Ed Ruscha is an American artist well known in the air movements, Pop Art, Dada, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism and Conceptual Art. The work that has inspired my final piece is the series, ‘Metro Mattresses’, 2015, which was on show in Sprueth Magers from 2015 to 2016.
Ruscha noticed abandoned mattresses on the streets of L.A. and started photographing them. He described the mattresses as, “not just litter in the landscape but more like scary animals.”
The artwork shows only an old mattress, but it is very captivating. The worn mattresses have rips and stains, each stain showing the intimacy and experiences the mattress has been through. The style of painting shows the creases and stains clearly. The neutral background also exposes the mattresses so the viewer is focusing only on the painting.
This artist is important to my development and final pieces because although my work has a different meaning, Ruscha’s mattresses are very similar to my paintings and how he looked out for the abandoned mattresses to make artwork. Ruscha was intrigued by the fact the mattresses were abandoned and just left on the side of the road. This is like my artwork as I am trying to show furniture that has been dumped on the side of the road, symbolising being unwanted like the homeless.
The piece of work that sticks out in my mind when thinking about an outcome that has failed is the pinhole camera project from field.
I created the pinhole camera in a way that I was told would work. I used a pringles container and painted the inside with black acrylic paint, this was to stop the light reflecting around the foil inside. I painted the clear lid black and put a black piece of cardboard in the lid to stop any light being able to pass through.
Then I added the pin hole in the lid and used photographic paper from the dark room.
I went outside and used the camera, exposing the paper inside for 30 seconds, then developed the paper and nothing happened. I also tried the camera inside for different amounts of exposure time but still, nothing happened.
The pink paper and brown marbled effect are pretty and definitely different from everybody else but not the outcome I expected or wanted. Maybe I used the wrong paper?
The field project that influenced my field final piece was Colour is Light. In this project, I was taught about colour theories and how to create a paper sculpture using silk screen prints. I love printing and how quickly I can create artwork using the technique.
This was my first final piece. I think the prints look good on the metal grid and the bits of paper weaved around the grid makes my own stamp on the work. However, I do think it looks very similar to Frank Stella’s, Shoubeegi.
I decided to create the work again using African fabric from an artist I know in Uganda. I imitate the swirls, bright colour and controlled messiness in Shoubeegi but have put my own touch by using material instead of paper and plaiting, twisting and tying the fabric on the grid. The printed part of this workshop has carried on in this piece as I have used printed fabric from Africa.
At the beginning of the year, I participated in the material project, You and Me. In this project, I created portraits of myself that best showed me. I learnt that not every portrait has to show a face and that you an object could represent you better than what a photograph would.
I photographed my coat. This is my favourite item of clothing and I feel it best shows me. The creases represent that the coat has been lived in. My jumper that I wear on a typical cold day is underneath as I have worn this outfit endlessly.
I was inspired by this and decided to use the same idea of a portrait using objects to convey the message in my final piece. The paintings of the unwanted household furniture represent how a typical homeless person feels. They don’t show a facial portrait but the meaning behind the paintings is portraying the same. I used cardboard to paint the furniture on as cardboard represents the homeless as they sleep on it, sit on it, eat on it, etc, it’s like their home.
From my conversation with the homeless girl, ‘unwanted’ was one of the words she said she felt. I thought about how to convey this in artwork. I was on a walk near my village and was shocked by the amount of junk that was thrown on the side of the road. The junk is unwanted, and so was that homeless girl. I decided to look for more household furniture, there were loads of household furniture that had been dumped on the side of the road.
Here are a few examples.
I am going to paint the furniture onto cardboard. Cardboard is something a lot of homeless people use to live on. The paintings of the unwanted household furniture will reference to homeless people and how homeless people live outside. It is important that I use household furniture to show homeless people are unwanted in their home. The furniture is in the snow which shows the types of conditions homeless people have to live in.
Below, are photographs to show the progress of some of the paintings I have created from these images.
I have taken the technique of using underpainting, something I learn in the material projects at the start of the year.
I am going to create more paintings and find new images in different weather types.
Throughout my first year at Cardiff Metropolitan, I have participated in many different classes and workshops. The new skill I have learnt is silk screen printing. I have never had the chance to create silk screen prints and really enjoy how quickly you can print.
I was first introduced to screen print in the material project, Today, Tomorrow, Yesterday, September. In this project, I had to create a diary type of outcome. I looked at plants and flowers from where I lived, at uni and places I visited and kept a rough diary of what they looked like.
Here are a few example from this material project.
I also used screen printing in the field project, Colour is Light. This project explored light and colour theory and sculpture using the prints.
I think I will definitely use silk screen printing in my work in year 2 as I really appreciated being able to use the print room and create works like the ones shown in this post.
Previously, I created this painting inspired by Frida Kahlo which shows myself with a part of brain showing with thoughts/ feelings linked to a colour of string which indicates the colour I thought resembles the feeling, e.g. blue for sad, yellow for happy.
I wanted to use this idea of colours representing a feeling again, but in a slightly different way.
I created these pieces of folded cardboard that look rather distressed and worn to resemble a homeless persons bed. I used coloured thread to indicate different things homeless people feel and different factors in their life, I especially looked at the conversation with the homeless girl I had and what she told me to help with these pieces. I looked at the painting with the different coloured thread to the different feeling for reference when choosing the colours.
Black represents depression, purple represents anxiety, blue represents sadness. The brown colour represents fear, the green/ brown colour is meant to be drugs. I researched what colour the new street drug, Spice was and it was this kind of colour, this is to show the over use of the drug and the impact it has on their life. The red symbolises family. Notice how the string is cut off and fraying, this was done purposely to show that the family life is broken. This is a main factor of why people are homeless.
I think this piece of work shows what I wanted to portray. The texture is rough and symbolises how the homeless people sleep rough. The colours are a subtle way of showing how homeless people feel and factors that make their life. The way the thread is wrapped around the cardboard shows that the problems thoughts/ problems are always in their life.
The message could be clearer but I am trying to work on not being so literal with my project outcomes. I also think the thread could look much more distressed to further show that it symbolises a homeless persons life. I could use more material to indicate that this is about homelessness.