Reflective Journal: Week 11

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Monday 24/11/14

This previous weekend, we were asked to bring in images and two objects which could represent our cultural heritage. At first I was fairly confused and so I looked through old family photos to spark inspiration. I gathered images of my nan and her siblings in the 1940's and images of family parties. I found it difficult to pin point what I see my culture as...so I went for the idea of family and food! All of my images reflected this, involving family get togethers, British food and general English culture, such as images of the Queen and World War 2. This morning, we started by getting into pairs and swapping our images and objects. I paired up with Ethan, who is from South Korea. He gave me piles of images that were very useful. Some of the last Korean Queen, Korean carnivals, images from his childhood and other Korean images such as shoes and traditional dress. These were a good starting point but as I looked further at some of the images, I wanted to know more about each area. I spoke to Ethan about some of these, and I asked him what traditional foods were his favourite. He also told me that he is from Gangnam. Before this, I didn't know this was a town! I instantly thought of Gangnam Style and so I researched the video to get screenshots from it. After sharing with our partner, we walked around the class and shared each other's images and ideas. Although this part felt slow, it was interesting to see what other people had in mind when they'd been given this research. For the rest of the day we were in the library researching further into our given culture. Searching through the books online, I could only find a handful of useful books that I could use. This made it difficult to have a strong idea of what collages I wanted to produce. The books that I looked through showed traditional Korean art and not much else. This took up the rest of the day. When I got home, I searched online further into my original ideas. I gathered images of traditional carnivals, occasions, traditional dress and more urban images such as the streets of Korea and Gangnam. I have now become more excited for this project because I have images that I am really interested in. I love the colours in the urban scenery of the streets and the busy mood to it all. I've printed all of this off and am ready to create collages for tomorrow.

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Wednesday 26/11/14

Today I've worked on collages all day. I started by trying out different versions of yesterday's successful pieces. Some worked, but others were a version of the last that wasn't that great. Collaging started to become quite tedious throughout the day, as I had by this time made around 15. I felt as though my ideas were becoming boring and the excitement of the work had gone. I took a break and came up with some ideas to carry on with. I thought about the face in the hole boards at theme parks. This popped in my head because I was replacing faces with new papers and patterns. I then printed an image of a Korean birthday party and cut out two of the faces. I replaced them with white paper that said 'Your Face Here!' and 'Take Photo' to make them relate to the face in the hole boards. The children in this picture were blowing candles from a rice cake. This is a traditional cake in Korea and is eaten on special occasions. This felt too obvious, to I replaced this with a plate of fish and chips. The candles were stuck in this plate and the image combined quite well. I thought that it wouldn't work; but because it was such a subtle change, it was interesting when you noticed it after a second glance. I tried this technique again with a cartoon of Psy from Gangnam Style. This one wasn't as successful, but I did like how the cartoon contrasted with the harsh background of a realistic Korean street. To spark inspiration further, I looked up artists who specialised in collaging and paper techniques. My favourite was Abigail Reynolds. She works with strong imagery from books, magazines and newspapers and then cuts out sections to form window flaps. When closed, the whole image is present, when open, then image underneath is apparent and more dominant than the top image. She does this by carving out sections and then placing the new image in this area. Her work is very effective and more often than not relates to architecture or some sort of landscape. Therefore, I experimented with this technique using images of the streets of Korea and some traditional architecture. I love this way of working because it combines two great images in a new explorative way. Finding her work gave me a lot more inspiration and made me excited to make more collages. I found this day of making productive because it has given me a good insight into collaging. I enjoyed it before but now feel more confident with working in this way. This task has also made me enjoy the thinking behind the collaging too, I've liked trying to gather new ideas for different samples. I would like to carry this style forward in the next project.

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Tuesday 25/11/14

Carrying on from yesterday, today we began making collages. I enjoyed working in this way. I've worked using collaging before, but not to this scale. I started by looking at the colours in the carnival images and then playing around with them. I cut out faces and replaced then with translucent papers, then layered different scenery over the top. Throughout the day I realised that I really liked the contrast of scenery in collages. I had images from the Korean War and I then added images that were far more light-hearted. I put an image of Psy (Gangnam Style) on top of a war zone image, then added pop art shapes to the explosion. This contrast between the serious and not so serious worked and so I played upon this. I tried more war zone images with happier faces and carnival dress. I then added a photo of Ethan's parents on their wedding day to a war scene, contrasting the happiness with the darkness of the black and white photo of war. This didn't work so well and so I began to try other ways of working. I felt like I needed more inspiration towards the end of the day. I spoke to Ethan some more and asked him about symbolism in Korea. He told me that cats were the symbol of danger and mystery. Because of this, the people will not eat them as they do with dogs. I found this interesting and so I looked into the contrast of good and bad. I then created a collage which combined the last Queen who had a halo and a dangerous cat. I like working with contrasts and I think this works well in the collages. Throughout the day I continued with making collages and trying out different paper techniques. I weaved paper and placed this behind cut outs, replaced traditional Korean objects for English ones, and ripped paper to reveal images beneath. I enjoyed the process of creating collages because it gave me confidence to create more interesting ones tomorrow. Not only this, but I think I will definitely work in this way in future because a collaged image is far more interesting than the original (most often).

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Thursday 27/11/14

To begin the day, our class continued with collaging for the first part of the morning. By this point I really began to love collaging because I started to think differently about it. I began to think of new ways that I could create interest in the collage and how the colours could work within the chosen images. Instead of replacing faces, I then started to think about replacing arms, feet and other areas of the image. I also created distorted images. I liked this! I enjoy the distortion because I think it can be done in an unobvious way which is very interesting. Towards lunch, our class began to pack up and place our collages in our books and on the walls for a mini exhibition. The textiles groups arrived from  Archway and everyone had a look at each other's work. I find this process inspiring because seeing how others work gives me a new perspective on the whole project. It's nice because when you've been so focused on your own work for the week, you can see different ways of interpreting the brief and find out why they have taken it in that direction. My favourites were the ones where you couldn't tell at a first glance what culture they were working from. You had to have a closer look at the patterns within and the shapes of the work to figure it out. For example, the patterns and shapes of traditional Chinese architecture. Overall, I think this week has been inspiring because it has taught me to work in a new way by including interesting collages to make a simple image more exciting on the page.

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