Part 1

Reflection

1th November 2018

Today's presentation was different from what I did before. We didn't present one by one to everyone in the class but just showcased our work on our tables and go to others' to write feedbacks. I really liked how we did it for several reasons. Firstly, I think it made us more genuine and honest to the work we were looking at since we were anonymous and didn't have to make eye to eye contact to the artists. Secondly, for the artists, since we did not get to explain our work beforehand and were only allowed to use texts and layout to present our work, it was a great opportunity to have an insight of the viewers' reaction and really reflect on what we have done well or things to improve based on their feedbacks. Furthermore, writing the feedbacks on paper allowed us to always go back and not worry about forgetting or mistaking the meaning like we sometimes do during verbal presentations.

As for my own project, most of the feedbacks I received were positive, and it was overwhelming to see my work get chosen as the strongest at my table. When my course mates were explaining why they like my work, they mentioned that the main reason was because that there was a really clear concept, which was destroying the beauty standards for men, and they think it was a subtle and interesting idea to stretch the armstrong toy. Some mentioned in the feedbacks that they really liked the minimal style and the use of flashlight of the photos, and that they worked well as a sequence as they were visually cohesive. ( I did spend a lot of effort editing and figuring out the best layout to tell stories) As for things to improve, I think I definitely could have done better on the way I showcased my work. It seemed that I selected too many photos to show and some of them were repetitive. It would have been stronger if I had deleted some of them that didn't convey my message that well. Another bummer was that due to some technical problems with my laptop I did not manage to print out my photos so that I just showed them as a slideshow on my laptop, meaning that I was only able to show one slide of photos at the same time. More connections would have been made between my work and the viewers if the photos were showcased bigger and together (visible at the same time). All in all, despite the problems with my laptop, I am still quite happy with the result I managed to finished in less than three days. From researching the topic, having an idea, planning a photoshoot, casting, doing the photoshoot to presenting my final work, I think I've learned to trust the process more and achieved something I never thought I could do in such a short amount of time.

 

30th September 2018

During the tutorial I showed my tutor and my course mates some test shots of myself stretching the armstrong and they seemed to find my idea interesting, which was something I didn't expect. Our tutor Jo suggested me to show more body parts to make more connections to the stretch armstrong and that it would be better to do the shoot indoor because I already have a really clear message it would be distracting if the background/location is too busy. After the tutorial I realized that it would be difficult to control the camera if I did self portraits of myself. Since I wanted to focus on the photography I decided to cast a model instead. Eventually I asked my friend Jake as my model. I thought he would be a perfect choice because although he has a lean, skinny body, he still look muscular at the same time, which is ideal for conveying the notion that a guy's body types/ biological traits does not define his characteristics/ who he is. The location I chose was the kitchen in my student accommodation. It is pretty small, but it worked ok after I pushed the sofas aside and created a small space while using the wall as the background. I also put my white bedsheet to cover the wooden floor to match the color to the wall's. I turned off the lights and used flash light to emphasise the model, creating a contrasted, minimal vibes. We experimented shooting in different angles, poses, distances and expressions. The 45 min shoot went really well and I am quite happy with the results. I think it was because that I communicated with my model before the shoot, showing him my photography mood board and letting him understand what mood, message and atmosphere I was trying to create. 

29th September 2018

Today we were brainstorming ideas on the terms of "Self, Portraits, and Body Politics", I got to hear about how people responded to these words differently. At first I thought what I had researched for my mood board was really broad, topics of which included drag, sexuality, celebrities who have spoken up about their sexuality, body image, gender, race, social media, the free the nipple movement, French ban on face covering, etc. I didn't really know what topic to focus on because there were too many. During the back to back interview with my partner Anna I decided to focus on the topic of gender stereotypes and body image because I found them more relatable. It turned out that the topic Anna had chosen happened to be the same as mine, so we shared some experiences and thoughts. She mentioned that once she cut her hair short her grandma asked her to grow it back, saying that it was too short for a "girl". Growing up I have always been told by people that I am too skinny for a "boy". We also talked about the impact social media has on body image among teenagers. During the test shots we just took random photos at different locations to experiment because both of us didn't have a clear idea of how to convey our concept. 

After I went home I kept thinking about what I could do but couldn't manage to think of any good ones. Then my flatmate came to me to show off a birthday present she got - a stretch Armstrong. It is a small doll shaped as a strong, muscular man that can be stretched to a long size. I then decided to do a photo series of myself stretching the doll as if I was destroying the idea of men having to be strong and muscular - the beauty standard that's been around social media for a long time.

24th October 2018

Before the presentation me and my partner were discussing how to present our project. Since each group had only five minutes and our video was six minutes long, we thought about explaining our project while playing the video. But I thought it would be kinda distracting for the viewers, so we then decided to explain it briefly before playing the video, making the viewers picture an image in their minds before seeing the actual footages. It seemed like people quite enjoyed our video and were willing to give feedback to us. The feedbacks we got were mostly positive, saying that they like how we really captured people’s reactions and that our installations looked visually exciting. The one thing we could have done better was the length of the video. It was a bit too long and repetitive, although it was still a well-edited video in terms of how it slowly revealed the scenario.

What I've learned from today is that it is hard to predict if a piece of work is successful or not if you are the ones who are making it. Me and my partner were not really sure what would people think about our outcome, and we did not try to predict it either but just did our best. I am quite pleased with this project not just because the outcome received positive feedbacks but because I felt like I've learned to not worry about the outcome that much and trust the process more. 

23th October 2018

During the tutorial we were told that our project lack was lack of an element that would produce a "result" in some way. It seemed to be not developed enough and boring if we just asked people to walk through a narrow path. After tutorial me and my partner decided to make our challenge more interesting and exciting. We thought of colouring the water blue to symbolise the sea, asking our participants to sign their names on the cups, and taking one cup away. Then we thought it would be pointless to just give them a cup, let along they would probably not want to take a boring plastic cup. However, this idea eventually evolved into a new rule-after passing through the narrow path, take one cup from the right side and write one of your fears on that cup along with as many cups you think measure the fear to the other side. This action would be a metaphor of overcoming our fear. As we pick up one fear from the right side and move it to the left, the right side eventually becomes smaller and smaller till all the cups go to the left. We would then find out that we can no longer see the narrow route, which represented our fear, because we have faced it and overcome it. 

22th October 2018

The quote I got was "Pieces of land and sea so natural that steps back for fear of being splashed." The first thing that came to my mind was not an object but the movement of pushing and pulling. The writer used personification to give lives, emotions, feelings and senses to land and sea, creating a tension between the two with his imagination. It is also interesting how he used the word 'pieces' to describe 'land and sea', which for me are more like two massive objects that never break apart to pieces in this case.

When brainstorming the ideas with my partner, we agreed on starting with the word 'push and pull'. We came up with some vague ideas that involve the movement. One of them was a tug war game with a puddle down the middle of the rope, and whoever pull their rival to the puddle wins. We thought this game would link to the quote really well because it includes the movement as well as the tension/nervousness. Another was an interactive installation of two syringes with red and blue liquid inside, connected with a transparent tube. By pushing/pulling one of the syringe the two liquids in the tube move. Eventually we didn't use this idea because we couldn't think of a way for people to interact with it. The last was to design a challenge of passing a narrow route shaped by hundreds of cups filled with water. Through this challenge the player will experience fear and tension from being afraid to spill the water and wet themselves. By setting many cups instead of two big puddles we meant to link with the word 'pieces of water'. We decided to execute this idea at the Granary Square at King's Cross.

10th October 2018

Fashion & Textiles

Todays was my favourite day of the week. It was my first time exploring fashion illustration. I learned that the key element of making a successful illustration is trusting the process. I used different media when illustrating the bodies and garments in front of me, and one of my drawings got chosen by Marla, who was one of the models. She and the tutor described my work as "Bold and confident", which really surprised me. I have always been so indecisive that it actually make my creative process really slow because I always spend so much effort and time making every single decision. In today's session I felt like I actually stepped out of my comfort zone and learned to trust the process without thinking too much about how the final outcome would look like. It's something that I really hope I can carry with to my further learning.

In the group session my group was planning to combine what each of use had done this week and make it into an piece of work. We came up with an idea- to make a drawing on the wall and project interesting textiles over it. Then when we were starting, we couldn't decide what to draw on the paper and just kept throwing out our own ideas but no one was actually doing any progress. As time went by we still couldn't reach a concensus, and it was not until we all agreed we had got to just start or else we wouldn't finish it in time than we started putting things on the paper. After we all starting creating whatever that came to our minds with different materials and media ( I drew a continuous line face with yawn), we had a clear idea of what we're doing and eventually finished our final piece in time. I really liked the dreamy effect we created with the projector, and truly enjoyed the process. This experience just proved that sometimes all you need to do is to trust your instinct and just create.

9th October 2018

Fashion & Textiles

I was really exited for this project as this is an area I had never explored before. It was really interesting hearing about other people's stories as they explained what the objects meant to them. As we noticed that most of the objects we bought were gifts from family and friends, and that all of us in the group were from places outside of the UK, we decided to make an installation suspending the objects while connecting them together with yawn. By opening the biggest object of all-the suitcase I bought, and placing it in the middle front of the installation, we meant to create a sense that the other objects hanged above were the ones we value so much that we never travel without them.

I also really enjoyed the intense but fun drawing session, especially the blind drawing one. It was so hard to not look at the drawing while I drew, but the result was really interesting to look at. After toady's and yesterday's observational drawing practices, I have found that these exercises may seem pointless at first glance, but they are actually quite important in the creative process, for they not only help us understand the objects better but provoke new ideas in an unexpected way. Through the process I have also realized the importance of using multiple media and materials.  

8th October 2018

The first day of our "fashion week" was really intense, which I found quite challenging as I am a very slow person.

I really enjoyed the the first session when we did some observation drawings of the buildings in kings cross as our inspiration for the project, and I think it was mainly because we had around 40 minutes to finish the task, allowing me to work at a pace that I'm used to. I took the advice from our tutor-"use different materials" and used crayons, marker, pencils and fine line pens to create different volume. It was interesting to see how each person interpret the structure, shapes, materials and colours of the surroundings differently and transform them into 2D form on their sketchbooks.

The part I found most challenging was when we were making a 3D object from the 3 shapes we had cut out. The restriction was that we were not allowed to overlap the paper but at the same time we had to try not to make any holes. What made it even more difficult was that one of the shapes I cut out was like a complicated teeth looking one. I tried to arrange them differently but felt like it was just impossible to make an object without holes, so I asked one of my classmates for help and she showed me the technique to fold the paper in different angles to avoid making holes. I think sometimes asking a classmate for advice on my work is even more helpful than to ask a tutor as they may understand your doubts and struggles better.

Making a 3D thing for my model to wear was so much easier than the last task, and I really enjoyed doing practices like blind sketching, silhouette sketching and sketching with masking tapes, for they allowed me to observe my work and its connection between the model's body in a more detailed way.

1th October 2018

JFFA/ wear it

I had always considered myself to be bad at making crafts or any 3D objects, but after today's class I feel like I have seen my ability and potential related to this area for the first time.

In the morning the class were brainstorming the given words 'support', 'suspend' and 'surround' for our project, and apart from my own connections to the words I got to hear about other peoples', which was very interesting and inspiring, helping me think outside the box and come up with new ideas. Then we worked individually on our sketchbooks to develop our ideas on the three words. I drew some random images that came up to my mind as I looked at the words, and it was not until I saw my classmates drawing their design than I had realized that I had being doing the wrong thing. However, looking back now, those random drawings weren't completely useless as they did lead me to my final work-- a necklace that looks like two hands and arms hugging you from behind.

While brainstorming with 'surround' on my sketchbook, the words that came to my mind were 'embrace',' touch','hug, and 'love', so I came up with the idea of making a wire necklace that looks like two hands and arms hugging you from behind. I traced my hands on my sketchbook in order to bend the wire into the shape of them. I put the wire on a mannequin while bending it in order to measure the length. Even though my idea was simple, it still took me quite long because the wire was soft so the shape of it changed too easily when touched, so I used tape to firm its shape.

I photographed several people wearing it on different bodies part and in different gestures to experiment. I decided to make my model wear black and photograph her in front of black background to make the silver wire pop up from the image. I turned off the yellow lights in the studio and shot with only natural lights by the window. After several shots I had this idea of photographing my model with a black mannequin because I though it would help convey my concept. I made my model hug the black mannequin and placed the necklace in different ways. 

Through the project I have discovered my ability to create something in 3D form and direct a photoshoot to convey my concept, which is something I had been wanting to do but never knew I am actually able to. I also found that I enjoyed the photography aspect more than the process of designing the object.

 

25th September 2018

graphic communication/ illustration

Today we were exploring illustration, printing and animation. We were given a paper with a letter/number to develop an illustration with. I found it quite challenging at first because we couldn't change the size of the letter or number, but after  on doing some experimental drawings on my sketchbook I had an clearer idea of what I could do. Since I got the number 0, I decided to flip it into landscape and make an illustration of a alien landing on the ground from a UFO. (using the 0 as part of the UFO's body.) During the process I realized that I had never really 'used' my sketchbook in an experimental way because I had always worried too much about the final outcome to experiment with my ideas. From this I have learned that it is so much better to make a mess on the sketchbook while letting my ideas out than to sit there worrying about the outcome.

 

24th September 2018

graphic communication/ fashion communication

Today's one-day project was a really fun and expressive experience. It really redefined my thoughts on fashion communication and the role it plays in the industry.

We were assigned to work in pairs, creating at least 3 looks based on the opposite words we had got while documenting/presenting them using photography, film or drawings. Working as a team may sound like a difficult thing, but since me and my partner were both open-minded and were willing to try new things (luckily), we were able to communicate our thoughts during the process, making it easier to figure out our steps and complete our task. 

Since I have always been interested in photography, I decided to focus more on the images. When styling my partner, I chose materials and fabrics that were thin or transparent in order to make the light come through. We went to the streets and look for spots with sunlight and shadows to correspond to the theme 'Black and White'. We also shot at places with lots of street signs and in front of minimal backgrounds like walls and roll-up doors in order to create contrast. However, I felt like we spent a lot of time shooting at the same spots rather than following some constructive strategies. Although I have always been a 'go with the flow' person who doesn't like to plan too much when shooting, I think discussing and communicating with my partner to clarify the concept beforehand might be a way to increase efficiency in this time-limited project.

All in all, I fully enjoyed the whole process because I had really stepped out of my comfort zone and learned that fashion communication is such an interesting area that I would very much like to explore in the future.

 

 

20th September 2018

fine art/ collection project/ crit

I have always viewed art as a way for people experiencing other people's emotions, insecurities, values, and and the same time connect those things to their own experiences.

During the crits session we interpreted the artist's work before hearing the explanation from the artist. I find it really interesting how each viewer's interpretation can vary depending on life experiences and background.

Another thing I've learned from the session is that it is not necessarily bad if the viewers' interpretations don't fully (or not at all) correspond to what the artists are trying to convey through their work. What's more important is that the artists learn from the viewers' reactions and take time to think, reflect, and improve.

18th September 2018

fine art/ collection project

This morning while listening to the lecture, I had this idea of making a collection called "shadows of the everyday worker".  My idea was to record the shadows of the everyday workers (cleaners, bus drivers, delivery men, etc) on the streets. while taking portraits of them with their permission. Inspired by one of my favorite photographes/filmmakers Gus&Lo, who excels at combining still photography with moving contents, I planned to do the same thing with the portrait and videos. However, due to time constraints, I decided to change the plan.

I imported my footages into premier pro to edit them into a video. Firstly, I adjusted the frames of my footages to keep only the shadows. Then I kept changing the order to figure out what would look the best. While I was listening the song "Varðeldur" by Sigur Rós , I had this idea of using it as the background music. Since it is a very soft and emotional song (with no human voices), I turned my videos into slow motion, and surprisingly it turned out quite good, creating a really emotional vibe.

 

17 September 2018

fine art/ collection project

Fascinated by light and shadow, I decided to make of collection of the two.

I used my phone camera as my media as its the quickest way to document shadows. Compared with the shadows of still objects, those of moving objects intrigued me more. I took videos and pictures of the shadows of cars, trees, birds, and pedestrians, and eventually decided to focus on that of pedestrians.  

However, I still have no idea what method I should take to create my own work with my collections. Hopefully I'll have a clearer idea tomorrow.

15th September 2018

 fine art/ Tate Museum

The best thing I like about going to museums and galleries is that we get to appreciate others' work and experience various stories, experiences and emotions without taking any responsibilities.

This is my first time visiting the Tate, and I was completely overwhelmed by the design of the buildings and the diversity of the artwork. Just seeing the work on the list took me hours because I spent a lot of time interpreting the artist's work before looking at the description. I found it difficult trying to figure out their work at first, but the more work I saw, the more I realized that there's no right or wrong way to interpret others' work, for everyone's interpretation on a certain work could be so different and diverse due to different personalities and life experiences. We often see the description from the artist as an answer to the work, but it is actually the process that matters.

Today's activity allowed me to view others' work in a different approach. I've learned that when I interpret a work before looking at the description, I get to feel and think on my own behave, rather than being limited in the words written by the artist, thus being able to learn more creatively.

11th September 2018

fine art/

After cutting down my inspiration images, I got lost in my thoughts and had no idea what to do, so I started watching other people doing their work, effortlessly visualizing their ideas by experimenting with different colors, fabrics and materials. My brain want blank again as I stared at the blank pages in my sketchbook, making barely any progress.

As an extremely indecisive and hesitant person, I tend to think too much before even trying to take the first step of turning my ideas into reality. Although it's always easier said than done, I think the best and only way to stop this is to focus on my own work more rather than others' and make more connections with the ideas and thoughts in the moment rather than worrying about what the final work would be like. Hopefully 

 

10th September 2018

fine art/

Today's work was to experiment with our ideas on our sketchbooks.

After cutting down my inspiration images, I got lost in my thoughts and had no idea what to do, so I started watching other people doing their work, effortlessly visualizing their ideas by experimenting with different colors, fabrics and materials. My brain want blank again as I stared at the blank pages in my sketchbook, making barely any progress.

As an extremely indecisive and hesitant person, I tend to think too much before even trying to take the first step of turning my ideas into reality. Although it's always easier said than done, I think the best and only way to stop this is to focus on my own work more rather than others' and make more connections with the ideas and thoughts in the moment rather than worrying about what the final work would be like.

I really found today struggling, but that's why I am here. I am here to learn. Hopefully this experience could be a reminder reminding me to not think too much and just do.