Prior to writing my FMP proposal I had been experimenting with altering the way food appeared to the viewer in terms of colour, distortion and size. This experimentation led me swiftly onto a final major project which should be fairly simple. However, working in such a different form, in negative, it was incredibly difficult to do much in the way of visual research, so instead I looked more at other people who had been documenting data. During this project I have been working in two different mediums, drawn and graphic, which has been challenging in a good way because it has given me a chance to develop my Photoshop/illustrator skills along with fine tuning my drawing and painting abilities.
The graphic element was where I began by experimenting in a sketchbook with colour blocks, text, drawing and composition. These were nutritional breakdowns of my meals over the course of several months recorded on the app FitnessPal which were reduced down to their basic components i.e. fats, sugar, protein and carbohydrates. I was in my comfort zone here by working in a physical medium, which was messy and inconsistent. I then made the decision to begin to produce these digitally which became far more successful. They were sharper and reflected the ideas I had in my head for them which was to essentially create a ‘digital plate’. I don’t want to knock the physical experimentation though; it got me to a point where I could move onto computer reproduction happily. In the end I created a set of ‘nutritionals’ as I call them that matched the final drawings in the exhibition. However, I didn’t see it fitting to include these in the exhibition because I felt that the nutritional side of the project is the private section, it is the obsessive side which I didn’t really want to have to explain to people. When compared to the drawings it was the lesser of the sections, the less aesthetically pleasing because the drawings had interest, when you looked through the iPad they became another image. Reconsidering this now, as postcards the nutritionals could have linked well. Cost was an issue here along with confidence. The original aim was to produce something similar to colour test blocks you see down the side of newspapers or professionally printed images, which is probably why I saw this element as less important in exhibiting in the exhibition.
In tandem while working on the technical side of the food, I was looking at how to produce the visually altered reproductions of my meals. In the pitch it was discussed how I inverted the images, because I was photographing, inverting on the computer, printing and then drawing from the image. Going through all these layers makes it feel like again the food is being lost, but I feel like fewer layers wouldn’t reflect my conceptual ideas behind the project, which was to mirror the way I look at food through apps, cameras, charts and graphs to the way the viewer sees the end project. My original plan was to produce several days worth of meals in breakfast, lunch and dinner format to produce for the exhibition. Size was a big question, but by enlarging a previous drawing I was able to physically see how a large drawing would look. After some discussion, it was said that large drawings had no meaning, they had less impact and tended to mean that people would walk by them instead of looking closer and understanding. A4 was chosen as it would allow me to produce a handful for selection at the end. I came across problems with the papers and materials which could have been checked in the research and experimentation stage, but I didn’t realise paper and pencil qualities would affect the work so much. Working out the compositional layout of each drawing became difficult the more I did because I had a mixture of drawings on black and white paper and from different angles, so adapting a few and retaking images was the best solution. The final images were drawn from iPhone pictures; I had originally photographed them using a professional camera but this had no meaning when compared to my phone which was used to input my meals and analyse
their values. I produced four drawings in the end, and narrowing it down to three was easy as breakfast, lunch and dinner was a constant throughout the project.
While looking at nutrients on the internet for my nutritionals, I came across the ‘eatwell plate’ and the periodic table which helped to influence the monthly chart which again documented the daily consumption of food. However I only completed one due to time constraints, which is annoying because they could have looked interesting as a set over the course of several months digitally reproduced. I could never have expected something to come up like this in my time plan but if I had the chance again I would definitely have looked into it more. These pieces summarise and bring together data, which I feel is an element that is lacking in the nutritionals.
My plan originally was quite simple, but it began to become a project which aimed to show some kind of transformation from bad to better health by analysing food intake and altering it. By exhibiting the drawings with the iPad I am showing people how I look at my food, which, over the course of this project, has been through technology. Changing the digital elements to become work in their own right I think was an important and successful decision as they deserved more than being a side-lining element to my work. By making them individual pieces this paved the way for them to become larger charts and diagrams, which I think helped to boost the breadth of style in my portfolio which wouldn’t have been there if I’d have kept with my proposal. Producing lenticular postcards instead of the nutritionals was a way for me to give the audience something to take away which has more excitement attached to it.
Overall I believe the project has been positive. My aim was to show the audience the way I look at food, and in a technical and contextual way I have been successful in this. I have slightly diverged, but I achieved what I set out to do with some alterations that in the end made it even more complete. In this project I have looked at scales, variations in media and advanced my technological skills to hopefully help me move onto the next stage in my education. Producing a rough timetable gave me a structure to effectively manage my time. Assessments and critiques have been invaluable, and reflection on my blog has all helped to fine tune my work to ensure my ideas can be properly translated to something physical. Setting up the exhibition and shop has all been a new challenge, but some massive lessons have been learnt on finishing everything to a high standard in terms of packaging, labelling and framing which will be taken to university and beyond. Having my own lenticular postcards printed has also been interesting for me and I would love to pursue more the branding/selling side of the creative industry. The border between fine art and graphics is beginning to disappear.
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This is a chart to show the daily intake of meals in April 2014. I experimented with colour and text on each of the sections which are separated by weeks (obviously two weeks aren’t whole weeks). by isolating a different design element, i.e. red, green, text, both red and green, and finally red, green and text. As described in the middle image, they have been separated in a similar way to the spreadsheets posted a few weeks ago. I think this has turned out in a more successful way than the spreadsheets. It’s more interesting and it also represents a meal more because it’s in the shape of a plate. Basically it encompasses my project well. If I had more time I would have done a wheel/plate for each month. I would be curious to see if the colours changed in any way, generally green is healthier so I would hope that the charts would become more green. I know before I said I planned to actually paint this on a physical plate, but I just didn’t plan ahead enough to get it done in time. In relation to the exhibition, I could have combined these nutritionals: http://l-e-watkins.tumblr.com/post/88369363041/editing-the-colour-test-nutritional-documents to create a piece that could have accompanied the inverted drawings on a plate to encompass what I was trying to achieve here: http://l-e-watkins.tumblr.com/post/87595030766/plate. The painting is also quite messy and rough around the edges, it would be difficult but it could be made into a digital document which could be altered according to the data inputted.
Now that the lenticular postcards have arrived i need to decide what information i stamp on the back and on the packaging, and whether i sell them in packs of 3 or as individuals. Here is some inspiration and some ideas.
the artist Serge Bloch from a book I looked at a while ago.
While searching through old blog posts I came across my visit to the Manchester Contemporary Art Fair, and I’d photographed this artist, James Shovlin. Purely because I found it aesthetically pleasing with the block colours, scratty text and corrections etc.
There is such a lot of mathematical theory behind this particular project of his which can be read here. My plan would be to take a months worth of food and translate it into a code of some kind, that represents my meals.
I have always been interested in the space between painting and animation. The concentration of painting, the liveliness of the moving image. I operate in the area between those two.
Our relationship with the moving image is changing. They surround us, a bit more every day.
I imagine we will live in a world where there is no difference between a screen or any other surface. Any surface can change at will.
It is this feeling, or expectation, that drives me to create moving images.
This is Rafael Rozendaal who I have been following for years. He creates minimalist websites that are usually interactive blocks. I love the simplicity of his work, and the fact that no instructions or description means you have to interpret it in your own way. Just recently he posted a video on instagram of his lenticular pieces, which are obviously much larger, but it just reminded me of what I was doing! Searching his website I eventually found a post where he spoke about moving images; I assume its in relation to his lenticular work; but I would have to agree with what he said. I feel like my work has transformed and that transformation is actually shown in the viewing of the work in a physical way. My relationship to it has also changed, and depending on my mood, that also has an impact on how I see it and how I react to it. I think the way I approach my work has changed, I certainly won’t be working in one single medium in the future.