Archives for the month of: November, 2010

The year eights are working on their big, life size paintings about them selves. They are going well and most of them seem to be enjoying the project. Some have found the scale of the things a bit difficult and this weeks theme was how to get small things onto big things, how to deal with scale and how to get small scale things onto these big images. I showed them the Paladino Dream paintings, not because they are directly relevant but to show them the idea of making something on a separate material or paper with a view to building it on later. We also experimented with stencils and a bit of screen printing on paper and onto the big paintings.

I also did some big drawings based on tiny thumbnails that the pupils had printed off the web and a drawing based on a half remembered idea of Homer Simpson. (Half remembered is important in this research project.) And one of the lads had some drawings of skully roboty figures which I liked because they had interesting gaps between the arms and body, they weren’t all joined up. Where these things come from and what sort of image mash produces them in boys heads I don’t know. It were all Thunderbirds when I were a lad. Obviously this is a sort of continuation of sci-fi imagery with additional computer gaming, Alien and so on and so forth minced up inside thirteen year old boy’s heads and produced as drawings. Great stuff and I was hoping that this sort of thing would come out. I sent the boy off to have the drawings photocopied so that we could collage the copies on rather than use the originals.

I borrowed one of these photocopies and made a drawing with black acrylic based on this little A4 sketch. I made it A2 and then it grew and I stuck another piece of paper on so it ended up as a long piece, quite big. I did this to demonstrate the idea of taking a drawing and re working it in a different way and at a different scale and I was interested in co-opting or assimilating this boy’s drawing.

The next day I was running through these ideas with the next class and I showed them this big picture and explained that it was based on William’s drawing that I had liked. After a bit a lad came up to me and asked me if William had really told me that it was his drawing because it wasn’t, it was his. He had given it to William and he had filled it in and finished it off, put his name on and evidently claimed it as his own. Quite what this lad had thought when I had held up a big version of his drawing and shown the class I don’t entirely know. He said he didn’t mind.

We had an interesting chat about his drawings and how he felt about them. He obviously used it as a powerful means of expression for him. They are all robots with skull heads and flames and mechanical arms and so on. A4 paper, shaded in pencil drawings. I wrote in his diary and told him that he should feel proud that someone liked his drawing enough to make a copy of it, it was quite an accolade that the art teacher liked his drawing enough to do that. I also told him he shouldn’t give his stuff away and certainly not to people who claim it as their own in quite that way.

I was also a bit embarrassed because I had been caught out making a pastiche with the permission of the wrong boy. And we were all in a tricky world of ripping off other off and the internet and every sci-fi film ever and nicking each others drawings and I’d sort of joined in. I guess I owe the boy a robot drawing.

When I realised what had happened I thought, wow, this is a great page of PhD. It will make a great plate.

Source material with greenware plate and under glaze.

I had a bit of a gap between school and a meeting about being made redundant so I stayed at school and used the classroom as a studio for an hour or so. I worked on a commemorative plate, channelling Grayson Perry and Gavin Turk with a plate to commemorate my ten years at Gisleham. I used some under glaze on a buff school clay with a couple of layers of blue slip on. I used a few pictures from a google search around commemorative plates in general including a well cheesy one of the queen mum. I based the self portrait on a picture of Nelson (local lad) and this has sent the face a bit off kilter so I might have to rework that a bit.

So before half term I made up a pile of images with the idea of making a ‘dream of Paladino’ piece as a tribute and as a way of thinking about the use of fragments in Paladino’s work. After half term I walked back into the classroom and saw the pile of things on the table and momentarily forgot why I had done it. And then I wondered why I had thought it was a good idea.

After a bit I decided to use them anyway and I quickly put together two ‘Paladinos” which worked quite well. I am not sure what they have to say about fragments though. There is something different about making fragments deliberately to put together into an image. I know what I am doing and I am planning ahead really, I am just building an image out of disparate bits. I make some more fragments on some more varied materials around the art room and make up another one on a small canvas. Not really very happy though. For the research project part of the point is that the different bits of the fragmentary practice are more broken up than that, more separated by time and materials and intention and part of the point is that they only look evenly vaguely coherent after the event. This is different to the bits being made as fragments.

To make a work out of fragments then the work has to be accidentally made as fragments, almost. If that can be done. Certainly I have been thinking more about leaving things undone or half done and not having the same need to ‘finish’ things. But I am not sure how I can deliberately make accidental fragments. Perhaps the point is that all of the work is made of fragments of time and effort and leave it at that.

Is everyone’s? I suppose I am again contrasting this with some sort of Ideal Artist deeply delving into their practice in long lonely uninterrupted hours in the studio as opposed to making stuff in the gaps.

I did a lot of ceramics work with the pupils last week and this and I made a couple of plates up whilst this was going on. I liked these a lot and this has started a chain of thinking about commemorative plates, Grayson Perry, Richard Prince and Lilly Van Stokker and further text pieces in clay.