Sunday, 30 September 2012

The big reveal William Hardacre (aka Humbug Billy)And the Bradford humbug poisonings

So here it is, my two week project. I was given a plastic box full of cusious objects. The box contained :

a ball of string

some raffle tickets

a bag of salt (in a clear plastic back)

a packet of peppermint chewing gum

As soon as I saw the salt I knew what I wanted my project to revolve around, and luckily the rest of the objects seemed to just fit in with my theme.

The theme
In 1858 William Hardacre of Bradford West Yorkshire poisoned over 200 people, 20 of those poisonings resulted in death!
How did he do this? i hear you ask, well quite simply Poor William was a victim of the sugar taxation of the times. Sugar was exotic, expensive and hard to get hold of, if you were a poor market stall owner like old Billy you simply had to substitute sugar with other things.
Now Billy used to use a drug called 'daft' in place of other expensive, somewhat hard to come by ingredients. but one day due to ill labelled and tragically placed jars the apothecary that supplied Billy with his ingredients accidentaly gave him a dose of arsenic! Obviously with ill labelled jars, no one noticed the deadly mistake, it was a white sugar like substance, easily mistaken.
It's said that each peppermint humbug contained enough arsenic to kill two people, so it's surprising that only 20 of those people died.
No one involved were prosecuted for this deadly accident, but it did lead to the sugar taxation been lifted and laws on what could be used in food consumption.
I've portrayed Billy in such a manner as the news papers of the time portrayed him as a cold blooded killer, depicting him in as a skeleton in a kitchen of horrors, mixing all manner of things into his sweets.
The numbers on the tickets represent the numbers poisoned
the humbugs are made from the string
the chewing gum was incorporated as the humbugs were peppermint flavoured
and the salt was used as a play on the arsenic mix up, as without a label , it could have been anything
I'm very proud of the puppet I've made and am going to be making a lot more of them, hopefully I shall become a master puppeteer

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Doll face

experimenting with my new 'act'

As I said before I am developing more performance based art at the moment, I don't really want to say too much about it as I don't want to spoil the surprise, however I will say this, there will me lots of dressing up, puppets and shenanigans.

(Foxy and Husk)

I have only recently discovered these two amazing performers, and I have to say I find them truly inspiring. What could be more wonderful than two people dressed up as animals singing, dancing and performing. They have given me a lot to think about in my next artistic adventures, and I truly hope I see more of these wonderful people in the near future.

I have been thinking about combining my art, puppets , dolls and prosthetics into a much more theatrical, performance based venture,,, so watch this space !

Make up doesn't make me!

I made this video as a response to a feminist theory called the 'Beauty myth'  I class  myself as a feminist, but understand that a lot of people stereotype 'the feminist' I do wear makeup and 'pretty dresses' I like them and I always have, however I do not use makeup and 'pretty dresses' because I feel insecure, which quite sadly I feel a lot of women do, due to advertising and media creating a negative body image and attitude. I made this as a response to both the stereotyping of 'the typical feminist' and also to just reiterate the fact that makeup does not make me (or any one else) I feel intelligence, personality and attitude make a person.
 However I do like makeup, but feel that as long as you have a mind underneath it all your integrity will always be intact.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

(Oscar dear oscar)

I've been reading a book about the life of Oscar Wilde's wife by Franny Moyle named:
Constance, The Tragic And Scandalous Life Of Mrs Oscar Wilde

As I was reading today I found the most charming quote describing Oscar Wilde and thought I would share it with you all as it instantly made me smile and feel so happy that amongst the dregs of today's dumbed down society who are compelled by reality TV stars  and trash magazines, a culture of people who care nothing for talent or hard work, that there are indeed still wonderful writers and real artists in the world from the past and the present, and I felt this quote was a beautiful summation of Wilde's character in just one sentence, it read:

"Controversial and unapologetic, a man who captivated people with his magnetic personality, fabulous wit and magical storytelling, he was the embodiment of charm, genius and arrogance bundled into one"  -Franny Moyle

What a beautiful collection of words put so poetically to describe this wonderful man.

Of course the whole book is written beautifully, but this was just one of the things that instantly stood out. I can't stress how important literature is to me, and reading beautifully written pieces such as this inspire me in so many ways.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

(Katie Jane Garside Darling they found the Body)

I know I've written about Katie Jane Garside before , but I really do admire her work in all it's forms.  The video I have shown here is from the 'Darling they found the body' exhibition
I find Garside enchanting, and always have, I've seen her many times and always admire that certain quality she has, she is this elusive ,magical ,mad genius  in my eyes. I feel she teeters on the edge of madness and beauty, and the combination creates her perfection. I've rarely heard her speak, but in this performance she still has a melodic way of speaking, she isn't quite singing , but isn't quite speaking. She intrigues me because she and her work represent to me, something other worldly, she seems to be in this world but not of it.
I like the shaky, blurry quality of this film too, it adds to the 'maddness' and the melodic ramblings. I love the way she speaks and the language she uses, it's like an inner dialogue, and reminds me of a contemporary Shakespeare style performance, reminiscent of something lady Macbeth might have said.

I really hope that she does more of these types of performances, as I find them raw and extremely beautiful.

 Katie Jane Garside continues to entertain and inspire me in all she does, and I must admit, that she represents to me a woman who seems to be somewhat of a one woman army, she is never surrounded by people, she seems rather reclusive, and keeps herself to herself, although expresses so many emotions through her art. I personally admire people like this because they prove to me that you can survive alone and be successful. Sometimes it's good to work in a huge group of people and makes scene , but other times, it isn't necessary and beautiful things can still be created.

Monday, 17 September 2012

(The lady in the radiator, Eraserhead,, David Lynch)

I've always loved Eraserhead. Its macabre and unsettling, yet I've always found its darkness very appealing. I love this character, mainly because I find this songs haunting appeal something quite beautiful, I like the way she has a beautiful voice and from a far would seem quite 'pretty' and appealing, but if you look closely you see these hugely disfigured cheeks. The idea of a strange, tiny lady living inside the radiator and performing strange acts is just something I find intriguing , I couldn't tell you why. I just do.
 I've seen this film so many times  and I could loosely describe the story, but couldn't actually begin to decipher the meaning behind most of it, perhaps that's just me, never the less the visuals  used within it keep drawing me back again and again. God bless David Lynch!!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

When Santa comes down the chimney

Another card idea. I wanted to combine my love of vintage with my sarcastic/ fun side and bring well known vintage images to you with sweet little children combined with the wicked little monsters some of them are. I find them amusing, I hope you do too.

I tolled you I wanted a pony!

Because there will always be horrible ungrateful children, especially at Christmas!
This is part of my Christmas package. As macabre , grim and tongue in cheek as ever. There will be more on the way so keep your peepers peeled  !

Charlotte Victoria's Doll house

This is a promotional video I decided to make today to try and spread the word about my lovely dolls.

I also made it as a little practise for my animation skills, it isn't perfect , but I have tried to make my characters speak today using different mouth pieces, I think for my first attempt it has worked out quite well.

If anyone would like one of my variously styled dolls I make them custom, I can do them as any star, role model or Friends you so desire. Prices will vary depending on the complexity of the doll and how elaborate you want it to be. Most small kokeshi wooden dolls will be priced at £15,  knitted and cloth dolls will be around £25 to £30, again depending on materials, accessories and costume.

This collection would make a lovely present for any friend or family member so bear in mind Christmas is on it's way ! and you can't get these personally styled dolls anywhere else.

If you are interested in any of these dolls please email me with details of what type of doll you would like, and also what style you would like it in, you can be as elaborate as you like right down to the colour of their panties !

Friday, 14 September 2012

Weeds would always grow, obscuring the most beautiful of gardens.

These are my 'Beautiful garden' and 'Obscuring weeds' collages from my 'Map of the future' animation. I used a combination of my new found love for collage and my life long love of ink drawing. I'm pleased with the way they turned out, I feel that using collage along side  my mark making skills using ink works very well and provides the detail I get from ink and the fun and colour I obtain with collage. I feel I may use more of this combined method in the future as appose to abandoning one technique over the other.

End of year review (I realise the text is rather small, but please do 'zoom in')

I began my first year brimming with confidence and overflowing with ideas. My art had always been a very personal thing, something that I have always been more than happy to share with a wider audience, but something that I have always used as a personal coping mechanism, I have always expressed myself and my emotions through various art forms, So to take something I’d always used on a personal level and showcase myself to my peers was a very different yet exciting prospect for me.

My confidence grew even further when I first exposed my work to my peers. Initially I was slightly worried that I hadn’t done enough work. Not coming from a ‘traditional’ art background, I wasn’t all too sure just how much work was expected of me, but knew that I had many ideas and wanted the opportunity to take those farther and develop my skills. My personality was immediately evident to everyone in the room when my work was shown, which for me is, in a strange way some kind of achievement as I believe art is a powerful tool which can be used to ‘sing someone’s life’ in a moment or a glance, this is something I have always found a beautiful prospect and to actually see that my own work contained this quality , was a very proud moment for me.

I was pleasantly surprised with the freedom involved on the course. Although structured I found it very helpful that you could basically have the freedom to be yourself and express your art in any way shape or form you so wished, all the while knowing that if you needed guidance , it would be there.

I am extremely proud of the first module I completed (Visual investigation,, The legend of the black fox) I had always drawn on a very small scale at home, mainly due to the fact that I simply do not have the room in my already crowded house. But I felt that I should challenge myself , and instead of just developing the content on a small scale I decided I would make a wonderfully elaborate character, based upon the legend of the black fox, My aim was to have something illustrative, a character you may find in a book, and to then bring her half to life, not fully, just a little as though once you read of her tale she began to become more real and reach into your world, very much the way I like to experience books, I find it much more magical and interesting when you make the characters come to life. I suppose as well as visually I wanted to express that love I have for books and how the author is in fact an artist who has the ability to draw many different images in many different minds through the ‘art of words.’

Visually I was very pleased with this piece, to me it represents magic the wonder of imagination, and also clearly documents my mark making skills and how they have improved.

Another skill I found I had was etching. I’d never had the opportunity to do etching before, but have always been deeply influenced by artists who have mastered this skill, and am hoping to possibly use more of this in my future work.

One of the main events within my first year was my essay and presentation. I have always been fascinated with Victorian mourning etiquette and relished the opportunity to possibly pass on my knowledge in both an informative and visual way. I don’t know if everyone enjoyed my performance, and quite selfishly I didn’t really care if they didn’t. For me it was a way to express a subject that I personally have a great interest in, it was a way in which I could perform and create a visual spectacle at the same time as delivering an informative talk. I’m very proud of this moment as I feel it was a different way of doing things , and I feel that keeping things interesting and fun is a very important part of not just art and design , but life in general. I am always interested in a different approach, and I realised that a lot of people might perceive Victorian mourning as a subject quite grim, so by presenting it in such a way I feel I succeeded in getting everyone involved and more interested in my subject rather than just standing up and drilling it into people, (I think this was a success amongst most of my peers , but I know not all) Never the less I thoroughly enjoyed it and am proud of my courage/ or perhaps sheer stupidity to stand in front of what were quite frankly a room full of strangers. I feel it is a good attitude I have and still am developing as I feel the whole world is a giant room full of strangers and every one of them have the opportunity to be your audience. I think this skill development has put me in good stead for the future.

One of the projects I really enjoyed and feel taught me it was ok to have direct influences and make them your own was the piracy project. After discovering Analle Carlstrom’s work I immediately knew I was going to enjoy making her work fit into a niche of my own, and I feel although you can tell that the artist I was given is in there, I also feel that I have developed enough of my own style and persona within my work to know that there is an awful lot of myself in there too.

One of the main skill developments I am extremely proud of is my use of narrative within my work, At first my narrative was just that, written in words, but as my line quality and scene setting skills developed I feel that my work tells a visual story all by itself, even though I still love words and writing things to fit along side my work , I feel the images have come that far that I could , if I so wished, leave the text and it would still tell it’s story.

To further develop this story telling ability , I decided to collaborate on a stop motion animation, something I am also very proud of. It was the first attempt I’d ever made at stop motion animation, although I’ve always been a fan of stop motion animation work I just never thought I would be able to do it, so again I challenged this notion and just dove in at the deep end, and I must say , I feel the animation looks very magical, I don’t believe it looks like someone’s first attempt, having said this I know that as I continue to develop this skill it will become more precise, professional and ’perfect’ in my eyes.

My collaboration was a very interesting experience all round for me. As I said before all my work has always been very personal and always executed my me and me alone. Although I still do like to work alone the collaboration gave me the opportunity to work along side like minded people, and grasp the opportunity to ‘borrow’ and learn other people’s skill sets, for example , I learnt a lot about photo shop from Olivia on the magazine collaboration. I do have a lot more to learn but know that this task made it a lot easier for me, as if I hadn’t worked with Olivia I probably wouldn’t have bothered to learn about the wonders photo shop can indeed offer.

Another way of thinking I have gained from the collaboration reverts back to my animation, I realise that representing stories in a visual way is certainly something I am interested in and something I want to develop further going into my second year. I’ve always been a big reader and as an only child, characters from my books were a very important part of my life, and still are to this very day. In a way I want to play out the art of both my self and others poetry in a visual way , representing what it is that I see and feel when I read and write myself.

Overall I feel through the years highs and personal lows I have proven to myself and perhaps others that sometimes I may be melancholy, sometimes I may be loud , theatrical and even ‘fun’ but no matter what happens to me I will always create and have the ability to develop and create beautiful work through the midst of whatever is thrown at me, and I feel because of this and the developing skills I have and am still developing I know that I’ll be ok and I think with this attitude in mind , hopefully I’ll do well. But I do know this, I am very proud of everything I have done within my work and don’t regret a single thing

(The Herb Garden)

When I was a little girl I used to love going to stay at my grandmas house. Every time I went there we would walk down into Batley and up into the small arcade which is now abandoned save one shop, but when I was Little the arcade was alive with small businesses, my favourite of all was the video shop, our destination. Every time we visited the small video rental shop my grandma would say :
"You can pick any two videos you'd like"
and without falter I would always walk up to the same section, the section housing all the Herb garden videos, and would ALWAYS pick two of these.
I still watch the Herb garden today. It's another childhood 'animation experience' that has made a lasting impression on me. Firstly I love the style of these films, the characters are so full of fun and life, they create a magical escape, not that I ever needed an escape as a child, as a child I was extremely happy, although now that I'm older they provide this escape not only through the magic of the animation , but also because they remind me of how happy I was, and always bring back the memories of when we used to visit the video shop.

(Betty Boop)

I have two old tapes from when I was a little girl full of old Betty Boop cartoons and I often watch them back to back. Betty Boop has always been a character I found amusing, and the video I have selected is my all time favourite Betty cartoon. I love the style of these animations, along with the comical stories and singing, you can tell they are from the 30's and I like that, I also find magic in the way that every Betty Boop film I have seen the animators always bring life to inanimate objects, such as chairs and even the exercise machine in this film. I think that this is a key element for any animator and even artist, because art can be anything , and be in anything, and what could be more magical than making chairs and puppy dogs talk and dance?
I must admit, I did put on my Betty films to cheer me up a little, I haven't been very well over the last year resulting in me having to be on high dosages of steroids, which have made my face a little plumper than it was before, however I thought, I know  I'll watch a bit of Betty, because after all she does have the biggest cheeks I've ever seen, ( apart from the girl in the radiator in Eraser Head, who I also happen to think is an amazing character) so I thought, if it's good enough for my favourite cartoon character, it's good enough for me and I don't have to feel so bad about it.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Do it yourself 1940's hat

It's no secret I love vintage style. But I find the most coveted accessories rather expensive, so I adopted my usual 'lets just make it myself' attitude.
             At first I experimented with felts and tried to make a small pill box style hat, it did work, but wasn't the style i was after. Now , the next part will probably cause a raised eyebrow or two, but it works and it creates the style I was looking for,,,,, The base of the hat is made from a broken, plain black bra!! shock horror!
 Obviously the green trim stitching and bow have been added to the cup. After I'd finished this and actually tried it on, I felt rather satisfied as the hat is a really snug fit, on the inside of the cup/hat I have sewn a large hair comb so the hat can be secured to my head.
 Also the hat can be worn two ways, the bow at the front or at the back creating a v shaped front with comes down onto the forehead. Whichever way you choose to wear it, it looks adorable!

   So girls, if you find yourself with broken bras, don't throw them in the bin! DE wire and D I Y !

Thursday, 6 September 2012

You Can't photo shop personality! FACT

I wrote this song last night and recorded it this morning , so it isn't perfect, but I like it anyway. I was inspired by a photo that had been edited to say "personality can not be photo shopped" This statement made me smile and reminded me of a lot of people who use the Internet to manipulate and bully, loading their own insecurities upon others, For example the fashion magazines who photo shop models that heavily that the shape they end up as is NOT attainable resulting in thousands of eating disorders. I also thought about all the people who use the Internet as a bullying device and source of manipulation. I think that technology and media is a wonderful thing, in the hands of those who use it responsibly for the things it was created for, but feel that in the wrong hands it can be a terrible thing. I wrote this song as a tongue in cheek dig at these kinds of people , because I feel that they should remember that life isn't an on line computer network! there is a big beautiful world out there, and it doesn't all need to be manipulated on photo shop, please don't waste your life been spiteful on line and creating negative media. Use technology for all the good things you can create and spread,, and remember , you may be able to manipulate images , but personality can never be photo shopped!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

With a little help from my friend, photoshop doesn't seem half as complicated as before

I do not intend to use this as my main form of art, however I did find myself with a little time on my hands so, with the help of one of my old school friends who just so happens to work with computers I have now mastered the art of using found imagery and placing animal heads on peoples bodies and in funny or unusual situations, which as everyone knows I am very fond of doing. As I say I don't intend to rely on this method of art form as I enjoy drawing manually using ink and papers, but at least this could be another string to my bow.