Critical evaluation

Three years ago somebody suggested me to do an MA, around that time I had many ideas about my practice but I did not have a clear idea to give to others when they asked about my theme or my subject, thanks to my MA, now I know that it is all about the depiction of my visual experience of reality.

Both Francis Bacon and David Hockney helped me in the process of understanding my practice; I was captivated by Bacon’s views on the horror of life, the way he approached the figure and his spatial arrangements. Hockney helped me to question linear perspective and monocular depictive systems, I was also impressed by his views on how time flows between images.

Now I know that through my practice, I have been trying to push the limits set by the flatness. Using images to create 3D models has allowed me to reflect about the substance of images, and has also helped me to gain enough confidence to start sculpting again.

I think that I have developed both my digital and physical professional skills, the creation of META-IMAGES is a quite interesting path that I want to follow, I have learned a lot from the making of my final piece and I plan to use that knowledge for the making of hybrid pieces that might inhabit the viewers space.

Doing my first VR piece allowed me to explore an unknown territory, digital images have been always part of my practice but were never present in the final piece, making the VR roller coaster encouraged me to keep doing digital explorations without the need of painting anything. Creating and editing digital images has also helped me to understand that my practice goes beyond paint and brushes (Although I quite like those two).

I plan to keep learning about VR user interface creation. I also plan to explore projection mapping as it might allow me to present my digital creations over not-flat surfaces as I think this could allow me to create an immersive space without the VR headset.

I am quite interested in the moving image and also the process moving through the image, I already started to do experiments with a MOVING-META-IMAGE using the same principles I use for still images.

Reading a book titled “The power of the centre” by Rudolf Arnheim, has helped me to learn more about spatial composition, I see META-IMAGES as both a 3D object and a place for the viewer to visit, my plan is to read more about architecture and spatial composition.

This experience has also made change my expectations about the art world, now I know I will need to keep exploring options in order to continue developing my practice whilst making money to pay the bills. I also understood the importance of networking and collaboration, in my near future I plan to work with a sound artist to explore how sound might spread through the META-IMAGE.

Finally, I will say that I used to ask myself about the What, Where, When and the How of my pieces, now, I am aware that thanks to my MA, I learned to ask Why.

 

Light and space

The experience of setting up my final exhibition has been both fun and challenging, after spending more than 4 months focusing on my final piece now I have to split my mind in order to deal with all the details of the exhibition whilst working on the last details of my piece.

I feel pretty lucky because I was given a great space, however, this does not mean that everything is perfect, my biggest challenge so far has been setting up a proper lighting system for the two components of my piece, on this matter, I have to say that for the first time I feel that light has become a very important asset, I guess that in the past, things were simpler because the process of  lighting walls tends to follow more or less the same formula, but setting up a piece in the middle of the space is quite a different matter.

Thanks to Jonathan I also learned that you have to balance elements to get them to work together and you have to be very careful because each new element like a light, a plinth, a shadow could become either part of the piece or worst; a distraction.

Thinking back about my previous exhibitions, I concluded that as a painter, my concerns were limited to very specific matters regarding walls and circulation, and this might be an inherent advantage for flat pieces that are supposed to be hanged on a wall, however, my role as a painter/sculptor working in both physical and digital environments brings new challenges and this will change forever the way I present my work not only in a physical space but also in the way I present it through my web page, social media and even for competitions and exhibition proposals.

A META-IMAGE maker

Last week I was working on a presentation for SIREN Conference, at the same time I was making the video for the MA`s Symposium, it was a very difficult but interesting week, I even had to work on the train going to and back from Edinburgh.

Thanks to all the reflection I had to do about my practice, I ended up understanding how important images are in my life; I realised that since I was a kid, I used images to express my feelings and thoughts, and this is also the main reason for me to become a painter.

Although this might seem pretty obvious, it has helped me solve a puzzle that I had had for a long time, especially since I started expanding my practice by using digital photographs as part of a final piece.

As a painter, I keep questioning myself about digital images because using them as part of a final piece, feels like going in an opposite direction from painting, I do not consider myself a photographer as I do not want to depict the physical world through a lens, although I feel that, digital images provide unlimited raw material to work on.

Since last year, I realised that I am also a sculptor, but my interest in 3D shapes is directly linked to the image, and at one point, I realised that painting and sculpting are actually part of the process of making a META-IMAGE.

For most of my artistic practice, I have used photographic images as reference for my paintings, however, since last year, and thanks to my “Camberwell Roller Coaster” piece; a digital piece out of 12 photographs I made whilst walking through Camberwell College, my interest in them grew and now I feel that I have to keep exploring this path and take the risk of making more digital pieces.

 

 

The SIREN experience

Last Tuesday I went to Edinburgh in the company of Cèline and Jonathan, we were presenting a paper on the SIREN Conference, I have to say that this was an amazing experience that allowed me to look inside the PHD world, I was able to attend several talks by people from very different backgrounds.

By doing my presentation, I was able to go back and take a look on the whole of my practice, even back when I started to make complex arrangements, like the one for “little tragedy”.

This exercise allowed me to understand a very basic fact about myself; images have played a very important role in the way I express my ideas, although this might seem quite obvious, it has helped me to understand why I do what I do.

I AM AN IMAGE MAKER.

Open call for Anxiety

This blog post is very personal, although it is connected to my practice (I guess everything in my life is), this is my reflection about something that has been affecting me on a personal level; my ever-growing list of artistic opportunities.

This Easter was a nightmare for me as I discovered that I was trying to “bite more than I could chew” and funny enough I was not even able to submit my proposal to just one of the competitions.

I remember a similar time when I decided to create a whole set of pieces for an exhibition in NYC in 20 days, it all started when somebody I knew offered me the opportunity to exhibit there and I decided to turn a holiday break into a nightmare. At the end, it went well… kind of… I did not sell anything and also ruined the trip for me and my girlfriend as we did not even visit Central Park!!!.

I have been like through all my artistic career, I remember that on one year I applied for more than 20 opportunities and was involved in more than 6 exhibitions.

It is a marathon, not a sprint…

A couple of weeks ago I saw an interview with artist Grayson Perry and he advised that artists should think always compare their career to a marathon rather than a sprint. This analogy was perfect for me, especially because since the beginning of this year, I have been feeling tired and more than inclined to make changes in the way I am pushing myself.

Although I have been trying to pay attention only to opportunities that truly connect with my practice, I did not set any kind of rules regarding whether I decide to take part or just let it slip away.

I guess it has always been hard for me to draw my limits. I tend to say yes a lot (as Jennet pointed out) and I am really bad when estimating the amount of effort that a project will actually involve. I even remember that a close friend told me that I always set unrealistic personal goals… maybe it is time to start listening.

A set of rules

I really feel that I need to change my strategy in order to cope wit my practice in the long term. So, whilst holding hands with the spirit of change, I declare that from now on:

-I will only deal with a maximum of two applications per month.

-I will never make new work for an application, I will only push myself to finish work that is already in process.

-I will give myself at least one week to review CV, BIO and STATEMENT.

-I will give myself at least 3 days to take proper pictures and/or document the work I am submitting.

I will never spend more than £40 for competition fees.

 

 

The social market and the consumer society

Since the beginning of this year, I started thinking about social media and how one interacts with other people through this digital platforms, at one point I realised that it is possible to compare the dynamics of these interactions with the ones occurring inside of a marketplace where content becomes the main commodity supporting all transactions.

These transactions work a quite differently from the traditional exchange of goods and services between buyers and sellers; people offer content in exchange for likes, comments and content sharing. Of course, there is a commercial dimension to this, but I rather focus on the social interaction.

It is possible to think that this social market is actually a visible feature of the consumer society, a society completely permeated by the market values.

In this talk, Michael Sandel is talking about the role of money in our society and the effects it has on interactions and even on the “commodities” it buys.

Although my focus is on social exchange, I think there are a lot of interesting things about money and power and I really feel that in order to be able to depict present times, I have to deepen my research on this topic.

Again, although my focus is not on money, it is unavoidable to think about Exploitation and Degradation as pretty important facts that affect a huge chunk of the population.

My Reflection

I understand that my intention to depict reality has to embrace both global and local views, I am aware that my visual language has to evolve in a way that is able to zoom in and out from both conflicting and unrelated facts of existence and I guess, that my next course of action, should be to create a diagram or a map about this reality.

The cheapness of images

I was reading Zygmunt Bauman’s book “Globalization”, and there he was referring to cheap communication. how the electronic means liberated information from its physical boundaries.

Cheap-image-image flood-1

When reading this, it is easy to think about how digital media and especially social media present us with a collaged reality that clashes with our immediate reality, so our brains are constantly challenged in order to make sense of this chaotic expanded reality.

Cheap images
Made Cheap / Cheap made

One could say that there is always a cost associated with the creation of an image and that this cost could be expressed in time and effort (including learning curves), in the cost of materials used and involved in the creation process and even in resources involved (like tools and places).

One could also add that thanks to the means of reproduction, these costs are most likely to be divided between the copies created from an original (something very different happens with value) and this could allow you to make images cheap. Thinking about digital images allows concluding that they are even cheaper thanks to the means of replication and transport.

I guess that a very important fact to take into account is that today, more than ever, people are exposed to images; both digital and physical images have flooded our reality. One interesting thing about this is that, although images have become cheap, common and ephemeral,  they had also become a fundamental part of how we communicate and interact with each other.

What does this mean for a painter?

A paradox!

 

Frames whitin frames

Today I was thinking about how we frame reality and how media allows our minds to access multiple views on reality.

 

I believe that this excessive flow of visual information tends to create a dynamic strong enough to destroy the frame and to merge all in a seamless ever evolving meta-image

The scale of reality

Today I was specifically  thinking about the scale of a piece I want to make for the final show, It is a hybrid piece; on one side, I have a small size painting-sculpture build like a place where the viewer is invited for a directed tour, on the other hand, I will display an immersive projection of that tour.

I realized that scale raises a fundamental question; how is the scale going to change the way in wich the viewer interacts with it?

I also thought about the scale of reality and how we humans interact with it, how much of it we are able to process and how social media distorts and expands this perception of reality.

SO scale is a really important issue for my work.