Monthly Archives: October 2014

Art Nouveau

Art nouveau grew from the Arts and Crafts movement, art nouveau shared the same belief in quality goods and fine craftsmanship but didn’t mind mass production. It was characterised by intricate linear designs and flowing curves based on natural forms and botanical research. Art nouveau also features a lot of the female form in a pre-Raphaelite pose with long, flowing hair.

The birth of department stores was one factor of the Art Nouveau movement. Department stores mass produced item that they guessed people would buy and it was the start of mail order catalogues so companies need to advertise their stock to sell it.  The second factor was the introduction of printing. Colour printing had became a lot cheaper and large rolls of paper were now being produced for the lithography machines. This created continuous printing for mail order catalogues and advertising.



Impressionism art was the first time there was a big movement from traditional art. Impressionist art is a style in which the artist captures the image of an object as someone would see it if they just caught a glimpse of it. They paint the pictures with a lot of color and most of their pictures are outdoor scenes. Their pictures are very bright and vibrant. The artists like to capture their images without detail but with bold colours using loose brush strokes, they done this purposefully to give an ‘impression’. Impressionist artists painted people like their neighbours and bar keeps and liked to paint their scenes in different lighting. There was many factors that influenced impressionist art, one being that paint now was produced in tubes so artists could take paint with them anywhere. They were very concerned with being modern and contemporary.

The birth of photography influenced impressionism as they were against it.  Impressionism believed the world was bursting full of colour which they tried to portray in their paintings; at that time photography was in black and white. They wanted to show the modern world.

Realism: where an artist creates a representation of the subject matter and bringing it to the public eye.

Illusionism: something that is photorealistic and convincingly real however they are not.

In class we discussed the difference between men and women in this art movement. It was interesting that women were not allowed into art academies because of live drawing/painting lessons that used nude models. Women had to stay at home and look after the home and children, they were thought to be instinctive mothers so they should stay home for their children. Many paintings created by women in this era were from the home or of their children. Some wealthy enough would hire women to look after their children so they could go and paint.



Creative Tasks

Task One:  State why you feel your photos are about Modernity and why you think an Impressionist if he or she were here today would use your topic.

impressionism picturesI think an impressionist would use the topic of my pictures if they were here today as they show modernity which is what the Impressionists wanted to paint. The picture of the ABC Cinema demolition shows destruction of the past and now becoming modern. The shard also shows modernity as it is the largest newly built skyscraper. I could link my third picture to Gustave Caillebotte – Paris Street, Rainy Day as he painted a street in Paris and I believe an impressionist would paint the town centre as it does show modernity.


After looking at the two pictures side by side I found it quite interesting how coincidently my picture also features a lamppost which divides the image up, however not like it does in Caillebotte’s painting where the lamppost makes a golden section.

Task Two: find compliment colours from anywhere (real life, magazines, blogs)


Task Three: Look at shadows and describe what colours are actually in them. Try to take photos but these may not show the colours as well as you would hope.








Interesting Things

This activity is used to help boost our creativity. We have to look at the mundane things in life and make them interesting.

The light infiltrated the wooden shutters and sprawled out onto the soft grey carpet, creating spiritual like beams that radiated the darkness.

Autumnal  leaves shook violently on the withered birch tree that arched limply over the neglected children’s park.



Eat Something Different

For my task to eat something different I decided to combine attributes of two fruits together. I used a hollow apple to act as a container and poured orange juice inside it. I then froze the two… DSC_0262 copyThe result turned out to be quite satisfying, however the apple was a little too hard to bite through at first.

Somerset House

On Monday 6th October we visited Somerset House in London to look at the galleries of art and illustration. We were set four tasks during our trip and to write them up in our blogs.

The first task was to find at least two works that you personally like or find interesting. The first piece that I personally found interesting and intriguing was by Édouard Manet called  ‘A Bar at the Folies-Bergère’ (1881/1882)


At first I couldn’t comprehend the perspective of the painting. I thought that the woman in the picture was looking in a mirror at herself; however on closer inspection I could see that she was looking out from the bar and her reflection is on the right of the painting. We then discussed how the viewer is forced to see the painting through the man’s view in which we can see his reflection too, I thought this was really interesting as I hadn’t seen a painting as early as this use a reflection to reveal the background and other people. We had a discussion about impressionism and how it was the biggest break in the art movement, and discussed how the artists would criticise society including homelessness and prostitution which was a big problem in 19-century France. This altered my interpretation of the man in the picture, it could be said that he was a client for the woman as she could be involved in prostitution which wouldn’t be unlikely, so this is what I think the meaning of this painting by Manet is.

The next piece I found interesting was in the National Open Art Exhibition by Danny Lyon and it was called ‘Stanley’. I found this interesting as it was a painting of a Stanley knife however it was very interesting.  This made me relate to one of our activities where we have to make something mundane and make it interesting.


The second task was to look at pieces that would inspire and inform me on my current project ‘Time’.

The first piece that I took an interest too and thought could inspire me was a piece by Vaughn Horsman called ‘Personal Space’. The circular design style gave me an idea of a radial calendar for my current project. The different rings and squares in this piece informed me of a 365 day calendar divided into weeks and months. However I would have to tweak the design as this looks very complex and challenging from a distance, and a calendar should be simple and inviting.

EXODUS-VII-Tin-Shack-City-Cape-Flats-South-Africa-2011 copy

The second piece that informed and inspired me was called ‘Tin Shack City’ by Marcus Lyon because of the rows and columns that our made by the shacks. This informed me of a traditional calendar layout which I could use in my project.

Task 3 was to find pieces of art that I personally disliked or found boring.

A photo by Abbie Trayler-Smith called ‘SHANNON POST OP’ is one piece that I personally didn’t like as it wasn’t pleasing to look at nor made a lot of sense or meaning to it. We discussed it in a group and a few different interpretations come out from the discussion. One was that it doesn’t show meaning as the viewer has to guess for themselves from the girls expression and the title ‘post op’ which would suggest this is her before she has some kind of operation. It is clear that the model is overweight/obese so we discussed that she may be trying to show obesity in a different light. The more we discussed it the more I became interested in it as it challenged me to think about the underlying context of the photograph.



Shoe Tower

In groups of 3 we were set a task to create a tower made only of our own shoes that we brought in. We could not use and adhesives for the shoes to stack up, so this was challenging our ability to problem solve.

Our first idea was to balance the shoes on top of each other, but we soon found out this was not the best idea as it came crashing down. We then thought about using the holes in the shoe for another to slot into it, this gave support for our tower.  This was the best way for us to stack our shoe tower and we was surprised of the sturdiness of it. We made a few different towers using this method.

shoe tower

This task helped us come together as a team and think of different ideas to overcome the problem. I believe this is an essential ability to have being a designer.