FMP – Year 1 (week 1)


Beginning back at college tomorrow, I dedicated today to some initial secondary research. I used google dictionary as a tool to mind map synonyms for the word power and create a page on the literal definition of the word, which I copied onto acetate to use in my visual sketchbook. As I’m a very visual learner, I additionally used the 3 most recent editions of British Vogue to mood board images which I felt could be relative to the theme. Overall this was really helpful for me to gain some physical order and clarity to my thoughts and enforce organisation within the web of ideas collating in my head.


Today wasn’t as productive as I would have hoped for the first day at college. In class we revisited the image transfer workshop using masking tape, sellotape, masking tape and calico – which although was an enjoyable refresher, it seemed almost a little bit pointless as it’s an activity which could easily have been done at home. On the other hand I did manage to create some really nice outcomes including a rustic looking background for the (acetate) definition of ‘Power’ I copied out yesterday. I used a combination of my own photography and images sourced online for this workshop and I’ll include these outcomes as inspiration for my visual sketchbook. Tomorrow I hope to complete a new workshop in cyanotypes, an idea suggested by Ingrid the photography tutor.


The workshop today was cyanotypes and was run by Ingrid from photography. I started by sourcing images from the internet and printing them onto acetate. My chosen image was of a wire wardrobe sculpture by Suzanne Bonanno sourced directly from her website. Next I painted a piece of calico using a sponge and wooden handle with a mixture of two solutions (potassium ferricyanide + water and ferric ammonium citrate + water). Speed was imperative because exposure to UV light causes the green mixture to react and turn cyan. For the same reason, I let this dry overnight in a closed (dark) cupboard and continued the day by looking into Suzanne Bonanno – a female artist who explores a multitude of thought provoking concepts through unique contemporary art forms. My favourite piece is the wire wardrobe sculpture because I find simple structure portrays a more sinister side to fashion. Personally, I depict the clothes as being very frail and skeletal looking – perhaps implicating exploitation and darkness within the fashion industry (much alike tyrannical reign and dictatorships). To finish today, I looked into bibliographies and Harvard Referencing. I found it quite interesting learning how to format references with Tanya, using the Portsmouth uni website and tools like Google Books. Knowing now how to properly reference and give credit to the appropriate artist, I will be able to put together a substantial bibliography for the project and ensure that all existing work used is named, and associated with the correct person. Having learned this I was also able to review my proposal and update the bibliography to an appropriate standard ready for submission. Although my sources are only proposed, I intend on using most (if not all) to allow me the broadest understanding and depth of research for my FMP.


Today I finished my Cyanotypes workshop. I was concerned that somehow light would have gotten into the cupboard and begun the reaction however luck was on my side and the calico remained fresh and ready to complete the process this morning. Fortunately I had a lot of time today because the next stages were very long and boring. I laid the calico onto a table exposed to sunlight then placed the acetate printing of Bonanno’s wire wardrobe over. To ensure the cyanotype printed accurately I masking taped round the edges to hold in place. I was expecting the reaction to occur much faster however the UV index was only 4 for the day meaning we had to use artificial lighting for a quicker result. To then process the print I had to rinse the fabric with water. I really liked the outcome however would have preferred the solution to be black to compliment the colour theme in my sketchbook. In extension to this workshop I researched existing cyanotypes in art including work by Rosie Emerson – who in 2014 broke a world record for the largest cyanotype print on record (46.81 square metres in size). Furthermore I looked into the invention of cyanotypes by John Herschel. Herschel was an English Scientist who invented Cyanotypes from his experimental photography and knowledge of chemistry. The process was widely used throughout the 20th century for producing copies of prints and illustrations – these copies were referred to as ‘blueprints’  – a name which is known and used to this day.

I also completed a second workshop producing photograms which took much less time however I didn’t enjoy participating because it was in a very claustrophobic, darkroom although the outcomes I was able to produce successfully were quit effective. The process involved using the glossy side of photo paper and covering with objects which would block light and form a print. Next we had to expose the paper to light to burn out the sections we wanted to keep in the negative space. After this there were three solutions required to form the print. The first required a time of 3 minutes, the second 30 seconds and the third 5 minutes, then after all of this the paper needed to be soaked in clean water for at least 10 minutes to wash off all the chemicals. In each solution you could see the print develop however out of my 8 attempts, only half successfully developed. This was probably because the objects I used were not large enough to block the exposure fully meaning that the whole sheet burned out instead. I don’t think I’m likely to use this technique for anything else to do with this project however it was definitely a learning experience and worth doing for the sake of experimentation.


After a busy week I decided to spend today on some secondary artist research and browsing on Pinterest. I came across an artist who specialises in fashion mixed media collages incorporating both digital skill and physical manipulation of existing imagery. The fashion designer/artist uses promotional photography from campaigns by the likes of Hedi Slimane and Dan Giuliani to collate contemporary collages and often includes secondary resources like fabric samples and tools for physical manipulation. Eugenia Alejos has an innovative and unique style to her work and now uses her illustrations for advertising, TV and film. I intend on attempting to replicate some of her work next week.

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