In order to start to gain some momentum, I felt the best way for me to get going was to create some paper-cut stencil screen prints. This is one of my favourite ways to work as it gives the polished looked of a screenprint with the spontaneity of using the paper stencil. The idea for these prints was to work on the way that the circus brings a sense of community, shared ideas and connection. I feel that the juggling image has a strong sense of symbolism; a continuous cycle of objects/ideas being passed from one to another. I would like to develop this idea further as I feel that it embodies one of the elements I want to focus on in this project.
One of the reasons that the idea of ‘Circus’ was and continues to be so engaging was that the circus is so accessible in so many ways. The concept of the tent meant that it could be set up anywhere; on common ground, meaning that people who wouldn’t usually be able to perhaps afford the theatre, the acts themselves are able to perform with out the contraints of language barriers amongst others. Aleander Calder’s “Le Cirque de Calder” is a minature touring circus that he performs. The minature circus is not only charming because of it’s minatureness and beautiful craftmanship but the fact it can be taken and carried in a suitcase adds a whole other level of accessibility. These bigger concepts that surround the circus are what intrigues me most and are the things that I want this project to celebrate.
Colour is often the starting point for my work. It has been especially important for getting started for this new part of the project. I decided to start by preparing some paper to create paper-cut images. This method of mixing the ink in order to screen print the paper means I spend much longer contemplating the colours I want to use; rather than just choosing something ready mixed/printed. This time, I decided to go with a classic circus palette- red, yellow and green. I felt like these colours would be able to evoke the idea of circus into the work, without having to make the actual images overtly ‘circus’ themed.
After a huge amount of contemplation on what to continue with for my final project, I have decided to partly continue with my previous project based on my hometown of Stoke on Trent but with a different angle. This year Staffordshire is celebrating the 250th anniversary of the invention of the circus ring, invented by Philip Astley, who was born in Newcastle-Under-Lyme. This is an exciting time for my hometown, which is being celebrated in a number of ways, and I feel gives me an opportunity to create a vibrant body of work, with many different areas to explore.
There are many reasons why I am excited by the prospect of this project. The circus is something that has played a part in so many peoples childhoods and lives making it relatable. It embodies the idea of escapism and is representative of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. I hope that this project can capture some of the experience of the circus and celebrate it in all its glory, but also explore some of the lesser known realities.
Whilst thinking about what my next project was going to be, one of the ideas I had was to revisit something which I started for the Creative Conscience brief in Level 5. My idea was to create a project on how tiny changes, can make an impact when a lot of people partake. I feel incredibly strongly about this as an idea, as I believe that we have a duty to be conscious in the decisions we make in every part of our lives. Despite feeling passionate about this, and it being something I believe and practice in my own life, I don’t think that this idea has the strength to carry the weight of a whole project, but what I have decided to do, alongside my project is complete a series of editorial illustrations on topics that I feel strongly about. This will mean that I am able to keep exploring new ideas, and the work will hopefully act as a springboard for the other part of my project.
I recently came across the work of Arielle Bobb-Willis, a photographer born and raised in New York. When I first saw the photographs they felt like a stream of warm sunlight, something I so desperately crave in the bleak winter months. Colour, shape and form is something that is important to myself and my own work; these photographs reinforced that but also made me question the way that shape and colour can be used. I can only hope that I am able to re-create that warm sunny feeling for someone else in my own work.
The Christmas break was unexpectedly turbulent, with too many things to list going wrong at home. I had planned to use the time over the break to complete my dissertation as well as get a head start in starting my next project or at least coming back with a clear idea of what direction I had planned to take it next. Unfortunately, things just didn’t turn out the way I had hoped which mean I started this term feeling lost and unsure of what I wanted to do next. I have toyed with so many different ideas of what direction to make my project in next, but nothing seems to have stuck. I have struggled with finding a balance between creating work that I want to make, in my own visual language with a project title that suits it. I think I have put too much pressure on finding a topic that I feel passionately about, and therefore let overthinking about take over, rather than just making, and letting the project flow.