My tutorial with Wendy left me a great deal to consider, most useful of which was something that has been on my mind for some time and incisively identified by Wendy – how to bring work to resolution quicker. Wendy was generous in her praise for the amount of work I had put into the assignment, interestingly however, the image she found most engaging was one of the first I made which showed the background around the mirror and was more documentary in nature than the subsequent images. Her advice was to remake 6-8 images using this simpler technique, something that she felt could be done quickly. This seemed like a reasonable point to make at the time of my tutorial and caused me to reflect on how becoming too close to a piece of work can prevent you from being able to look at it and assess it clearly. (I wonder if it is ever possible for the creator of a piece of work to be able to objectively assess it?) As I thought more about how to rework the assignment, I considered the following approaches:
- Documentary approach:
- photograph reflections of Boris in different locations – perhaps using my iPad.
- Photograph imaging devices around the house with images of Boris on them. E.g. television, smartphone.
- A development of this could be to include family members as part of this – using their devices.
- The images of Boris could be brought into the photographs either by showing them on the devices or adding them digitally or physically.
- I could add images of Boris digitally to documentary photographs from my local area.
- Rework the assignment as a collage in the style of John Stezaker, perhaps using found images of Boris at Eton or Cambridge juxtaposed with the election pictures.
- Make work in the style of Peter Kennard’s ‘Profit/Studies for a Head‘ series (see notes below) which rely on the distinctive style of Boris e.g. unkempt hair.
- When I looked at the work of Alison Jackson (see below), I was struck by the way she uses a confrontational style to challenge and satirise the way celebrities and politicians cultivate their media personas. Perhaps in my work on Johnson I am being too mannered and need to consider a more provocative approach that is more blatant in critiquing what I consider a media persona that is carefully developed to prevent true scrutiny.
Artists recommended by Wendy to look at:
I have previously researched the work of John Stezaker (see here) and have a great admiration for the simple effectiveness of his collages. It is a technique that I made a crude attempt to replicate here without a great deal of success – it is something that could warrant returning to however. Wendy mentioned to me how Stezaker experiments making these images physically in his studio, which is littered with attempts that have not worked. While I do not want to spend a huge amount of time on this, perhaps making composites physically could be a way to explore this technique further – it will be interesting to note if I have any more success with this than I did when I attempted the technique digitally.
I have previously looked at the work of Peter Kennard (see here), however Wendy specifically pointed me to his Profit/Study for a Head series. For these works, images of politicians are collaged onto pages from the Financial Times as a comment on their complicity with policies of economic austerity. It is a simple, yet effective strategy with both elements of the collage being immediately identifiable as well as the identity of the politician. The immediate recognition that is achieved despite a lack of distinguishing facial features got me thinking about the possibility of doing something similar with Boris – someone who has a distinctive style that could be easily utilised.
Appointed election artist for the 2017 election. (See here.)
Alison Jackson makes faux documentary style images with look a likes standing in as celebrities, politicians and members of the royal family. The work is witty, irreverent and convincing, as well as controversial and edgy. For example, a piece that imagines Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed posing with their mixed race child. The work causes a double take and a jolt – it is certainly of questionable taste to show a couple who died in such dramatic circumstances and it could be seen as complicit with the conspiracy theories that the Paris crash was actually an execution to prevent Diana continuing her relationship with a Muslim. By being completely convincing however, the viewer is forced to confront their own prejudices and personal relationship with class and race. I was aware of the work of Alison Jackson previously in a superficial way and it is something I will have to come back to again. The work is not immediately relevant to this assignment, however, it has made me consider whether my approach is too mannered – is the injection of an acerbic edge into the work to give an element of provocation a possible way to take it forward?
Appointed election artist for the 2010 election. (See here.)
I have previously looked at the work of Simon Roberts (see here) and his work for the 2010 General Election was mentioned to me by my tutor for my previous course Documentary. Something that particularly resonates with me from this series is the video installation ‘When did you last cry?‘ The video is printed on 3 screens with images taken from during the 4 weeks of the election campaign, mainly shot through the side window of a car, accompanied by a soundtrack of ambient noise intercut with radio interview soundbites. I find the uncertainty and ambiguity of the piece entrancing – rather than providing a sense of optimism there is an uneasy tone of uncertainty about the future present.