Learning Journal -Visual Studies 1 – Concept

Visual Studies 1 is the first module in my FdA in Contemporary Art Practice. The Power of Light. We were given a few buzzwords and ideas in classes but naturally I’ve chosen none of those and gone off on a bit of a tangent, albeit and interesting and thought provoking tangent. As it’s the first module it’s very daunting and stressful but also a really wonderful start to my course. In the first few weeks I’ve  researched and discovered some amazing new artists and influences and also experimented and learned about new materials and media to work and create with. From oil painting on canvas, printing with ink to photography and digital art. My first piece is going to be a sculpture and I hope to include as many of these different materials as I can, a sort of 3D Dada collage… At least that’s how I see it in my mind.

It’s becoming fascinating how connected all my influences are. I suppose it’s inevitable but I’ve found connections between most of the people and art movements connecting my work and ideas. I rather reluctantly started by using the shadow factories of longbridge as an influence, this was because in our initial workshops we we were encouraged to focus on the shadow factories and the Longbridge light festival. In turn I used this to start my project. The brief is ‘The Power of Light’ but I have interpreted light in the context of knowledge. I’ve used the example of the shadow factories to illustrate that what we see or what is obvious isn’t necessarily all that is going on. From this I researched the Ghost Army the US used, and from there connected it to the 23 enigma. Other major influences of my concept are William Burroughs (original proponent of the 23 enigma, and one of the first to make Dada style poetry and writing popular), Radiohead/Thom Yorke (who used Dada style poetry and artwork in a lot of their albums) and Stanley Donwood (the man behind the Radiohead artwork, he used a range of materials to create work that has heavily influenced mine.)

All of these I’ve come to separately and then found the connection. So either my thought process is in the same realm as some of those amazing artists, musicians and writers, or it all influences each other and by finding one and doing research I was always going to discover the others. My inner pretentious artist hopes it’s ever so slightly the former!  But then I have to ask myself the question, is there a connection or am I guilty of confirmation bias and using the evidence to support my already existing theory of their being a connection. The irony of that doesn’t escape me!

As part of the project, well a separate assignment, we have to write an essay on an artist and how they influenced our work, a power point presentation and this lovely blog, or learning journal. For my essay, I’ve chosen to write about Stanley Donwood. I am absolutely loving his work. I’ve written a lot about him in my essay so I won’t babble on here, I also wrote about the beginnings of the Dada movement and the philosophy behind it. A kind of anti-war chaotic rejection of what society perceived as art. Obviously I’m a fan. It resonates with my concept and project a lot, considering perception is a pretty major point in what I’m trying to convey. One of the tutors at college was showing us examples of how to creatively hand in the essay, and I wondered if creating a Dada-poem out of a 1500 word essay would be pushing things a little too far. I’d certainly give it an A+. Perhaps I’ll make a Dada poem to hand in and email the proper essay just in case.



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