Just a quick post! College is around the corner and I am preparing myself for Second year!! Very exciting!
I thought today I’d post these photos from my old PLC sketchbook. I meant to post them a while ago. 🙂
By posting them here, I can reflect on my old sketchbook in comparison to my new one, and see how I’ve improved and what has changed over the years, and what I’ve kept in my work.
Chiaroscuro “is the use of strong contrasts between light and dark, usually bold contrasts affecting a whole composition. It is also a technical term used by artists and art historians for the use of contrasts of light to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects and figures.” – Wikipedia
I thought I’d begin this post with a quote from Wikipedia. My recent Tweedle paintings have taken a darker turn, and I thought I might elaborate on them today. A few years ago I came up with the Tweedles without really knowing what to do with them. They were a creation without a purpose. I have given them rules, emotions, a mind, a soul… each of them even has its own backstory, and the story of Tweedles as a species (which I am still writing. Maybe I should try making a graphic novel rather than writing a book…) exists entirely in my head at the moment, awaiting it’s manifestation onto canvas, text, video and music. But even so, I still had no idea where I was going with my Tweedles… They were my creations, but they had no purpose. No reason to exist in my artwork. And then I realised that they were my creations. They were what humans are to a god. They were artificial life of a sort, and I began to explore that.
In my fictional world, Tweedles are created with artifical brains, mixing organic matter with analog and digital technology in nano scale. Because of the way they are made, they think, but differently to us. They feel, but do not understand how to express their emotions (especially with a stitched on mouth that holds their head cloth in place). They can sense the world around them, but cannot truly touch it. Tweedles don’t instinctively have free-will, and need to learn how to be free. Their existence is a confusing one once they can actually develop enough to stop and think about it. Their creators are not omnipresent. They are not omnibenevolent. They create Tweedles for reasons more linked to power and greed, and they create the Tweedles for reasons that are not entirely good but in fact selfish in some ways. Tweedles are made to be servants and slaves. The eventual development of true emotion and free will is just a side-effect of their construction.
I thought about how that would relate to what it’s like to be human. To live and die without knowing why. What your purpose is, if you have one. A lot of people live lives dedicated to a god or supreme being, but without ever questioning whether their creator is really omnibenevolent at all. The amount of suffering in this world seems unjust. Perhaps there is an evil, possibly sadistic being that enjoys messing around with humanity for entertainment? I was thinking about these deep philosophical and theological concepts and questions, and then suddenly the Tweedles had purpose after all. They were a vehicle for this philosophical exploration into life, death, morality, the creators and the created… through painting my recent Tweedle pictures, I am confronting some of my strongest fears in regards my spirituality, humanity and existence. I wouldn’t really call myself a spiritual person, but if there is a god, how do I know they are good? If he told me that he was, could I really trust them? And in regards free will, I assume that it exists because I think I can make decisions. But do I really have free will? When we look closely, living cells are made up of lots of dead matter and elements that are having a chemical reaction with each other to make the next part have a reaction and so on. Theoretically our entire bodies are a prolonged chemical reaction, so does that mean that we are even alive, or is humanity (and by extension all life) a strange and complicated quirk of chemistry that never was ‘alive’ in the way we believe we are?
Tweedles are made up of a few bio-engineered and grown brain cells linked into mechanisms and machines which allow them to move their bodies, repair it, respond to stimuli and even potentially build more Tweedles… but by our current definitions of life they are not alive because they are not composed entirely of cells. Are they alive or not?
Is this Tweedle really dead or can it be repaired and brought back? Was it ever actually alive, and were we as humans ever truly alive?
By using heavy, dark backgrounds in the paintings (a greenish-black colour) I could help express the gravity of these questions and the weight the answers would have on us if we ever knew them. I wanted to highlight the Tweedles in bright colour to emphasize that they are surrounded by darkness. The specific Tweedle that is the subject through my recent series of paintings walks its entire life treading through the unknown. And then, without realizing how or why, it dies.
No-one will ever truly know exactly what when on in our mind; we can only guess. Sometimes you may meet someone so like minded that you think you know what they’re thinking, and they can seem to read your mind, but in the end we can only hazard estimates and guesses as to the thoughts of other human beings. Eventually all our thoughts, our personalities, our very selves will disappear, as they are only made up of memories, and will eventually fade into darkness…
…and whether there is a light after that darkness will forever be completely unknown to us until we actually experience it.
“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone.” – Orson Welles
Since my old sketchbook’s full, I now have a new one where I’m exploring oriental art and testing all kinds of techniques and ideas.
The sketchbook itself is handmade from Nepal so it fits with the oriental theme throughout it. Some of the writing inside is from a unique alphabet I designed, which is supposed to look like a mix of western and eastern languages, to use in my artwork. The printed pictures stuck into the sketchbook (as seen above) are an ink painting by Tani Buncho and ‘The Great Wave off Kanagawa’ by Hokusai.
I hope you enjoyed looking at the sketchbook photos and thanks for reading!
Apart from commissions, I’ve been taking more of a break from art as I’ll be going onto Crawford College of Art and Design in September. I’ve received the acceptance email from the CAO a few days ago, so I know for certain that they’ve accepted me into the college!
I did these Tweedle pictures a few days ago. They are quick pen and ink drawings about the size of playing cards, framed messily by their burnt edges. Below that, I’ve also posted some needle-felt cogs that I made in my combined materials class in the early stages of my PLC course (which I completely forgot to post about until now!). Enjoy!
This week, I’ve decided to post some of my printmaking works. I liked learning the new techniques and creating images that could be repeated and copied yet malleable; altered through the use of colour or chine collé.
The lino prints were made by:
- Cutting into a linoleum sheet with a sharp V-shaped knife.
- The lino sheet was inked up with a roller, and then paper was placed carefully on top.
- The lino on paper was fed through a printing press to create the finished print.
Although I had experience with lino printing before, the chine collé technique was completely new to me. Before the paper was placed on top, bits of cut tissue, paper or newspaper were affixed with spray mount. This simple step really changed the look of the prints and was great fun too!
As for the intaglio:
- A sheet of acetate (clear plastic stuff) was engraved into with a pointed instrument.
- Once the design was engraved, ink was rolled out next to the acetate, and spread evenly on with a piece of tough card.
- Then the majority of the ink was scraped off with a piece of scrim, and the acetate was fed through the press with paper afterwards to create the finished product.
I hope you like the prints below and thanks for reading!
As I promised last week, here’s the next series of Tweedles. These ones were a bit more experimental; some are missing their face cloth, while some have much larger eyes than those of the previous generation. They were all created by making a basic wire skeleton, and twisting the outer layer of wire around the skeleton. As always, each tweedle is completely unique and has their own characteristics and personality.