Assignment 3: In Arcadia ego

Looks at issues around my own role in consumerism as a fanzine based on observations and reflections in the Grand Arcade over the month of august.

Interactive Flash stream on consciousness?

Value chains? info-graphics? overheard conversations.

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’.

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.
  • oil pastel and pastel combinations in more ‘angry’ styles of artists like Basquiat
  • Dan Eldon
  • gelli-print
  • Scarfolk
  • Laura Oldfield/fanzines
  • 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
  • linocut/cardcut

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’. Pushwagner.

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



This project looks at different aspects of city life ‘recycling’ photographs and prints of the Grand Arcade, Cambridge produced for Printmaking 2: Grand Arcade: Memories Revisited. That project used a combination of linocut, collage and digital processing to create an imaginative crowded image of multi-layered and complex memories and associations the with Grand Arcade in Cambridge. The recycling takes more of a socio-political documentary approach, now simplifying and/or collaging the original photographic images, juxtaposing comedy and poignancy in posing questions about some of the contradictions and challenges of the ‘ethical capitalism’ the Cambridge Grand Arcade represents.

Paradoxically although there are security cameras all over the place photographing me and other visitors to the Arcade, photography by visitors is very strictly controlled. As a photography student in 2012 I was given permission to photograph, but recent correspondence asking for permission to take further photographs has so far had no response. According to security guards, sketching is OK and also mobile phone ‘selfies’. This project therefore recycles and collages existing images, supplemented with a few iPad and iPhone ‘selfies’ – some with myself removed. Some of these, together with new sketchbook work are used for a more in-depth narrative in Assignment 3: In Arcadia ego.

The project extends my work by selecting different concepts around urban living and ethical consumerism suggested by my photography, collage and printmaking of the Grand Arcade. It then experiments with different perspectives presented in Project 1.3 My Creative Design Process.

Following the priorities indicated in my personal statement I extend my technical skills in:

  • drawing from photographs in ink, wash, crayon and gouache drawing on the work of cartoon illustrators like Gerald Scarfe, Ronald Searle and masters of crayon drawing like Raymond Briggs
  • gelli-plate and photo transfer techniques
  • collage and photomontage in Photoshop and Procreate on iPad drawing on the work of illustrators like Tim Marrs and ?? Scarfolk.

I am very interested in the ways that style and technique affect the interpretations given to texts.

The Grand Arcade: concepts and text

The tourist promotion on the Visit Cambridge website reads:

Grand Arcade is the region’s leading shopping destination. Located in the centre of Cambridge, our award-winning shopping mall features an unrivalled mix of 60 premium and high street retailers, over two sky-lit floors to create a truly exceptional shopping experience…. Refresh and rewind after a long day shopping with a coffee at Starbucks or Costa Coffee, or indulge with a doughnut from Krispy Kreme. Feeling hungry? Enjoy authentic Italian food at Carluccio’s, visit The Brasserie at John Lewis or grab a burger at Ed’s Easy Diner or Honest Burger…Grand Arcade is surrounded by historic Cambridge, and is easily combined with a trip to visit these beautiful world-renowned tourist destinations. 

Community and sustainability policy

Grand Arcade works to be an active member of our community through our charity partnerships, sustainability work, and links with local organisations. Every year we drive sustainability through or recycling schemes and by investing in energy saving measures. We seek to be a positive member of our community by supporting a number of worthy charities and in addition we work with local organisations and festivals to support and promote events in our region.

INSPECTOR GADGET MENKIND Menkind is the one stop shop for all your gadget and gifting needs, with thousands of products handpicked by their team of gifting experts.

LIFESTYLE Add a fresh look to your home for the brighter seasons ahead. Our homewear stores have everything you need from essentials like bedlinen to furniture and accessories. Stay up to date with the latest gadgets from our technology stores and book your annual summer getaway with Kuoni who will tailor make your dream escape. http://www.grandarcade.co.uk/trends/home-and-living

My photos and sketches suggested a number of themes and interpretations of life in the Grand Arcade.

On the positive side:

  • Light and promise of heaven: the architecture is really beautiful in sunlight, with its walkways and sitting places.
  • Glitz and colour of shopping, particularly at Christmas with its evocations of warmth and pre-Christmas energy and buzz
  • People – particularly women – enjoying themselves meeting and drinking coffee together and (as I occasionally did) enjoying the shopping.
  • Diversity and different cultures mixing
  • Promotion and funding of ethical causes

On the negative side:

  • Overpowering sexualised adverts making women feel inadequate
  • Fragmentation and alienation: escalators and walkways. So many places and shops it is easy to get lost.
  • Loneliness amid the bustle: people so small and some (like me during the cancer and on other occasions) very lonely and in the crowd, feeling insignificant
  • Male images and loneliness – more difficult for men, particularly older men to participate.
  • Surveillance and security