Monday, 18 February 2013

Collages inspired by Pop Art and Architecture

I feel the magnetic pull of old piers and dodgems. Photo by Kirsty E Smith
So much time is spent simmering creative ideas just below my consciousness. Those moments... hours even, when I am half awake and half asleep, I play with memories, ideas and shapes in my head. I feel like I am experimenting with ideas for new work; ‘drawing’ even. 
But if you don’t use these as inspiration to make a physical piece of work soon (and while the idea is still fresh) do these fragile virtual drawings then get forgotten? Too much worrying about not being in the studio over the winter months I think!

I have been reviewing my photo library and have rediscovered some of my favourite images and I have been reflecting on what it is exactly that I love about each image.

The cafe in the (Norman Foster) Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich. Photo by Kirsty E Smith
I love the stillness and the complete absence of people in tis photo (above), it has an eeriness about it.

Photo by Kirsty E Smith
The concrete legs on this pier - I can imagine it being some sort of huge and slowly moving concrete dinosaur. It feels animated, it's strange; your mind sees what it wants to see.

Photo by Kirsty E Smith
I love the stark diagonals of this supporting steel frame currently on the building site in the middle of Fitzrovia, London.

I enjoy the speedy decisions made about composition that I make when using my camera; it is just an old ‘point and press’ and I use it frequently especially because I have it in my handbag at all times. I would like a better camera but I don’t want to lose the ability to take spontaneous photographs.

I am always looking at everything that I see, it doesn’t have to be a special occasion, daily life is completely full of interesting visual nuggets. Of course we are saturated by images not just in real life but also ones shared online, but even though I occasionally save other people’s images for my image bank, really for me it is not solely the image that I have captured but also about having physically been in that place myself. The image is about so much more: How did I feel when I took it? Was I alone or with other people? Was I cold or warm? lonely? tired? excited? curious?

Actually I am always curious.

In the past I have done lots of life drawing, some painting, experimented with pen and ink and plenty with other drawing mediums. My passion for 3D may have originated from early years of sewing and dressmaking but however much I love 3D there are limitations of only having 3D work to show in exhibitions. 

I am always interested in images, mark making and drawings by sculptors and back in 2008 at the Drawn To Sculpture symposium at Fermynwoods Gallery I was privileged enough to hear Doug Cocker talk about his practice and to also leaf through some of his sketch books.

"I like the idea of drawing as the drawing process is efficacious for me precisely because, within my practice, its the complete opposite to the trials of making. There are aspects integral to drawing sessions which play little part in the making of sculpture..........spontaneity, irrationality, speed of production,self indulgence, unconcern for" accuracy ", "rightness" or notions of resolution............For me the two activities are interdependent though quite different." Doug Cocker 

A couple of weeks ago I was stopped in my tracks by a 2D work by Neville Boden (1929-1996) which is currently on show in Polychromies: Surface, Light and Colour at Leeds City Art Gallery. The piece was drawn and collaged using paint and foil on paper. The shapes were simple and I feel that Boden managed to distill the image down to the perfect combination of colour, form and drawing materials. Sadly because of copyright I can’t share an image of this piece.

Wolverhampton Art Gallery has a renowned Pop Art collection and on a recent visit to the gallery the mirrored surface, bold shapes and strong colour of this 1964 screen print by Peter Phillips jumped out at me. 

Untitled by Peter Phillips 1964. Photo by Kirsty E Smith
Melanie Russell is an artist whose usual medium is paint but she has also made works using collage. She says that she likes to work with the luxurious surfaces of expensive magazines, I like these two collages in particular. 

I like the compositions of some of my own photographs so much that I have decided to use them as starting points for my own collages. 

The interior of the fire station designed by Zaha Hadid, Vitra Museum Weil am Rhein. Photo by Kirsty E Smith
I still want to use materials that are appropriate to the aesthetics of my 3D works (Frillip Moolog beings) so at this point I think that I will start with heavy and substantial card and paper. I know that I have a weakness for sparkle (that is most likely why I was so drawn to the Neville Boden piece in Leeds and the Peter Phillips screenprint in Wolverhampton) so a good supply of mirrored surfaces and metallic pens will also be on my collage supplies shopping list.

The Lumen Centre, Tavistock Place. Beautiful concrete and lighting,  but how will this look in its collage version? Photo by Kirsty E Smith 
It is spring and about time that I had a surge of creativity.

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