Can you remember a year ago?

 

I do ever so clearly! It was when I stepped out of my infancy, and into my toddler shoes as a blogger and visual artist by changing my blog name and intentions of why I write to you. It really doesn’t seem that long ago, and I’m surprised to already sense another growth spurt having occurred. My growth has been sparked by the academic learning that I am acquiring in the Bachelor of Art & Design and also the discovery of self that comes hand in hand with gaining more knowledge about life and oneself.

The more I learn, the more I realise I don’t know – Albert Einstein

Hence, the need to open my mind up to more knowledge and understanding. I figure the day, that I know all about it, is the day I ascend into the realm of the Gods (still most likely preferring to wear my Chuck Taylor’s over high heels anyway). So really?

With my toddler blogging days behind me, my next stage of growth in my creative career will firstly focus on learning about the business of being a visual artist and designer. In order to do this, I really need to define who I am (in this very moment) as a creative practitioner. Knowing that I will again need to allow for constant evolution and change, I need to hone in on my thoughts right now, in regards to my work – asking what it is about? Also, asking where in the global context is my work situated?  I am embarking on a great expedition in researching my fellow global artists in mixed media, photographic and print realms, and how they situate themselves in this great big World of Art. (You may find many of my findings on these pages as I explore my place in the world amongst others). It is then, that I can know how to put myself out into the world confidently and authentically – and I plan to do this by not only making a conscious effort to professionally and authentically communicate and present myself in the blogosphere but also creating the beginnings of an e-portfolio featuring the Art & Photography of yours truly. My goodness – that sounds grown up!

It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are – E.E. Cummings

I look forward to receiving your thoughts and ideas about how you have made steps to becoming who you really are. From my heart to yours x

image: by Vicky Reisima and her shoes

Gaining drawing confidence

By means of tracing outlines and copying shading techniques from other artists, I have developed these detailed drawings to my own unique styling – smudging and erasing lines to create contours and textures. I intend to develop confidence in my drawing skills by working in this way. Its a start! Two of these sketches were composed by morphing 3 individual components into one image, and I feel that in doing this, they really become my own.

Concept Drawings

I intended to practice my drawing skills with this project, and found that through these charcoal sketches of the 3D marquettes, (in previous post) my confidence in my ability has improved. Even though I don’t have enough time to draw every outcome in this series, at least I have overcome my block of putting marks down on paper.

Finger painting

I must admit I freaked out about the white background on the last painting, and drove straight into the black paper pile to avoid the same thing happening on my next paint play – this time using mostly just my fingers. The red paint against black gave the mood that is in accordance with the actual subject of  ‘The Red Dead Bird’.

The Red Dead Bird

Ways of Seeing – a Right Brain Investigation

In this recent module I was encouraged to embark upon a pathway, which held the most resistance for me – which is painting.  Step one was to challenge conventional ‘ways of seeing’ (our project title). Step two was to challenge my  self-limiting beliefs about being an artist.  My intention was simply to explore and discover how I may develop my confidence and skills of painting and drawing over the period of two weeks. An investigation into how I see my self developing as an artist, with inspiration and guidance from the art movement Surrealism and the art theory of drawing with the Right side of your brain. Through this I would find new ways of representing my ideas and creative processes, rather than relying on words constantly, I would learn to draw my thoughts and ideas.

I began by creating an ideas book solely for drawing/thinking titled it my book of A-Z’s – with the intention of drawing anything that had the essence of being strange, humorous, provocative or amusing.  However, I didn’t get beyond B in my A-Z book of drawings, because I was led to explore the sketch as a series of paintings that I have to show you in the next few days.

There was the risk that I would tend to create works that appear ‘Cliché’ and I therefore had to consider seriously what my images would represent, and ensure that they were not obviously blatant and boring (another few B words I could attempt to draw).

a pretty dead bird

 

An Artful Life: Kahori Maki

Born in Japan 1961, Kahori Maki is an acclaimed artist/designer, having produced many works in various disciplines including illustration, installation, painting, graphic design, and object design.  Working as an active freelancer since 1994, Maki has collaborated with leading brands and companies such as Designworks, Shiseido, Levi’s and McDonalds.

In addition, Maki has been working on Solo exhibitions and her works have featured in numerous fashion and design magazines.  Her un-mistaking recognisable style is seen extensively in posters, commercial advertising, window displays, interior walls of buildings, fashion shoot back drops, textile prints and even on cars. This month, Maki’s work covered the walls of an entire warehouse for an audio-visual event in Brooklyn.

Maki’s stylised imagery, regardless of where she features it, is striking and tends to provoke mystery with its edgy, dark, fluid and organic forms. Her designs depict nature in its beautiful power and seductiveness, portraying the exotic and the eerie.  Maki’s designs are always nature inspired, but her signature monochromatic illustrations are far from traditional depictions of nature.

(Maki is) one of the first fashion illustrators to identify the dramatic impact of the natural forms through dark monochromes rather than the more traditional soft pastels

Furthermore, Maki juxtaposes her work by placing it in the extreme urban environment or context – factoring in her philosophical concept of how urban life is deficient of nature.  A concept marvellously complimented by the surreal and dark moody nature of her work, portraying her deep connection to the less desired aspects of nature.

I am not afraid of looking into the shadows and shedding light on the beautiful creatures that live in the twilight worlds

Maki talks about connecting the aspects of nature to a part of the human soul, and I interpret her work as an expression of the depth and mystery contained therein. I find myself also connecting this quote above to the human soul, and what may lay within the darkest corners. I too, am not afraid of looking into the shadows of my own soul and shedding light on what may be there. What beauty and treasures are still yet to be discovered?

Finally, I am inspired by Maki’s love of nature and the darkness of it that some may find oppressive or grotesque. Many of her works convey to me the idea of portals into other worlds. She expresses the melancholic with such elegance; one cannot help but be allured into the realms of swirling, meandering lines and forms.

The work of Maki has influenced my current project significantly. I have drawn upon her concept of combining animal and insect life with fauna and flora, and placed the bold outlines of them in a perfectly random occurring pattern.  This research has led me to have confidence in taking an organic and bold approach to pattern, and I have explored and developed numerous possibilities for an outcome in this brief, of which I hope to experiment with further in the future. For the mean time, lets see how my project for ‘Pattern Universe’ has developed.

Watch this space.

References:

IdN. Wayfinding+Signage: Kahori Maki. IdN , v17 (n5), 56-57.

Maki, K. (2010). Works. Retrieved May 28, 2013, from Kahori Maki: http://www.k-maki.com/

Quinn, B. (2009). Textile Designers: At the Cutting Edge. London, UK: Lawrence King Publishing.