Dystopian Dream

I had a Dream

Alas it was more of a nightmare, it was just the large German Green buildings.

A quick doodle, inspired by ‘The Fountainhead’
Another by the ending of ‘Whisky Galore’ with a lot of Artistic licence 

Just doodling, a large victorian guard house, maybe….. 

The Brandon Estate at Camberwell maybe some peoples idea of a Modernist Dystopia, for me it’s a case of poor social engineering (you know who you are) and construction techniques. Celebrated with a Henry Moore.

Its nice to get lost in a bit of scribbling, don’t you think…

Images of seduction?


So the brochure we all have to put some text and images in a limited space.
Therefore trying to create an eye catching effect, plus some kind of narrative.

Header image
The err…shot as Robert would say. Had this image for a while, love Banksy.   
Had to a bit of work to do as the girl and balloon were facing the wrong way. Lighten wall shadow, darken footpath shadow. Drawing blended on the wall with a couple of layers to get the colour effect. Grass (a bit naff, time etc). Light, light and light to get that grundge and dreamy contrast.
Overall pleased, more work on the grass and the image was cropped for the brochure as more of a letterbox view which works better.


Update, letterbox view, grass

Secondary images
Three images each with a different message and mood.

Dock side 
A mix of three images, two beautiful women (with freckles, is it warm in here), its the eyes….
A bold sunset and a hand drawn image, rendered/PShopped by yours truly.
The idea was to join people and not necassarlly men to the dock side as its also a public place. Viewing the river and looking at the working dockside from the upper deck 
A normal British day.
I wanted to show that the river side walk is a part of the greenway system of NW, thus used in an ordinary way, caught in a shower, the rest of the narrative is for the viewer to decide, being chased or owner? Long flowering meadow grass, resin bonded on bitmac, so easy for curves etc. Practical more than decorative. Let the planting do the work.

A chilly visit to the Aquarium
Footbridge designed with desire lines in mind, so its function over form (a modernist at heart). So whats the story? You decide.

Hockney and the BIGGER picture

Why is he so bloody good?

Watching a Culture show special on David Hockney, really made me understand the concept of ‘looking and seeing’, personally always done it, thought about it etc, but he put it so so well in the Chinese quote ‘you paint with your hands, eyes and heart’ miss any one of those three and you will miss the soul of the picture.
A case of ‘What is Landscape’…interpretation of the individual viewer, a lonely place as Hockney quoted.
I fully understand this and yet with 6 billion of us on the planet there is bound to similarities of view, I get Hockney even though I am not even in the same country as him (metaphorically speaking, explanation later).
Its not just pretty pictures or clever impressions of place, its soul, love, absorption of place. Ok from his perspective and yet its so easy to pick that up, beyond atmosphere, creating place and memory even though we have probably never been to the spot he is painting.
Not just I want to be there, but I want to open my eyes to the point were i glimpse the picture that is vivid in his mind.
Also his idea of 8 (up to 16) cameras taking film but all slightly out of time. Moving through space and season, just so bloody brilliant. The fact that its all a bit out of time and view on 16 screens means that you scan the space as you would in reality, not looking at the centre of a big screen as the camera man see’s it.


I draw and sketch like most, but always wanting to get across something more than just realism, wanting to engage, draw in the viewer. As previously stated I think that to truly understand impressionism we have to go through the ‘realism stage’ to understand its soulless nature.
How we see ourselves and how others see us can be quite a revelation,  sometimes good other times bad. Remembering that every one see’s the world through their own distorted lens. So most of the time its best to ‘Carry on reguardless’ otherwise one would go mad trying to please all, but occasionally a comment comes across with no agenda that will surprise you and make you reevaluate who you thought you were.
The strategy is to have no reputation, thus no reputation to lose. Just do the best you can under what ever circumstances come your way, succeed or fail. Obviously learn from battle scars as well as laurels.
So questioned (and stated ‘that you are obviously an artist’) as to were did I train was a pleasant surprise as obviously never saw myself in that light, and herein lies the problem (not a big one mind you) if others see you in a different light to how you see yourself then that provides a new challenge as to how to move forward. A real evaluation sometimes is needed. Though I personally don’t see myself as an artist, but maybe on the journey with the aspiration to get down on canvas/screen the mood atmosphere that so interests me. 
A really good friend of mine said that when you radically change your profession/lifestyle you have to talk a different language, ie the new language of your your chosen path.
Its just how to see the world, a world of proportion, colour, shadow, light and atmosphere leading to ‘place, presence, beauty and hope’ or not depending on what drives you.

Escape from reality

Art and context

Well its the 30th of December and I can’t stop thinking about the Art and Context module, work submitted etc so in theory I could just stop and carry on some kind of formulaic way or process. Unfortunately too many questions have arisen and lines of thought unresolved. So I can’t and won’t put it down until I am bit further down the road. Pandoras box has been opened.

Personal Conclusions or others?

I have to raise this point as the process can take two routes 1) read loads of other books to reach some kind of conclusion  or 2) sit and think. 
Both have pitfalls and advantages. A friend has recently finished her PhD and I questioned her approach to her project. An interesting quote, she said for her ( and i think anybody at this level) it was important to be well read so as not to bring up the obvious, and at least try and bring a new angle on a subject). I fully understand this, but as a Ma student I still feel (for me at least ) the latter is a better way at present, as reasoned thought (with all its dead ends and possibly simple conclusions) brings a depth of understanding that second hand knowledge can never equel. Yes it takes longer and is riskier (including complete failure) but its far more satisfying finding a scholar agreeing (or not) with a line of argument than to just ‘quote.’
So i have been reading a lot about the concept of ‘space, void and mass’ and previous ideas and new springing off some other peoples thoughts. So a mixture as time constraints (and my eyes) allow.

The Woods

The personal experience of trying to create a piece of work, along a certain theory has led me to conclude so many angles of design and perspective (whether as an individual or trying to interpret the end user in whom we serve). A few weeks on and I am coming up with solutions that don’t sit that well as a designer. The big one being is ‘Framework’. That is what we design. The framework will always be loaded with expectation and disappointment, but thats why it needs to be a frame work. Anything to dogmatic and the community left behind with not be able to leave their finger print on the space as it evolves and therefore never adopt the space. With the result that it will be left to local council who will do the minimum as the Council tax payers who shout the loudest will get their way ( put it this way it won’t be someone trying to hold down a job on the minimum wage).

Conclusions thus far

1) Modernism never existed as everything has a motive, either from rebellion from something or conformity for acceptance. An opposite is an opposite of something therefore ‘nothing’ (year zero) cannot be achieved.Year zero only existed once, everything from that point will always have allegory, a time line, and a cause and effect on the aforementioned timeline (ultimately decay ,loss of energy, darkness, void). This is our constraint we can’t escape it. 

2) So as an individual I accept this, my baggage/aspirations/distorted view will always come through. So ‘pespective’ is a distorted lens that we all see through, and yet to ourselves as individuals is as clear as a spring morning. I can only attempt to interpret how others see and aspire. So it has to be an effort from day one to include the community that I will effect. They also need to understand this fact, big picture, long term cause and effect.

3) Framework for others to evolve as they see fit. I cannot socially engineer. Modernism tried this and failed. Because humans are complex and predictions of future behaviour have nearly always been wrong (eventually, at first a theory may well work, but evolution will always take the shortest route, which we so often miss). 

4) Escape. Which can also be termed as ‘fantasy’. Most movies portray an idealised world for us to escape to for a couple of hours. Especially the ‘feel-good’ film. And there is nothing wrong with that, its what we do to regulate (just like the brain uses dreams to stop us going mad, I think 5 days with out sleep starts to lead to madness) and keep our sanity in this unnaturally stressed world that we are still adapting to. So escape and changing escape/fantasy within a design in an urban context is crucial.

5) Play. For adults and children. Another way to release the valve of our restrictive lives.

6) Time line of perspective. I came up with six ( again this is not a fixed rule as baggage effects each of us) stages that describe what i go through over time concerning a space( that becomes a place due to revelation and memory).
first observation= wonder through discovery
            second= familiarity which shrinks the space
               third= invisibility, you just don’t notice it
               forth= imprint in your mind/ permanent memory
                fifth= allegory forms as a sequence of the aforementioned events in time
               sixth= nostalgia refection of youth, as death approaches

7) Lanscape is a manmade concept, 

Note, shadow on tree and the ghost behind. Once observed can never revert for the individual as well as the collective.

Enough. I would love to do my symposium again as i think i have cemented some idea’s and thrown out others. plus not being under pressure to ‘think’ has meant more free thought has come to the front of my mind.

I think I could do virtually the whole symposium around a Frank Capra film Eg ‘Its a Wonderful life’ or a Hollywood musical Eg ‘Calamity Jane’

(note embedding not working on you tube.GRRR, click on link etc)

It’s a Wonderful life
Colorised version, whole film. Note Frank Capra nearly had the film turned down for its Anti-Capatalist message. Idealised yes, but 80% of a goal is still worth more than doing nothing.

It’s a Wonderful Life: Colorized Version *HD* – Part 1 of 1 – YouTube

Calamity Jane
Good old Calamity Jane, pure escapism, rufftim and tufftim, can’t help but feel good after anything with the Gal next door ‘Doris Day’. Bless her. Though off the set her life was anything but ideal. So even those seemingly who have it all financially, don’t …thank God!!

The Deadwood Stage from Calamity Jane (1953) – YouTube

Check out ‘I can do with out you’ and ‘Windy city’

A Stirling Moss Job


Art and Context Trip

Well thought is was about time i put up something about the now legendary trip. 

What is the point?

Well for me it was a chance to really think about ‘space’ and how i use it as a designer and whether or not i really understand the consequences of an intervention, and experiment if you like. what happens if….

My studio

Rather than going into the in’s and out’s of the trip. The drinking, screaming in the forest and general getting back to the core of it all, ( and that was just Joey!!!).
The space, Joey and I just wandered off talking the usual crap and came upon this magical spot. Facing the right direction, with just right amount of shade and dampness to create a field of Moss beneath the Douglas firs. In fairness I probably ruined the space, but the space was a false creation anyway due to the forestry planting. A steep bank and hard accessibility also added to the drama. 

So with my simple tools, I attacked! The first (not shown) piece was to contrived, so the second (v in the ground) I just did it, not trying to be contextual, or adding any story, just shape, balance and contrasting colour. Tom and Jim seemed to like it and suggested I do a 3D piece.

Next day, rain, but up on site soon after dawn. A flask of hot water (for black Chai) and biscuits so a happy man.
Saw this decaying stump and just got stuck in, again just intuitively cutting and pasting so to speak. A mixture of additive and subtractive sculpture, only really thinking about the composition. A lot of teeth sucking. Worked like a dog ( no change there), once finished, decided lift the piece by adding more moss for contrast. Then ended clearing all the wood around the various pieces so as not to distract.

Just finished and Jim turned up (one of the lecturers) scrambling up the bank. Had a really good long talk. Pointing out some obvious points which were nagging in the back of my mind. Changed a couple of bits. And if i had time i would of extended one of the pieces.


Well ended up with more questions than answers, which is great as that means that previous views have been challenged, and thus need re-evaluating. So now working on this, learnt more doing this that building a hundred gardens.

Trusty tools, including bare hands

Flat Canvas

Looking up, pre Jim suggestion which simplified the piece

Simplified, framed in extra moss, what does it say? You tell me!

Dug in to expose the roots as to exaggerate the intervention

Just like these Pictures, Goodbye Moss, Goodbye Cornwall

The best unit of the whole 5 years

Winging It

Is defiantly not good for you!

Well our group (group two Green Cranes) got away with blue murder today. Tom and Benz were very generous with their marks for us. Well done to Lisa, Jimmy and Ben, also all who contributed to the hashed together presentation.
Some of the other presentations were very slick and deserved the high marks that they got, particularly liked the model of Andy’s group, the graphics of the Isle of Dogs group and the Piano concept of Joey and the crowd. Well done to all, plenty to plagiarise sorry, be inspired by.

So we have now divided some of the work out to peoples strengths ( read comfort zones). The plan being that we all place our work on Dans mobile me account and then put together a slick, stunning and well thought out presentation.

A couple of sequential sketches.

A 300 year in the future (yep we still wear Jeans so my time traveller friend tells me, and they re-named the Snickers Bar back to a Marathon, so all is not lost for humanity) picture of a flooded London, with high rises losing their lower floor, but in tact as they were designed with that in mind (thanks Ambica). Also floating houses that move with the tide. Not very pleased with this one a bit rushed thus the distant buildings look a bit naff. Generally looks photoshopped thus the effect of belief is lost.

Much happier with this one. Set for the more recent history by the edge of the River Lee. Maybe some better refection of the sky in the water and more dappled atmospheric light, but it seems to work in a, Jekyll painterly manner’

Friday another  1 min silent presentation, particularly difficult for the likes of Jimmy, Ben, Dan and I (who says women are the talkers).

Curry, Bed and digging tomorrow at Hadlow……Nice.

In Art I am out of Context

Or that at least how it feels

Normally I don’t comment on class crits, but this is an exception to the rule.
Why? Well sometimes one is overawed with wise and insightful advice and this was one of those occasions, for me at least.

As someone who loves Modernist/Constructionist art (though no expert, just get it) I have always been a bit suspicious of Post-modern art even though generally I like it. The point that I always struggle with is the allegory bit.
Connecting art with place, context, history etc. Surely must be better than the isolated modernist piece that relies on just being, were ever its placed.
I suppose ignorance always leads to suspicion (on my part ) so listening and taking extensive notes was a huge help to get somewhere to understanding this side of the art world.
I am very aware of the Emperors New clothes syndrome and like anybody else i don’t want to sucked in and mugged. I don’t want to be separate and exclusive from people, and the people we serve as designers/artists, otherwise its pointless and at worst vain.

Though the whole ‘space’ and ‘place’ difference is where its at for me, as jogging peoples memory or getting them to see a space as a place and thus valuing it, is the reason for our occupation….‘its about people…..stupid’. How we do it depends on all the other factors of context (but there are occasions were we create the context for others to follow, like the modernists) and in my opinion the God of context should be a small g.

On a personal note (like the above was somebody else’s opinion) the crit on my work was spot on and really didn’t think about the message being too simple and thus once solved (like a crossword puzzle in a daily paper) the piece would be ignored. So a bit more depth from my side of the gene pool, unlike the rest of my classmates who generally had thought through their work to a more in depth state with questions still to ask.

My conclusion its about the end user and their interaction on daily basis for my Car Park in the dullest of Suburbia.

As a sign off point the lecturers have a depth of knowledge that comes from actually creating such works with all the wrestling of justification and doubt that goes with the territory, as well as being well read. To be able to bounce back such wise words can only come from the deep pool of experience.

Pencil, with iconic Google pin as destination
Thin from the side and tilting back took look as if it landed like an arrow.
Quick bit of PS