Zemni Illustration

I am a graphic artist, photographer and printmaker based in Cambridge, UK.

Image-making is my way of exploring and experiencing life and discovering new ways of looking at things. Some of my work is political. Some emotionally dark. Other more ‘fun’ work aims to help myself and others ‘look on the bright side of life’.

 I work in a range of media. The basis is generally photography or sketching and painting in natural media or on my iPad. These images may then be combined and further developed in different printmaking media, digital software or collage. Some of my work is more experimental and abstract, exploring the range of intentional and accidental effects that can be achieved in different media.

Much of my work has been around journeys and social and political issues in Africa and Asia connected to my professional work as consultant in participatory development. My current work increasingly focuses on issues nearer to home – the social and environmental challenges we face and my own place within that. Alongside my own artistic practice I hope to support processes for collaborative art, photography, video and web communications as part of peoples’ own documentation of their lives, building on my participatory work overseas.

About this blog

Zemni Illustration blog brings together my work, research and thoughts for Open College of the Arts Visual Communications level 3 module: Advanced Practice. The issue of Brexit has loomed over the whole period of my work on this module. As my own sense of identity has always been ‘global European’, the thought of suddenly becoming narrowly ‘English’ or even ‘British’ fills me with claustrophobic dread. Particularly at a time in my life when health issues restrict my travel beyond Europe.

My work on this blog is an attempt to reconnect with some of the more beautiful, funny and light-hearted aspects of Britain, as well as dealing implicitly or explicitly with some of the serious social and environmental issues we face. Much of the work is concerned with ideas of ‘Place’ and linking subjective and objective narratives. Whether image-making is based on illustration or photography or even where the aim is ‘objective documentary’, many choices are made in terms of what is communicated and how image design and technical aspects of the particular medium can enhance that communication. I aim to pose some serious questions about our lives in England, our use of the environment and the ways in which we relate to each other – posing the same questions here as in my international work.

1: Voice

Assignment 1 starts to looks in more detail at my practice and explore what might be meant by my distinctive ‘Zemni Voice’. How a socio-political approach to reportage, landscape and life sketching might link to or complement the more ‘fun’ aspects of the work I want to do.

2: Edit and Amend: Landscapes of Place

Assignment 2 ‘Landscapes of Place’ revisits earlier work and develops new work around the idea of ‘landscape’ and ‘landscaping’. I focus on developing my skills in digital photographic software, looking at how these can be further development in printmaking media. I start to look documentary narrative as photo books and on-line web galleries and slideshows.

2.1 Edit: Bridge ‘Bridge’ revisits landscape print- making in the context of discussions around psycho-geography and ‘Edgelands’. From existing and new photographs of the A14 Road Bridge developed in Lightroom and SilverFX I creates a series of A3 photoscreen prints.

2.2 Amend: Shutterscapes In ‘Shutterscapes’ the brief given is to focus on technical skills rather than ‘meaning’. Using existing and new images from my photo collection from East Anglia I explore different styles of landscape photography and how these can be digitally replicated using Adobe Lightroom and different Nik FX (now DxO) components: Viveza, Color FX and Analog Pro. I also experiment with SilverFX to work with low quality jpg images for artistic effects.

3: Text and Image: Woman Lost

This third part explores different approaches to combining text and image. Based on photographs, collage and sketchbooks of Cornwall, I use natural and digital media to communicate my personal responses to place.

3.1 Visual Dynamics: Lost on the Way to Zennor

3.2 Finding Texts: Cornwall Known and Unknowns

3.3 Developing Content: Love and Other Islands

Assignment 3: TeeTotal Street

4.1 Outsider on the Edge

A photobook and on-line slideshow showing my first personal ‘outsider’ response to Shingle Street on the eve of Brexit January 2020.

4.2 Edgescapes

Tourist ‘Wish You Were Here’ landscape cards in a range of ‘nostalgia art’ styles.

4.3 Inside Edges

Documentary photomontage of local voices on local issues.

4.4 Shadows of Black and White

4.5 Colours of Shingle

4: Audience: Colours of Shingle

forthcoming May 2020

‘Colours of Shingle’ is an audience-based project that continues my interest in documentary photography and use of different photographic art styles to communicate different messages.

Shingle Street is a minimalist and haunting remote fragile shingle landscape along the Suffolk coast. Settlement by fishing families, coastguard and river pilot families from Ireland and elsewhere in UK dates back to the early 1800s. The community was later shaped by the importance of this lowland Europe-facing area in defence in World War 2. Protected from over-development by river estuaries, it is currently a somewhat elite tourist hideaway under threat from encroachment by the sea.

Engaging with different types of audience in different ways, I look at implications for documentary processes of complementarities and contradictions between personal, tourist/marketable and insider views of place.

5: Presentation: This England

September 2020

This final Assignment will bring together my different bodies of work focusing on ideas of ‘This England’ in the context of re-evaluations of English identity around Brexit.

5.1 Edges Revisited

Here I finalise and take forward work from East Anglia and Cornwall from Assignments 2, 3 and 4 that I think might have a potential local or wider audience and market based on feedback.

5.2 Going North

This second part brings together material on North of England that I have been working on sporadically during this course, but not yet developed. I also explore animation.

4.1 Lake Reflections

4.2 Hagg Wood

4.3 The Wall

These final projects will update my Printmaking blog and professional Zemni Images website upload video to a new Zemni You Tube or Vimeo channel.

Other blogs and websites

This Advanced Practice module complements other more political work based on my professional work in international development that is developed in other modules for this degree. This blog complements and links to my other blogs and websites:

  • Zemni Images blog a portfolio site that showcases the best work from my previous and current Visual Communications courses.
  • Visual Communication for Development  looking at issues in my professional work in international development  for the OCA Visual  Research course.
  • Zemni Printmaking being developed and updated from my OCA printmaking courses.
  • Zemni Photography from OCA photography courses I tool as a leisure student
  • Zemni Images professional website that houses high resolution images of my Visual Communications portfolios and my photography portfolios and archives.
  • Gamechange Network consultancy blog that houses and links outputs from the different projects and partners I have worked with.

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