Monday, 29 April 2013

Turner's Gallery!

This week Turner's has opened their gallery to show off all the 7x5 submissions! I unfortunately have to take mine down because i need it to hand in for my Final Major Project, but it did go in their gallery for about a week! Having seen everyone else's canvases I feel like we all thought out of the box, there were so many different styles and ideas and they were all equally eye catching. It felt like stepping into a gallery where snippets of art from each time period were taken and put onto the canvases. It was very nice to see that people from the community had come together to make such a lovely exhibition for a good cause! So well done to everyone!

There's mine!

Hopes, Fears & Opportunities Part II

So I think no is a pretty good time to start writing my Hopes & fears! It's 1 week until the deadline, and I'm pretty scared! With everything still digital it's making me nervous, I'll feel much better when I have more physical stuff to hand. At the minute I have a pretty big 'To-Do' list, and I've managed to get a lot of stuff crossed off. There are a couple of things left, but what's scary is that they are pretty big things, so to speak, and will be quite time consuming.

My hopes for my Final Major Project are pretty simple, my grade. It's not necessarily what I should be focusing solely on right now, but at this point I can't blame myself, since it's the one thing we have been working hard to get since we joined university, and right now it's very important to me! So I am hoping for a 2.1. Grades aside, what I want more than to leave with a grade, is to leave with a lavish portfolio of work that my style shines through on! I want to start a small brand and online shop which sells my work put into fashion (so my dress making skills can come into play after being dormant since highschool!) so for example, you could but t-shirts, skirts, hoodies, and also publish zines every few months to keep myself creative. Next year I hope to have started doing this, along side re-sitting my maths GCSE. I have already made preparation for this, since enrolling myself on a Numeracy course after Cristmas, I have been taking some afternoons out to study so I will be eligible for my GCSE course next year. Along side my learning Maths and doing some creative things, I hope to have a job as a teaching assistant. I have a few friends teaching at an college I used to attend that it very arty, so it would fit right in! This would help fund me through the year until I am able to do my PGCE in Teaching, since I want to become an art teacher.
In terms of the shows at the end of the year, I am really looking forward to making my own space. It's a good chance to start experimenting with big things like this, and it will be a lot of fun. I have also decided to get together with a few friends from surface design and illustration and attend another Teenage Market, and some of the Hand Made Market events going on. There are a couple more events in Marple & Heaton Moor run by another group of artist that does the same thing. And that reminds me, about a month ago I recieved an e-mail about my work. It was from a man who runs a similar event to those, but in Oldham, he admired my work and promised me a table if i was to attend, but unfortunately it was too close to the deadline for me to get anything extra done, so I have postponed it until next year!
During the summer holidays I will also be taking a 2 month vacation to Bulgaria to do some sight seeing and work experience. I have arranged to stay with a family there and I will be taking care of the farm and also I will be going into an Orphanage to do some fun activities with the children there.

Lastly, my fears! Yes we are here again. These last few months have been up and down. Right when I'm starting to feel good about something I become pulled down by worrying. I have had a few things go very wrong in the last few weeks and I have broken down, it has been hard to pick myself up but there is nothing I can do but to move on and try and find a way around it. I am still uncertain of my work, and I sometimes think to myself whether anyone likes it, or they are just trying to be nice. I know I've developed my style for good now, the only thing i have to perfect is professionalism. I know the past ew years my professionalism has improved a lot, but it will always need work. I have spend quite a while in Photoshop teaching myself different techniques to achieve better quality work, and it really has made the difference. Again I am struggling with time management, but the idea of 16 weeks hasn't been in my favour. I much prefer to get something done faster rather than lingering around - i have always worked that way. Having more space to fill is scary to me. I start to panic and over think and misjudge what i have to do. Towards the end it becomes a lot clearer. It's a good thing I have picked up on this because I know what kind of things I will be more suited to.

I have yet to start my animation but I know exactly how I want it to look & how I'm going to do it. I have used stop motion before so I know the basics. The only thing that has worried me a lot has been the production of my mannequins, there has been a misunderstanding with the ceramics department downstairs and it turns out my mannequin wasn't ready, so i had to get it fired last minute and (completely unrelated) it randomly turned out smashed. It was completely out of my hands and it has given me a bit of a knock today. I know what I have to do to fix it though.

Scary times!

What's left of my dolly :(

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Teenage Market

The Teenage Market is an chance for all the young artists in the stockport area to get themselves out there and have a really good time! The event is held inside the old Stockport Market Place on the 28th of April. Hannah, Katie, Lyndsay and I have been selling our designs. We attended the event not only to get ourselves out there, but to raise money for our Final Major Project Shows, so it's all for a good cause! 

The Teenage Market was such a fun event, we are all trying to figure out if we will be able to make the next Market in July, we met loads of really nice people and also bumped into a few familiar faces! It really boosts your confidence when people come to admire your work, and especially when people actually want your work. From what we learned today, we were not very prepared, since it was our first time there we quickly learnt what we should do for our next Market. It appeared that there was quite a variety of cards, so selling cards was difficult since pretty much everyone sold them. Our best seller was the Canvas bags, having sold nearly most of them! I went around to have a nosey at other peoples stalls and there was so much to choose from, from clothing & jewellery to art prints & canvases. Next time I would like to make some clothing, like different kinds of t-shirts (sleeveless, cropped) some thing a bit different. Tie-dye also seemed popular. I would also like to make more household items like tea towels, mugs, stickers, anything that can be used. I saw a lot of prints throughout the day but it didn't seem to get that much attention. 

The day was very busy, there was a radio station there, some professional dancers, and some nice local musicians doing covers of popular songs. There was also a henna artist there, which i was drawn to, but i resisted! After a long day of selling from 10am to 4pm, we managed to raise........*drum roll*...... £25! Well done to all of us!

Our stall ;)

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Portfolio Review - Major Critique!

I knew when i asked for this review it was going to be harsh, but it is necessary. My brother is a recently graduated Graphic Designer with his own company, Jan Doe. It consists of Dan and his friend from university, Joe (so Jan Doe!). He makes music and graphics / animations to go along side his music - it's all very experimental and a bit hippie! I usually stay clear from my brother because he can be very opinionated and blunt, he will not beat around the bush, but when he came up this holiday i thought it would be a good idea to ask him his opinion on my reworked portfolio. After Alan's review I got round to making it (i had it for the LBFL interview too), because I definitely wasn't going to let him see my original one (i would have cried).

When I first showed him it, he seemed to flip through it really fast, silent but just nodding his head, I assumed because it was fast that he wasn't interested or something, but he said that he liked the general layout of the portfolio itself. He told me that the circle logo that i have for myself is a bit 'blasé' though, and i should come up with something more original. I can understand why he has said this, but my logo is very fashionable right now, and since most things are trend based it would do well, but I will try and re-work it into something less over produced. He also outlined that some of the layouts in the portfolio don't work, the ones with 2 images on the page need to be better thought out, placed together a bit more cleverly and suggested that i stick to keeping images with coloured backgrounds on one page and not both. I can see why he said this - I was actually having LOADS of trouble trying to make it look okay next to each other. Also, he commented on the fact that some of the pictures were pixelated and that it's really not acceptable for something like that at the stage I am at. I didn't really expect it to pixelate so much, it was a surprise for me when i printed it out, but I have to get to grips with technology a bit more, and learn how to do things like this which he said i will absolutely need to have, on a day to day basis. 

The next thing I asked about was his opinion of my work, and how he would see it commercially. He told me that he likes the general idea & style of my work, and that it's fairly unique, though not too far away from other similar styles. He thinks the ancient look and eastern culture has it's own separate market, but is moving on to more hippie type stuff, that he could see my work being in. The work also needs to be more professional, some of the pictures still haven't been photographed and I really need to get things put onto physical items (i.e the mugs), I know how many times i have been told this, but really right now i just want to get my FMP sorted out, it is my priority. Some of the pictures also don't look 'ready' yet and some lose ends could be tied off here and there. He noted that my work has a 'young & fresh' vibe to it, and i could easily work my way into doing children's novels because it looks innocent. I agree with this, i would looooove to do some book illustrations :) 

We talked for a while longer about projects and i told him about my current project and my ideas and what i've done so far. He said my work sounds quite 'fine art' and that I should think about something more commercial if i wanted to go that way, but he also knows I have plans to become a teacher so he sees the link. He told me it would be great if i had some experience in the real world so that when i go into teaching i would be more knowledgable about that to help students, but it might be best to just let them experiment at a high school stage.

All in all it went a lot smoother than I thought it would go, and i actually got a lot out of it in terms of future plans and it's reinforced what other viewings have had to say. I still have a ways to go, but I am much closer!

Monday, 22 April 2013

My Website

For a while now, I've been keeping my Blog & Twitter as sources to show off my work and connect with other illustrators & artists. Although I did have a Tumblr, I've started to shy away fro it because of the junk people post on it. It's very fashion and trend controlled and it's something that I was into before, but now I find myself beginning to drift away from it because of that. I feel that tumblr has become childish and completely unoriginal so I have stopped using it. So i've taken to Facebook where you can choose from professional artists and you can spread your work even more, because everyone has a facebook!  I post updates of current projects on it, and I also post some personal projects on it. I like to keep it interactive and fun, so i can connect to my audience on more of a personal level, to make them feel appreciated. It's excellent for sharing work, and discovering new illustrators, inspiration, etc. I feel as though having a professional website would not be that beneficial to me, because I want to be an illustrator in my free time as a hobby rather than a profession, so having a website would not bring me anything that my Facebook doesn't. When I make a new post all the people who have liked my page will see an update, rather than having to link pages from social media pages to a proper website, its faster and much more accessible. People can also write about your service and admire your work, which is good because you can good reviews and this encourages people to take an interest in your work. Although Facebook can't be customised, It is very easy to navigate around and the design doesn't distract from what is really the most important - your work.

I also use Twitter as a way to promote myself, I always post pictures & links on there to encourage people to look at my work. Having a twitter has gotten me in close contact with some other illustrators out there, and they are all lovely people. It's really easy since you can just throw someone a tweet and from my experience, I've had more replies to my tweets than I have had e-mails! People are addicted to their Twitter & Facebook accounts, so it is something they check every minute, not once every day! On twitter, people appear to be human, and you can relate to general tweets that people write. Twitter makes me feel better, knowing peoples thoughts are similar to mine! :)

I did however, recently decide to have a website where you could just access my Images in a simple layout, and browse through them. I thought this would be best instead of complaining about websites! So i made another blogger, with a plainer layout, with just information on a need to know basis, so just the pictures and a very short description about them & the year it was made. This is good from a professional point of view, since it is essentially an easy to access online portfolio of my work. It does the job of a professional website and it's free! People are also able to share their thoughts (which doesn't crowd the main page) bt it's just a click away to view it. The only thing you can't actually do is buy the work, but it's not really for sale so that's no problem. Contact details have been added so you can arrange a purchase that way. Easy! I named it Red Jay Design after my new thought out business name, so people will remember it that way.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Inspiration from every corner

In my own time i often take to twitter and blogger to discover more people like me to find inspiration and nice things to fill up my archive, and i've come across some really nice personal blogs of a couple of illustrators, artists and photographers I really just want to commend. 


Annarack is a jack of all trades. I've been visiting and re visiting her blog many times now, and every time theres more artsy stuff to feed me for the day. She does a selection of illustrations and photographs, and also makes her own merchendise. I've also come to notice that a lot of new artists are taking to Etsy to sell their products and spread their news  on social media sites to keep buyers coming. A useful element to having a successful shop that i have picked up on is having everything easily reproducible, for example, you can sell prints of your work in simple pieces of framed paper, or create a zine and have it reproduced. The main audience for these types of things are other artists looking for inspiration. Artist to artist trade is probably a good route to go down when getting yourself started, because you start to gain important contacts and friends within the industry, it also creates a healthy community to share your work and inspiration. I've also noticed a lot of successful artists tend to sell their goods on apparel and jewellery, which is also a very good use for work. I personally find artwork more appealing when i can wear it and make my look unique (and not everything from top shop!). It's important to a lot of youngsters today to be completely unique and have things which appear 'unobtainable' to reach a higher social status. Anyway, moving on to my quick interview with Annarack, it's interesting to hear what she has to say about her experiences in the art world! 

What is the first thing you do when you need a bit of inspiration?

A great source of inspiration for me is going out for walks to refresh my mind. I also do a lot of research through books, Tumblr and Pinterest.

Are there any specific artists that inspire you? Why?

There are so many that I love and find inspiring, illustrators like Nigel Peake and Lizzy Stewart have influenced me in the sense of imagery and colour.

Are there any classic artists (e.g Picasso) that inspire you?

I'm not really into art, especially modern art. I do however love a bit of Monet, Hans Holbein and Renaissance period art. But I wouldn't say they inspire me, its just that I like them.

Where did you study art?

I went too Cumbria Institute of the Arts and studied 'Contemporary Applied Arts', qualifying as a Printer and Weaver.

Do you have any ongoing theories or meanings within your work ?

I just draw whatever takes my fancy at the time. I do base some of my illustrations  on what is in the fashion and on trend.

What methods and techniques do you use when making your illustrations?

There is lots of doodling and sketching out of ideas in creating new illustrations and jewellery designs. I always bring a little sketchbook with me when I go for days out so if I see anything that inspires me I will doodle it down. I also bring my camera with me everywhere I go to document things of interest to me, that I think I can translate into an illustration.

How do you go about putting yourself out in the art world?

Ever since I set my blog up it has enabled me to share not just my illustrations, but the processes involved in creating them. It also links up to all my other sites like Flickr and Twitter. Blogging is one of the best platforms to promote your work.

What kinds of art are you more likely to purchase? E.g a print, a t-shirt, a zine?

I love collecting lots of prints from some of my favourite illustrators and plastering them on my walls. I also love to collect zines, stickers and badges.
What kinds of your artwork sell the best?

My hand drawn jewellery is my best seller.

Anna x

I want to say thank you so much anna for your wonderful insight, I am preparing for the world outside now and things like this really help me think about how I will cope. I also admire your honestly within your answers, as I can tell it comes from the real you. Thanks again anna! :)

Here is her Twitter

Here is her Blog

Go check it out!