4: Cambridge Diaries

This project asks me to focus on exploring and developing skills indicated in my personal statement, rather than content. In this project, therefore I want to explore different styles and techniques. Following the priorities indicated in my personal statement I will focus on:

    • development of a more dynamic pencil, ink, crayon and wash style drawing from life, based on illustrators and cartoonists like Gerald Scarfe and Ronald Searle and masters of crayon drawing like Raymond Briggs.
    • screenprint and photolithography inspired by the work of Robert Rauschenberg and Martin O’Neill
    • oil pastel and pastel combinations in more ‘angry’ styles of artists like Basquiat
    • ways of producing multilayered digital images on iPad and/or in Photoshop from  drawings and prints as well as photographs – inspired by the style of Tim Marrs
    • further experimentation with atmospheric gouache effects eg incorporating gum arabic, washing out etc.

At the same time, I am also very interested in the ways that style and technique affect the interpretations given to texts.

In terms of content I want to look at what might be meant by ‘alternative documentary’, using material on Cambridge where I live. It explores how an ‘Us Too’ Zemni vision affects how I would approach briefs to produce entertaining images and picturesque prints for the thriving and diverse commercial tourist market in Cambridge and beyond. Linking with my interest in ‘feminist gaze’, it considers what difference my gender might make to what I see, what I drawn and how I draw it.  I am also interested in the role of individual subjective perspectives, perception and imagination in ‘documenting’ reality and communicating a message and how ‘real’ and ‘fake/imagined’ can be visually combined or distinguished. As part of this project I will revisit some ideas that I started to develop in:

  • Printmaking 2: Grand Arcade: Memories revisited: My photographs, together with new sketches, screenprints etc, would lend themselves very well to my own version of a ‘Tim Marrs’ style. My revisiting would take more of a socio-political documentary approach based on ‘objective’ photographs, collaging and digitally processing these to pose questions about some of the contradictions and challenges of the ‘ethical capitalism’ the Cambridge Grand Arcade represents. The composite images will juxtapose comedy and poignancy in depicting experiences of urban living, drawing on ‘First Things First’ debates, work of other artists, illustrators and photographers of ‘the City, and discussions of capitalist consumerism in works like Naomi Klein’s ‘No Logo’.
  • Illustration 2: Cambridge: Spirit of Place  with more tourist images of people and historic sites. Here I would experiment with  cartooning traditions and drawing styles of illustrators like Scarfe, Searle, Briggs, Gottardo, Tessa Newcomb, Olivia Lomenech Gill and selected Cambridge illustrators, linking with illustrators in the Cambridge Urban sketchers group.

In selection and treatment of what I draw and how I draw it I will consider both ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’ dimensions of:

  • Whose place? different perspectives and interests. Looking particularly at what might be meant by ‘the female gaze’ and ‘multiculturalism’
  • When place? places change over time – even over a few seconds – short term, long term, historical perspective and layers – the past is always present particularly in Cambridge
  • Subjective perspectives:  exploration and deepening understanding over time and ways in which other people have translated what they see into images
  • Imagination:  how I want things to be and why. Selective erasure (eg cars and rubbish bins). Simplification and expressive representation.

It will explore different ways of visually representing the visible reality compared to an ‘invisible’ history and my own imagination.

This assignment will build on my collage work from Project 2.1 Oromia and focus on developing the range of technical skills, and how they might be combined in a coherent ‘approach’ and ‘style’ for documentary elsewhere. I am hoping that selections from the work, or further extended and developed in collaboration with a Cambridge tour guide friend and on-line discussion as annotated cards and/or a short book or books on life in Cambridge in Assignment 5