Thursday, August 12, 2010

Inspired in London; Newsworthy Winnipeg Events

I am back from my trip overseas, and am now contemplating what the next step is for me in my art production. The course I took in London at Central St. Martins was honestly almost exactly what I was looking for in a course. It had been several years since the last time I took a drawing course, and found it really refreshing to go back to school after being away for a long time and suddenly I felt more confident in my own style, in what interests me, and in ways of working. Most people in my small class had either completed or were in the process of completing a degree in either fine arts or graphic design. And there were a few who had backgrounds in other academic areas. The class was very multi-cultural, with everyone from different country, except for one fellow Canadian. It was also really great to be surrounded by talented artists.

I feel like I was reminded of the value of sketching, of getting ideas down and actually observing my surroundings as something valuable to record on paper. For so long I have only been creating things out of my imagination and actually rarely use reference photos, and I think that shows in my work. I usually ignore backgrounds, don't use cropping to my advantage, only sometimes mix media together, and usually don't put a lot of value on anything I make that has a "sketch-y" feel to it, I usually prefer if my lines are more accurate. This course helped me to rediscover the fun in drawing and drawing quickly. I always enjoy drawing, but this brought a new light to it, as we would nearly each day go out to an area of London and sketch it- maybe a museum, maybe a public place, but the idea was to get inspiration from where we were and then go back to the studio to rework some ideas or to use that perspective in a more focused work. The course was titled "Graphic Witness: The art of Reportage." We even went to the law courts building one day and drew what was going on with the court proceedings. These were brand new experiences for me, and I found that I really loosened up and was able to sketch fairly quickly to record things. It was rather refreshing. I sent an email to myself on the last day of classes reminding myself of the things I thought that I had learned, so that in case I got home and felt uninspired I could read the list and hopefully assess what I could do to add a little more mojo into what I was making.

A challenge for myself that I am thinking of doing is to create ongoing images based on what's happening in the news, as this idea of reportage has really grabbed a hold of me. My first such image is this one that I created today, pictured above. The Bodies exhibit is coming to Winnipeg,and is something that holds quite a bit of controversy. The display includes actual human bodies that have been changed, exposed and essentially converted into rubber to preserve the human form. Much of the controversy surrounding the exhibit is whether or not is respectable, honourable, right, or deplorable to display human bodies who likely were executed prisoners from China. Under Chinese law the bodies were lawfully obtained,as their bodies were not claimed, however the whole exhibit brings up human rights issues. I am undecided on the issue, as I am personally really excited to see the Bodies exhibit, but I may change my mind upon actually viewing it.

Here is a link to a free press article about the display:

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