I really liked the results of my practice paintings on paper so decided to continue this idea forward, but instead painted straight onto my roaccutane pill packets. I trialled a painting onto a paracetamol packet of my lips. I really liked this effect as it physically linked my side effects to the pills, so I went on and did an abstracted painting on one of my roaccutane packets.
I first saw Jordan Clarke during the collage workshop at the start of the year in ‘The Age of Collage Contemporary Collage in Modern Art’, but didn’t pay much attention at the time. I later properly discovered Clarke when researching collage artists that fit with the jumbling up of my Nan’s facial features, that I wanted to create within my own work. The way Clarke distorts the activity of the subject by combining both cuttings from the original image and from others is what is particularly interesting. Clarke uses vintage images he sources and the way in which he rearranges and deconstructs the photographs has a kaleidoscopic effect. This reminded me of some of the photos I took through a kaleidoscope at the start of the year that acted as inspiration for my first ripped up portrait, and is an effect I continued throughout my Outisde/Inside work. The facial and body features become unrecognisable and leave the viewer searching the collage looking for facial or body features. Clarke uses such a range of subjects from little children, to glamorous women to dancers and athletes. The wide range creates such different effects, but it is the collages of the children that I find the most interesting as their gaze has an empty quality about them. This links well to my portrayal of my Nan’s Alzheimer’s as it is one way to symbolise the loss of mentality.
Clarke uses geometric forms to rearrange his subject which reinforced my idea of using triangles to recreate my Nan’s face after the somewhat failure of my first ripped up portrait. Although I was pleased with my first collage, I didn’t like how the pieces didn’t fit together; so by using a similar technique to Clarke in my final piece, I was able to create the complete image that I desired. Clarke expands his collaging to both the body and outside of the face, almost creating movement within the collages. It is the whole sense of hidden identity that I infer from Jordan Clarke’s collages that I find so interesting, whether this be his intention or not. I find that they leave you questioning, who is this person? And the fact that they are vintage photographs leaves a whole history behind them.
A big element of Clarke’s collages is his use of colour. Inspired by Ashkan Honarvar’s ‘Rodeo 1’ series, Clarke also uses flower motifs within some of his collages and in the majority of others, colour plays a huge part in the distortion, often standing out from the rest of the photograph. However, it is more about the kaleidoscopic effect for me personally than the use of colour that I find inspirational for my own work.
Overall, Jordan Clarke’s collages had a big impact upon my own subject work in the use of geometric forms and the hiding of identity. I think I love his work so much because of the change in perspective and contrast between the detail of the photograph and its destruction through collage. Clarke’s collages offer a new insight into reality and aesthetic form that I aimed to achieve in my final pieces.
After visiting the Van Gogh Museum and seeing the Rodin sculpture, ‘She who was Once the Helmet Makers Beautiful Aid’, I was inspired to explore the physical as well as the mental effects both in my ‘Alzheimer’s Disease’ Studies and ‘Life on Roaccutane’ paintings. Exploring both, both better links to Outside/Inside and allows for deeper exploration into complete deterioration.
When I first saw this sculpture in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam I assumed it was just another sculpture depicting the perfect and desired human form. However it was only when I properly looked at it, that I noticed that the body of the woman was completely deteriorated with age, sagging and folding. Rodin’s sculpture fights the conventionality of beauty and perfection that most sculptures portray, creating a natural honesty in the aging process.This decay in the form with age linked well with my Nan as she has obviously physically deteriorated with age as well mentally. Looking at Rodin led to me exploring her hands and in my final drawings, allowed me to contextualise the wrinkles of her skin and liver spots.
The concept of honesty is a really important factor for me, especially in my ‘Life on Roaccutane’ paintings where although it was hard for me to show the darker side of my medication’s effect, it was vital. Although the title of the sculpture suggests otherwise, the way Rodin shows the imperfections of the woman I find quite beautiful as they individualise her and show the traces of her life. The imperfections allowed me to break the barrier and reflect my imperfections to the public instead of hiding them away behind make-up, which is a very rare thing for me to do.
Visiting Southerndown to draw the landscape was a nice escape from my subject work as it allowed me to forget about it for a couple of hours and connect with nature through my drawings. There was a variety of landscapes to draw at Southerndown which let me mix up my styles of documenting the landscape.
My first drawing I did sitting on the rock pools of Magic Beach, documenting some of the rocks and the ocean behind it. I could of sat there all day.
My second drawing was probably my favourite as I just sat on the beach for a couple of minutes documenting the sounds of the waves. This linked back to my performance drawing workshop at the start of the year. Although completely abstract and undefinable, I think it has the most significance as it documents the landscape in a physical way that my other drawings don’t.
My next drawing was of a random arch we found when crawling under some low trees. Southerndown was quite an odd place in the fact that there were just random ruins everywhere without connecting to each other. It was almost as if the architect got bored halfway through and just gave up.
My final drawing was of ruins that resembled turrets of a castle.
Interacting with the landscape was really calming and provided a complete contrast to Cardiff city centre. It was nice just to get a way from the city sounds and stress of everyday life and so allowed for drawings to flow a lot easier. It was fun to draw without worrying about the outcome and just enjoying the experience in the moment.
After visiting the Bacon to Doig exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff I discovered some of Francis Bacon’s self portraits and portraits of others. I really like the way in which Bacon completely distorts the identity and characteristics of the sitter, creating figures whose identity is completely unrecognisable. This lack of identity appears to be prominent throughout Bacon’s work as in other paintings the sitter disappears into the background, leaving no trace of their existence in the areas faded away.
In Bacon’s ‘Study for Self Portrait’ his facial features have shifted around and blended into each other. You can just about recognise the eyes, nose and mouth but all are so blurred that there is no way you would be able to identify Bacon without the artwork’s title. There is a hint of a person without them fully being there. There seems to be a darker side to Bacon’s portrais, I think showing torment in the mind of the sitter both through the choice of expression and painting technique. The background is a matte black which further amplifies this idea.
I find Bacon’s work relevant to all of my subject practice, but more closely to my study of my Nan’s Alzheimer’s, especially in works such as ‘Study for Self Portrait’. The jumbling and blurring of facial features leads to a loss of identity in the paintings, which has had influence in my final pieces with the jumbling up of my Nan’s face. The only difference is that I have used geometric shapes. I also really liked the idea of fading into the background which I think is a technique that influenced some of my paintings in my ‘Life on Roaccutane’ series.
I really liked the portrait of my Nan I did in the first term where I tore up the painting and rearranged it to create an abstracted face and wanted to use this concept to create one of my final pieces. However I didn’t think the original painting had enough accuracy in it to begin with for it to be a completely successful distortion.
Moving on from the original portrait, I drew my Nan in black biro, originally just as an experiment as I have never drawn in biro before, but then I decided to play around with its format, linking back to this first distorted portrait I created.
I copied my biro drawing and messed around with different ways I could distort my Nan’s identity:
Although I liked my first portrait I didn’t like how the different pieces didn’t fit into each other. Therefore for these distortions I decided to cut the portrait into geometric shapes. Overall I think this works a lot better and shows more what I’m trying to portray about my Nan’s disease.
After experimenting with different distortions, I found that the most successful to me was the rearrangement that kept within the head. It was the experimentation that contextualised the best with the reality of my Nan’s disease. From a distance it may appear to be a normal portrait but on closer look all the facial features have been moved around to create a ‘portrait’ that is unrecognisable. I think it links well with the brief of Inside/Outside additionally as the fragmentation is kept inside of the head.
I will continue this idea on into my final pieces.