Friday, 30 October 2009

Scary Review!

Today ive had my Autumn term review. It turned into another council Gemma session, which was abit embarassing but I do feel a bit calmer in my thought process even if I am still bloody confused. 
I was given some useful feedback in terms of what I should be doing next. I definatly need to have a clear concept of what im trying to achieve with this project. I am going to start writing down what I want to achieve and produce, how I want it too look and the message I am trying to communicate, That  will be my plan of action.
Ive been really struggling with this silence prject and I just dont seem to be getting anywhere, so it was made clear to me that I need to sit back and think. What am I passionate about? What do I want to create?
Clinton made a really good comment which I think will really help me move on in the project...

What do I want to make today?

Make it exciting, Dont be boring....

Libby Scarlett.

Libby was a student from Manchester Metropolitan who graduated last year with a degree in Design and art direction. She came too talk to us about her journal. Libby was highly marked on her journal and I can see why. It was beautifully made in a bounded box, encasing cards which housed the different aspects of her third year, required for the journal section of the year. Mack had mentioned that we don’t get any extra marks for doing a gorgeous hand crafted journals but I agree with Libby when she said that if you are going to make something that is about yourself and personal to you and your experience of third year, why not spend a little extra time and make it something that you can keep or even use as part of your portfolio. One of Libby's comments was too make the journal interesting and not boring, and to do it as you go along, which I am trying to do at the moment!!

I was getting worried about the evaluative writing on the lecture series as a few times in previous years I haven't been that impressed by the designers work shown or it just didn't match the work that I would normally be interested in, but Libby mentioned that you should always find something to take from the lesson. 

It is clear that its important to have a cultural mix in our journals so I think I need to travel more, watch and review more films and definatly venture outside of my 'box'.

Libby's lovely journal.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Finding clients will be the main battle of your career...

So Graham came too talk a little bit about self promotion. This lecture had to be one of the most motivating and useful lectures of this year. I came home thinking how I wanted to promote myself in the design industry. What my message is as a 'designer' and how and what I was to do to get myself noticed. Graham started the lecture with a couple of quotes; 

'Self promotion is the one aspect of design that cannot be taught', I can see where Graham is coming from on this one. Self promotion is so personal to yourself, and the message you are trying to put across is something that has to be personal to you.

'You are really out on a limb and on your own with this one, and the pitfalls are numerous: should it be funny or serious?' I see this as definatly something to think about, when in many situations you only have a business card to communicate with a perspective client. Im all for humour in work and I think a lot of the time people take a lot of things just too seriously but I think that there’s a fine line that needs to be acknowledged between being too funny and a serious worker in terms of getting the job done quickly and effectively. I need to start thinking about where my own boundaries lie.

Graham outlined the need for self promotion in the competitive and fast pace area of graphic design. He said that the ways of getting yourself noticed are Identity, portfolio, Websites and printed literature, All of which I really need to work on. He also stressed the idea of going the extra mile, don’t stop at designing a business card, make the compliment slips, the letterheads, the little stickers you put on the envelope fit in with the identity you are trying to create. This is in parts showing that you are a serious designer who doesn't leave anything unconsidered.

Graham spoke of and showed images of the identity he designed for 'Via' design company. I unfortunately cant find any images of there work or identity on the internet to show you, but I really loved it. He had used his surroundings within the via office to create something visually appealing yet personal to the company. From the font of the logo to the pattern on the back of the letters and the colours and imagery chosen for the compliment slips. Everything linked together which looked really considered, when actually it was the financial struggles which inspired the designs in the first place. 

Graham had some helpful tips, and it was good to have someone talk in such an honest and frank way. One of the tips was to always leave a compliments slip when sending out work because its the extra details which is what graphic design is all about. 

Graham mentioned the importance of having a business card, not to mention always having a selection on you. Give them too everyone. Even make them unique by having a number of options of colour and stock to provoke conversation with the possible client requesting your card. Graham showed us his business cards which were printed on all different coloured papers, as were his compliments slips and letterheads.

The main message throughout the lecture which I found really hit home and has been helpful in my thought pattern, is that its all about the message you are trying to give out. What do I want say as designer about myself or the work I am creating? This was not only helpful in my ideas for self promotion but also in my project work which I am finding difficult to conceptualise. Graphic design is about communicating to an audience and as a designer I need to think deeply about what it is I want to communicate. 

'Finding clients will be the main battle of your career, not only to find clients to start your career, but to be constantly finding clients to keep you going.'

To keep clients coming, your work needs to stand out from the crowd, and if its only your promotional work that is being seen it needs to be different from everyone else's. Graham told us about the 'gifts' he sent to clients while at via to remind them of his and the companies ongoing work in design. The most popular being the ruler guide and also the calenders. He made a very good point, 'people like it when you send them something nice!' 

It was made clear to me that my work needs to stand out from the crowd, thats what people are looking for from the creative industry, it was good for a successful designer to reiterate that too us. 

Some more of Grahams top tips:

Keep people informed of your work (i.e. blog)

Be different and interesting.

Get your personality in there.

Be there to machine proof prints.

Get on flickr and behance.

Make the effort.

Make things personal.

Make your portfolio fit your identity.

Do great work to get noticed.

Overall I found Grahams lecture so helpful. It has really motivated me to start thinking about where I want to go as a designer and the ways in which I could 'promote' myself. It was definatly a thought provoking lecture and one of my favorites. I definatly want to start designing my business card, postcards and maybe start producing limited edition prints to get myself noticed. I cant wait to get cracking, and thought Graham was inspiration to us all.

Grahams Business card.

Identity work for 'The Lab'.

Identity workfor 'Belyfeel'.

Identity work for 'Interval'.

Identity work for 'Loose Collective'.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


I have finally done the kino4 project and it feels like weight has been lifted off my shoulders. The process wasnt as scary as id expected, and I probrably shouldnt have left it as late as I did. 
I decided to give myself a days limit to start and finish the project and I felt the pressure worked well for me. I wish I could do all my projects in this way! Id done research into the films in the summer and watched a couple of the films (Stalker and mirror). I decided that I wanted the posters to be informative and describe the different genres within the film so people could decide whether they would enjoy the film and ultimatly go and watch it. I started by listing all the types of films, i.e. comedy, horror, romance and thought of colours that I felt linked together.  I wanted there to be a key and the image to work as a sort of graph. The line in the middle stands for the conventional sort of film... so the closer the coloured squares are to the line the closer they are to genre boundaries. As the sqaures move away from the line they dont conventionally fit that genre but do in some way. Im really pleased with the posters as they pose a porpose. I think the only issue is that if I was to design more posters using this idea theyd look a little boring and too much of the same. If I was too design more andI have to utilise the idea but create something that looks different to whats allready been seen.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Gerhard Richter.

After visiting the joyous machines exhibition at the TATE I had to take a trip to the gift shop. I find it dificult to go to the TATE gift shop and not buy a postcard! This time I was drawn to this piece of work by Gerhard Richter,called 4096 colours (1976). 

Joyous Machines: Michael Landy and Jean Tinguely.

Moving Art : Meta Mechanical sculpture

Photograph of Jean Tinguely.

Drawing by Michael Landy.

So on Friday I went to see the joyous machines exhibitioncurrentlyshowing at the TATE Liverpool. This exhibition focused upon the connection between the work of Jean Tinguely (1925-1991), one of the most radical, inventive and subversive sculptors of the mid twentieth-century, and renowned British artist Michael Landy, who has been significantly influenced by Tinguely and his constructive and destructive tendencies. Landy is best known for ‘break down’ which saw him catalogue and destroy every single one of his possessions, from his birth certificate to his car. The documentary was showing in the exhibition and I couldn't help but be fascinated by this (what I find) ‘silly’ thing to do.

Jean Tinguely’s early work was all about the kinetic energies of art. He created moving pieces of art/sculpture which were really cool to watch and interactive getting the audience involved with the pieces of design. My favourites were the spirograph style drawings created with the machines Jean had made. One which stood out was the drawing by Eva De Buren on the meta matic machine. This work was really inspiring as it left room for mistake and failure, which was all dependent on the machine. This is something that I have been worried about within my own work, this exhibition has shown me that sometimes it is valid to make mistakes. 

Landy co-curated Joyous Machines: Michael Landy and Jean Tinguely, and devoted special attention to Tinguely’s rarely examined early career, tracing the development of Tinguely’s work from the late 1940s building up to his momentous Homage to New York. This, the most famous and influential of all ‘auto-destructive’ works of art, was a 27ft high self-destroying mechanism that came to life for 27 minutes before catching fire during a performance in the Sculpture Garden of the Museum of Modern Art, New York on 17 March 1960. 

‘For Tinguely, New York was where humankind was closest to the machines it had created. Homage to New York was a celebration of modern life, the machine, technology, commerce, production and waste. Mimicking the pace and fluctuations of contemporary urban life. Its ingenuity, parody and susceptibility to the unpredictable, addressed fears about a new age at the start of the decade.’ 

Dare I say it, I didn't actually ‘understand’ a lot of the thinking behind the self destroying machine. I think I was missing something. Towards the end of the exhibition, and when I entered the Homage To New York section, I really started to enjoy the work I was seeing. I understood that the work was trying to acknowledge the relationship between human and machine, trying to bring art closer to everyday reality. The drawings by Michael Landy were amazing and it was brilliant to see them up close and personal. It really motivated me into thinking that I should just get on with it, stop thinking Gemma and get on with it! The drawings were something to be seen, and its staggering to think he has made over 160 of these. The drawings were on such a large scale (Something I need to experiment with) but the detail was incredible. The photographs and drawings documenting the event were beautiful. I loved how the images of the people involved really captured the emotion. Id like to start thinking about how I could improve my photography of ordinary people but capturing something special.

Overall I was really impressed with the exhibiton and I am glad I made the journey to see it (even if I did feel under the weather). It was really inspiring to see someone so into what they were studying and experimenting with. It said to me that its OK to take inspiration from the works of other artists and designers. 

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Bloomberg New Contemporaries.

Feya White. 'A series of paintings, based upon moments not typical of the films they represent, addressing the way in which we experiance and watch films.'

David Price. 'Mans eternal state of fear seems a condition of all times. I draw on images from history re-working themes so as to bring them into contemporary focus.'

Richard Healey. Designs for Nicolae Ceausescus's 40,000 watt chandalier.
'Richard Healeys work centres around socio-political and creative imagination, embodied through architecture and design. Exploring the imaginary space that can exist within and in-between existing objects and places, He constructs varying setups and narratives.'

'New Contemporaries, formerly Young Contemporaries has a long and illustrious history, dating back to the first exhibition of young graduates in 1949. For the past 60 years this annual show has been dedicated to profiling the work of young, new and emerging artists at the start of their professional careers. Through its annual presence, New Contemporaries has identified serious artists from each generation and given them the opportunity to show for the first time. The premise remains the same today.' I decided to go and look at the new contemporaries exhibition at the Cornerhouse to see what new and exciting things were coming into the 'real world'. The exhibition was mainly works from people from the fine art area, although it was still interesting to look at. The illustartion work by Richard healey stood out. The pencil over print really worked. I also liked the work of Freya White, the pieces had something about them and the direction was quite magical. I wasnt keen on alot of the work shown but it was good to see how the work was exhibited and the stories behind the pieces created.

Nicola Rowlands.

Nicola Rowlands was producing and selling prints while in her third year. Maybe I should get going! 

Nicola Rowlands from last years third year came into talk to us about her work, her last year at uni, placements and general top tips for getting by as a third year! I found her work amazing and her attitude towards getting placements and doing well in the industry really inspiring. She spoke about how she would advise people on getting by with a number of really good points (attached to pretty funny images!) Being confident in what you do was top on the list and something I could do with working on. You could tell that she was confident in her work and it really showed. Next...
- Be nice to your teachers.
- Write genuine letters to possible work placements. I havent as yet emailed or written to any design agencies for work placements, im too scared to put pen to paper I dont know how im going to physically cmmunicate with a scary graphic designer!
- Go out on a limb.
- You dont have to be wacky to get noticed. Thank god, I have to be the least wackiest person!
- Make it easier for people to see your work. Make a blog and or a website. So ive got the blog up and running, next job the website.
- Be open to everything.
- Be upbeat.
- Always make tea.
- Ask questions.
- Try to blend into placement environment, act like you belong there.
- Read the news, be aware of what is going on in the world. 
- Be yourself.
- Keep in touch with people at placement.

After the lecture I decided to go on Nicolas website and blog. Her blog was really interesting (and a little scary) to look at. It was just a total log of everything she liked, had found inspiration from, had produced or was in the middle of producing. It was fun to read and the pictures she had uploaded were brilliant. It was a bit scary how much experiance she had gained while in her third year. The pace is already getting to me, I dont know how she managed to fit it all in. I hope to take on Nicolas tips and organise my third year in a similar way. 
Make something cool everyday (If I cant do that il at least try to find something cool everyday!)

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The diving bell and the butterfly.

I have to admit that this is the first kino film I have been too see and I thought it was really good. A little daunted by subtitles, I found myself getting into the film. The film was a sort of 'memorial' to Jean-Dominique Bauby, editor in chief of fashion magazine french Elle who suffered a massive stroke. The stroke left him prisoner inside his own body, only able to cmmunicate with the blinking of his left eye. Inside the diving bell, as he reffered to his memory and imagination, the butterfly remained untouched by tragedy. Using a special alphabet, Bauby went on to defy the odds and fulfil his dream of writing a book. 
The film was so moving and a real tear jerker. The beginning part of the film was very abstract and the colours and light gave a feeling of how it might feel to be partially sighted. As the film went on I found myself becoming attached to jean-do as he was reffered to, even though he was abit of a casanova! The film cut in places to beautiful moving imagery and music. I particularly liked the 'scene' where there were butterflies flying through plants, the sun was shining so much that it blocked out areas, but then in other areas the detail was gorgeous. The film was beautifully filmed and the choice of music was clever. Sometimes it didnt necesarily fit which worked reall well. I was surprised to find that the film had a sense of hunour, not a regular 'art film' viewer I was a bit sceptical as to whether it would be to serious and dare I say it boring, but this film had a good mixture of humour and serious topics. It has restored my faith in arthouse film.
The film was a real success and I would recomend it to anyone. It shows that no matter how much we think our lives could be better, it could be worse.


I have been really struggling with the silence project. I wanted to do some illustration work based on the photographs I took of trees, and I also wanted to incorperate text. I had the idea of making it seem as if the text was the light coming through the trees. I started by drawing on different pieces of tracing paper, and layered them up to create a 'succesfull' pattern. I was really worried about how it looked in the beginning but it had taken so long I was determined to complete it! I took inspiration from some of Si Scotts work. 
Ive created two versions of the piece one which is just a simple line drawing and one which you can see (above) is coloured in. Im not to sure how I could take this further within the project so I am just going to put it to one side as a creative experimentation. 

After a seminar with Mack I have been given some inspiration on how I can think more concetually and give my project some meaning. Ive been suffering really badly with 'Artists block' and I have been encouraged to work around ths subject. I want to work with the idea that when you are silent, it is the noisiest time within your head, and I find that when I cant produce succesfull pieces of design my head is full of negative thoughts. 

I am now starting to make altered books and collages, bringing in concrete poems to further this project. Im sure il be blogging my progress soon! 

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Tim Bret-Day and David Bray.

Agent Provocateur ad campaign, Tim Bret-Day.

I was reading the Metro newspaper and I came across this article about the new ad campaig for agent provocateur. It was an account of the ad by freelance illustrator David Bray. The campaign was shot by Tim Bret-Day and features Daisy Lowe, Peaches Geldof, Alice Dellal and Helena Christenson. David Bray spoke about the 'Witches' campaign as inspriing, through its depth and scale. Bray said that the ads combination of lighting, casting and staging was 'like a hybrid of Helmut Newton, Caravaggio and Hogarth.' 'This ad certainly pushes the boundaries even further.' 
I think the ad looks amazing the lighting and the styling is so magical and in my opinion does what fashion photography should do which is transport us mere mortals to somewhere new and exciting. 
David Bray
David Bray
David Bray
Tim Bret-Day

Tim Bret-Day

Kate Greenaway.

I took a visit to the special collections library this week and loved looking at all the old chidrens books. I love looking back over childhood, and particularly looking at the victorian era of childhood. I came across this gorgeous book illustrated by Kate Greenaway, entitled The Kate Greenaway Treasury. The illustrations were beautiful and I couldnt help but take too many photographs of the endless pictures. Ill definatly be going back to the special collections library and hopefully this will help me in my future projects.

The story of things.

"In a museum ‘things’ sit beside one another in sometimes unlikely combinations. They tell something of their own story but also produce new narratives, just by being together.

Working with MMU Special Collections, including the North West Film Archive, Carson & Miller have curated an exhibition that explores ideas of narrative, memory and collections. MMU academic Dr. Patricia Allmer (Research Fellow, MIRIAD) explores the activities of Carson & Miller in an essay written to accompany the exhibition: On Being Touched.

A new artists’ book by Carson & Miller – Scrapbook (the story of things) – has been published by MMU Special Collections to coincide with the exhibition.

In tandem to The Story of Things a Righton Press publication will be launched. Stilled Lives is a new collaborative work bringing together artists, designers, poets and writers from across MMU. Edited by Carson & Miller this limited edition volume features a striking and thoughtful range of responses to the books held in MMU Special Collections, provoking further explorations of narrative, memory and collections."

The exhibition held in the special collections section of the library was something that I had been interested in seeing for a while, It was just my sort of thing. I enjoy looking at old and interesting things, especially ones that have a story to tell. The exhibition comprised of a number of random objects placed together. While visiting the exhibition I didn’t really understand what was going on and what the relevance of these objects were, so with a shallow way of thinking I just took inspiration form the objects on show and the photographs I took. A 'highlight' of the exhibition was the 'stilled lives' book. Sue had showed us the beginnings of this book last year while we in her 'Modern Myth Lab' workshop group. It was good to see the final outcome, and the work inside really inspired me to look further into the special collections library. My favourite pieces in the book, were that of Jacqueline butler, 'garden weeds', Hilary Judd, 'the books I read while waiting for my father', Susan Platt, 'strange library' and Lucy May Schofield, 'in search'. Hilary Judds illustration work was beautiful and definatly stood out for me the most. The book was beautifully bound and embossed on the front, Something id really like to learn how to do!

MMU MA Show 2009.

I seem to be drawn to old baby shoes!

Bushra Bodla, MA Textiles.

Ya-Nung Huang, MA Design and Art direction.

I visited the MMU MA show this week as I was passing through the Holden gallery. The exhibition was small and there were only about eight peoples work on display. I particularly liked the design and art direction student, Ya-Nung Huangs work, which consisted of collage and illustration on plane tickets and was displayed in an installation style exhibit. The images that he had drawn were beautifully executed ad overall the piece looked really professional. I liked his work because although it was displayed as an installation piece, it could be transferred to any medium. This is something I would like to mirror in my work, by creating work that a perspective client could see and imagine being shaped into whatever they needed. Another piece of work that I enjoyed was Textiles student Bushra Bodla's work, She had used different papers, materials and wall paper to create wildlife that seemed to be resting on printed wallpaper. The work was very 'intricate' and visually appealing. Although this was a piece of textile work it could easily inspire my work as an artist and designer. 

The work I saw at the exhibition really inspired me to make my work look as professional and well finished as possible and gave me new and innovative ways of display styles. It showed me that the boundaries of course description are blurred some what, as a lot of the time it was hard to tell when looking at the work which subject that student studied.


I have been spending alot of time thinking about the 'silence' brief, mainly brainstorming about how i can think more conceptually about the word silence and what it means. To inspire myself a little further I decided to play around with the images I had taken. 

This photograph was taken at Chester. The original looked a bit washed out and it didnt have much power behind it. I think the image looks more like sience now and shows that silence may have a story to tell which is a strapline I will be using in furthering my work in this project.

All of these photographs were taken in Whitworth park, I felt they needed something a little extra. I made the images black and white and tried to make the contrast more obvious. I am going to start experimenting with illustration based on these photogarphs in this project. Leading onto a book making. Ive always been interested in these subjects and I think it is a good way for me to encourage creativity in my work, and to take the project further.

Silence has a story to tell.