Now that I have cleared up some of the things that I wanted to clear up in the project, I needed to define my actual project.
I decided that I wanted to carry over some of the themes from my BAMS project and explore the theme of Utopia. I wanted to look at Utopia because I was reading a book about a typographer called Paul Renner who designed the typeface Futura. I was fascinated by how political visions collided with design and how they evolved together. I also love dystopian films and so I thought it could be interesting to look at the opposite.
I was thinking about how to examine the idea of Utopia because it’s really easy to just do my opinion on the matter, I thought it should be better informed than that and I had this idea that it could be really research led. I then decided that I wanted to do two ‘strands’ to this project. To help organise my thoughts I drew up a diagram. Essentially I will be doing two projects under the same theme but they will tie together.
I’m interested in tying in printed media with jewellery. So for now I think I’m going explore that idea by asking people what their Utopias are and researching political and philosophical theories.
I have decided that for my final piece I wanted to make some fish using wire, masking tape and tissue paper. My hope was that I could make more expressive and interesting models this way.
My idea was that I could display a couple of models on plinth in front of my drawings.
I started by making a prototype to test out my method as I wasn’t sure how it would work to glue tissue paper to masking tape.
I did this by making an eel based off of one of my drawings.
Once I had done that, I decided to make an octopus which was meant to show how octopus are consumed in quite a cruel way in Japan. The octopus are killed in quite a nasty way because they are believed to taste better soon after they have died. The thing was that there is a problem with disposable chopsticks and so I thought I could make an octopus and put chopsticks in it.
Above is the process of making my octopus. I decided not to continue it because I didn’t think it fit in the well so I wanted to just do the fish.
‘Stringfoot’ refers to a condition suffered by urban pigeons. It is when string, thread, human hair and other such things get tangled up with pigeon’s feet and causes them to lose their toes.
It’s a really nasty and tragic thing and there are people out there helping some of these birds recover and apparently when rescued from the thing binding their feet, they survive remarkably well, so there is hope.
The reason I bring this up when I am doing something about sea creatures rather than avians, is because it made me think about fishing lines and fishing nets. And whilst I haven’t heard stories about ‘stringfoot’ happening to sea creatures, it did make me think about how fish get tangled and caught up in nets and fishing lines. I think it could make for a horrible but hopefully meaningful image to try and highlight this problem in my drawings.
When I was watching YouTube one day, as really interesting video came up in my recommended tab and so I decided to have a look at it.
The video was all about the reason why we don’t see great white sharks in aquariums, but perhaps more interesting was that it talked about the attempts that people have made to keep great whites in captivity.
I linked the video if you wanted to look at it, but long story short the reason they don’t do well is mostly because they are long range predators that must keep moving in long uninterrupted lines to thrive. Aquariums can’t really accommodate this and that’s why a lot of great whites that have been in captivity have died in the aquarium or died shortly after release. The most recent attempt was in Okinawa, Japan where the full grown shark was found dead in only three days. It seems that there has been more success in keeping younger, smaller great whites than the full grown adults but like I said, they tended to die shortly after release into the wild.
One of the things that I really latched onto was the way that these sharks were injuring themselves because they were being kept in an unsuitable environment. It made me kind of upset because it was something that kept happening every single time although I was most upset by the example about the shark in Japan. Whilst they hadn’t set out to catch the shark, instead getting it from a fisherman who accidentally caught it, but it was an 11 foot shark. I just felt like it was kind of irresponsible to do that.
On the back of this, I would like to start drawing some sharks that have ended up injured. I thought it could make for a good concept to show that we really can affect even the most feared of sea predators.
‘Plastic In Our Ocean’ is a t-shirt design by a street artist called Mau Mau. It is all about plastic pollution in the sea.
I found his work in a copy of The Big Issue and I was really interested to see how someone else had looked at this topic.
I think that Mau Mau’s piece is very effective because it is really easy to understand which is very important since it is on a t-shirt. I think some t-shirt designs can be a bit confusing to work out. This one on the other hand is very clear and has an inviting illustrative aesthetic that conveys a serious topic without it being overly grim and I think that can be the difference between people getting on board with something like this or not. I think if you present the problem you’re trying to raise awareness of in an overly serious, or catastrophic way, people might lose hope in trying to solve the problem and stay ‘well I guess there’s no point trying if it’s already that bad’.