Level 5 WRIT1 Essay Retrieval PDP

My constellation choice for level 5 was Jon’s ‘Learning from contemporary art’ group. This was my primary choice as contemporary art is a broad topic which I thought would have interesting and relevant topics for my practice. The questions brought up in these lectures were,
What does it mean to be contemporary?
What does the world look like?
Who is the other?
What are my responsibilities to the wider world?
What about pleasure?
These topics and questions are important to consider within any type of art I’m practicing, therefore I’m confident this choice would have been most beneficial to me. I found the lecture discussing otherness in contemporary art interesting, as otherness was a concept I had not looked into in-depth before. Zuleyka Zevallos’ definition of otherness broke down social identities, for example gender identity, cultural identity and class, into the umbrella of otherness. In my opinion, validation and recognition of social identity and otherness are key as a way of progressing as a society, and is not only important in contemporary art, but the present day in general.

My dissertation topics have changed multiple times, as I have made multiple attempts to begin

My current dissertation topic currently reflects my curiosity with narrative and comics. As I began researching ideas and comics for my dissertation, I came across freudian dream symbolism, which I found to link very well with my current ideas with dreams and surrealism, even though I disagree with much of the general consensus. Freud’s ideas on the unconscious mind are intriguing to me,  as my artwork is currently a reflection of how I interpret my dreams and thoughts to understand myself better. Whilst I disagree with some ideas, the notion that some thoughts are inaccessible and ‘below the surface of awareness’ rings true to me, and I feel artwork is a medium to access these thoughts.

Another idea I have since taken interest in is sequential art. Whilst looking at horror and pulp art during level 4 and 5, I had briefly looked into manga and comics, as these were also interests of my friends which I was keen to look further into. I became most interested in the ways in which a narrative can be presented in comics and animation. I began reading Will Eisner books, such as Comics and Sequential Art, and Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative which explain the methods in comic book writing. Whilst I don’t intend to start writing whole comic books, I have also been looking at famous comic strips, such as Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes and Dick Tracy. I may not directly create artwork in the form of a traditional comic strip, but the combination of text and images are something I will consider in my future work. Furthermore, the seemingly endless possibilities of communication through ‘sequential art’ are something I am currently aiming to explore in my studio practice, as well as my dissertation. For this reason, I have chosen to write a 6000 word dissertation accompanied by an artefact, which will be my own piece of work I will analyse and compare alongside two or three comic book artists, and two artists. I’m interested in looking at Art Spiegelman’s Maus, and the Marvel comic, Black Panther, alongside artwork by Roy Lichtenstein and Olivia Plender.

I was suggested Olivia Plender’s work by Jon in a tutorial, and have since taken interest as I enjoy the presentation and stylistic choices of her work. Her piece, The Masterpiece particularly interested me whilst reading a summary on the Saatchi website, as the work had been described as a ‘by-product of artistic process and not actual artworks’, which I felt related to the way I work. In reflection, much of the work I produce, I invalidate as it never feels like a full piece of artwork, however this should not matter, perhaps matter even less as I’m currently using art as a way of learning about myself. Looking into this side of sequential art, I am less inclined to feel like my artwork should ‘impress’. My primary focus is the creative and different ways I could manipulate and present a narrative.





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