Visual Exploration: Evaluation

  • Bees – I chose this theme because of the declination of bees & honey, which in turn would mean many foods would become extinct. We as human beings would also struggle to survive. This also relates to the environment, as the earth itself and the land would struggle.
  • Mental health – Something I feel passionately about; I thought about looking at foods that are good to combat it, foods that could represent it in some way, and the relationship between mental health and food.

For both ideas I wanted to raise awareness in a positive way.

Regarding my research, I feel I could have done with expanding on it. However, at the start of the project I struggled with time management which led to me being unable to research as much as I would’ve liked to have done.
Albeit my idea development I feel better about, because I think I did develop the majority of the different processes well – such as typography and my screen-print.

I strove to be critically engaged throughout the project, but I do think I could have demonstrated this better had I been able to source more research. Also, a lot of the research I did find wasn’t something I felt I could criticise. But I did explain their meaning/relevance as much as I could.

Overall I feel I did communicate my messages successfully: with my screen-print I like the end result, both for its aesthetics and its message, which regard mental health. I created a metaphor using a walnut to represent a human brain, and text to demonstrate the similarities between nuts and human heads being breakable. Therefore I feel it is successful.
With both my collage and typography I had to ask other people for their feedback a lot, as the more I looked at them the less sure I became of how successful the message I intended to communicate was. I feel less certain about my collage, but I do think it has improved from my previous collage experiment of the bee and red apples. Whereas with typography I feel a little more certain, because the composition of the type represents what the sentence is communicating.

The above 3 pieces did resonate with me, as well as the photographic series shots: I like the photographic series because it shows an honest & authentic interaction between people. I think this is simply nice, as I take an interest in human mentality.
My screen-print in particular resonates with me because it addresses mental health, and I suffer from mental illnesses myself.

At first I struggled to manage my workload, but gradually and especially towards the end of the project I started to improve on this, and created timetables to help myself. So I do think that I could have managed it better had I been better organised.
Overall I did prefer working independently to collaboratively, simply because I felt less anxious and more in control. However, the groups I worked in were well organised and we worked well as a team. There were slight difficulties when certain members weren’t available, but this rarely happened to us.

Through this project I feel that my strengths lie in photography, film, and possibly screen-printing. However I did struggle with the social aspects of camera-based work. I was happy with my illustration for my screen-printing & enjoyed the process.
I enjoyed collage but struggled with how to communicate with it. With typography I struggled with the process, but in the end felt I’d created a successful poster. My zine I enjoyed the concept of and the collaboration, but felt disappointed with my illustrations. They may have looked better if I had had more time & could’ve printed the zine in colour.

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Visual Exploration: Screenprint

The first half of my screenprinting is all in my sketchbook – this follows from when I was actually printing the image.

The above are images I took whilst in the screen-printing room, during the process of printing.
I printed on to a total of 12 pieces of paper, 2 of which were classed as better paper/more expensive, as the paper was thicker (gsm).
For the colours, I shared the pink/peach with Katie, so we mixed that together using a sepia paint and adding white in to lighten it, with some magenta as well to make it pinker. We made this approximately 1/3 of a cup before adding the clear printing medium to the remaining 2/3. I did the same again for my darker colour for the lines, except I added black to my sepia to make it darker and a bit less transparent.

These are 3 of the images I thought were the most successful…

Two are on the regular paper, and one is on the better paper. (it has a yellow tint to it)

The first image (top) I actually think I like the most, because even though the pink/peach colour did not print properly, I quite like the effect it has created – a slightly broken, decaying effect. I feel this in a way ties in to the message of the print, and especially the ‘BREAKABLE’ text. However I feel it could also be viewed as badly printed, so I didn’t choose this one.

The next image (left) is on the better quality paper, and came close to me choosing it because of the paper and also the print quality.
However I feel that although it is on the standard paper, the one that is printed the best and therefore is the one I have chosen as my final is the last image (right). The lines and block of colour are aligned almost perfectly, and it has printed with not too much ink and not too little.

Overall this is my favourite piece of work from my Visual Exploration project, because I feel it is successful both for the above reasons and because I feel it communicates its message well – which is referencing mental health, the walnut being compared to a human brain. Walnuts are also good for the brain, and they have similarities visually – hence using them as a metaphor. I also enjoyed the process of screen-printing, and would like to revisit it. I think I have become more confident in my illustrative abilities also.

SCAN_human heads
Scan of the final print

Visual Exploration: Collage

The above are 4 initial collages I created during my first collage sessions. I only had around 10 minutes to complete the first couple, but then an extra 10-or-so minutes when I looked for images on the internet (the last two).

  1. Peers thought it was trying to show dementia, as it looks like he is looking at calmer & happier times.
    I actually wanted it to communicate mental illness, in the sense that inside a sufferer’s mind it is chaotic (used crashing waves) but outside they can seem fine.
  2. Therefore, to improve the above: Chose someone with a sadder expression, not necessarily older. Opened the head from the BACK, rather than the front. Had more chaotic imagery shooting inside of and out of his mind. Group thought this was more successful.
  3. Peers weren’t sure what it was, imagery too small.
    I was trying to show certain humans like farmers and pesticide producers as angry ants, taking a honey bee apart. This is to do with the declination of bees.
  4. I was told to create a simple image with 2 images. I drew out briefly an idea of what I wanted, and then searched for the image of a chubby man and a burger, to combine the two. The group understood this collage almost immediately. It was basically a kind of ‘you are what you eat’ jest. The book I feel I could have done without though, as it wasn’t planned. Also, it brought up whether one should offend a certain type of person – basically to be aware of whether you are or not.
Refer to sketchbook for developmental work

After I had decided I wanted to look at communicating the declination of bees in my collage, I began experimenting with imagery and placement of it on the page – which can be seen above.
I then created a draft/practice piece which can be seen/read about in my sketchbook.

 

Going on my feedback from Sharon and peers, I created the above as a final piece.

I decided ultimately that the colours in this image of rotting apples worked the best, because it is dark and could represent pollution/smog (the shape of the apples paper also). Whereas the red rotting apples I used didn’t communicate this, and they actually looked appetising rather than disgusting.
I again crumbled the edges of the apples, to add to the message of decay. And I made sure that you could see the apples clearer than in my practice version.

I feel it is successful because of the above. I am glad I also only used 2 images, which was suggested. I worried a lot about whether it was communicating what I wanted it to communicate, but I feel more confident about this now than I did with my other version/s.

 

Visual Exploration: Digital Film

I joined forces with Katie, Emily, and Charlotte to create our film. We planned out what our main roles would be, and what we wanted to record. Ultimately however, we let each other try the different techniques and worked together throughout. I feel this worked really well, because we each had input in all areas.
Prior to going out to film, we created a storyboard together and wrote down the questions to ask the stall worker. I also researched the market and although I already knew facts such as it being the largest indoor market in Europe, I also found out a lot of other interesting facts about its history: http://www.leedsmarkets.co.uk/b/history-kirkgate-market

Critique at the film screening (18th November)

  • Change title – not really ‘A day in the life of leeds market’ as focuses on one stall.
    Change to “Fruit and Veg’ of Leeds Market”
  • Have more natural reactions to the questions – leave the erms and ahs in.
  • Have captions over the fruit and veg clips – no interviewer voice.
  • Make the establishing shot (start of video) shorter.
  • Change the order of the questions.
    Start with “How long has the stall been here” then “How long have you been working here?”
  • Clips of the interviewee shouting after he says it’s his ‘little stage’ – or before the interview.
  • No music – it’s good to keep natural sound
  • Take out some of his answers
  • Play on the humour of him being uncomfortable.

We were unable to change absolutely everything suggested, due to technical difficulties: We had deleted the majority of the footage, as we were led to believe that the screening would be final, so we wouldn’t need the recordings for after the screening. However, we strove to do the best that we could with what we did have, and used some clips that Emily had taken on her phone which had been for the first practice film. (I missed this first day due to illness) I think ultimately, considering the difficulties, we all created 2 relatively successful films of the market. Obviously, if I could change anything, it would be that we hadn’t deleted the footage. But I enjoyed the different processes, mainly using the camera and learning how to edit with Adobe Premiere. I worried when I was using headphones to listen to the microphone, due to my hearing impairment.

Visual Exploration: Decaying Pumpkin

Charlotte and I share a flat, and we carved a pumpkin around Bonfire Night.
I wanted to document a short version of it decaying, because I find it interesting and because I felt it tied in to my Visual Exploration project.

Charlotte carved the face (Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon!) and I carved autumnal leaves and attempted a firework – which looked slightly better in real life, because I tried to peel the skin away and then cut in the middle of this.

It fits in to the zine I created with my peers, in the sense that it is rotting food. But what I find interesting about pumpkins is that they are mostly used for celebrating Halloween, and are less about actually eating but more about an event which involves communities. There are even people who are professional pumpkin carvers, and in this sense pumpkins are a type of art.

If I were to revisit this idea of a photographic series, I would use my DSLR camera on a tripod and set specific times to take photos, in order to document its decay.
I simply wanted to try the idea visually, because the way in which the back was rotting was particularly interesting – I had accidentally cut the top where it met the lid. So it held its shape at first, but gradually sunk in.

Visual Exploration: Pieces of Research/Moodboard

Fermenting-honey

lovely-package-hexagon-honey-5

I looked for honeycombs to draw, and found this interesting package design for honey.
I thought honeycombs may give me some ideas.

Mental Health in Leeds

  • http://www.inkwellarts.org.uk/ – “Inkwell is a safe, creative and accessible space where passion and skills entwine, challenging the stigma of mental health and celebrating the diversity of its participants.”
  • http://www.leedscommunityhealthcare.nhs.uk/our_services_az/leeds_iapt/ – Therapy available on the NHS for mental health problems (“Stress, anxiety, depression and emotional problems”).
    Meet for sessions usually weekly, to understand and then try to combat areas of difficulty, through various ways of practising techniques. (This is different from person to person, as everyone is individual)

Walnut

walnut-brain
A Walnut appears like a little human brain, a left and right hemisphere, upper cerebrums and lower cerebellums. Even the wrinkles or even folds within the nut resemble those of the neo-cortex. Researchers claim that walnuts assist in building over three dozen neuron-transmitters inside the human brain boosting the signaling and encouraging new messaging link amongst the brain cells
 – http://blog.javitree.com/discover-10-naturally-occurring-foods-resemble-human-organs/ [9th October 2014]

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Visual Exploration: Typography

To start the typographic element of visual exploration, we were instructed to communicate different types of dogs through type. This was to demonstrate the different aspects that a typeface is made up of, which are…

  1. Weight – Bold, Regular, Light etc.
  2. Size – The point size – how big it is on the page (pt – how type used to be measured when printing)
  3.  Serif or Sans Serif (Sans = no/without)
  4. UPPERCASE, lowercase or Upper-lower case.
  5. Position/Composition (Where it is placed on a page)

..and why we should consider these. For example, why serif typefaces communicate sophistication, yet sans serif communicate a more laid-back, informal feel. It is to do with where we see these types of type – we see serif typefaces in books mostly, hence pointing to a more intelligent and sophisticated feel of communication.
Almost instinctively, for a ‘friendly dog’ (the first task), I chose a rounded style of font. I did make it too illustrative, but the roundness communicates a kind of gentleness – in the sense that angles do not look approachable, as they look hard and not soft – as if could hurt oneself.

IN DESIGN EXAMPLES

Click the images for annotations.

Through the above experimentations I came to the conclusion that the final image shown should be used as my final typographic poster.

I used the techniques such as the ‘blink test’, to see which words my eyes saw and therefore read first. I also asked other people who hadn’t seen it, or hadn’t seen it very much, for critique on it, as well as printing out pages to test whether they worked compared to on-screen.

“One cannot think well, if one has not dined well”
I chose this particular quote about food because I feel it ties in to my focus of mental health within our subject of food. I also particularly wanted to place the words rather jumbled up, to further communicate what the quote is saying visually.

I found it challenging at first, especially placing the words around on the page yet maintaining the correct order in which to be read. But through practise and experimentation I feel that I have eventually been able to understand type a lot more, and create a successful piece.

Visual Exploration: Photography

For the photographic side of Visual Exploration, we were asked to get into groups of 2/3 and go out in to Leeds to create a photographic series – a set of images that have, in some form, a similarity. This can be to do with formal elements or even with just an idea. For example, asking people to act out a food of their choice. We were asked to have one set of at the very least 6 photographs featuring people, which would have to have us interact with them .
I was in a pair with Charlotte, and we began by thinking of ideas that related to food:

  1. Sharing food – Our people series.
  2. Food which is the same shape in the frame.
  3. Rubbish in the street.
  4. Photograph people littering.
  5. Displays of food.
  6. Gray-scale/Black & white shots of food.
  7. Advertisements of food/different locations.
  8. Food shops.

Here are the experimental sets of photographs not included in my sketchbook, which we decided not to develop further..

Advertising – The shots we got didn’t really interest us, they seemed too different in how we did and could photograph them(in a formal sense) because of their composition on various surfaces as well as location. We also weren’t sure what we wanted to communicate, but ultimately our other ideas were also better.
Circular – We took photographs of food that was circular, and experimented by changing the position of the object in the frame. I did like the result of some of these photographs, however ultimately we didn’t feel it was as strong an idea as our rubbish and people sets, which I will explain more about further down.
Pigeons – These weren’t planned photos, but we found this group of pigeons very amusing. I also thought it was actually very interesting, not least because they were gobbling up pieces of chicken. I thought it could say something about how we as human beings have affected other species, such as pigeons. But also, some of their faces are simply really amusing.
Litter – Here are a few of the many litter experiments. We took all of the photographs in this kind of way; tried far away, to show the location. Tried closer, to show the object clearer. We also tried somewhere in-between the two. There were also other ways of positioning the object, similar to how we experimented with the circular foods. But ultimately, we came to the decision through the crit later that day that actually getting down to the object’s level and zooming in on it worked the best. This is because visually they are composed well.
All other photographs – All other experimentation of the above 8 ideas. The above writing can mostly be applied to these photos too.

 Crit

The main two sets Charlotte and I decided we wanted to focus on in our crit were Rubbish on the Street and People Sharing Food.
With people sharing food, we started out taking photos from behind the glass, but then actually went up to people in cafes and restaurants to ask if we could take their photo. Some people said they’d rather we didn’t, and some were more than happy to have their photo taken! But the majority, as discussed in the crit, seemed a bit awkward which showed in the photographs.
Photos of people sharing food

The Rubbish on the Street photographs were the ones I enjoyed taking the most. I enjoyed trying different angles, and both I and the others in the crit agreed that the photographs which were on-level with the food were the most successful, because they were visually composed well, due to the angle and colours. However, ultimately when it came to deciding between these two sets, we chose People Sharing Food to work on, because we felt we could communicate more with it. Albeit Rubbish on the Street became our backup for if our first choice didn’t work out when we took more photos, the following day.
Photos of rubbish on-level
(My sketchbook notes which are and aren’t successful)

I have put all of our second shot of photos in my sketchbook, due to there being minors present etc, but here is the final series.
We noticed that they looked a lot better on screen than they did printed out, which leads me to believe maybe enhancing the contrast would help. But we decided to present them physically on the wall – because with a powerpoint, one can’t go back. The point of our series was that usually, you can’t stop and stare at somebody through a window, incase you are spotted. But these photographs enable one to do that, so we didn’t want to present them in a way that would limit how long you could look. Therefore we printed them out, so that people could go back to one if they wished.

We titled the set ‘Shared’, although a title was optional. Charlotte and I were thinking of something along the lines of ‘togetherness’, as we did not only want to communicate people eating, but people eating together, and ‘sharing’ conversation. Thus the name ‘Shared’ was decided on.
Here is how we displayed the set…

We noticed that we had 3 photos with the costa coffee bean on the window, so we decided to place one at the beginning, one in the middle and one at the end. Then we had 2 primarily red photos and 2 primarily grey photos. So we tried to place these symmetrically in the line of photographs.
We also considered typographic values for the title – we decided that it should be sans serif, and a pretty rounded font, to look friendly and casual. We made it semi-bold to enhance its roundness.

Visual Exploration: Zine in a day

Today I and the rest of the group created zines in a day. We worked in 3 groups and my group consisted of Katie B., Emily and myself.

Prior to deciding on a theme we all placed post-it notes on the wall with examples and thoughts of what ‘feed’ could be. I found this very helpful, and I decided to focus on environmental issues, which is what Katie and Emily also chose. (Although Katie did move over from the ‘Events/Conversation’ category to equalise the numbers in the 3 groups)

We decided to look at food waste, and came up with a number of different ideas for pages. We then chose two numbers from 1 – 6 at random, so that we could assign each other two pages each to design. We decided to do the front, back and poster together, unless anybody in the group turned up in the afternoon in which case we would have let them do one or two aspect/s.

I’m not very confident in group projects, simply because of my anxiety towards social situations. But I think we all organised ourselves well and worked together successfully! I thought it would be very hard work to produce a zine in a day, but by working together it helped make this possible.
I would have liked for it to have been in colour, but regardless I think it still works well in black and white.

Below are some photographs I took of other zines and our own. I was inspired by the small pocket-sized zine in particular, as its layout both really intrigued and puzzled me. With our own zine I thought that because we decided on a target audience of students that the pocket-sized aspect would be perfect.