Thursday, 24 March 2016

Illustration and Essay Update

So you have survived two terms at Alton College - Congratulations! Early next term we have some important deadlines as we start to address the Course Units.

"From Impressionism to the 21st Century" Essay:
This should be submitted on the first day back. Thanks to all of you who have sent me your choices of Artworks, those stragglers who I yet to hear from please get your act together - I can only help and advise you if you communicate with me!
There is quite a lot of structured advice on how to write the essay in the assignment brief and the checklist - use these closely when you set about the writing. It is particularly important to ensure that your introduction and conclusion are well composed and thoughtful passages - when you go to HE interviews snippets from these sections are likely to be what is read. You may find it easiest to start by writing about some of your selections, then address the introduction and conclusion when you have gained a deeper understanding of the individual works in your exhibition.
You will need to bind your assignment at the LRC on the Monday when we return (approx. 80p for a card back/acetate front & comb binder).

Illustration Project
We are not setting additional work for illustration over Easter, as we want the essay to be your main focus. When you get back we will have 2 weeks to select images, scan and upload to an online book printing service.
As has been mentioned this week you should look at one Collage based illustrator to support the mixed media work we have been doing - make sure this is someone different to those you researched in the Architecture project. Some you might consider are Mario Wagner, Nazario Graziano, Tim Marrs, Martin O'Neill, Eduardo Recife or Mark Powell.

Eduardo Recife

Mark Powell
 In terms of the content of your final book as a minimum you will need to select the following from your project:
  •  2 Photographic images (edited).
  • 2 Expressive pieces of drawing.
  • 2 Sustained pieces of drawing.
  • 2 Images created as responses to Illustrators.
  • 2 pieces of printmaking.
  • 2 pieces of mixed media collage.
All these images will need to be thoughtfully positioned alongside text from the original work by Roald Dahl that you are depicting, look at some picture books to see how text can be imaginatively incorporated, works by Oliver Jeffers, Dave McKean and Chris Haughton are particularly valuable sources.

Oliver Jeffers
If you have more than 12 strong images that you want to include in your final book that is fine, although keep it to a maximum of 24.

An overall progress checklist for Illustration is here:
  • Research into Roald Dahl (1 page is fine)
  • Research into Quentin Blake's illustrations for Dahl's books, include reproductions of his work, background information, analysis of his style and at least one visual response. (2 pages)
  • Research into 2 films inspired by the works of Roald Dahl, some background information, justified personal opinion and images from the films (1 page for each film).
  • At least 3 pages of storyboarding for your photoshoot, this should be a mix of quick sketches and annotation. Sketches should explore potential compositions for photos; annotation should include quotes from the book that you are illustrating and lists of requirements (models, postures, expressions, locations, props, costume, make up, lighting etc.).
  • 1 or more pages showing some good examples of existing storyboards, with brief analysis.
  • Contact sheets of prints from your photoshoot.
  • Larger prints (A4/A5) of a range of your best shots.
  • Research into one narrative photographer with fantastical elements - e.g. Annie Liebovitz, Ruven Afanador, Viona Ielegems, Tim Walker. 2 pages with imagery, background and some of your own analysis of a couple of specific shots, consider what practical steps went into creating the image we see. So discuss location, models, postures, costume, props, make up, composition, lighting, camera angle, post-production.
  • At least 2 sustained full page careful observational drawings from your photographs, use different media for each of these - e.g. one tonal image in pencil, and one piece in biro. Fine liners or coloured pencils might be other media to consider using for these controlled pieces.
  • 4 or more quick expressive drawings.
  • Research into 2 narrative illustrators, these MUST be one historical and one contemporary practitioner. In this research it is important to give background biographical information on each illustrator, analyse some specific images in terms of content, technique and media and justify your own opinions on the work. You also need to compare the illustrators from different eras and describe how you feel illustration has changed over time. This research is set to meet the requirements of the Narrative Illustration Unit, so MUST be done well.
  • Using your own photographs as inspiration produce 2 interpretations of your images in the style of each illustrator you have researched - that is 4 illustrations in total. Take time over these and do your best to really replicate the style and use appropriate media.
  • A second photoshoot (ideally if your first was in the studio then this should be done on location). Injecting your project with fresh imagery is key to achieving a good final book.
  • 2 Gold Card plates cut with a range of prints taken from them, one of these should be an ambitiously scaled piece (A3).
  • 2 or more good pieces of monoprinting.
  • A few selective colour/invert experiments on the copier from either your drawings or prints.
  • 4 well resolved mixed media Collage images integrating the best of your drawing and printing along with other elements and text.
  • Ideally you should also complete some Photoshop developments from your Collage images.
  • Research into a Collage based illustrator (see above).
  • Monday, 14 March 2016

    What to Choose?

    In order to help you with your “From Impressionism to the 21st Century” essays I thought I’d post my exhibition choices and a few of my reasons for selecting them. There are of course no wrong or right answers to this assignment, what is interesting is the thinking behind the choices you make. This post is not formatted as an essay, it is just to give you an insight into how to justify the selections you make. 

    For my 10 Artworks I have decided to go for 5 paintings and 5 other Artworks that cover disciplines such as collage, sculpture, installation and video. Thinking about how the show will work as a whole I have tended towards larger scale Artworks where scale is part of the “wow factor” they have for me. I have attempted to spread my choices across the time period being addressed, but there are gaps, which I guess come down to personal preference. I think I would go with an approximately chronological format to my exhibition, so here are my choices: 

    Claude Monet, Rouen Cathedral Series 1892 – 1894 
    OK, this first one is a bit of a cheat, thirty for the price of one! Still I wanted something from the Impressionist period to kick the show off, and I thought if you collected together all Monet’s Rouen Cathedral works it would create an overall impact similar to some of the other works later in the exhibition. Amongst Monet’s works this set of paintings is a personal favourite, I really appreciate the subtle changes in colour and light and the textural brushwork. Having seen several of them together at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris I know they complement each other well when seen as a group. They are by the most significant painter of the Impressionist period and clearly demonstrate the fascination with light and observation that was so typical of this Art movement. The strong Architectural structure of the pieces also helps steer them away from the more sentimental subject matter that the Impressionists sometimes depicted. 

    Umberto Boccioni, Unique Forms of Continuity in Space 1913 
    The first choice from the twentieth century, and one that stands for a dynamic new age. The Arts developed rapidly between 1900 and 1920 with a succession of movements across Europe (Fauvism and Cubism in France, Expressionism in Germany, Constructivism in Russia and Futurism in Italy) and this piece from near the middle of the period represents that dramatic progress well. The Futurists were captivated by the age of the machine that was emerging around them and “Unique Forms” captures the confidence and energy of the time. It is also a piece that has a graceful visual rhythm that appeals to me, and whilst it was a very modern work in its day it also employs traditional sculptural bronze casting technique. 

    Marcel Duchamp, Fountain 1917 
    The next exhibit only dates from four years later, but it abandons traditional sculptural technique altogether. It is not an aesthetically beautiful piece, but its importance is huge. It was part of Duchamp’s “readymade” series and it was clearly his intention to provoke a reaction when he decided to exhibit a urinal adorned with a joke signature as a serious work of Art. Duchamp was associated with the DaDa movement, a nonsense word the contributing Artists coined as an indication of their desire to break with tradition and frequently ridicule the world they inhabited. The power of this work is apparent in the fact that it can still create fierce debate about its Artistic merit nearly 100 years later. This piece, more than any other, opened the doors for every Artist that followed: Duchamp had torn up the rulebook and given Artists a licence to experiment. 

    Pablo Picasso, Guernica 1937 
    Picasso was a child prodigy who developed into probably the most significant Artist of the twentieth century, so I feel he must be represented in the exhibition. His huge catalogue of work gives a multitude of potential choices, but for me it boiled down to a decision between two: Les Demoiselles d’Avignon - a seminal work of his Cubist period from 1907; or Guernica - his politically charged response to events in the Spanish Civil war. In the end it was the scale of Guernica that swung it for me, this canvas would have guaranteed impact as viewers moved through the gallery. The fragmented composition of broken bodies and the absence of colour are evidence of the anger that Picasso felt about events in his homeland. Passion was always evident in how Picasso approached both life and his Artistic practice and Guernica is perhaps the strongest example of him transferring this onto canvas. 

    Rene Magritte, The Empire of Lights 1950 
    This is a personal favourite, I just love the magical atmosphere that is created by the simple visual device of combining the street by night and the sky by day. Surrealism is an important twentieth century Art movement and I felt it should be accommodated in the exhibition, but I find many surrealistic works lack compositional rigour and the subject matter often lacks subtlty, this image avoids those pitfalls. The link between the emergence of psychology, the science of the mind, and the visual works of the surrealists is a fascinating one. In many surrealistic works the imagery runs riot - perhaps like some of the theories of the pioneers of psychology Freud and Jung, but in the Empire of Lights there is a clarity that I appreciate. The painting dates from fairly late in Magritte’s career and perhaps it is partly due to his maturity that he feels no compulsion to over complicate things. It is a fairly large painting (nearly 2 metres in height) so I feel it would have the necessary scale to hold its own amongst my selections. 

    Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rhythm 1950
    Energy and passion always appeal to me and Jackson Pollock had these qualities in abundance. There is a graceful power to the mark making, and I particularly enjoy the subtle colours in this piece. Compositionally Pollock’s best works (such as this) have great balance – a kind of ordered chaos. Pollock was of course a revolutionary, departing from the painter’s long held territory of the brush and easel in favour of the floor and a turkey baster! Although it dates from the same year as the Magritte painting I selected, it belongs to a completely different age – the birth of Abstract Expressionism rather than the last throes of Surrealism (a movement whose roots lie in the 1920s). It is also the first non European Artwork in the exhibition and represents the increasing globalisation of developments in the visual Arts after the Second World War. Once more it is painting on an epic scale with the power to captivate an audience. 

    Robert Rauschenberg, Monogram 1955 
    Collage is one of the major innovations of twentieth century Art and Rauschenberg is one of the finest exponents of this approach. His work straddles movements, juxtaposing the modern imagery of Pop Art with the powerful mark making of the Abstract Expressionists. In Monogram (part of his combines series) we are confronted by the powerful presence of the stuffed Angora goat complemented by the subtle colours of the collaged base. The sense of mysterious hidden meanings waiting to be decoded adds to the fascination of this piece. Rauschenberg’s combines also challenge the artificial boundaries between the disciplines of painting and sculpture. The influence that Rauschenberg’s work continues to exert on contemporary practitioners is testament to the ongoing relevance of his work. 

    Joan Miro, Blue I, II & III 1961 
    I have chosen this triptych of works by the Spanish Artist Joan Miro on largely aesthetic grounds – having seen these paintings I know the wonderfully calming effect of being in their presence. Like the works of Mark Rothko there is a meditative quality in this series, but along with their spiritual air there is also a lightness, a sense of playfulness and humour that Rothko lacks. It is not a remarkably radical work for the time it was created, but like the painting by Magritte it showcases the mature phase of an Artist’s career, a period when the confidence and courage to work outside the prevailing movements of the time often emerges. Once more the scale of this piece is large enough to engulf the viewer in common with the works by Picasso and Pollock. A good painting should be like a favourite song – you look forward to the next chance to experience it, this triptych certainly fills that criteria for me. 

    Anthony Gormley, Field for the British Isles 1991 
    Installation has grown into one of the most important new media over the last 40 years. When done well, installation works can really provoke the “wow” reaction, Gormley’s collection of 40,000 terracotta figures certainly has this impact. There is something quite humbling about being in the presence of this multitude of clay people each staring at you imploringly with their simple finger push depression eyes. The echo of China’s ancient armies of Terracotta warriors that were unearthed in X’ian is of course intentional. Gormley’s piece was created in collaboration with the local community in St. Helens, and the fact that the collective work has many authors gives each figure a unique identity whilst simultaneously being a tiny component of the overall work. It is the only work in my selection by a British Artist, but represents the prominence that the visual Arts in Britain have attained in the last 20 years with the patronage of the Saatchi brothers, the emergence of the Turner prize and the revolution in London’s gallery scene heralded by the opening of Tate Modern. 

    Bill Viola, Five Angels for the Millennium 2001 

    Alongside installation, video is another format that Artists have increasingly explored in the last 25 years. Most contemporary Art galleries today have plenty of examples of this genre, both good and bad. One of the most skilful exponents of this medium is the American Bill Viola, whose slow motion pieces have a transcendental quality. Five Angels is a video work that is also an installation, as it comprises five large screens that are viewed simultaneously within a darkened space. In common with other works by Viola this piece refers to both religion (the ascending and falling angels) and personal memories (his near death experience as a child when he fell through ice on a frozen lake). The overall impression is extraordinary, the video format allows Viola to engage more of our senses in experiencing the piece, the haunting sounds of the gurgling, bubbling, splashing water perfectly complement the stunning visuals. It is a powerful note on which to conclude the show.

    Essay Brief

    BTEC Extended Diploma
    This project contributes evidence towards:
    ·      Core Unit 2 (Historical and Contextual Understanding).
    Assignment Title:  “From Impressionism to the 21st Century”
    Assignment Outline:
    You are curating an exhibition: “From Impressionism to the 21st Century”
    You may select only 10 works of Art for the exhibition.
    Which 10 do you select? And what selection criteria do you use?
    Through a process of research you need to familiarise yourselves with the development of visual Art over the last 130 years. There will be a lecture to help you to achieve this.
    Once you have some background knowledge you need to use your own judgement to select the 10 Artworks that you feel summarise the developments in Art since 1870.
    Give careful consideration to your selection policy. Do you select by Artist or Artwork? Or do you select the works by considering the 10 most important Art Movements of modern times?
    Do you select the 10 works according to how influential they have been? [In which case you may choose works which may be of dubious Artistic merit (Duchamp’s fountain), or which are not necessarily the ‘best’ work of an Artist (Kandinsky’s first abstract watercolour)]. Or, for the purposes of this exhibition, is the individual merit of each Artwork more important than its historical ‘status’?
    Once you have made your final selection, you will need to analyse each work in detail and justify your choices.

    Please read these guidelines carefully, and follow them closely.
    Length: 2500 – 3000 words (excluding bibliography, list of quotations etc.)
    Presentation: Word-process your essay (Use a version of Microsoft Word, or Word for Mac).
    Use spell check.
    Include a word count.
    ·         Include a cover sheet that gives the assignment title and your name.
    ·         Number your pages.
    ·         Consider layout and presentation of text carefully, don’t use tiny or hard to read fonts.
    ·         Include a contents page giving page numbers for each section of your essay (Introduction, Artworks included in the Exhibition, Conclusion, Bibliography).
    ·         Include good quality illustrations of all your chosen Artworks, and ensure these are integrated into the text at relevant points. Either scan from textbooks or cut and paste illustrations from websites.
    ·         Bind your final essay; use the service available in the LRC (approx. 75p for a plastic comb spine, acetate cover and card backing).
    Divide your essay into sections, using the following subheadings:

    ·         Include an introduction, in which you carefully explain your selection criteria. (Approx. 200 words).

    Artworks included in the exhibition.
    For each Artwork you have selected provide commentary that addresses the following points:
    1.      Full factual information relating to the Artwork – when it was produced, by whom, scale and media; identify if the Artwork is associated with a particular movement.
    2.      Visual Analysis, discuss each Artwork in terms of technique, use of colour, composition and atmosphere/mood.
    3.      Theoretical information – What influenced the Artist? What social, political or personal references (if any) was the Artist making with the work? How did the Artwork influence future generations of visual Artists?
    4.      Your personal response to each work. Justify your reasons for selecting it. This should be an informed personal view, resulting from your research into the work and your understanding of the Artist’s intentions in producing it.
    ·         Avoid plagiarism. If you are using information from a source either include it as a quotation or substantially reword your source. If plagiarism was discovered in an academic piece like this would result in automatic failure.
    ·         Back up points you make by using quotations from Artists or critics. An essay of this length should contain 6-12 quotations, you cannot pass this assignment if you do not use quotes.
    “Artworks included in the exhibition” should form the bulk of your essay (1800-2200 words),
    180-220 words per Artwork.

    ·        Use your Conclusion to explain why you think your selection of ten images provides an effective snapshot of the developments within the visual Arts since impressionism. How do the images work together? Do they combine smoothly or provide dramatic contrasts? You could use your conclusion to describe a viewer’s experience as they walk through the exhibition.
    ·        You need to produce an accompanying diagram that illustrates the floorplan/layout of your exhibition, this should help you to describe the viewer’s experience.

    ·         Ensure you credit the sources of all your Quotations. Do this via a list of quotations after your conclusion or in a footnote at the bottom of each page where you use a quotation.
    ·         In the text quotes should begin on a new line, and be in italics. Number each quote in sequence.
    ·         Quotations must be integrated into the main text of your essay, not presented separately.
    ·         When you list your quotes ensure you give the author of source, title or web address of source, and page reference if appropriate. e.g.
    1. Berger, John. Success and Failure of Picasso. p.87
    If you cannot identify an author for a source just give the publication name or website address. Whether you are referencing through footnotes or a list of quotations you should follow the same format.

    ·        Include a Bibliography listing all the books, magazine or newspaper articles, websites, galleries, TV or Film sources you used in writing your essay (the more sources the better).
    ·        In the bibliography list printed sources first (books, newspaper and periodical articles). List these sources in alphabetical order, by author’s surname, then state title, publisher, and date of publication [these details are usually found near the front of a book]), e.g.
    Berger, John. Success and Failure of Picasso. Penguin books, 1965.
    Watson-Smith, Kate. Van Gogh’s shoes may fetch £4m. The Independent, 11.09.99
           After books make a separate list of websites used in researching your essay.

    Stage One
    ·         By Tuesday 22.03.16 send an email to:  
    1.       A list of your 10 selections for the exhibition.
    2.       A list of relevant sources that you have identified (at least 3 books/articles and 3 websites).
    ·         You will receive feedback on your choices via email to help you to complete your essay.

    Stage Two
    ·         Write and illustrate your essay using the checklist to ensure you meet all the submission requirements.
    ·         Print out final version.
    ·         Take your completed essay to the LRC and get them to bind it.
    ·         Hand in completed and bound essay by 4.30pm on Monday 11th April.  

    Assessment Criteria
    You will be marked on how effectively your essay:
    ·         Shows clear understanding of developments in the visual Arts since 1870.
    ·         Presents well researched findings in the designated format.
    ·         Expresses opinions supported by images and quotations from established sources.

    Suggested Resources:
    ·               Alton College Library for books and periodicals such as Modern Painters.
    ·               Gallery/exhibition visits. Tate Modern would be especially valuable.
    ·               The Internet.
    ·               Other libraries and books from home.

    In order to pass this assignment you must ensure your work covers all the bullet points in the following list.
    Have you…
    ·         Word-processed your assignment using “Word”?

    • Included a title page, with your name and the assignment title?
    • Included a contents page detailing page numbers for each section of your essay?
    • Numbered your pages?
    • Used Bold for all headings, and a larger Font size?
    • Justified your text throughout?
    • Used 1.5 line spacing throughout?
    • Thoroughly spell checked your whole assignment?
    • Proof read the whole essay carefully, to ensure meaning is clear throughout?
    • Avoided excessive repetition?
    • Avoided excessive biographical information?
    • Included an introduction?
    • Used your introduction to explain your selection criteria?
    • Included at least 6 quotations in your text?
    • Italicised your quotations?
    • Started each quotation on a new line?
    • Numbered each quotation?
    • Headed your main text: Artworks included in the Exhibition.
    • Integrated illustrations of each selected Artwork into your Essay?
    • Sub-headed each Artwork selected with the Artist’s name and the title of the Artwork.
    • Included full factual information for each Artwork? (Date, Artist, scale, media).
    • Provided visual analysis of each Artwork selected? (Technique, colour, composition, mood etc.)
    • Given your own opinion on each Artwork, and explained your reasons for selecting it?
    • Selected and commented on 10 works of Art?
    • Avoided lifting sections directly from your sources? You must either substantially reword passages or use quotations.
    • Included a conclusion in which you compare and contrast the Artworks in your exhibition?
    • Included a floorplan diagram of your intended exhibition layout.
    • Included a word count of your main text? (Needs to be between 2000 and 2500 words).
    • Credited the sources of each one of your numbered quotations via footnotes or a list of quotations? (See brief for further guidance).
    • Included a bibliography of sources that includes at least 3 books and 3 websites you have referred to. (See the brief for guidance on how to list your bibliography).
    • Bound your essay suitably?