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Small Experiments... Bigger Ideas...

For the past week, I have been looking to advance my practice further by searching for more feedback outside of an organised critiquing environment. I started this with a tutorial with our new tutor on the course, who I thought would provide a new professional perspective from someone who doesn't know my work. His feedback was useful, the discussion was expanded in new ways and it made me consider the areas in and around the work that I haven't before, but most of all it made me think about how I approach my creating process. He advised that rather than tackling the thought of whether I should or should not create work about consumerism (which I've been battling basically since the start of term), I should ignore it and see if it happens to come out in the work I make in it's own natural way. I liked the idea of this less constructed movement towards a piece, but rather (now that I already have my context fairly clear and always in the back of my mind) a freeing way of churning out new ideas, which I have thoroughly practiced over the course of the week. He also suggested that it could be beneficial to think about my own relationship with my body and work. I think this could be interesting for both my work and as a more personal experience, but I'm not quite sure how to go about this as it's very far from my usual practice. It could be useful to evaluate what I find attractive and unattractive about myself, which parts of my own body are more alien to me and take this as inspiration. It could also be useful to photograph my body in unconventional ways to see what I can make from the images.

I also reached out to my peers to see what they had to say about my work. For the most part the comments were similar to what I had received in crits, but I did find that one person provided a different insight, in terms of a non-white perspective. I hadn't really considered how the 'skin tones' I was using were non-inclusive to different races. However, it also could be argued that because this is the insides of the body, rather than the outside, there may be no need to be inclusive because we all look meaty on the inside. But then maybe this is me defending the work from my own white perspective, so this should not be something to forget. I think it is important that we, as artists, should be aware of the world we live in and the people we co-habit it with, and removing the Caucasian-normative perspective which has dominated both society and art in the West is our responsibility.

Another idea that came up during this discussion was for an actual piece. The practice of molding body parts and playing with them in a performative sense, maybe as an actual performance piece or video, could be an interesting way to discuss mortality and fragility to the human existence, or even how malleable we are to ideas and ways of living, pushing, pulling and crushing there wobbly frames.

This week I also started experimenting with taking my work out of the studio. I hung and photographed one of my latex tubes in an alleyway out of the back of a butchers. I feel that the dingy atmosphere worked really well. However, next time I think it would be better to do this when it is evening and darker because the daylight meant I didn't get the lighting from one light source as planned, and meant that it didn't look as dirty and dark as I had expected.

I've been experimenting with new materials as well. I've been using super sculpey clay, a malleable, easy-to-use, oven bake clay, which has a great fleshy look. To mess around with the material, I have been making simple small objects, made into random shapes but with a lumpy, fluid, bodily appearance. I am not sure what they will be used for as of yet, but it's acting more as a starting point to play with. I photographed them close up and edited the image on Photoshop to see how I could make them look more strange, ambiguous and bodily. Although the image worked well, I don't find it particularly interesting or feel that it helps convey my message. I thought about how this image could be used in printing techniques or in animation but I feel that I have to be careful when making image work as my work requires the audience to have a relationship with the object to get the full idea of the materials and the attraction vs repulsion qualities.

Inspired by the tiny fleshy sculptures, I moved onto making them into earrings. I feel that this came from the ideas of consumerism, but it also helps convey an idea of a seductive object, through the mockery of the consumerist culture. The earrings are purposely named silly names, but written in French to make it sound alluring and sexy, like in perfume adverts. Although I don't plan to go much further with these ideas, I did think it was a fun idea to play with. I would like to try it again but with latex tubes filled with liquid so they look more disgusting, because they are too safe and polite at the moment. This was confirmed when someone commented on my Instagram that they wanted to buy them.


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