Thursday, 2 May 2013

Critical Reviews

Over our time completing our Major Project we have sometimes been required to bring in a recommendation of a movie, book and article, which we personally have found interesting and inspirational, to show to the class and share why we found it interesting. In the very last critical review I picked the film 'The Pursuit of Happiness' which stars Will Smith and his son. I picked this film because it is a story of courage and determination so I thought it was a good film to share. Will Smith plays a father and husband who have no money and are going through difficult times. He strives to work hard and has a set of machines that he spent all his money on in the past that he tries to sell to hospitals but as they are considered a luxury not many will buy them. He ends up with no money for his family so his wife leaves him and not soon after him and his son get evicted from their flat. With no money and no home Will Smith is determined to make a better life for him and his son so he puts all his effort and time into training for a new job. The whole time through the film he is teaching his son the rules of the pursuit of happiness but really he is aiming for it as well. It is an emotional film which focuses on the attitude of not giving up and hard work paying off in the end so I thought it was a good film to share with my class. 

I also took a book in that is called 'Wreck this Journal' by illustrator Keri Smith. The book tells you to do something different that is creative everyday and is overall really fun! I helps take your mind back to the simple ideas of 'mark making' and experimenting with all different mediums. I thought this was a good book to share with my class mates as it's arty so a lot of people may be more interested than a novel and secondly because it reminded me of when we did mark making in 1st year and I wanted to remind the class that this is still really important as it helps development and sometimes early experimental plays can be the best work as it's more free and lively. 

Overall I found the critical review discussions really helpful and I think there were some good suggestions made by my fellow classmates. I think its helped me with broadening my mind to the creative world and realising that it isn't just art that we can look at for inspiration.  

Monday, 29 April 2013

Portfolio Visit Number Three, Selina Campbell

My third visit was with jewellery maker Selina Campbell who was an ex student of the foundation course in Stockport College. She gave me some really good advise and spoke to me and Natalie for a long time which I thought was really nice of her as she was giving up her time for us. She was really enthusiastic about my work and gave me really useful feedback.

She said that my work looked fashion based and she could see the wild west prints on fabrics for fashion. She also said that my style reminded her of some designs in Urban Outfitters and that my work would fit in there which I was really pleased to hear because I look a lot to Urban Outfitters for inspiration. She said that she could see my style through my work and the way that I dressed linked with my style of work which I had never heard before and liked as it shows my interests are coming out into my work and that is what the Major Project is all about. She also said that she could see my work in the Northern Quarter and some of my designs were quite vintage looking which again was so refreshing to hear as it's a place I visit a lot. She suggested T- Shirt printing so I bought some T -Shirts after the visit whilst in Manchester so I could give that ago tomorrow. Furthermore she said that with my work having a particular style and being quite graphic like and quirky she could see quirky bands using it which I was over the moon to hear because album art work and band T - Shirt designs are a personal interest of mine which I have always wanted to explore but never really thought seriously about so hearing that my work would fit that market without trying to make it was brilliant!

As well as feed back on my work she also gave really good advise on the course and after it saying that we should ask as many questions as we can whilst completing our degree and find out about what we could do when we leave before we leave stating that 'planning' was the key to this. She also said that we should make the most of our time in the college and take full advantage of the facilities like the print room using it as much as we can to get the most out of our time left there. Furthermore she suggested working for free as it gets you contacts and makes friends in the creative industry which could later lead to job opportunities. She said we should try and get work experience and suggested asking around the craft centre for some placements and emailing people PDF's and questions. She gave us some contacts of people would could email for advise which I thought was really kind, thoughtful and constructive. I found showing Salina my work and chatting with her so helpful and constructive with her giving us so much advise that it was really informative. She also said that she would like an invite to our degree show so I will be sure to email her the dates.

Some of her stunning jewellery is below.

Portfolio Visit Number Two, Lily Greenwood

For my second portfolio visit I visited the studio of Lily Greenwood who created beautiful hand painted canvas's with butterflies and birds on them. Her work is very colourful and her designs are on a range of products which is really good to see as it shows how different designs can be transformed into other things and how artwork can be applied to product in different ways. She said that she was quite busy so she didn't have too much time but I quickly talked through my work and her responses were very positive.

Firstly she said that she wasn't experienced in surface design but would still give advise and I was kind of glad about this because I think it's good to get feedback from all different types of artists as it gives you more variety. She really liked my screen printed bag with the triangle and sun and said that the print had come out really well. She also liked my BMW pattern that had been photoshopped onto a bag which was reassuring to hear. She thought that my circular pattern was reminded her of a 60s wallpaper and she really liked the colours. She didn't have anything negative to say about my work which I was really pleased and shocked at and it felt really good to go away with a lot of positive vibes. She apologised for not having more constructive criticism and for having to rush which I thought was really kind of her and I was really thankful for her time. The final thing she said was that my portfolio was well presented and I had some really good work in there, so overall I was really pleased with the advise and took the visit as a really positive thing.

Some of her painted canvas's are below.

Portfolio Visit One, Harriet Godden, Sausage Dog.

This morning me and Natalie took a trip to the Manchester Craft and Design Centre to have a look at the work there for ideas but also to get some portfolio visits. To my surprise and delight we managed to get all three visits done in one morning. The first person I saw was artist Harriet Godden (Sausage Dog) who makes really unusual and cute 3d stuffed toys and also paints canvas's of her creatures. I wanted to go into her studio to get some advise because it seemed quite inviting being really colourful and looking quite fun with the stuffed quirky animals, but also because I could see that she makes things and thought it would be good to get a 'makers' advise on how my work could be made into things as it's something that I struggle to see myself with my work.

Harriet was really friendly and very enthusiastic about my work saying that my portfolio was presented professionally and the work was to a high and professional standard. She liked my rotating radial eye which I was shocked at as I thought maybe some people might think it's a bit weird. I told her this and she said that when she was in uni she created quirky stuff too where she drew something with 3 eyes in it's head and that it's ok to create art that others may see as a bit unusual. This advise has reassured me of my work, as some of her creatures that she makes are very unusual but she has a successful business and a studio in the centre so I know that everyone has different style and there are markets for everything so although my work won't appeal to everyone there will always be a market. She also really liked my wild west designs and said that she could see them on fabric as clothing which was good to hear because that was what I designed them as. She then said that she really loved my design of the radial eye with the moons and the sun in the triangle but said that perhaps for the screen print on the bags she would just include one of the motives on it instead of overcrowding, also that maybe I could fit the sun into the triangle instead of having it sticking out. She also said that she liked my BMW design and it looked good on the canvas bag and suggested that maybe I could do a pattern with the really small stars. She liked my orangey circle photoshop motif and said that it looked good as a pattern and it looked quite vintage and 70s inspired and also suggested putting it onto fabric which is something that I haven't yet considered so was really helpful. Furthermore she suggested that maybe I could draw my moon and star pattern onto black paper and have the drawing white and that I could do my Xmas card design on just plane paper instead of the textured one. The final thing I showed her were my recently made greetings cards and she liked them especially the star ones but said that maybe a card wasn't the best product to put my moon and eye design on which I was aware of as I thought it wasn't a suitable subject matter.

She gave my some really useful and encouraging advise and seemed really impressed with my work which really gave me confidence. She told me not to give up and that it has taken her 8 years to finally seattle with a job in art so it won't come all at once but it is worth working at. The final thing she said was that you could see I had a style and that was a good thing because when she was at uni her style was a bit all over the place and she want sure what she wanted to do and then when she left she started to make things and she found her feet. Also I asked how she learnt to make things at such a high standard and her reply was she taught herself which was really reassuring to hear as there are things I would like to learn but haven't yet so it was good to hear that self teaching can be really beneficial. Overall the visit went really well and I was really pleased to get some positive feedback of someone who was so enthusiastic and willing to help.

Some of her charming work is below.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Hopes, Fears and Opportunities.


In my post from last semester I discussed how I hoped to gain better Photoshop and Illustrator skills so I could use these to create my surface design patterns and edit my work with them. I am very pleased to say that I have achieved this as I used the Christmas holidays to practice a lot on Photoshop and Illustrator just having fun experimenting with my scanned in drawings. I feel I have come on heaps with these skills since the start of this year and am glad I took people advise when I was told to 'play around and teach myself' as I think this is one of the best ways to learn through trial and error. I have used my skills to create nearly all of my designs by scanning in my drawings and sketchbook work into Photoshop to make patterns and layer my drawings up with backgrounds to make finished designs. Another hope for me was to come out of my sketchbook and work on a larger scale taking my textured work onto my final designs. I have done this as I have made larger textured backgrounds to then screen print my designs onto. Also I have scanned in some of my work and layered my sketchbook work behind it which I was asked to do last semester. Another hope of mine was to progress in my work and get it to a more professional standard that I have seen in the 3rd years degree shows before me, I think I have progressed a lot with my standard of work and have been told by others that my work has improved a lot in this last semester. I feel there is still room for improvement and I am hoping that the more work I produce with practise I will finally hit my goal target one day. I have improved on my way of thinking of how to put designs onto products coming up with a list of ideas that my final designs could be out onto e.g. canvas bags, t shirts (fashion), plates, greetings cards, wallpaper and single wall art pieces. I am happy to have achieved my hopes from last semester and feel it has helped me to achieve a goal by having something to work towards and look back on from writing his post last year.


One of my fears of last semester was my time management for my major project as I struggled a little with it at the end of last few weeks of the last semester. I feel I have managed to stay on track with my work for this project through setting myself goals in my diary and planning things ahead and moving on when I have scheduled myself to. I think that my researching this project through the Christmas holidays benefitted me greatly as I felt I was a little ahead of schedule and got an important part of the project out of the way quickly but still achieved enough amount of research that was needed. It also gave me a heads start on my drawing and meant that I had extra time to spend longer on my drawing, which I think was needed for me as I sometimes struggle to be satisfied with my drawing skills. I am pleased that I have stayed on track with this fear and managed to conquer which has lead me to be less worried and panicky and enabled me to put all of my energy in creating my work to the best of my ability without as much stress. Also I have been quite strict with how I managed my time by limiting my hours with my job outside of college and staying in at weekends to make sure I put my work first. My second fear was finishing the course and feeling like I have no achieved all that I could and feeling like I could have worked a lot harder and not done enough. I feel this fear has now gone as although there is always room for improvement I can honestly say that I feel I have really pushed myself in this final semester and have produced some of my best work that I am happy with. I have worked extra hard and I think you can see it in my work I have produced. My final fear was that I would finish my course and not get a job with my qualification. I can not say if this is going to happen or not but I feel because my work has improved and i'm more happy and confident with my portfolio I will try harder at looking for a job and have more of a chance of getting one. I am hoping to gain a work placement first which will give me a feel of the working art world and set me off on the right track broadening my contacts.


An opportunity which I saw this last semester had to offer was being able to work around a subject matter that I have always wanted to and being able and being able to explore it however I wanted working in my own style. I feel I have made the most of this opportunity by doing lots of research and although my idea changed a bit I see this as a positive thing as I ended up happy with my final idea behind my work. I feel I have learnt quite a lot from my subject matter and became especially interested in the symbology side of my work. It has lead me to learn a lot and see things differently for example not just seeing the circle as a round shape but seeing the meaning in it and seeing how it can be transformed into art which can lead to a design with a meaning behind it. I think this opportunity of being able to explore my own subject matter has been a really positive thing for me as it was improved my confidence in my work because I enjoyed it and liked what I was doing, also although I struggled to find my feet at first I found a solid idea in the end which I was happy with and being interested enough to research thoroughly lead me to be able to talk confidently about it as I knew what I was talking about.

Lord Whitney Brief

Just after Christmas our class was given a task of completing a brief by artists Lord Whitney. They came in for the day the brief us and I found it a really fun day which was very informative and helpful but also very enjoyable. They were really friendly and had some great advise and ideas. I took a lot at some of there work and was very impressed which it being really 3D, creative and entertaining. There brief was to make an illustration for a nonsense poem of a website which they gave us a link for. At first I was a bit apprehensive about this brief as I wasn't sure if my drawing skills were up to something like this as I have never illustrated a poem or story before. After looking on the website though I found the poems to be quite amusing and saw the fun side of the brief. I chose one about man building a ballon and looking at the moon, mainly because I have been looking at the sky and circular objects for my Major Project so I found it fitted in perfectly for me.

The poem I chose was:

There was an Old Man of the Hague,
Whose ideas were excessively vague,
He built a balloon,
To examine the moon,
That deluded Old Man of the Hague.

I drew a few balloons in my sketchbook and a moon to begin with (below) but I thought they needed a little bit more than just a black and white image...

So I scanned them into Photoshop and made a rotated pattern around a moon and scanned in some backgrounds and papers and layers them all up to create a more illustrative pattern design.

Final design below.

Overall I was quite pleased with the end result and it was nice to have a break from our Major Project work and fun to try something new and work in a way which I haven't before.

They very kindly sent me an email back with some really helpful feedback :
"Hi Lyndsay

Thanks for sending through your response to the Nonsense brief,

How did you find the project? We loved your piece. It was really well thought out and the pattern, colours and textures work great on it we were really impressed.

Thank you so much for taking part in the brief. We really enjoyed working with you all and really hope you got something valuable out of it.

Good luck with your work,

Bek and Amy."