Day 70: Christmas Holidays and Meal Out

First day of the Christmas holidays! Also the first day of our holiday homework – to create a complete sketchbook based on the title ‘An Art Student’s Christmas in Wales’. I have no idea how I’m going to do this. Hopefully inspiration will strike soon.
Well, today was mainly spent out in Bangor with my friends. We had a lovely meal out and here are a few photos that were taken today.
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Exploring Imagination 2

Note to self: Must go see this exhibition.

Denbighshire Arts

An exhibition to celebrate artwork created by Denbighshire’s second Dementia and Imagination group
6.12.14 – 24.1.15

Opening event 2pm Tuesday 9 December

Artwork made by members of Dementia and Imagination are presented in this exhibition. Dementia and Imagination is a UK-wide research project looking at the effects of visual arts on the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers.

The project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council. For the purposes of the project a team of experts has been drawn together from seven universities, four national and seven regional organisations, including
Bangor University and Denbighshire County Council Arts Service.

Participants visited the gallery at Rhyl Library over a period of 12 weeks to view and respond to exhibitions; working alongside artist Sian Hughes to produce their own artwork.

The exhibition can be seen from Saturday 6 December…

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Day 69: Final Day and Some Sketchbook Work

Today was the end of our 2 week long brief based on a news story. I had just about managed to finish everything yesterday so today was just about bringing everything together and to an organised conclusion. I also managed to complete another page in my sketchbook as I had nothing else to do. This was mainly to experiment with a different painting style and I actually quite like the result.

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This was based on a photo of Prunella Scales (Cybil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers), who has recently been diagnosed with the early stages of dementia. I enjoyed working in this fuzzy style and feel it turned out quite well.

Here is the finished quilt before I wrap it up to give to my nain for Christmas.

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Day 68: Printing and Siân

You can print photographs on fabric! Who knew?! Literally put it through the printer!

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It took umpteen attempts and a whole load of paper jams to work out the best method of doing it, but finally, success!

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This afternoon I went to see Siân who just came back from uni for the Christmas holidays. It was really nice to catch up with her but I am never giving her my phone again. Look what happens:

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Anyway, after a lovely break with Siân and Luke, it was back home to finish my memory quilt. It was about 11:40 when I finished but I did it! Here are some photos I took of it. Full post about the memory quilt to follow.

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Day 67: Tapes and Floppy Disks

Today I was at a loss of things to do. I had finished all the work I had assigned myself so I decided to try something different. This meant experimenting with surfaces to paint on and mediums I could use. I began by painting a portrait of my great-grandmother on some floppy disks. This, along with the slightly abstract, fuzzy way I painted it, are meant to symbolise the relationship between dementia and technology.

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However, I managed to complete this new idea fairly quickly; much quicker than I usually finish a portrait. So next I decided to experiment with creating images in different medias. I began by using the inside of cassette tapes to create a brain. I liked the fact that not all the tape remained in the image and spilled out as I felt this illustrated the fact that dementia causes people’s minds to slowly unravel.

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Next I decided to try and use soft pastels to draw a portrait as I had never really used them before. This image grew very quickly and I quite like the outcome, apart from the left eye which is a bit off.

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Gwen and I also helped Luke with his sculpture of a starving African child. To be honest, I don’t really think we helped that much apart from giving it hair 🙂

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Day 66: Memories and Circuit Boards

I began today by planning the reverse side of the sculpture I am working on – a memory quilt. A separate post about the quilt will be up when I’ve finished it. Until then – this required me looking through the tonnes of old photographs and memories my Nain gave me and deciding which ones looked best and would suit the brief the best. I know it doesn’t look like much but here is my planning sheet.

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Plan of the back of my Memory Quilt

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Close up of some of my photos

After this I began the final stage of my plaster cast hand maquette. For this I painted a circuit board patter on the back of the ‘comforting’ hand to show how technology is giving a helping hand to people with dementia and allowing them to remain independent for longer. Here are the final results.

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Circuit board pattern on my plaster cast hand

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Technology comforting and helping someone with dementia

Contextualising My Brief

For critical studies we have been asked to contextualise our brief which includes looking at other artists and explaining why and how they have influenced our work.
I have looked at a fair few artists for inspiration but the main 3 are Grayson Perry, Ryan Hewett and Nick Gentry.

Grayson Perry
I have recently been very inspired by Grayson Perry after watching a programme on Channel 4 called Who Are You?. This programme was based on his latest show at the National Portrait Gallery and included a pot based on dementia and its effects on the person as well as their family. On this pot is a personification of dementia as an evil looking man with scissors who comes along and cuts up your memories. I really like this idea of dementia being an actual person so took inspiration from this to create my own. Here is Grayson Perry’s version:

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Grayson Perry’s personification of dementia

And here is my version which is slightly similar to the Joker.

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Based on Grayson Perry’s work and the Joker

Ryan Hewett
I have also recently come across Hewett on Instagram. I liked his style of painting and felt it fitted in well with my theme of dementia and forgotten memories. The faces are distorted and hazy which illustrates how the individual is losing themselves and their identity.

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Ryan Hewett – Instagram artist

Here is my attempt at Hewett’s style but I think I need to work on it a bit more.

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First attempt in my sketchbook

Nick Gentry
I have also taken some inspiration from Nick Gentry – a British who paints portraits on old floppy disks. Here is some of his work that I have been looking at.

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Nick Gentry

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Floppy disk portraits

This inspired me to create my own version as it combines technology with a portrait.

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My version

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With the photo of my great grandmother

I have deliberately made it hazy and blocking out some parts of the face – inspired by Ryan Hewett – to illustrate how dementia makes you lose your identity and forget.

Day 65: Crit and Old Photographs

I arrived at college a bit earlier than usual today because, remarkably, there was no queue on the bridge! Success! Anyway, when I arrived i began working on my A0 painting right away. I started with the woman’s neck before moving up and beginning work on her eyes. Again, I took lots of photos of my progress at the end of each hour.

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After 2 hours of working on the painting, the fine art section were called for a mid-brief crit session. I found it very interesting to see what everyone else had been working on and how they had interpreted the brief. This also helped me organise what exactly I had done so far and what my next step was.
When we were finished I was able to get back to my painting and finish it (at long last)!

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One of my next steps is to finish my plaster cast piece by painting the comforting hand like a circuit board which illustrates how technology is helping people with dementia remain independent for longer. I know that it looks like a Hulk hand right now but bare with me.

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Once college had finished, I went straight to my Nain’s house to get started on my sculpture which will be a quilt with old photographs covering it – the quilt symbolising the comfort we feel from our memories. I have only started going through the photos but, so far, these are my favourites.

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Day 64: Old Women and A0 Painting

Time to tackle the A0 painting aspect of my brief! Since I had been experimenting with a new style of painting last night using a palette knife, I decided that I would continue to develop my skills using this technique. I quite enjoyed using the palette knife today as, although it was quite nice and smooth to use, it also created a nice texture which added to the skin texture of the old woman I was painting. Here is the development of the painting over the course of the day:

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Back tomorrow to finish the painting. Only the neck, eyes and shirt to go!