On Tuesday we had our Celebration week, displaying work in our studios and presenting a pecha kucha presentation in front of studio critics and our fellow students and tutors. We put a lot of effort into making our Inventivity Studio look brilliant, we used props, fairy lights, material drapes and moved work to create wall space so we could all display our work for each brief this year. I am so happy with what we were able to accomplish in just a few days! All the studios looked brilliant and the work displayed was amazing, its really nice to see what everyone else has been up to this year!
Earlier this month I visited the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square to see the Picasso Portraits exhibition. The exhibition featured over 80 pieces of Picasso’s work spanning his creative career; the wide range of work was loaned by various institutions, galleries and private collections, it’s also the first time many of these pieces have been shown in London. Picasso is one of the artists I studied back in school doing my art GCSE so I was very excited to visit. The first thing that struck me about the exhibit was the range of different styles in Picasso’s work, from humorous caricatures to the wilder and much more expressive painting from memory later in his career. Picasso used a range of materials and mediums experimenting with different styles of painting and drawing throughout his life and this is evident in the pieces shown in this collection.
Pablo Picasso was born in Spain in 1881 but spent most of his adult life working as an artist in France. “Throughout the long course of his career, he created more than 20,000 paintings, drawings, sculptures, ceramics and other items such as costumes and theater sets. He is universally renowned as one of the most influential and celebrated artists of the twentieth century.” Picasso is remembered for his constantly evolving and innovative works and along side Georges Braque is responsible for creating the Cubist movement in art. Cubism is where a subject of an image is broken up into pieces and then rearranged in an abstract form. What really strikes me about these pieces is that there is less of a focus on conventional form and structure but the emotion and personality of the subject is still very evident through the use of bold marks, colours and even the textures of paint and brush strokes on the canvas.
It was brilliant to see some of the pieces that inspired me as a teenager in the flesh. But the thing I enjoyed most about this collection was seeing some of Picasso’s illustrations. Picasso created around 35,000 illustrations in his life! As an illustrator I am constantly looking to push my own creative practice forward and to allow my style to evolve with my passion and interests. It’s inspiring to see how much energy and emotion can be conveyed in very few marks and lines through Picasso’s illustrative style, it was also great to see how Picasso’s illustrations developed through his career.
I spent hours wondering around the exhibit and drew sections of painting on site, I then spent the afternoon sitting in the crypt cafe of St Martin in the Fields Church (If you haven’t been, you should totally go!) and used watercolour, ink and pencils to colour my sketches. So overall, Picasso is great and we should all have different artistic periods in our lives.
“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.” – Pablo Picasso
Going back to my ideas for Oh Gee, Pie! I decided to create some quick animations/gifs. The first one I created shows the process of drawing a slice of pie, the second shows a cup of tea spilling onto a table with the name ‘Oh Gee, Pie!’ spelled out in the tea. The final animation shows a pie being drawn and then each slice removed to show the name ‘Oh Gee, Pie!’ in the pie tray. Im pretty happy with these animations as I created them to test my ideas but I would like to now create a longer version, telling more of a story about my brand. Back to the storyboard for now…
Just before Christmas I took a trip to the barbican for The Vulgar exhibition, exploring changing tastes in fashion. Fashion can be used to push the boundaries, shock and explore form, structure and colour through design. The exhibition showed pieces of fashion through the decades from renaissance dresses with extreme structured corsets and layers of patterned, luxurious materials accentuating the female form. To couture dresses that use tailoring to manipulate the body creating wearable art.
The word Vulgar evokes a strong reaction often with negative or controversial connotations, but can also be used to describe something that pushes the boundaries of popular taste. Vulgar is described in the Oxford dictionary as:
- Characterised by ignorance of or lack of good breeding or taste:
- Indecent; obscene; lewd:
- crude; coarse; unrefined
- lacking in distinction, aesthetic value, or charm; banal; ordinary
‘Vulgarity exposes the scandal of good taste’
– Adam Phillips
One of my favourite pieces on show is walter van beirendonck’s elephant skirt from his 2010/2011 collection Take a Ride. The piece consists of a pair of patent thigh high black boots, a structured white skirt creating the shape of an elephant, over this there is a pleated skirt in warm green and gold tones and a green and red jacket. The final element is the red oversized hat created by long time collaborator Stephan Jones. This piece conjures up images of the decedent 18th Century with the use of rich warm colours and luxurious materials. I can’t help but think of exotic countries and riding elephants through rain forests. I love how the outfit tells a fanciful story through the clever use of tailoring, material and colour.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this exhibitions was the curation and layout of the designs and displays. spread out over two floors, the exhibit had lots of smaller rooms along a hall with a central display of decedent Georgian dresses and suits. Each room had a very different collection on show but with a consistent theme connecting each item within it. It felt as though the exhibition told the story of changing Vulgarity through history, colour and structure with the designs becoming wilder as you ventured further into the exhibition. The theme was also reenforced by being shown in the Barbican, the Brutalist architecture is often at the centre of the conversation of changing tastes on architecture and people seem to either love it or hate it!
Learn more about the Exhibition here!