Composing

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As a musician, I wrote and performed these pieces. These are some snippets of some music experimentation.

I apologise for the quality, but when I decide on the final outcome, it will be recorded properly. Two pieces have already been edited, but still are not complete.

Creative Colours

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Being able to analyse other artists work can help us gain an insight into how other people could potentially view ourselves. On our Friday lectures with Dr Anna Powell, we learnt about the three levels of analysis according to Erwin Panofsky’s level of strata: Primary (or Natural), which is what you see at a first glance, Conventional, which is looking a little more philosophically, and finally Intrinsic, which is where it is put into context, and perhaps analysing what this potentially says about the creator (i.e. the artist or animator). The final level is the one makes most people cringe, more so the artist, and artist Dawn Mellor, made it clear that it can be offensive.

We were shown three videos prior our lecture on the three layers of strata. Please see my analysis below of each video according to these three levels. Please be warned that the “Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared” videos may not be suitable for all.

Without the actual translations, this is the analysis for this video: PonPonPon by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu contains references to war but in a childlike, Willy Wonka style. This perhaps creates an element of playfulness and innocence to an otherwise adult issue. By doing this the concept of war  could be deemed appealing. If not to be seen appealing, this may just be a way of eradicating the fears and anxieties that coincide with consequences of such an event.

The mirrored, faceless figure could represent a “fat cat” and if it is intact the singer who is mimicking it, could this mean that the political leader is like a puppet master? With Japan being the world leaders in technological development in gaming, this puppet master like effect is also quite like a dance game such as in the “Just Dance” series and has potential to show that political leaders think that the concepts of war and running a country is merely a game ad as a consequence will aide in the leader’s desire to “play God”. So is this a propaganda piece?

If it was in fact the singer who was the leader in the dance, then this could give the impression that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu wants to be a leader through any means possible. After being nominated for the “World’s Best Female Artist” and many other world titles, this could suggest that she is frustrated at her lack of “wins” in these competitions. Nominations may not be good enough for her and this video may be seen as  threat to her competitors that she will “take them out” just to get on top in her career. One questionable factor, however, is that was it the singer, or an outside artist that imagined such a music video? If it was someone else, would this analysis still be correct about said singer, due to the fact she would have had to approve the nature of the music video’s aesthetics?

Aside from questioning why green is not a creative colour, to which there are many theories including green representing the Frontal Lobe in the brain which is the part of the brain that is in charge of logical thinking and that green is not a primary colour and therefore cannot make any other colour, this video make an audience question whether or not creativity is a route of being constructive or destructive.

At a first glance this video could be seen as a progressively more grotesque version of Seseme Street. Though Seseme Street’s theme asks “Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Seseme Street?” I can assure you that after watching both this video, and the video below, I will not be wanting to go to whatever street this asylum is on.

If we want to question the potential audience for such a video, we should consider the fact that these videos begin like most children’s programmes. Perhaps the artist enjoys the “Santa Effect”, i.e. what happens when a child finds out “the truth”. Just from the concept alone of taking enjoyment out of watching a child psychologically suffer, shows a disturbed mind. Either the artists have sociopathic tendencies or retaliating from childhood trauma could be the underpinning element to these pieces.

If this series is in fact for a more age appropriate  audience, i.e. adults, then this video could take on a whole new meaning. Could this series try to explain what we do to children’s innocence when they go through life and the education system? With art and design not being at the forefront of any curriculum, and is barely given the light of day in schools, the ability to be creative is taken away as children are forced into a stereotyped mould that we deem “perfect” in our developing societies. Would the artist therefore just be crying out in desperation for us to leave children child-like?

With all of this being said for all of the videos above ad further research into “childhood spoilers”, it is safe to say that sometimes we can over analyse. Perhaps art should be left to the imagination, and if it needs explaining, then it should be, but by the artist. A psychological assessment of said artist can be done from what they have perceived their on work to be. Sometimes an artist will describe the sky as blue because it symbolises the emotion of sadness, but for the rest of us: the sky is blue because it’s blue.

The Signified Signifier

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Semiotic theory is often disputed. Though the relevance and logic, may be much needed in everyday life, the concepts involved in such a theory are still philosophically debated. We must learn about these key theories and arguments in order to aide our own understanding of our work, for example, why we made something look the way it does. To define semiotics would restrict it too much, however, certain aspects of it may be defined.

Thought I am not a semiotician the simplest way I can define semiotics of designs, in regards to their designers, is to describe doctors as patients too. To understand semiotics an artist must become the audience for a moment to question if any given piece they are creating will work.

Anthony Burrill famously made a piece called “Oil & Water Do Not Mix”. This piece was made using a normal printing process but the ink used was replaced with slurry from an oil spill, polluted beach. In this typographical piece he has combined the signified and signifier to create a more meaningful piece. Without the context, however, the average eye would not understand the piece to its full extent and would dismiss the idea that it was anything more than a ‘state the obvious’, grunge styled poster. Perhaps those considering semiotics, should also consider the context. This piece, however did work, due to the fact that Burrill released a video to coincide with this. The video, then became the signifier, and the poster, the signified.

Context can help define what a symbol, icon or index means. For example: the colour red has many meanings but when put into the context of it being a traffic light, we learn that this means, specifically, to stop. According to guest lecturer Dawn Mellor, sometimes you can just make your artwork as literal as possible so you won’t need a context, by making metaphors a little less subtle.

With this in mind, being a bit too literal can be damaging. However, if you are attempting to be satirical about the literal, then it may not be so bad. Surrealist artist René Magritte’s art works revolving around the idea that “This is not just a-“, are a great example of this. Her original piece ‘Ceci n’ais pas une pipe’ mocks a persons view point. The image was meant to demonstrate that by being too literal you can damage the true meaning behind something. The work was attempting to say that it was not just a pipe, it was in fact a painting of a pipe, and that we weren’t being literal enough in our thinking.

When considering our own work, we need to think about how subtle we want our points to come across. If it is a point that is important, perhaps being literal is a good thing.

Guest Lecture: Dawn Mellor

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Illustrator and contemporary artist, Dawn Mellor took time out last week to give us her insights on her industry, artwork and lifestyle. Guest lectures are very important to the development of students as it gives us some knowledge of the real world. Mellor, perhaps more than other artists, has had much life experience and reflects this in her pieces.

A side from life experience, Dawn Mellor is fascinated by and takes inspiration from people and fame. She is driven by the concept of famous people taking on different roles. On exhibition she showed us was based around Helen Mirren. Helen Mirren’s role of the queen inspired many people, so seeing Mirren in such roles such as a house made with filthy fetishes, it makes an audience question.

Moving on from her disturbing depictions of various characters, she also exploited current events. After the passing of Michael Jackson, she released a book she had made prior to this event, of her portraiture of the King of Pop. Although the ethics of this may be questionable, this has shown that exploiting a market and a given situation can often work in an artist’s favour and should be considered.

With this rebellious attitude in mind, Mellor refuses to have her artwork analysed critically with her personal history as a context. She argued that the majority of her artwork did not have meaning as such, and was made “Just ‘Cause”. The excuses for her artwork mostly involved around feminism and not her tragic past, though the fractured, defaced portraits and her attitude may have suggested otherwise.

Though this lecture may not have been helpful in the practical side of things, it certainly taught me about the criticism and scrutiny our own work will come under and how we shouldn’t react. I also learnt that although being choosy with where you work can aide in you feeling more comfortable, sometimes you need to be open and find a way to be passionate about anywhere you work. First impressions count, and having an attitude towards a certain employer or curator can cause a lot of problems in the future. Nobody would hire a person for a second time if they didn’t like that individual.

Animation Considerations

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I recalled seeing this video a few years ago at my family’s church. I think that from an animation stand point, perhaps this may be a better idea, with the time constraints we have on this project.

Whilst using digital tutors, I have slowly been learning how to use an active camera setting in Adobe After Effects. This would create a similar effect. With the ability to still use my own drawing style and combine these new lessons with the ones we are currently learning about simple animations, I could easily create an animation in this manner.

Trial and error will be the pinnacle of learning how to attempt this. With the deadline approaching, I work well under pressure, so I am excited to work until the end of this project.