Constructing identities

 

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Hello again; 

This time I’ll try to touch on some of the issues I promised some time ago on my blog.

The assignment for this term is done and posted. I don’t know yet what my tutors think of it. I don’t worry too much about things I cannot change.

However, the research I did helped me to discover lots about myself (it is often the case that you research something for an art project and all the topics take you back to an earlier time in your life, but this time you see things from a new perspective)

In my research I explored the issue of identity, how art can be used to express, construct or challenge notions of individual identity. I analysed works by two painters, Alice Neel and Max Beckmann. Both of them quite different. Both of them, though,  owners of enormous amounts of self-determination and persistence to follow their own path in defiance of trends, fashions, the market or any ulterior motives.

In a nutshell, both of them doing their own thing. (Check these links if you want to read further about Neel and Beckmann).

My research has a funny way of taking me to other topics at times. I found myself reading about psychology, about transactional analysis, about gender identity, about madness, fitting in, going against the norm.

And it makes sense that identity is not who you are. It’s who you make yourself be.

We are born with choices. You may be told otherwise, but you can either go along with what you are told or you can choose to think for yourself and act accordingly.

Sometimes it takes a whole life to learn such a simple thing.

We can choose: to listen to other people’s opinions or to make up our own mind.

-Every choice changes who we are .

To keep a job or to leave.

-And who we are changes our future choices.

To hold on to our beliefs or to be open-minded. 

I think I’m going to leave this post here. I like the openness of the last sentence. It invites thinking…

Thanks for reading this.

See you on the next one? I’m working on a topic that fascinates me: madness. Part of my personal project proposal. I can’t wait to see it finished: It will be good.

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Learning the way

Hello again;

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I know, I know. I couldn’t agree more myself: My headings are rubbish.

I am aware that I “should” get some clever, compelling, exciting words together to entice readers to come check my blog.

But if you have read me for any more than two weeks you know already I don’t care about attracting crowds with trendy titles. I also find compelling headlines misleading. They often fill the front pages with promises of fascinating stories… and half an hour later you are left wishing you could get your 30 minutes back.

Anyhow.

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When I wrote my last post I was deep into researching and writing an essay for my course. I thought I’d write next something related to the artists I studied and to the topic I wrote about.

Well, I was wrong.

I had a brief conversation with a driver lately. Someone who drives one of those minibuses, picking up people with mobility problems and dropping them off at their various appointments).

The driver and I had some small talk whilst I was on a trip with someone else. He mentioned they had a new navigating system in their vehicles. He commented also that it was nearly impossible to learn the routes any more because his concentration was more on following the guidance than on looking out for signposts and landmarks.

It makes sense, doesn’t it? if you have to do a journey relying on your orientation system and some map sooner or later you’ll find your way around. You may not even need the map after a while. However, if you get directions as you need them your brain doesn’t get to work out the system.

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This seemed connected with the particular teaching system they follow in my Arts class.

It makes sense that they don’t give us a path with breadcrumbs to follow, or boxes to tick as we move along the term.

It makes sense that there are no step by step instructions on many of the more abstract tasks. We do have some specific guidance on some techniques, obviously (you don’t want to learn  that acid can burn  clothes or fingers after the fact). But on the whole we are left to fend for ourselves.

Sometimes it is frustrating not to know exactly what is expected of us. But it’s working. I find that I put my foot wrong quite regularly, I misunderstand the questions being asked and I procrastinate at times. But do you know what? I’m learning the way.

Like the minibus driver before technology got in the way.

The method doesn’t produce instant results but it makes me think. It helps me realize when I’m going in the wrong direction, when I’m getting off track on what I set off to do.

I now should end this post with a succinct note summarising the moral of the story.

Or …I could leave it unsaid.


(I’ve included some of my sketches for your sightseeing pleasure)

Thanks for reading this.

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Drawings of home

Hello again;

One of the best pieces of advice I received from one of my teachers, some time ago, was to draw daily. I haven’t always managed to  find time for it. But when I have the opportunity I don’t worry about finding the right subject: I just draw what I have around me.

This time it’s all drawings around the house. These are quick drawings, experimenting with media, without caring too much for the final result.

You may notice that I prefer to draw mess instead of tidying up, in case the inspiration won’t wait around. (Also, tidy rooms tend to look ‘staged’ and impersonal, like magazine homes. No risk of that on these drawings)

Click to see the images as a slide show.

Thanks for reading.

I have no idea what I’ll write about next, but I have a strong suspicion that it will be related to the essay I’m currently working on for my course.

 

 

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Selfies in progress

I don’t have much to say about these. Suffice to say I enjoyed drawing them.

They are work in progress, using me as a model.

The likeness may be far from achieved in some. I don’t care too much if I achieved likeness or not: It’s ongoing work.

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See you on my next post, with some more drawings close to home.

 

 

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Sketching around London

It’s tempting to hoard my drawings. Wait for one them to be just right before I share it.

Nah, that’s foolish: None of them is ever ‘right enough‘. They are all work in progress.  With their flaws and wobbly lines and awkward inconsistencies in perspective.

But I like them regardless: I am enjoying this experience of drawing things around me, pen in hand.

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left: lunch on the grass; right: Covent Garden

left: builders lunching at Covent Garden; right: Covent Garden restaurant works

left: workers resting at Covent Garden; right: Covent Garden refurbishment works

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Kemble Street

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Actors’ Church gardens

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Covent Garden

 

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Lincoln’s Inn fields

 

Bromley North

Bromley North at night

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South Bank (St Paul’s in the distance)

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View across the river from South Bank

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Home Park (Sydenham)

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City Lit

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Inside Tate Modern (Switch House)

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Freemasons’ Hall

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Charing Cross Road (London pass ticket booth)

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Temple Bar Memorial

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Drury Lane

I hope you like them too.

See you on a future post (possibly even more selfies to be shared)

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Selfies

Hello again;

Breaking news: I have realised that there’s more to self portraits than I used to think.

In photography and social media selfies used to be (are they still?) in vogue for a long time.

Lately in my course I’ve been researching self portraits by artists. It was quite interesting to learn that some famous artists were almost unable to paint themselves: they felt uneasy, or guarded, or were really unhappy about having their portrait painted or published.

I could discuss the possible reasons about this, why talented artist didn’t want to paint their own portraits. But I’ve decided to leave that type of discussion for some different forums. It inspired me, though, to start doing more self portraits. And I think that the challenge is worth sharing on my website, rather than only sharing them on social media. 

(You already know I’m not a prolific user of social media)

I enjoyed doing them, felt challenged at times, and plan to keep doing them. I hope you like them too.

 

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brush pen and ink

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biro and watercolours

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ink and wash

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graphite ink

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ink and wash

Thanks for reading this.

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Experimenting with prints

Hello again.

I have been progressing in my course, as planned, whilst my scheduled posts (with holiday drawings and experiments) have been published.

In the meantime, I’ve been having fun. For instance, using different printmaking techniques.

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I didn’t achieve anything ‘exhibition-worthy’ or polished in any way. That wasn’t the plan. It was simply experimental work, testing what would happen when mixing different inks and different techniques.

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After doing these works we had a session sharing our work with other classmates.

Some of them were a tad reserved about sharing their works. They needed a nudge to put them on the table.

Once on view, though, the works were amazing. It didn’t matter if they hadn’t achieved a particular result. They were beautiful regardless, and they offered ideas and inspiration to the rest of us.

Sometimes we are our worse critics. We stop speaking up in case we say the wrong thing. We stop taking risks for fear that someone will think we’re wasting our time. Or for fear that that people won’t like the results.

Funny how sometimes keeping quiet, hiding our work only fosters the self-doubts. Not just in art, but in life.

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My classmates seemed pleasantly surprised by the good reception of their work.

Anyhow, that incidence reminded me that I had something to share with you: my experimental prints. With some abstract-looking textures and colours. With some familiar objects used as stencils. Combined with shades broken by vertical shapes or diluted to create transparencies.

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No meaning, no plan, just experimenting.

Thanks for reading this.

 

 

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