful forms and suggest young modern and cool ideas of a bright future. I really enjoy the Art Deco look and this fits perfectly with my ideas of Japanese culture and styles. Simple, cool, and modern.

Monday, 14 May 2012

The Vessel of My Ideas

For our current module ICP we have been asked to look at ourselves and ask who we are and what we want to make. I have reached the part of the module where I have to think about what I want to make. Now this has been somewhat of an odd process for me as I have a lot of ideas and the function of these ideas isn’t always clear. I am also learning that the interpretation of what I produce is very different from person to person.

On the 14th of May I handed in a body of work that consisted of sketch books, samples and written ideas. All of these pieces showed how I see the world around me and how I like to see the world as mechanical equipment. Its how I have learnt to understand the world I live in. I have also learnt that control is of the upmost importance to me and I use this idea to give my work a unique aesthetic. I produce all of my own sections and use it to create pieces that show the human form mechanically. But what is the function of my work?

As a Blacksmith it seems the purpose or function (more function in this instance) is very important. In fact it almost out ways the aesthetic qualities of the piece rendering them as an add-on. In turn this can spoil or take away from both the aesthetic and the function of the piece. I believe this is a fall bare of the past and has come from the idea that the role of a smith is to create tools that can be used. Just adding to that function is stupid and often creates very ugly work. The fact that it is well made or works is irrelevant now. I was told by a blacksmith on my first day on the course that as makers we all produce four types of work.

1. Well made, good design
2. Well made, bad design
3. Poorly made, good design
4. Poorly made, bad design

As a crafts person is there truly a point to all of this, does my work need a function and should I be making things? Does the design really hold any weight at all? And then finally what am I going to make? We often have tutorials during the course of the modules and these are designed to assess and check on our progress. They can be quite deep and emotional and often lead to the miss interpretation on both side tutor and student. I quite enjoy the contact I have with most of the tutors and assisting staff but there input can be confusing and misleading at times but this is mostly due to miss understanding on both parts. It is how you chose to translate this input that is most important.

So I have decided on both the function and the piece I’m going to make. I have quite a large body of work in my sketch book that shows human anatomy from muscle tissue to the inside of the human eye. I have then modified these images and produced sketches that show a mechanical idea of the same body part. I have produced ideas, theory’s and images that not support what I want to make but that assist in there construction. I then produced samples of components that are in my drawings, extracting ideas constructing them and then playing with the concept. Then I played around with the idea of what it was that I would make. What functional thing I would produce and how I would add my aesthetic to it.

I tried to find things that would not only look good but have function, but this is counter intuitive for me as I use my aesthetic to describe how stuff works so making something that works cannot work. So I have chosen to create “Her”, she will be sculpture and her function.

Monday, 7 May 2012

New Cogs for an Old Machine

A much Wiser and old gentleman said this to me quite recently and it got the old cogs turning. “Well you have to remember you’re just a new set of cogs for an old machine!” I would love to think he was wrong but I’m starting to think he might be on to something. As part of the course we are expected to have an understanding of what we are doing and why we are doing it, but this isn’t easy. What I have learnt is that I’m not the sum of my own ideas and that there is a side that I have never seen.

There are parts of me that are well understood and studied through self motivated learning but as I grow older I find parts of my life that have sub-consciously developed and played a very important role in my life. My ideas of the world I live in and the role I play in the community and environment. Where do I stand, what is my task and most importantly who am I? Do I serve a function as a cog in a much greater machine, am I mealy the years of a developed operation. If I am made to feel as if I have been given a choice will that satisfy my hunger to exist? Maybe not but something I have developed is an innate sense of duty and I have a load to carry and I should carry it. I don’t carry it for the ultimate goal of the machine but for the other load barriers, my fellow cogs.

It is the one thing that I wasn’t expecting to find here in Hereford. I am learning about me and my role now more than ever. And yes the result of my actions have lead me here, but it is the close intermit study of myself that has truly lead to my most recent realisation. We are all part of the machine and we all have a role but it is how we chose to succeed that gives us weight and meaning. It’s the choices that we make that determine who we are and what we will become. It is the battles we choose to fight or the people we surround ourselves with these may ultimately be the only choices that one has but if they are made knowingly then you are at risk of becoming a cog in a machine.