Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Final Media Product

For my final media product I have designed a range of posters aimed at encouraging people who wouldn’t usually visit an art gallery to do so. I envisaged the posters at bus stops and pavement hoardings, where everyone and not just a few elitists would see them. The quotes by Picasso and Cezanne have copies of their works behind the text to give people a taste of the art they might be able to see. I have based my designs on the graphic design posters I found through my research, keeping the canvas clean and simple. I think a campaign like this could be effective as part of a wider push to get more people into art galleries and museums. I’m very happy with the results and might even print them out to hang on my wall at home!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Art for All

Girl with a Pearl Earring - Johannes Vermeer

The majority of the population do not visit art museums…[they] take it as axiomatic that the museums are full of holy relics which refer to a mystery which excludes them: the mystery of unaccountable wealth. Or, to put this another way, they believe that original masterpieces belong to the preserve (both materially and spiritually) of the rich. – John Berger, Ways of Seeing.

Girl with a Pearl Earring must be amongst the most copied paintings in the world. In the 1970’s a print of it could be found in many homes (my best friend’s mum had a copy on her living room wall), and the art of the wealthy was now in the hands of the many. Logic should dictate that mere curiosity would send the masses running to art museums and galleries to see the originals, but it seems that did not happen. Whilst people liked the idea of ‘real’ art on their own walls, the majority of people still felt uncomfortable entering these hallowed spaces to view original works. Forty years on little has changed, it seems. Walk around the Leeds City Art Gallery and who do you see? People who ‘know’ what they’re looking at; students researching artists for visual literacy modules; home-educating families taking advantage of a free resource. Generalisations, I know, but you get the picture: everyone there feels comfortable in the environment. Getting in those who wouldn’t ordinarily step over the threshold of such places is a tricky challenge. Convincing the many that they are as welcome as the wealthy, financially and spiritually, to experience the awesome beauty and aura of original art, is a task that I doubt will ever truly be conquered. Perhaps more films about the great artists will help, but even these will have to be cleverly contrived to appeal to the masses in order to expose the uninitiated to art for all.

The Most Beautiful Smile

Ben                                         Summer '07

I took this photograph of my son, Ben, in the summer following his seventh birthday. To the outside world it is just a photo of a young boy looking happy and carefree, full of hope and potential. I know a different story though, which makes this image very poignant. Following months of stress and anguish we had removed Ben from school in the January of that year. He had been struggling with the socialisation side of life at school and had become increasingly distressed, followed by a deep depression. It seemed possible that Ben could be suffering from an autistic spectrum disorder and this would explain the difficulties he was experiencing.

Context is everything. I hadn’t seen Ben smile or laugh for nearly a year and our GP was becoming concerned at his mental health. We had been home-educating him for almost six months and he was starting to look like our son again but a smile was still elusive. Then, whilst I was taking a photo of our daughter, the sun came out, literally and metaphorically, and a tentative smile spread across Ben’s face. I wanted to scoop him up and hug him, but I was conscious it could have a detrimental effect on this first step back to normality. For me, this is the most beautiful smile I have ever seen.

Graphic Communication

Further research into my media product has revealed this little nugget. I really like this idea and the words could not be truer. In order for communication to be effective it has to be simple. There is no point in trying to be too clever, too elaborate, too complex; no one will get the message. Effective communication gets right to the point without any encumbrance; who wants to spend time figuring out what is trying to be said when driving past a hoarding at the side of motorway at seventy miles per hour.

I am coming to end of the blog and my research into graphic design posters, and I have learned a lot. Communication is paramount to the smooth running of the world; it is when it breaks down that things fall apart. The Middle East is erupting at the moment and all for lack of communication: the art of conveying thoughts and ideas and listening to what is being said. Communication doesn’t work if no one is listening.

This is Portugal

Alfama, Lisbon                                   Miguel Santa Clara

When searching for images of Lisbon I came across this one by Miguel Santa Clara, a Portuguese photographer. I was drawn to it, as it is a scene played out every day in the Alfama, indeed all over Portugal, and the woman carrying her shopping up the many steps, reminded me of my grandmother. Despite being a very modern city, it is also ancient and no amount of modernization will change the geography of this part of the city. Life has always been hard for those living on the side of the hill leading to the Castelo Sao Jorge, but it has provided artists with much inspiration over the centuries. It has been the heart of the 'fado', the folk music of Portugal, for as long as anyone can remember, and so for me, this is Portugal.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Graphic Design Posters

Research for my media product has turned up some fantastic examples on which I am basing my own design. I like the seeming simplicity of the images, however, based on some preliminary attempts, I know it is not as easy as it looks. I’ve always been drawn to clean, simple lines and geometric shapes; when designing the lighting for a rock concert once, I ‘drew’ the shape of a star on the stage in white gaffer tape and focused the rig around it.

I’m starting to think about the words I’m going to use in my design and have been looking at quotes that mean something to me. I feel that even though this is a media product it needs be relevant to me and what I am.

A Perfect Day

Santarem, Portugal                 May 2009

To feel today what one felt yesterday isn't to feel - it's to remember today what was felt yesterday, to be today's living corpse of what yesterday was lived and lost.  –  Fernando Pessoa

I remember how I felt on the day that I took this photograph. We had interred my father’s ashes in the family tomb that morning during a memorial service attended by family and friends in my family’s village in Portugal. It was hot even though it was only May, and my mother, who had travelled to Portugal with me and my children, suggested the four of us go to Santarem for lunch. I was feeling raw. I had experienced emotions that morning that I thought I had dealt with in the months since my father’s death. We had lunch in a local restaurant, toasting Dad’s life with wine from the Ribatejo, the region where he was born, and then showed Ben and Safia where their grandfather went to boarding school. The town was quiet and felt almost as though the people were mourning with me. Early memories of when my parents had brought me to this town, and this square, came flooding back and I was a little girl again, running around on a winter’s afternoon in the brilliant sunshine not thinking beyond tomorrow. Now my children were running around in the sunshine without a care in the world, and I wondered if they would remember this day in thirty or forty years time and how it made them feel. I had lost my father but he was living on through me and his grandchildren, and that feeling will live with me every day for the rest of my life.