Olivia Plender

I started looking at the work of Olivia Plender after a dissertation tutorial with Jon, after discussing my interest in comics and sequential narrative.
Plender uses videos, performance, architectural installations and comics to explore social movements. What struck me in particular was her use of comics and drawing, to piece together narratives. In an interview with The Guardian, she describes drawing as a ‘necessary part of the process’ for her, despite her work usually ending up in performances and installations. Her comparison of comics to film, and ‘cinematic visual language’ is an idea I had been researching for my dissertation, and one of my key points, as I delve into the visual language of comics. She says,

“One of my first influences was the work of Öyvind Fahlström, a Swedish artist who died in the early 1970s. He used comic book imagery, because he wanted to make artwork that everyone could understand. I am interested in this idea – most people do understand the imagery and the basic repertoire of signs and symbols used in comic books.”

I agree with this definition, although I cannot yet relate it to my work, it’s a way of thinking I have been exploring, and would therefore like to remember this for my future artwork.

The combination and variety drawing styles is something I would like to note as a reminder to myself: everything does not have to look as “perfect” as I’d like.

Artes Mundi 8:

Stepping into the room in Cardiff museum, we were greeted with walls of colour and large artworks which filled the eye with ideas of what seemed to be a playground of artwork. This was Anna Boghiguian’s piece, A meteor fell from the sky.

This is a mixed media piece compiled of drawings, paintings, steel cutouts to explore the history behind steel harvesting, and its affect on communities up to the present day, to its production and connection to Port Talbot.

The collation of several images in different formats strengthens the notion of exploration in this large piece, with plenty of visual stimuli to keep the narrative engaging. The use of such vastly mixed media creates an atmosphere with a clear progression of a journey into the timeline of the steel industry. From this piece, I was inspired to expand the ways in which I use my work to record ideas. I should never limit myself to one medium, as another could hold more relevant weight to me.

This piece as a collation of small artworks is a style I have been interested in working in myself, and it was extremely helpful for me to see so much artwork presented this way. The differences in pieces show the broad thoughts and ideas which go into the compilation of the piece, which in turn gives me the same impressions as a large piece of writing including a vast array of source material.

Dada & Hannah Hoch

Dada surfaced as a reaction to World War I, as an anti capitalistic approach from artists rejecting modern society and the materialistic values of the bourgeoisie. While this is not a theme I explore directly in my work, this was suggested by David in a tutorial and I feel could have a significant impact on the way I continue to produce work.

Hannah Hoch’s work focused on appropriating images into collage and photomontage as a way of rejecting social confines of women, and critique on popular culture. Her use of photomontage created fragmented pictures from juxtaposing, mass-produced imagery. This use of imagery and photomontage is something I would like to begin incorporating into my own work, so I can explore the recurring themes of dreams and surrealism. Her work, along with other Dada artists, rejected traditional art and German expressionism, which is an idea which I personally will not be the intention of my own work, as I do not want to create barriers by ruling out expressionism as an inspiration.

Themes I would like to explore using photomontage:

  • Dreams- creating a narrative reflecting key dreams which have impacted me
  • Images/photographs/drawings which represent my emotions and mood throughout the week

Paulo Nimer Pjota

Paulo Nimer Pjota is a mixed media artist from Brazil who creates work using motifs in response to his surroundings, society, history, and life. He uses sacks, canvas and things found at the junkyard, to create works which “reveal the complexity of the real”. The roughness from his work is something I find to be interesting, as the works still appear to be professional to me, which I struggle to see in my own work – this feels more authentic. What struck me about his work is the way an idea can be put across by using collage, with few images which allow the viewer to quickly decipher the meaning and purpose of the work. This reminded me of how I worked in level 5, using specific symbolic images in a large format: on canvas and paper. This is something I would like to incorporate back into my work.

Pjota collates canvas, sacks and metal plates – mostly found in junkyards – to compose wall works, preferably in large format.

Paulo Nimer Pjota, Encontro de índios com viajantes europeus – marcação 1, 2013 acrílica, esmalte sintético sobre tela, caneta e impressão 111 x 99 x 6 cm. ©Paulo Nimer Pjota, courtesy of Mendes Wood DM, Saõ Paulo

His use of recycled material, is almost like a piece of evidence taken from the source of his idea.  I felt this was something to think about myself, and the way I choose particular footage for my work. I have also been looking at how I use different materials I find in relation to my ideas. Whilst focusing on my emotions, I have considered using a hospital blanket I had, to relive an event from the past in a piece.


I would like to create artwork in response to his work, as his use of specific symbolic images is an element I feel needs to come up in my artwork.

VHS inspiration

I’ve edited these images to look as though they are stills from a VHS recording. The first image, reading ‘The Next World: The mind as a portal’ is based generally on dreams, and how they can be seen as an entrance to another universe. It mimics the style of 80s VHS tapes, and I’ve used an old-fashioned font with added distortion to create a sense of confusion.
The second images are based on Hellraiser, which I have been taking imagery from as inspiration.


John MacNair

John MacNair is a Texas-based illustrator who creates pen and ink drawings based on whimsical creatures and ideas. I took an interest after seeing his work on an album cover. The mystical, dream-like elements of his work is an idea I have looked at previously, and would like to incorporate into my own work, inspired by comics. I intend to create small ink drawings until I find a style I am happy with.