Research File 2

by Aless
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Humans of NewYork is both a magazine, book and online site that archives a collection of photographs literally of the inhabitants of NewYork City. The simple but innovative idea was created by photographer Brandon Stanton back in 2010. Brandon began this idea by literally going out into the streets of NewYork asking people with some sort of uniqueness that he obviously saw in them if he could take there picture. Back then people probably would've said no, but seeing as he as well as the name 'Humans Of NewYork' are so big that people want to have there picture taken by Brandon as it's for them a way into stardom.

I felt that even though Brandon isn't classed by all to be an 'artist', however as a photographer I found that his idea of taking pictures of the everyday person fitted in perfectly with my work for this project. My initial final piece idea was to go out and take pictures of London and be able to share with others what I managed to 'Witness' within that one day, I wanted to be able to however unlike Brandon capture London and its inhabitants in a more natural state, so get photographs of them without having to actually tell them, just capture them in the moment.

Another reason as to why I found Brandon's images that more fascinating over any other photographer was that he manages to choose his subject because of there appearance and personality, some or even majority of photographers always look for that particular look of a person, they just sometimes glance past many many opportunities where they could capture a perfect moment, however Brandon does capture them and shares it with the world. It also allows others to see the wide and various variety in culture that NewYork inhabits and not just the stereotypical working class business person.

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Furthermore, it's the use of colour and contrast that he manages to capture which again relates to the theme and also style of his photographs, seeing as NewYork is already a beautiful and saturated city, he tries to capture the vast variety of colour not only in the person from their clothing and skin tone, but also that subjects background, by combing the two together, it allows the image to carry with it the emotion that the subject was feeling and has been experiencing at that moment to which they passed onto Brandon so that he could capture it. I felt that This is briefly the same conceptual idea that I would like to develop in my final piece, but instead of having the whole image as one big pallet of colours, change the image to black and white and only highlight one part of that image which I feel is the main focus point, then revert it back to colour.

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The Chapman Brothers are English visual artists who's aim in the art world is to visually shock and abuse its audience. Both Dino and Jake are very renown for their blasphemed and ridiculed pieces of art that only some would love to look at. I chose to research The Chapman Brothers as I find their work to be very bold and in a way perceived as a statement in an art form. They love to take things not only s step further but completely cross the boundaries of what is socially unacceptable and make it so that it is acceptable. One of their most famous pieces is a sculptural installation is of a group of Nazi's that are being the audience and looking at other pieces of work in the gallery.

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The Chapman brothers are interested in not inventing new ideas or new pieces of art that have new context behind them, etc, they simply want to reinvent something that has already been created and obviously portray this idea/theme in a more horrific and socking way. They're interested in the relationship between humour and horror because they believe that we think through the acting of laughing that it is the most appropriate approximation of the notion of death as a survivable event; clearly death is not but humour is. They also look to be bold and redefine what art is, growing up loving the horror genre they looked further into bringing that theme and experience of viewing a horror film to the art world.

In relation to my idea, I and The Chapman Brothers are both trying to take that one step forward that not a lot of artists would do purely because they are frightened of being ridiculed for what they have done. I am trying to deal with manipulating the idea of Catholicism and specifically the Bible. The Chapman Brothers have also done this in pieces of works like "The Milk Of Human Weakness II" Where they portrayed Mary with a decaying facial structure and baby Jesus with tentacles sprouting out of his mouth.

 

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'The Milk Of Human Weakness II'

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 'God does not love you -O.M.F.G'

 Oil on Canvas

 2011

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This idea of being able to manipulate religion has always intrigued me as it is such an 'on the fence' theme to explore. Jake Chapman once said...

"When you make a piece of art there are certain expectations that convent upon you as an artist which are the expectations of the viewer, that that piece of art should somehow say something about someone or represent the world in the correct way. We try to underwhelm that idea of aspirations and subvert the typical way of expectations for the audience".

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The Chapman Brothers's etchings are at first glance extremely sinister both visually and mentally, to even consider drawing a teddy bear that looks like it's decaying away is just a gruesome thought. However they look to shock the audience and subvert that stereotypical expectation for the audience.

There etchings in relation to my idea fit almost hand in hand. They generated a series of sketches that look like children books and even dot to dot drawings, however unlike usual children's book drawings these looked like something from a horror film. The characters on the books would have sharp teeth, all drawn in black and white with no colour and generally have over-exaggerated features to make their appearance even more terrifying. I liked the idea of taking something so childish and manipulating it in such a way that it's purpose is now lost, event hough it would still be okay to read the books or do the drawings, a child could not do this and so it's alienating it's target audience. This is what I wanted to capture within my piece of work, by taking something and then manipulating it in such a way that it can not be used purely because of it's appearance and context.

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Maurizio Cattelan is an Italian artist from Flori. Cattelan is known for his juxtaposition works that sometimes have a negative representation of the subject he has dealt with as well as shocking his audiences with his art. He is more renown for his satirical sculptures one in particular that he did was a sculpture of what seemed to be from the back a little boy praying but from the front, you are welcomed by the face of Adolf Hitler which in itself is very satirical and some even find offensive.

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'Him'

 Sculptural Installation

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Cattelan in relation to my work is one piece in particular. He did a sculpture of Pope John Paul II being struck down and crushed by a meteorite. clearly this is a bold statement; he is suggesting the conflict and differences between science and religion and it's portrayed through a satirical way. Those who aren't of the catholic faith and even those whom are atheist would see the funny side of this piece even though it's representing death (again relating to what the Chapman Brothers believed in presenting within their own works). However those who are of the catholic faith and the church would find this extremely disrespectful and shame it as blasphemy.

 

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"Cattelan often utilises themes and motifs from art of the past and other cultural sectors in order to get his point across.His work was often based on simple puns or subverts clichéd situations by, for example, substituting animals for people in sculptural tableaux. Frequently morbidly fascinating, Cattelan’s dark humour sets his work above the simple pleasures of well-made visual one-liners."

- Wikipedia

This paragraph explains what Cattelan is interested in doing when he generates pieces of art. He likes to make fun of various systems of order whether this be social, political, religious niceties or just a generally aimed towards having a little criticism at the art world.

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Definition of Satire

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Furthermore, whats interesting is the fact that Cattelan has not made any of his works, all his does is generate the ideas and then gets master craftsman to produce the works for the world to see what he has imagined.

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Paul Klee was a Swiss painter who is more renown for his childlike pieces of work. Klee was influenced by movements in art that included expressionism, cubism and surrealism which are all clearly recognisable themes to identify within his works yet some may differ with this. Klee generally worked in isolation which meant he was not influenced to an extent by what others had to say nor there techniques, he used many of his own techniques and interpreted new art trends in his own way. As much as Klee loved to experiment with his use of combining various techniques and methods all cramming them into one piece i.e. water colour, oil, acrylic all onto one canvas, made his works stand out from the rest mainly in appearance. Through this process, Klee became a mastery of colour and tonality; he and the paints became one.

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Klee's work in relation to my own for this project is that Klee loves to use and express his ideas through the form of colour, whether this be in a painting drawing etc, he loved the use of colour. To me when I look at Klee's work, I can't help but recall childhood drawings, they look so childish and simple, as though done by a child, the use of colour and simple mark making shows that theres somethings quite elementary about his work. In relation to the idea, I looked at how he uses different paints and colours to represent or portray a certain aspect of his works, for example, he'd focus more on the foreground object rather than the background, so the background in relation to the foreground would be much more lighter marks from water colour, however the foreground would be the use of stronger colours made by acrylics and oils. This idea of layering as well as thinking about background and foreground was the technique i wanted to experiment with for my idea.

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'Scenecio'

 Gauze & Oil Paint

 40cm x 38cm

 1922

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Generally speaking I do not like the style of Klee's work however find his techniques such as combining all paints onto one single canvas as well as his passion of colour and usage of it highly intriguing and quite exciting to read and learn about.

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Bryan Lewis Saunders is very well known for mainly his eerie art performances as well as his words when speaking poems on stage, however he is also renowned for generating a self-portrait of him nearly everyday of his life since 1995. In relation to my final piece idea, Brian for 11 days back in 2001 did an experiment in which he ingested or inhaled a different intoxicant everyday and created a self-portrait under the influence whilst documenting the effects of his altered perception. I found this to be very interesting as I was also looking into the perception of drug related effects; in terms of my idea I wanted to draw the drug rather than actually consume it.

The outcomes that he produced from these self-portraits were incredible and surprisingly very accurate. He described his experience as ‘mesmerising’ and said that after taking the drugs felt very ‘lethargic’ and even suffered mild brain damage. I wanted to explore myself how we all think differently about various effects of drugs based upon personal experience, media, friends and family, etc so I wanted to obtain these various perceptions through a series of drawings. My outcomes through experimentation were unlike Saunders outcomes, his were all self portraits where majority of the time you are able to recognise that it is him on the other hand my experimentations were more mark makings than self portraits.

 

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What I find very interesting about Saunders drawings are the uses of colour. Every single self-portrait has its own unique style that also has some relation to the drugs effect, for example, anti depressant drugs would be bleak with not a lot of colour in comparison to magic mushrooms that would have a huge amount of colours and patterns. Furthermore is the way his portrays himself in the picture, again each piece is unique to its own, in some cases he has drawn himself as a cartoon character, other times he looks like he is something from a picasso or van gogh painting. There is one image he created in particular caught my eye which was him under the influence of alcohol. This image I find to be one of the most interesting out of the series purely because it’s the one that most people can relate to but we all have a different experience under the influence of alcohol. It looks like a child could of drawn this image which is ironic because people say that we act childish under the influence of alcohol, furthermore his use of colour again represents that childish look, the bold scribble markings and no clear detailed objects. Finally the fact that we are unable to recognise that it is a self-portrait brings a lot more significance to this piece alone.

I think I shall be using his technique of using a variety of colours and mark makings for the basis of my final idea. By letting people use colours rather than just using a pencil and pen it gives them the freedom to express potentially their perception of under the influence.

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This is a video exploring an experiment conducted in the 1950's in the Department of Physiology at University of Southern California Medical School where an artist takes a dose of LSD and undergoes documented and analysed tests which includes drawing a picture of a male figure before during and after taking the drug.

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Marcello Barenghi isn’t as famous as most artists, but he should be considered as one. Marcello is an Italian illustrator who stopped drawing only at the age of 23 and began to draw again only in 2013; 20 years later. Now he is considered to be one of the generation’s most talented hyperrealist artists on YouTube where he has his on channel and releases time lapses of him drawing objects in real time to show off his talent.

In terms of his work, I respect those who put in a lot of effort and time to generate what I deem to be a piece of art, regardless of the size or contents. He draws as though the object is sitting on the paper right in front of you which brings the image to life. I find this technique really intriguing and wanted to adapt this into my own work.

When drawing these images, he has the actual object in front of him, positioned in the way that he prefers with the light composition to his ideal standards, once he has captured what he imagined the object to look like he then begins to draw. Some images such jewellery and glass bottles or objects with a shiny surface tend to take the longest, some may even take up to a good 7-8 hours to draw, he always uses a contrasting paper colour and never white or black background; it seems that he draws on grey paper that way it allows the reflection of white and shadows of black to contrast a lot more when on the surface of the paper.

Seeing as I wouldn’t be consuming the drug for my project, I wanted to draw the drug and capture it in extreme detail, I find that this would be the best technique to use as it would allow me to focus on minor details of the drugs such as markings, the form that they come in, shape, size and even colour.

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