After the research I did in my last blog post, which can be read here, I have been working on creating a design that I think would portray the meaning of the word to the audience and then developing it to a stage where I can say it is mostly complete.
First of all I researched into the art of Patrick Caulfield and Max Ernst on the Tate website which was a valuable resource, as it provides a biography and images of the relevant artworks (with display captions to explain the meaning of the work as well). I then looked into Hannah Hoch, where I found some suitable work on art.sy.
I have not placed any images onto my blog in this area because of copyright restrictions, but I have linked to the images.
Here is what I learned from each one:
Patrick Caulfield: His work can be seen to contrast flat images of objects that were in a geometric style making use of blocks of colour contrasted with photorealism. The work that inspired me the most was ‘After Lunch’, where you can see a contrast between the simplistic outlined structure of the room, and the window where a photomural is placed. This works very well I believe to reverse the normal thought process, which is to have a room, which is ‘reality’ and a painting on the wall which is ‘fictional’.
This has given me an idea of creating a vector illustration, which resembles the flat style he portrayed, and contrasting it with a photograph out of a window to create a juxtaposition.
Max Ernst: A founder of the Cologne Dada group, he created paintings and photo-collages mainly. Something that was inspiring from his work was the texture that is visible, for example for the ‘Entire City’ he used a technique known to him as ‘grattage’ (scraping) which involved:
“placing the canvas over planks of wood or other textured surfaces, then scraping paint across it. The shapes that emerged formed the basis of the image. Grattage was one of a number of techniques that Surrealist artists explored as a way of letting a chance element into their work.”
This texture works very well and adds great depth to the work, which I think could benefit my design, especially if I have a base to the design of a flat vector illustration that could contrast other elements, creating that juxtaposition in illustrative styles.
Hannah Hoch: One of the key members of the Dada, and a creator of heavily political photomontages criticising the Weimar government in Germany post World War I, she created metaphorical works that can be deemed to be a starting point for surrealism to develop. Some of her works can be seen here. Something that is possible to see is the randomness, and features taken out of context. Therefore placing something like that into the project should lead to a strong juxtaposition.
However, that was the bit that took the longest to get my head around! This was because although I could see it created juxtapositions, I did not feel that it was relevant to my design and struggled to relate to it, as I did not want an overly political style to it, which is associated with photomontage. However, looking at the definition of surrealism, and seeing how it links heavily it started all clicking into place and I finally realised adding out of context elements through photomontage would work well.
A conclusion to what I have learnt:
- Contrast in illustrative styles such as from vector to photomontage would work well.
- Texture will be important to add depth to the piece.
- Out of context, surreal elements will create suitably strong juxtapositions.
Creating a proposal:
To start I created some sketches to experiment with what could potentially be done, trying to bear in mind that I would need to recreate what I had sketched on screen through vector and photomontage. As can be seen from the sketch below, I have decided to go for an office as the starting place for the design, based on the research into Patrick Caulfield.
These sketches show how I was deciding on how best to layout the page, and in the end I decided none of these would work overly well, as the window space to create a juxtaposition would be minimised. Therefore a head-on approach would work best in my opinion as though you are sitting in the seat looking at the desk because it gives a great view of the desk, and the outside world. I also finalised that I would use the illustrative styles of vector and photomontage as it will be the best, and most realistic way of creating my design. I am delighted the Illustration module goes as far as to allow me to create illustrations using a mixture of these techniques.
Before I go into how I started creating this proposal on-screen I should apologise for the lack of screenshots. I got so involved in just purely designing I forgot to show a lot of the in-between work I did. So below is what I ended up with, and then I’ll explain how I got there in a reasonably concise manner.
As can be seen, I started creating a vector illustration of a desk in a room and decided simple was best. Therefore I placed a computer on the desk as well as a lamp, mug, pen and pencil, and a digital clock. This created a general old/new juxtaposition with elements such as the computer being new, and the desk, pencil and pen being old. The decor was kept deliberately simple to contrast the photo. The window I planned became a door as it allowed for a greater space, no window frames etc. and provided a greater connection to the photo.
As for the photo, I was still inspired by astronomy, which I am interested in, and felt nothing could create a juxtaposition and a surprise like being on the Moon, looking back at Earth, which would not be expected so I found an image I could use and added that.
Then to place the meaning of the word and the definition in, I found I had some wall space so created it to look like a picture on the wall, with a modern frame, and a old paper background, of which I set the type in Garamond, a classic serif typeface well associated with books, so would be perfect for the antique style I was creating.
I then wanted to experiment with photomontage some more to see what I could create, and because I had been discussing this with someone else and I didn’t know what to do, so flippantly said “Maybe I should just place a phonebox in the desert?” Lightbulb moment! So to link that back to the astronomy theme, I found a phonebox and cut that out in Photoshop, and pasted it into the best moon landing image I could find. I like this so perhaps I could use it in the final piece somehow… maybe on the computer screen?
Now I am going to go and get some feedback on this design, as I feel it is a long way from being complete, and in the next blog post on this word, I shall look into how I could develop this proposal, both with my thoughts and the feedback I got.