I am asked to look back at parts one and two and reflect on what I have learnt, archived and understood. Ideas and processes has been challenging for me as it is all about the thinking process not necessarily about the outcome of my work. In this process of analysing other artist work and comparing it to mine I have come to understand myself a bit better (still along way to go). I am starting to understand why I do the things I do, and like Grayson Perry says above; I have started to understand “the funny language of art”.

Looking back at part 1, one of the themes that I connected with in de Waal article was a personal experience.

The quote above from de Waal confirmed to me what I was already feeling. It reminded me that having a voice comes from my personal experience. The things I see, smell, read, touch, hear and experience on a day to day basis are; what I absorb and therefor what defines my voice. I do believe that that’s the reason it is important to be selective in what I let in through my eyes, ears, mouth and soul. I have recently read ‘Steal like an artist’. One of the many things I learnt while reading this book is: The importance of building your own world. I need to surround myself with books and objects I love, tape things on the wall, create my own world. It also says that you’re only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with. That’s why I have made it a point to follow people online who I can learn from and who inspire me. The truth is that to be an artist you have to steal ideas from others, like David Bowie said ‘ The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from’. As an artist what I have learnt through part one and two is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before.

“ Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random, conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic.” – Jim Jarmush

It is interesting to me that the theme that resonated with me the most through part one and two is the one that I failed at in part one. Failed is a strong word for me! I don’t see it as failure, as through me not doing so well, I have learnt the most. I have reflected again and again on why I didn’t do so well on a theme that I enjoy so much and that is very much my own voice. I understand that the reasons are many. The main reason why I got it so wrong was that I was not focusing on my personal experience. I was trying to collect information and objects that had sentimental value to the family of the deceased person rather then collecting information and objects that talked about my experience. How could I have got it so wrong? I see it so clearly now! that is of the result of growing in knowledge and understanding through part one and two. I think by contrast exercise 2.3 personal experience is by far a more successful one. It is more successful because I stayed true to my primary research. It was also successful because I was more experimental and took my ideas further; by experimenting with different media like oil’s and photoshop. I didn’t just stop when an idea or the result of it was good, I carried on experimenting as far as I could take it. The outcome was a contrast to my usual pictorial work. I also think that I should find a way of working with photography as capturing moments and making interesting images with my camera is one of my strong points.

My strongest theme in part one in my opinion is 1.7 place.

Although I started learning about conceptual art and therefore thinking differently and began to be less literal, I was still overworking my work and forgetting that: at this point my works are samples not finished products – this resulted in me learning to let go of presentation and leaving the frames I was spending time on, behind. Looking back at my work from part 1.7 if I had to rework it knowing what I know now: I would work the images of my garden using a similar method to part 2.3, the outcome would of been a more interesting one. I think on reflection I settled with the result of this exercise instead of coming out of my comfort zone.

I liked when de Waal said in his interview “…I realised that if I stayed up my mountainside in Herefordshire, I’d probably still be there. There was a zone of safety that I needed to get out of”.

I feel that, that’s exactly what I have done in part two. That is the message I learnt loud an clear through part one and two. I learnt to extract from my surroundings and to come out of my safety zone. In part one I was very much in my comfort zone and the results of that were predictable and obvious. My work in part one was ‘cutesie’ while in part two my works where elevated and may I say ‘crossed boundaries’. Example; the image above stopped being a photograph of a bus and became something more interesting that could be described as conceptual art.

‘Making things, making a mess, doing things at school, apprenticeships, keeping going the need for art colleges, and The strangeness of crafts within a culture that wants to make everything glossy’ – a snipped of de Waal interview in part 1.

The quote above was also a turning point for me in part one. I realised it was imperative for me to became messy, to explore different media and methods as this is my time to do so.

I think there is evidence of me becoming more playful and experimental in exercise 2.2 identity labels-collage. In this exercise I grasped the concept of trying different methods and the importance to experiment and to be playful, while still retaining my voice. I then carried on taking what I learnt further and started to link in other practitioners that I enjoyed; like Shahar Avnet. I then adopted some of her methods, like line drawing to feed my own work (like the book stealing like an artist suggests).

This point is where I think I am demonstrating my learnings and I have truly understood the themes – in this case personal experience and identity. ‘Fibro & me’ (title of the image above) is a result also; of learning about the impact of words (Exercise1.4 ) I think by contrast I missed a trick in exercise 1.4 – I do believe I was being to literal and predictable.

The body of work that stretched me the most in thinking? Was 2.5 works based upon music. I have never thought of mark making using music or sound. This was a new concept to me. Alison Carlier was a revelation to me. Sketching with audio was mind blowing and it has open another dimension for me and new ways of working.

The body of work that stretched me the most in terms of making was exercise 2.6 works upon space. The idea of collecting primary research by using different methods and media like frottage was a revelation! Not only because it taught me how to gather information about the place around me, but also because it taught me to use the information I gathered and look into that information in further detail. I learnt that this method can reveal interesting outcomes – in contrast to how I used to work were I chose what I was interested in. Probably resulting in me missing vital information, as after so many years I have developed an eye to what I like and what I don’t.

Finally I have been asked to select one of the themes from part one for further development. I am ironically going to chose ‘ a personal experience’ as this is the theme I have learnt the most through my mistakes and I feel has helped me grow as an artist allowing me to cross lagoons.

I think below are the key pieces of visual research from part two.

Fibro & me- I chose this one as it is the beginning of me understanding how to use other artist methods while being true to my personal experience and retaining my voice.

Above; I feel that this is a key piece of visual research because I learnt to capture the feeling of calligraphy and words through my research of other artist. I was very surprised by the outcome, as at the beginning I was very apprehensive of using writing. I am finding that my most dreaded exercises have became my favourite outcomes – this might be because I have been rewarded by the challenge.

I have chosen the piece above as a key piece of visual research because; it demonstrates how experimenting and taking a piece further can result in exiting outcomes. It is also a reminder that I need to stay outside my comfort zone.

Lastly – This is a piece that I have chosen because it informs me of the importance of being experimental with media. In this piece everything goes. I used coffee, leaves and paint to depict the feeling of autumn (place in exercise 2.6). I like the fact that although I used different media it is still light and balanced.