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Update #16: Exploring Mediums: The Shitty First Steps, Bury Museum, and Workshop Development

BOP! Update #16 here, hope you are all well and enjoying the sun currently. This update might be a tad late, as believe it or not I am actually away for the first time in a long time, and might not be here to upload it. Apologies for the delay.


Lately, when these past 2 weeks I have found myself in this rut on creatively feeling in a grey area. Where everything seemed kind of blocked when it came to thinking. To kickstart this, I decided to explore new mediums, and long waited, go to the Bury Gallery and explore the exhibitions there. These collections of new stimulus is something I have used to recapture the fire I have to create, talk and express.

In terms of plants, my sweet potato vines are creeping on my bookcase, and my peppers, strawberry and mint plants are booming. Not to mention a good 80% of the seedlings from my succulents have reproduced successfully, let me know if you want one, I have way too many. Please. I was thinking if I get my shit into gear, maybe just trying to get rid of them cheap to give to charity or something. Who knows.

This post is also behind schedule, I went out for a few days away with some close friends, and then work has got me in the awkward times of not enough time to do anything but enough for it to be considered a waste. My bad, but then again, slow and steady wins the race.

Exploring Mediums: The Shitty First Steps.

I've done some painting, I like to explore colours and figures. I am not great when it comes to either, but practice makes perfect doesn't it? Through these explorations, I have developed a character/creature.

This creature from how it has expressed through me I feel is that it is not from anywhere, and whatever scene it is in or landscape it is exploring it is not native to, it does so with wonder and curiosity and great care not to damage the world its viewing. When I looked into it more, I look at this creature and try to decipher what I relate to it, and what it tells me about myself. That which I discovered is that I want chase that childlike curiosity which we lose as the daily rituals and groundhog day-to-day living, amongst the ideas of carbon neutral footprints. I hope to explore a series of media in which this creature is used throughout to further personify it, and see where the theme leads.

There's different ways to get started into something, and with art, my personal thought it to just get stuck in. It can depend on how you as a person learn. Some people are audio, or visual learners. The majority of us are kinesthetic learners, where we learn through play, exploration or physically taking on the task. For the most part, whatever you are making, or trying those shitty first steps are probably exactly as it say on the tin, shitty. It's a good way to get a feel of the process and to try other techniques and such to develop later if you are still a fan.

For me, I enjoyed charcoal, but I find the irreversible nature of it somewhat a aspect in which I find inconvenient, unlike clay or plasticine which can be brought into different dimensions as well as remolded. On the other hand, this is also what is captivating about charcoal, the aspects of the material itself being the aftermath of a process of destruction, and using this to create I find quite beautiful. These are the first 3 attempts at charcoal.

I saw a method online of scrawling across the canvas, and then finding and focusing on certain curves and connecting lines, through this is found head shapes. From this, i developed on the head shape, then began adding certain details in which I saw for this portrait. All of them have a cartoon/sketchy look to them. For one of them, I introduced chalk and more smudging to smooth the charcoal texture, this is where the irreversible aspect comes into play as I preferred it unsmoothed, as it looked more raw, whilst now it looks a little more artificial in my eyes. Nevertheless, I bought some more cheap canvases from The Works, and will see where it gets me.

Bury Museum Sculpture Centre: FOOD

So this week, I went to the Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Center to look for inspiration and to shift myself out of the creative rut I found myself in. Upon getting to the center I found myself at a exhibition called FOOD.

"My deviation from instructions of the recipe, I might surprise you, or poison you... Do you trust me? Every encounter with art should be a recipe..."

"When we eat, we invite the world into out body... Consuming is a act of destruction"

These are a few of the quotes I took with me leaving the exhibit, these ones stood out to mostly questioning food as a tool, and how it transgresses out of just the idea of food being nothing more than energy for our body. It is a language, an act of destruction, a invitation of the world to collaborate with our digestive system, a social event, a symbol of culture. When you look further into it, we see how we neglect the other powers that food can provide us.

Some of the notable works from this exhibition:

- WANT/NEED by Wayne Warren

For me, I really enjoyed the social/cultural attributes of food. There was a piece highlighting the connectivity of food, it is something we all share in common, eating food. It mentioned it was one of the highest quantity of photos posted into Instagram, sharing a picture of food, not only is it presented in a mostly universal language of food, but also a the common similarity all humans share, eating food.

This was a really interesting sculpture to ponder on. This was simple a large brightly colored sandwich biscuit, with WANT indented in the center of the middle of one side, and NEED on the opposite. This interesting flip on questioning the difference between the balance between want and need when it comes to the topic for food. Like for example, how we can see obesity in one country and starvation in the other.

Dishonorable mention, yet effective: THE SACRED NUGGET

Streamed on Twitch.Tv, the artist wanted to display the idea of food waste by playing with off-brand cheese puffs, in the most visceral way I could think of. The aspect of participation of the Twitch chat that watched the nugget be formed is another level of intricacy in which is another level of consideration to the work.

Filmed and streamed, a person in a yellow latex (mask?) Mixes with water, crushes, smashes, squishes and molds off brand cheese puffs into a vile amalgamation of pasty cheesy dough. It focused also on the idea of combining ASMR, food and heavily edited videos which are consumed online platforms such as YouTube, Twitch and TikTok, combining into this grotesque and over the top insight.

Workshop Development: People, Process, Pieces

Speaking the group I am with in, I have found a rekindling to develop a presentation workshop I have been creating called People Processes, Pieces. A workshop looking into performance artists, the methods they use and how they utilize them in their performances effectively.

Hopefully with more research and focus and care into it, I can finish and begin looking at how the participatory elements of the workshop can begin, as I am intending to make this workshop for people who have little or no proper knowledge of performance/live art.

Some of the research I have looked into is 'The Performance of Distance and the Art of Catharsis: Performance Art, Artists and Audience Response' By Britta B Wheeler.

This article has a lot of good information in it regarding it's title, Britta talks about how Performance Art derived from surrealist theatre, and mentions its boundary between that and theatre:

"Performance art has historically been anti-entertainment, anti- institutional, and non-commodifiable."

This immediately sets the tone for what the focuses of the medium follows. Some of the other quotes I found insightful is:

"Between the artists stage personality and their real self is sometimes left unclear, thereby creating another negotiation of the difference between life and art"

Another issue I am facing is to see how I can integrate this into a online workshop. As performance art is mostly focused with in the physical dimension, it is a challenge to find a way to engage with the audience digitally. Watching a video essay a friend recommended me (Found HERE), it followed a case study of a youtuber called Benjamin Bennet. The way he engages with the audience is eye contact, and stillness. He does no more than what is needed to explore that element of unsettling the audience. This ties into the the Britta B Article "Performance art is a tension filled art form".

Using Benjamin Bennet through the focus of a performance art aspect, we can see his work plays within the realms of intimacy, duration, and process. He uses durational focus exceptionally, to revert the audiences expectation of something to happen and to question why the artist is performing this work. In the video documentary it talks about how the lack of information given about the work creates meaning for each audience member individually, questioning the work I and finding your own personal opinion and perspective on the work, I find is one of the most crucial aspects to be considered when creating performance art.

In time, I hope to share this with you all, and have the pleasure to present it for free, both in person and on-line for people to explore this method of artistic practice and expression.

AOTW- RoboCop, Video Cassette Cover

So, which you'll hear in next weeks update, I bought a few VHS tapes, and I found myself drawn to how iconic the VHS cover for Robocop is, from the classic glossiness of the art, to the sharp uniform fonts and logos. These are a few of the reasons, and would love to get a poster of this sometime when I have space to do so.

Mitchells Vs The World 6.5/10

Stylistically, alike other Sony films, style and energy are always present, even in the bad ones (We won't talk about that one.) I found this one to match the energy and honestly, it had quite a lot of style to it. It was quite a cliché storyline as much as a them against an other being invasion style storyline. Using the idea of big tech companies that created a invasion after the machines/ AI became self aware and took over the world, the film doesn't shy away from being self aware and being a social commentary on tech giants monopolizing the area (Although I like this idea, it felt somewhat to be translated more as the Sony brand being petty than anything else.). It also was quite inclusive when it came to the cast, including LGBTQ+ and Neuro-Divergent themes to the characters, which is nice for terms of representation, especially in children films, without it being too pandering.

It had some great moments this film, whilst other times it felt like the vision was sometimes a little lost in places. One of my main gripes is the blatant Sony Placement crammed into the film, I feel it breaks immersion and often times throws off my enjoyment, feeling it being more of a feature long advert for the products than a film in itself. Therefore, 6/10.

Bo Burhams 'INSIDE' 10/10

Insightful, morbid, incredible. Bo's new special was filmed, wrote and performed all within a year in Bo's home during lockdown, and looks into politics, climate issues, and emotional sensitivity when it comes to the lockdowns we all experienced recently. When it came to performance, the staging was one of the most impressive feats of homemade creativity I have seen in a while, such as in White Woman Instagram and 30. These both use simplicity yet incredible camerawork and vision which made them quality. The performance of Bo, characterization between alternate characters, such as the sock puppet, the man in glasses in 'welcome to the internet' with technical and musical assistance, whilst also in sections between songs, it's hard to determine weather it is performance, or genuine emotion of the artists current feelings through lockdown, either way very raw and quite honest representation of his sensitivity and vulnerabilities.

All in all this special was something I found to be creatively limitless in boundaries, which are destroyed in the process. 10/10

Thanks for reading folks, like always it's greatly appreciated for those that read, they take a fair bit of my time to write down. Till the next update gang.


-S (04/06/21)

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