Side Hustle Project – Being inspired by my own experience of PTSD

I’ve experienced PTSD for the last year and it has been a chaotic experience so I wanted work a way of showing this visually.

I feel trapped in my own head a lot of the time and I brainstormed ways to show this. I wanted to see what other artists have done to expressed watching your son thoughts and memories over and over again and the idea of being trapped in your own mind however didn’t discover much. So I had the idea of a girl being trapped by being tied up, inside an eye (as we have this idea of the eye being a window to your soul).

I originally didn’t have the abstract colours around the outside but I wanted the viewers eye to focus on the centre of the image to see the girl because it is not immediately obvious but wanted to darken the image as the mind is darkened by it’s own thoughts. I am really happy with the result.

Fashioned by Nature Exhibition at the V&A

Even though it wasn’t on the What’s on Exhibition list it was an exhibition I wanted to visit, and I thought it would be interesting for my Side Hustle Project.

On the first floor there was historical items and fashion showing how different methods and development in fashion and how nature was a big influence. Including using animals and nature as materials, to make dye, how taxidermy was once a huge part of fashion and how nature inspired prints.

On the second floor there was modern fashion and how we are using nature to tackle problems we are having in the world like running out of resources and modern interpretations and designs surrounding nature. There was one piece which really I found inspiring I knew I had to develop, it was the hat/headpiece which looked like it had been made out of rose thorns and that was what gave me the idea for my side Hustle project and gave me the topic emotional chaos.

I started this as a spring off point for my project and started working digitally on my design, I knew I wanted this kind of headdress to be used metaphorically as chaotic and harmful thoughts however. I started to sketch things out and very quickly I had completed a digital painting with the eventual intention of creating a watercolour painting out of it.

I wanted to make sure the hair was intwined with the thorns to make it seem like are connected and they are caught and trapped these thoughts are hard to get rid of, and forced upon her. She has no choice. I choose the expression because I wanted her to seem used to these thoughts and even though they trouble her they are apart of her, also a lot of people with mental health issues live with them for life and learn how to live with their disorder and sometimes it’s a life time challenge.

Reconstruction Workshop – 19th September 2018

I really enjoyed today’s workshop, it was definitely the most intense yet. I started by analysing my work, looking at the narrative I already have looked at the elements I discovered last week in the deconstruction workshop, and trying to use elements to look at what is Illustration to me.

After talking to Karl about my nature vs nature piece we discussed the idea of using the same thing for discussing is being artistic natural, like being talented or does it develop over time. I then thought of idea of the more you water and look after a garden and plants the more it grows, become beautiful and become better.

So after taking loads of photocopies of my work, in different black and white copies in different tones and brightness of colour, I started to rip and cut up my image to start my zine. On the first page I kept it very simple and messy, making sure proportions weren’t completely right to show the inexperience of an new artist.

Then the next page I ripped and cut up my images and stuck them down to look like grass to show growth, however there is no flowers yet, so it still developing but it’s the start of something new. I really like how to photocopy came out because the white pieces blended in and gave an interesting pattern and texture.

I then used the shadow from one of pieces to show that she had grown but feels like she doesn’t belong and is fighting to become better and be an artist and used mainly grass however a few leaves are there as well as she is now developed.

In the next image I used the face and top half of the last figure image to show again the growth but also her few of looking into the further and her realising her own development and then surrounded her with more flowers and leaves less grass, the metaphor I used is constant and pretty simple. So there isn’t too much I can say without repeating myself.

In the last image I wanted her to be in colour for the first time, focusing on her face, then surrounding her in colour, flowers, leaves and still not the image being perfect because there is always chance to learn more, become better you never can be perfect and know everything.

This was really fun and gave me a chance to experiment with a new technique I never used before. It was also interesting for me who has never studied art before to be pushed and challenged. Also I felt originally out of place because Karl asked who had studied either Foundation or A level and I haven’t and felt like a didn’t belong however after seeing all our work together and getting good feedback I realised I was in the right place to develop my art and practise.

CTS session 3 – Transnational histories

To me this was the most interesting CTS session so far, I’ve always been interested in history plus the psychology behind people’s actions.

In the lecture in small groups we made a list of what we thought to be the 10 most important artists of all time. For someone who hasn’t really studied art before it was hard for me to think of just the classic names most people know of, so I listened to people in my group. I knew what the result was going to be of this exercise from the beginning which was once we had correlated all of our results, we all gave expected names. Such as Picasso and Da Vinci. And talking about the reasons why I completely agreed. Nearly all the names were White Western Men, and I thought that was because that is the history we are taught in the UK plus I assume around the world. Because it is connected to our own personal national art History. Also the institutions and the galleries now and in the past seem to show the same artists over and over again.

Also we have been affect by colonialism including slavery because the western world had an image in their heads they were better and more important than everywhere else and wanted to show of their own “excellence” to show their own strength to the world. Then after colonialism I feel that we wouldn’t want to admit to our own mistakes by expressing interest in the art from the countries they invaded. I thought this would be such an interesting topic to explore and research more for my more extended essay.

When we split into our groups in the seminar, we were given an article, and my group was given an article on Picasso and how he was inspired by African art and does that mean he deserves the credit for creating Cubism.

In the Western world we seem to depict Picasso as the creator and inventor of Cubism when in fact he was heavily inspired by African art which had the same qualities however didn’t have the name Cubism. Picasso was actively inspired by this and made it influence his work. However by the institutions, galleries are the society this was actively ignored, and I think this is due to colonialism as this was still era when Europe seemed to be divided the world between them, even if it was towards the end. They didn’t want to draw light to the countries they stole. But also they had the thought that these countries were uncivilised and barbarian and wasn’t worth the publicity.

The author of the article seems very passive aggressive and instead of blaming society of the time he specifically targeted Picasso. Using derogatory and Patronising language. However I think this is because he is a black man who grow up in Alabama and I assume has a family history of slavery. He has sat point to prove, and he is attacking a well loved artist to gain publicity for his views.

Deconstruction Workshop – 12th October 2018

Yesterday we had our first workshop. I found it really interesting and made me think about my art in a different way.

We started out by looking at our work and all the different elements, I took quite a bit longer than others at this point I really wanted to think about all the different processes which went into the piece. I had used collage, painting, marker drawing, pencil work and Lino printing which is quite different for me because I usually stick to watercolour, this made me ask why in this piece did I change my process? What it a good thing? Did I push myself? What could I have done to make the piece better? Why did I just use watercolour? I didn’t have answers to all these questions but I got me thinking about my work.

I then started the deconstruction process. I started with mapping out three smaller squares. I first just used the charcoal a medium I have never enjoyed and because of that I never use, and I just drew the white lines I drew. This was very simple but it got me to see where I used linework as usually I work in a line less style,

I then just drew out the lino printing I did over the entire piece, and this got me to see the pattern I created and how it is quite busy however I did push it into the background which worked in my favour in the final piece.

I then looked at scale by zooming in on her back where the tattoo sits, this was the point I was really realising what the exercise was about, it was making myself question the way I make art and continuously made me ask questions.

I then just mapped out the collage and the newspaper clippings and really enjoyed the abstract affect I got and made me consider maybe using more abstract imagery in the future and as I paint a lot of portraits maybe trying to break out of that mould.

I then completed a tonal study, which I find interesting, because I feel sometimes with my work they mainly get contrast with colour and they forget about the tone and getting balance. And I want to look at this further by completing a monochromatic painting in my own time.

The last three images are quite simple, I drew out just one of the lino print on its own, another scale but look at the typography and the words I picked in the image and the meaning, and then just drawing out where I placed blue.

While doing this exercise I discovered something about my piece I didn’t realise before. I made this piece after finding an article about sexual assault in the newspaper, which made me ask why do people do this. But I never realised that my painting is directly corresponding to the idea of nature vs nurture because of the DNA Lino print I made vs all the articles and headlines I picked out.

Side Hustle – Week 1 – Deciding on a topic

On Monday a friend who was in the group who was briefed on Monday showed me the brief for the Side Hustle project, and after that I decided what topic to explore. Chaos straight away stuck out to me and resonated however it seemed daunting. So I decided to sit on it for a couple of days until I had the briefing myself to see whether or not I still wanted the challenge.

Even after my brief I decided I still wanted to tackle it. I felt daunted by the prospect because it seemed so different to what I normally do, and picking a category like Storytelling and Narrative or Autobiographical would seem like the natural choice for me because those elements already heavily influence my work. However I decided the point of me going to University is to push myself and my art and illustrations and see how far I can go and it is not to take the easy route.

So I decided that I was going to stick to Chaos, but then….what next?

Chaos is so broad, I realised I need to break it down find a sub-topic which I can delve in and explore more throughly. But I had no idea what that could be. So I very broadly searched google with just the word Chaos, Chaotic, what is Chaos, Chaos theory, etc. Finding images and saving them into a folder for inspiration, while searching I found an image called Chaotic Thoughts and it was about mental health and that resonated deeply with me, and after looking through my own folder of reference and my own photography I decided I wanted to go that route.

So now I have my topic title for Side Hustle…. Chaotic Thoughts and Emotions

Below are the images I collected which inspired me, the last image is from the Fashioned by Nature exhibition at the V&A which I visited in the summer and I found inspiring at the time but especially now as I have decided on my theme.


CTS Session 2 – Image v Object

In our second lecture we discussed the importance of archiving and where LCCs archive is.

What I found the most interesting was talking about Palestine and Maus and how when they were published as graphic novels, and how that changed the overall experience. Especially with the covers of Palestine and how graphic and thought provoking they were, and when they were made into graphic novels they seemed dreary, and more like a historical documentary. Also I found interesting that the USA version of the graphic novel was very grey, and sad, and I think this may be for political reasons because America strongly support Israel instead of Palestine and they wouldn’t want to drag attention to the people living in the country they are try to destroy. I thought this would be an interested idea to explore further, how politics influence art and publication.

We then in the seminar discussed and sorted through a collection of comics books and trying the describe them as an entire collection and individual pieces. I am not a big fan of comic books however I was interested in how everything has changed in style and in the industry over the last century. It was really interesting to sort through them all and discover they were all British comics and magazine while we tried to discover the link through such an eclectic and diverse collection.

What is Illustration? CTS Session 1

In our first CTS session we discussed what it is Illustration and how it has changed over the years, and what it means to us, and what being a illustrator is.

The reason why I illustrate is that my head is so busy and being able to see it on paper to understand my thoughts.

During the session I found looking at the illustrations from over 100 years ago compared to the last century and today extremely interesting, and made me question the idea of style and is there a set style or idea of what Illustration is.