Sunday, 21 February 2010

Urbis: Home-grown: the story of UK hip hop.

Yesterday I visited the Urbis for one last time!... I cannot believe its being made into a football museum?what a waste! For one of the final exhibitions shown in the Urbis I was very pleased to see that it was quite and interesting and educational one. When I first heard about the exhibition I thought to myself, hmm hip hop? This wont be totally up my street at all! But I was pleasantly surprised! I really enjoyed walking around learning as I was looking at the art and culture of the UK hip hop scene leading up until today.

The exhibition looked back over almost 3 decades and shows how the spirit of the Bronx block party and an individual british influence was taken upon by a generation of young youth. In doing so it shows how a US subculture featuring art, politics, rhyme, dance and music was adopted, adapted and embraced to create a powerful, complex, cultural force, this side of the Atlantic. The exhibition brings together the rare and remarkable hip hop photography, music, film and fashion from the best private collections.

I particularly liked and looked more closely at the music, the album/ vinyls and cassette designs as I find these elements interesting and visually exciting! I was also very interested in the print documents that were created and designed for the UK kip hop scene.

I was glad that i'd decided to go to urbis as I wasn't intending on going to this exhibition, but as I realised it would be one of the final times I thought I'd regret not going. I actually really enjoyed this exhibition and feel the need to tell people that are not aware that it's there to go and have a look. People who are involved in design obviously hear about these exhibitions all the time, but what about those people who are still involved in this culture, dress, listen to the music, are not aware? Spread the word!

Max Ernst: une semaine de bonte

A while ago while looking for books I came across a book that I'd previously sat and studied in the Whitworth gallery. It was Max Ernst's 'Une Semaine de bonte', a lovely book full of Ernst's black and white works, in my opinion the most successful work he has done.

I like so many aspects of Ernst's work, the early collage feel to it, the surrealism he captures in the images, and also the gothic, strangely eerie feel they have to them. I also particularly like the fact they are so simple in colour, I feel that sometimes black and white images can be more striking and effective than colourful, in your face images.

This book is one of the most interesting books I have read and seen. Although I am interested in contemporary art and design I am fascinated with the older art and the type of work that has a lot of history behind it. The images are beautiful although slightly odd most of the time! I found that looking at an Ernst piece, isn't easy to take it all in and notice everything at once, every time you look back at an image you will see something you hadn't before. Are there hidden meanings behind these images?

Stop oh yes,wait a minute mr. postman...

Headline: "Postman Pat loses all his rubber goods" - Royal Mail.

Recently Leanne and I decided to attempt the elastic band brief as a project on the side. The brief being :

"Create a campaign to encourage postmen to stop dropping elastic bands in the streets. Use any appropriate media."

We have been researching this subject, and I personally wasn't aware at how big of deal dropping elastic bands were to the public. The are endless articles about how much the royal mail spend on elastic bands every year (£1 million), and how radio stations asked viewers to send in elastic bands they found, so they could send them back to the sorting office. There were even articles about the red rubber bands harming animals.

We recently set out to ask a handful of postmen a few questions on this subject as we were aware they drink weekly at a local bar, typically for us they weren't there when we got there. We waited but it seems they were otherwise engaged!

The brief is turning out to be something quite fun. Although we do want to take a rather serious approach we also want to have fun with it, while trying to get the point across.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

RSA postage stamps

Last term one of the briefs I did was the RSA Postage stamp brief. Although I did enjoy this brief I thought it would be a little more simpler than it actually was. I was looking forward very much to start this brief, and couldn't believe how stuck I had got before finally getting an idea!

There were 2 choices, to look at biodiversity or celebrate the 4 countries. I instantly wanted to do the biodiversity but after much research realized that all my ideas and all that I would have liked to have done, had already been done. I then went about researching the 4 countries, this was also harder than expected. I was surprised at how horrible some of the stamps for this category were!

I then had a bright idea! (mind the pun). When thinking about biodiversity I was always thinking about the obvious, nature, animals and the environment. Then I started thinking about how we need to sustain a better way of live not only for the earth but for us as well. One of the biggest things that stood out was the co2 emissions, and our carbon footprint. This is where I got the idea of the energy saving life bulbs. I then drew some different light bulbs from angles and then played around with them on stamp templates.

I managed to turn this around in a few days, and to think I had no final idea I am very happy with the outcome. Although simple, I feel that stamps must be, as they are small and need to be eye catching. Although assessment has been I'd maybe like to try develop these stamps to see how they could progress.

It must be love...

Recently I spent the day making a set of valentines day cards to sell on the degree fundraiser stall in the holden gallery and union. I thought about what I could put on the front of the cards and the thought of making tacky "I love you" card with lots of kisses and hearts really didn't appeal to me!

While sat around my room looking for more less obvious things to put on the cards I remembered about the birds I'd drawn for my silence project. I then thought about the expression that people use when two people are in love " Love Birds" and put both these ideas into action.

I then thought about how I could present the cards, and that is when I found the small wooden pegs in my draw, and some lovely brown envelopes. I'm quite happy with the way the cards turned out, and really enjoyed making them. I think in the future I would like to have a go at making some more cards.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Cube Gallery

Yesterday a few of us decided to visit the Cube gallery on our way into town, and quite frankly I was quite disappointed. I'd heard good reviews and people saying the exhibition was a must, when really I only found a handful of pieces in the exhibition to be of interest.

Maybe it wasn't totally my cup of tea and other people found it to be of help or interest, but some of the pieces were definitely not up my street! Although I am very open minded when it comes to design and I am always open to new ways of working and ideas, I think I have a specific type of interest. I particularly like handmade pieces, illustrated pieces, and almost old vintage looking pieces.

Although It wasn't to my expectations I did find a few pieces that I liked. This was particularly my favorite, "Victorian Gothic: The Dilemma of Style 1980 a lecture poster. I really liked the choice of pallet here, the navy blue and white linear illustration and handwriting really compliment one another. There is so much to look at in this lecture poster, so many small patterns and details within the image itself.

Another few pieces I thought fitted in well with the dissertation I had previously handed in was the typographic collages. I was looking at the cut and paste approach many visual artists and music artists had during the 70's. Below is an image of a glass case full of small pockets full of cut out letters. There's something really nice about these pieces, simple but really nice to look at.

I think these pieces of design work really well as a set and although different they all hold an element that connect them together. As well as working in a set I also think they work just as well individually. I particularly like that they are displayed in white photo frames and in all different sizes.

Although a few people agreed with me, that the exhibition wasn't as good as they had anticipated, I wonder weather I was in the right frame of mind when visiting cube? There was a few good pieces here, but I do think that it may have been suited to some people, while others maybe not so much!