Je Suis Charlie

I must admit that I don’t really pay close attention to the news but this story was such a tragedy that it made the whole world pay attention.

12 innocents dead over a freedom of speech issue. Over a cartoon. The magazine ‘Charlie Hebdo’ were attacked on the 7th of January, 2015, when 2 Islamic extremists forced their way in to the headquarters and opened fire. 12 were killed and a further 11 injured, 4 of which seriously. And to think that all of this was over a cartoon is simply absurd! The magazine was accused of offensive cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. What they failed to take into account was the fact that the magazine has created cartoons depicting every major religion and making comments on them. Islam was not singled out and even if it were this isn’t the correct response.

Following the attack, Charlie Hebdo announced that they would continue to publish according to schedule. The following issue, dubbed ‘The Survivors’ Issue’ was in very high demand and required the magazine to publish 5 million copies instead of its usual 60,000. The money raised from this issue is to be given to the families of the deceased.


Above is the cover of ‘The Survivors’ Issue’ and reads ‘All is forgiven’, ‘I am Charlie’.



Simplicity and order are 2 words which embody the minimalist movement which was at its height between 1960 and 1980. The movement was created as a reaction against abstract expressionism and instead strived for simple concepts and purity of colour, line and form. The main influence of the movement was the Romanian artist Constantin Brâncuși who is most well known for his endless columns.


One of the key principals that the movement was based on was a quote from Brâncuși:

“Simplicity is complexity resolved.”

Dan Flavin
One of the minimalist artists we looked at which I particularly liked was Dan Flavin who works primarily with neon gas. His work is installation based and takes inspiration from his knowledge of light and colour therapy. This means that every colour in every piece has been carefully thought about to create a certain mood in the viewer.



Philip Glass

Another form of minimalism was minimalist music. I particularly liked the piece ‘Glassworks’ by the composer Philip Glass. I find it really soothing and calming. What really interests me about the piece is that he has only uses a limited amount of notes creating a fairly repetitive but soothing pattern.

Ali Jabbar
Minimalist art is still quite popular today but has mainly strayed into the graphics and illustration territory. One example of this is the Dubai-based artist Ali Jabbar who has created a series of minimalist illustrations of famous figures. I particularly like his illustration of Marilyn Monroe as I feel it really captures the most iconic features associated with the film star.



Day 75: Painting and Enamelling

Today I began work on the latest brief properly. Last night I had painted my sister’s face very subtly – giving her paler skin and darker circles under her eyes to give the illusion that she hadn’t left the computer screen for hours on end. I was then able to use the photos I took of her as my reference images today. I had also prepared the surface I was going to paint on by collaging screenshots of social media pages such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

I have also made the eyes redder than they were to give the subtle suggestion of eye strain from continuously looking at a screen.



The next painting I began work on was much simpler and quicker – # the future is selfish


The final piece I worked on today was an ink drawing which used the photos of my sister as a reference again. I have then overlain the Facebook ‘like’ thumb over the image to show our growing obsession with people liking our internet lives rather than actually like us as individuals. I quite like the effect of using the Facebook thumb as a frame but I still need to work on the actual drawing – particularly the lips.



I also learned how to enamel metal today which looked very interesting. We were also shown some examples of artists who use this technique in their work. One of my favourites was the enamel jewellery the Welsh artist Buddug Williams makes. Here are some examples of her work.



Day 74: Future and Social Media

Today was the end of our 2015 brief and the start of our new past and future brief. This is a week long brief and required us to be split into 2 groups. Group 1 will be focusing their brief on the past (pre 1900) and group 2 will focus on the future (post 2020). As you can tell from the title of this post, I am in group 2 so will base my work on the future.

Thus far I have only been brainstorming and collecting ideas for my project. I think I have finally decided to base it on social media and its effect on society. Things like Favebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and WordPress are beginning to take over and we constantly feel the need to check them every few minutes to get the latest update on our newsfeed. We are becoming selfish as a generation and are too overly focused on how we appear to everyone on social media rather than how we behave to one and other in public.

My main idea is still yet to be decided so until then, here is another planning page in my sketchbook.


An Art Student’s Christmas in Wales

Here is a time-lapse video of my latest sketchbook. This was made as my Christmas holiday homework based on the title ‘An Art Student’s Christmas in Wales’. I thought that if I made my own sketchbook then I’d be able to control how many pages were in it but then I, like an idiot, decided to make it with 80 sides’ worth of paper. . .

Day 73: Self Portrait and Maths

Today I was determined to finish the A2 drawing part of the 2015 brief we were set. I had already done the initial sketch so it was just a matter of completing the painting element of the piece. For me, I finished this surprisingly quickly. I have noticed that I have become much quicker at completing pieces of work in the past year and have definitely sped up in my painting recently.
Anyway, here is the finished piece:




I have also finished the multimedia element of the brief by creating the golden ratio of the face on a piece of wood using pins and thread. I quite like how this piece looks and like the simplicity and minimalist nature of it.



Day 72: Golden Ratio and Portraits

Today I began work on my A2 drawing for the 2015 brief. For this I have decided to draw an all-in-one diptych style image to show the two decisions I have between pursuing an art course or a more academic course at university. I have managed to complete the initial sketch and half of the painting work today and I quite like the result. I can’t wait to finish this painting tomorrow.






Day 71: New Year and a New Brief

It’s good to be back. I enjoy having a new brief to work on and was eager to get back to it. We began by reviewing the homework we were set and then were given a new brief: Create an A2 drawing and a multimedia piece based on 2015.
At first I had no idea what I was going to do and could only think of something based on New Year’s Resolutions which seemed a bit too cliché for me. I then decided to base my work on one of the biggest decisions I will have to face this year which is my choice between pursuing art or a more academic path at university. I have decided to symbolise this with the mathematical golden ratio which combines both art and maths. The golden ratio is used to calculate the perfect proportions of a person’s face and is also used in architecture and the composition of artworks.