Autumn Week 3: The Lake

Today’s post is about an experimental outcome I’d produced for Week 3: a projected animation called “The Lake,” which you can view via the link below.

Week 2 had been a break from the norm, as our studio group all took part in a collaborative performance piece rather than continuing with our separate practices. It got everyone to work outside of their comfort zones, to work together, and think outside the box. This was really useful for our creative energy.

That week, I had also given a presentation to some students from the year below about the progression from my A-Level art to my current practice. This was a real eye-opener because sometimes the artwork you used to do slips from your memory. I do try and live in the moment when it comes to art but to look back at my artistic past was really useful to work out what my strengths, interests, and ideas are, and how they change. It was also really useful having to verbally explain it to people, because that helped me contextualise and refine the way I talk about my art. To look back on my previous work enables me to pick out past elements and apply them to my current work, enabling me to move forward in a way that engages my strengths and interests.

For this work, I picked up on an artistic concept that I had studied multiple times previously – interference patterns, or the Moiré effect. This is a phenomenon caused by two similar patterns overlaying each other, creating wave-like patterns. I had become aware of this from looking at Robert Beatty‘s work, and had applied it in some of my A-level work and my sculpture from 1st year.

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I thought about how to apply this effect to the work I’m currently doing, and realised that because the effect relies on very simple moving patterns, they would be easy to create with a PowerPoint animation. To arrive at the final outcome, I thought about how to combine the effect with the ideas of nature that I’m currently thinking about, and made the connection between these ideas and the ‘wave-like’ nature of the moiré effect. This connection lead to an ocean-like landscape being created, as seen above.

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After gaining some experience with iMovie, I had learned that you can overlay videos on top of each other, so I could use this to combine multiple animations to create one single one with much more depth. I would go on to use this technique in week 4 as well.

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After creating my ocean-inspired animation landscape, I thought about how to actually display it. The previous piece, “Motions“, had featured the animation as a projection onto a painting. I initially wondered if this week’s animation could be a stand-alone piece because it was a lot more complex than the one for “Motions,” however I did not see the gain in taking away artistic elements, especially as my feedback suggested that I should add more. I decided to create a painting that would complement the animation that would be projected onto it. Noticing that the top half of the animation was predominantly warm colours, and the lower half was mostly cool colours, I made a very simple painting that consisted only of orange and blue, divided by a line that would represent the horizon in the animated landscape. In doing this, I hoped the two artistic elements would come together and form a whole – and be more than the sum of their parts.

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The Outcome

The feedback I received was surprising to me, but as always, it was very useful to have an outside perspective on my art. I had deliberately made the animation more complex in order to progress the work, however I learned that this actually made it a little too representative; a little too much like a physical ocean. The feedback suggested that what worked about “Motions” was that the animation was simple, it was abstract, it did not not resemble anything in real life and was therefore much more mysterious than this piece. I was initially surprised that a more complex animation was actually detrimental to the artwork’s success, however I realised that this actually plays very well into one of my core ideas for this body of work – I am not trying to copy nature with this work, rather to embody the feelings we experience when we see it.

Abstraction and simplicity, then, are much more successful than figurative or realistic work for this particular project.

Another element of the feedback was very interesting – the painting actually suffered during this piece because it was very difficult to see. One of the solutions offered to me for this was to use phosphorescent paint…

This feedback was very useful indeed and provided the stimulus for the next piece of work. This stimulus became a piece called “To Fall Asleep,” which you can read about here.

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