I began my project focusing on Leicester as at the time of the start of this project, lockdown was still looming and we had to work from home wherever possible. This led me to the conclusion that I should focus on a place I have easy access to and that wouldn’t cause mw to get into trouble with the police or authorities.
At the start of my second year, I did a project focusing on Cornwall, paying close attention to my uses of colour and shapes. I thoroughly enjoyed that project and felt that I started to get a great foundation and idea that was executed well. Therefore, I decided to approach my project this term in the same manner, the only difference being that I was focusing on Leicester rather than Cornwall.
Due to teaching being online, I had no access to my studio which made scale a difficulty and so I stuck to a small size of A4 in general, the biggest pieces being A3. Although I would have worked bigger if I had the chance, I still feel that I managed to capture Leicester well at the size I was working with.
As I live in Leicester I was able to go out and draw from life, which I didn’t get the chance to do with my Cornwall project in term one and so I worked from photos a lot then. I captured a lot of primary evidence in forms of quick drawings and detailed drawings to give myself a large range of imagery to develop throughout this project.
When it came to colour, I started off quite simple with mundane colours and built up to more experimental uses of colour as my ideas developed and I progressed in the project. A lot of my uses of colour and colour palettes came from my artist research. I decided to do this so that the colours I was using were informed and not purely random as I feel it is always appropriate to identify why you make certain decisions in your work. As all of the artists I researched approach their colour uses in different ways, I had a lot of ways to approach the use of colour in my own work.
I began doing paintings by working over sketches in my sketchbook to get some ideas and more solid foundations to develop later on. I even started exploring uses of bold colours in my sketchbook to see how compositions would be affected.
The crit helped me to identify areas to improve as well as areas to develop further as they were working well. A key area I was told to change was to start breaking out of my sketchbook and use my initial drawings/paintings/studies to combine in different ways or use as foundations to explore colour palettes. One of the ideas I explored was to combine different streets together to create ‘hybrid’ buildings which I felt worked really well with block colours and small details.
I worked onto paper and cardboard with my favourite being high quality fabriano paper as it holds paint well and doesn’t warp easily. With the covid situation, this was also the best idea as I didn’t have the facilities or equipment to make canvases and I didn’t want to waste money on buying bad quality canvases. Overall, I feel the materials used worked out really well as acrylic paints apply quite nicely to fabriano paper. In addition to this, I used paint pens and ink pens to add small details by layering which is something I have always enjoyed as you can so easily change the outcome of a flat painting by adding lines or sketchy details over the top.
As I need to select 10 images for my final assessment, I decided to go through all the work I have completed for this project and select the ones I feel are most effective. I wanted to include more mundane colour palettes as well as the bolder colour palettes as I wanted to show my development and demonstrate how my contextual research has influenced my work.
This is a painting of De Montfort University buildings which feature quite a warm colour palette. I like the fact that each section is a bold flat colour and the way the lines work with the colours. Are used a white paint pen to add detail as I struggled to do this with the brushers that I had. Although I like the composition of this image; I feel that other works are more developed, and this is more and experimentation/ exploration of colour palettes and the way this affects compositions.
This is a painting I did of a historical building on Aylestone Road in Leicester. I decided to use a colour palette inspired by one of my artist research (). I feel that the pastel shades work well with the building an add a sense of modernity to a historical building. I like that this is quite simple and that I didn’t overwork the painting by adding too much detail. The colours used work well with the composition and I am glad that I only did a section of the building as this framing adds to the overall impact of the image.
This is a painting I did inspired by one of Richard Diebenkorn’s painting colour palettes. I did this to identify colours that work well together to allow myself to create links with the artists I have researched and to develop my work and push it to the next level. Although the colours used a mundane, I like the ways that they work together and the fact that there are different shades of certain colours such as grey as this great contrast which draws the eye of the viewer. I am glad I included the street name as this makes the place more identifiable and including a call was interesting as it linked more to the people living in the area rather than just the building itself. I’m very happy with the result of this painting and I like the composition.
This is a painting of a view of my neighbour’s garden from my back garden. I liked the composition of this image as it included a lot of different buildings which allowed me to use a wide colour palette. this is a painting in which I used a bright colour palette with autumnal shades such as reds, browns, oranges, and yellows. I feel that this colour palette works very well with the composition and is very eye catching. Adding small lines onto the flat colours really added to the result and I’m very happy with this painting.
This is a smaller painting I did featuring the end of a street and some lamp posts. I like the fact that included a segment of a no entry sign as this is something we all see in our day to day lives. again the colour palette is quite simple on this image and fairly normal but I am very happy with the composition and the amount of detail I have captured in a simplistic manner. I like the amount of contrast this painting has and I feel it fits in well with my project.
This is another painting I did of a street on Aylestone Road with traffic lights. I took inspiration for the colour palette from George Shaw and again although the colour palette is rather normal I really like the ways that the colours work together as this ads to the piece. I feel that this painting also relates to Piet Mondrian’s work as there are lots of squares and rectangular shapes, the only difference being the colours used. I feel that the traffic lights add to the composition and are something that everyone encounters in their day to day lives.
This is a painting of a view of Upperton Road which features a lot of black lines. I am considerably happy with the composition, and I did find this painting difficult to do at first but it did pay off. I like how simplistic it is yet it manages to portray a lot of detail as I added thin lines and details with an ink pen. This painting is quite small which I think works well for its composition and I feel the shades of colours used work well together. The pale grey sky reminds me of L.S Lowry’s paintings which is relevant.
This is a painting I did of a view if my neighbours house from my back garden. I took inspiration for the colour palette from a James Rosenquist painting which explains why the colours are so bold. I feel that all the colours used work well together but I felt that it was too bright for my liking, so although I like it I feel that it is just an experimentation piece to see how far I could take the colours before it became too much. I like that this painting is a build up of flat shapes as this works well overall.
This is another painting I did of a view from my back garden which includes parts of my neighbours house. I used a bright colour palette for this painting and avoided using black as I feel that black sometimes takes away from the colours and becomes too graphic. I instead used a dark purple for the darkest areas and lines which I feel was a great decision. I like that this painting consists of flat coloured shapes that build up to create an interesting composition.
In this painting from my back garden of a different angle, I really like the ways the bright colours work together yet contrast in areas as it pulls the viewer in. Though simple, this painting is really effective and I like the Pop Art vibes it gives off.
Though I like the colour palette of this painting, something feels off to me, it may be the composition but I am glad I did this piece as it shows my development of ideas and the ways that I have considered a range of colour palettes throughout this project to see what works well. Again, I like that I didn’t rely on black to outline the drawing as I feel that could have been too much.
This is yet another view from my garden which features a fence that separates different houses. I like the colours that I have used in this painting and the ways the white highlights create a contrast with the darker areas. I used a lot of layering in this painting which I really enjoyed and I feel I captured it well.
This is a view I had from a street of Leicester college which I liked as it included a range of different buildings. I used a fairly simple colour scheme, with the lightest colour used being yellow and then I stuck with dark colours such as blacks, blues and purples. Again, I like that this painting is quite simple yet it is easy to see what the painting is of. I am happy with the composition and final result of this painting.
In this painting, I wanted to see what I could achieve with a black, grey and white colour scheme. Though initially challenging, I feel this painting paid off and was a good exploration as it bridges between normal colours and really bright colours. This was a refreshing piece to do and made me more excited to continue progressing with this project.
This is another painting of a view on Aylestone Road and I used a colour palette inspired by George Shaw. I felt that The greens worked really well with the browns and adding the shop signs and number sign to the top of the building made it more recognisable which I liked. I added highlights with white which I feel brings the painting together and overall I am very impressed with this painting.
This is a small painting of a house on Aylestone Road and I made it more of a sketchy painting rather than too precise. I like the ways that the colours work to attract the eye of the viewer. In addition, I feel that the shade of blue I used for the sky works well with the other colours used and is very balanced.
I am very happy with this painting in which I combined two pages of my sketchbook of different streets to create a ‘hybrid’ building. From looking at this image, it is so hard to notice that there are two different places combined as it looks so realistic which I am a fan of. I could have done this painting with more out there colours but I felt the need to see how it would turn out with everyday colours. If I had more time, I would do another version of this painting using brighter colours to see how colour can affect the composition.
I felt that I needed to do more paintings exploring the colours I am using as most of my others were quite experimental. I also felt that I needed to increase the amount of paintings I have done so that I can demonstrate a body of work.
I did this A3 sized painting by combining photocopies of two of my sketchbook pages and sticking them together, making sure to align the black pipe as this was just misaligned within the sketchbook.
I decided to switch the positions of the individual pieces as I preferred the layout overall but I am incredibly happy with it.
I stuck to what would be considered a ‘normal’ colour palette as I wanted to try out the composition before going too experimental. If I have time, I am hoping to do another of the same piece but with a different colour scheme as I am really happy with how this turned out. Though the colour scheme is quite mundane, I feel that it effectively relates to George Shaw’s colour palette which is still a relevant link.
These are some paintings I have been working on inspired by George Shaw’s use of colour and Piet Mondrian. I am hoping to add more detail to them and build them up more to ensure they are very effective. I have thoroughly been enjoying doing these paintings and I like including road signs and traffic lights as these things make the paintings more relatable to everyday life.
I decided to link some of my paintings, particularly colour schemes, to the contextuals I have researched throughout this project. Although I feel this is appropriate to do to show obvious links between my work and my inspirations, I feel that this could help me choose colour palettes for my more developed pieces down the line which could make my work more effective.
James Rosenquist inspired colour palettes:
I started out using some of James Rosenquist’s paintings as colour palette inspirations. I started out with him as he did a lot of Pop Art which uses a lot of abstract colours and I felt this would push my work to very interesting outcomes. I started out by photocopying some of my sketches from my sketchbook at an A4 size and used alcohol markers to form a rough outline of the paint colours I want to apply to each section.
First James Rosenquist inspired colour palette:
Second James Rosenquist inspired colour palette:
Third James Rosenquist inspired colour palette:
Richard Diebenkorn inspired colour palettes:
I decided to do colour palettes inspired by Richard Diebenkorn as his work uses a lot more realistic colours that are true to everyday life, with a lot of greens and grey shapes building up his interesting compositions. I took photos of the finished paintings I did with flash and without flash as the lighting affected how the colours worked together. I feel that taking colour inspiration from my contextuals is the best idea as I already know that the colours work well together, there is no trial and error.
First Richard Diebenkorn inspired colour palette:
Second Richard Diebenkorn inspired colour palette:
Third Richard Diebenkorn inspired colour palette:
Reflection of this exercise:
I feel that doing paintings with colour palettes inspired by my contextuals was effective as it allowed me to explore different colour combinations without having to randomise the colours I selected. I also enjoyed finding paint colour swatches from a paint book to put next to the paintings when I was photographing them to inform the colours I used. I was very happy with the colour palettes and the ways they affected my drawings and compositions. I also explored the amounts of details I added, making some of the paintings simple and others more developed. I would do this exercise again in the future to help me build up an extensive list of colour palettes that I can use earlier on in the project so that I build up a bigger body of paintings.
I realised that there were pieces in my sketchbook which were incomplete and so I dedicated some time finishing them. I felt this would allow me to show a connection between my early drawings and sketches, and my more refined work as those stages were lacking.
For some of my pencil drawings which were quite light, I went over them with markers and paint. I also added colour to some of my sketches in order to explore what works well.
I feel that I should explore colour palettes within my sketchbook making links to the artists I have researched this term and using a colour wheel in order to ensure I use the most effective colour palettes.
I felt that I didn’t have enough sketches to continue my work with and so I went to Aylestone Road and did some quick sketches of different architecture and houses from different angles. I made sure to make these as quick as possible with harsh lines as I feel that I sometimes waste time adding more detail than is necessary.
I feel that these sketches will help me create some interesting pieces as I continue in this project. I like that they aren’t perfect as I can always adjust proportions down the line.
As some of the previous drawings went through the pages, I decided to paint the reverse side black so that I could do more line drawings to build upon in my more developed pieces later on. I used white paint pens to draw on top of the black backgrounds, and I felt the final effect of this was great.
Shane Meadows is a Nottingham based screenwriter, film director and actor. As a lot of his films are based in the East Midlands and have a very British vibe focused on council estates, it felt relevant to research him and the different ways he involves/represents the architecture in his films. He manages to capture a lot of depth in his films that provide psychological portraits of the types of people that live in the areas and architecture that are captured in the films.
I decided to research Shane Meadows as his films feature a lot of council estates and I feel this is relevant to my project as Leicester has a lot of similar areas and so this is appropriate.
He is well known for shooting in local locations where he lives which allows him to constantly be creating new films and not having any barriers preventing him from doing what he loves. Shane Meadows also likes to incorporate untrained actors in his films which give a more realistic interpretation of the places and people from those areas.
Shane began his film career by volunteering at Intermedia Film and Video Ltd in Nottingham, being able to use and borrow the filming equipment by working for the company for free. At the start he tried to involve his family and friends in the work as this was the most convenient option at the time. He also made himself an actor in his films which shows how versatile he is and dedicated to his craft. As he gained more experience, he was producing short films at a very fast rate which shows how dedicated he was.
Information I got from video above:
Shane Meadows got involved with film after he was thrown off his Photography University course for getting into trouble with debt and he saw a film crew when he was on the way home. he was interested in the way that lots of different people were working together. After he had made a large amount of films, he showed them to someone at the place he was volunteering and was advised to enter some of them into competitions. He was called by a well-known British producer and filmmaker called Steven Malloy and was asked if he had considered making a feature film. Since then, he has made many films that demonstrate his passion for filmmaking.
This was the first feature film that Shane Meadows made based in Nottingham in 1996. It involves themes of friendship and theft which are quite common in run down areas which relates to how he captures the essence of council estates and troubled people from those places.
This is one of the first well known films directed by Shane Meadows to feature well known actors. Again, based in Nottingham which allowed him to portray the realistic aesthetic of the area and the common traits/characteristics that people from those areas have.
Shane has made a few psychological thrillers in his career which often show the dark sides to council estates and life in general with drug dealers being a big part of the foundations of the films.
This is England, 2006 – Shane Meadows
Information I got from videos above:
“It’s this story about Shane’s experience growing up including the political side with Thatcher and the miners’ strike, including all those things that that they both remembered. Shane wrote in the opening paragraph saying remember boys before Gameboys and PlayStations. Before all the kids looked the same, there was this time when they were punks, mods, skinheads, new romantics. On this release or captured in this opening paragraph, this tribal thing about the 80s then but have you belonging to one of those tribes. You see a young boy Sean going to school for the first day, he has a terrible day by getting bullied and having a fight. He’s a loner and doesn’t really want to be there. On the way home from school after this really bad day, he meets a skin head gang in an underpass and they’re funny and witty. He makes a good impression on the gang, so they take him out for the day hunting and slowly but surely he becomes part of the gang. Shane Meadows experienced this as when he was about 11-12 years old he went hunting with this group of skinheads and they were all crazy and then he made friends with this lad Gadget who he wasn’t really close with before the hunting day. The hunting day made them do all these mad challenges. When he met the cast, and they were all together they made him cry his eyes out with laughter after their extreme hair decisions. Although the film was based on Shane Meadow’s experience, he wanted them to choose what they wore and experiment with their costumes. The main character feels he belongs when he gets new clothes and a haircut to fit in with the gang. Then it’s the summer Holidays and a big character called Cosmo gets out of prison. He has made some opinions in prison that are not great, but you get a sense of menace, he’s become racist. This affects Milky in the gang who has black skin. Cosmo takes Sean under his wing. This gives Sean a father figure. Then slowly but surely that kind of the menace of the race goes from super joke stuff to a national fraud which is horrific and it’s six weeks this young boy goes from being a boy to a man.
The core of this film is autobiographical but each person that comes into that process has something good that Shane sees and then he allows the character to breathe. Joe who played Woody was a funny guy and so why not allow them to be funny characters. The girl’s hair is more grown-up but it’s not case of just having the costume, it’s that they walk right in it too. Shane said he remembers the day when they did the haircuts and the costume fittings, putting on the jacket badges, jeans, and the docs. As soon as they put that uniform on, you could see the most change regionally and they began to look the same. A famous part is the tattoo which Shane also has which is an autobiographical element. After meeting Tommy who played Sean, they didn’t come on too graphical about Shane, there was a lot of Thomas character included. You have to you have to learn to trust and to work with these people and I think the relationships in the film that you look at, you know Stephen Graham who plays Cosmo really took Tom under his wing and helped/supported him which added to their relationships or when it came in there was a very strong father relationship. I don’t think Shane set out to make a political film, not at all it’s about caring about specific characters and the choices they make for you on that boy’s journey. There are many ways were ultimately kids are easily influenced and you can see how the wrong adult father figure or the wrong peers if you like can influence the way you think.” – what the video above says.
Information I got from video above:
This is one of the films and dramas that Shane Meadows is well known for. His portrayal of British life and council estate issues was very unique and more importantly a very realistic portrayal of life in the 80s. This film put a lot of Nottingham based actors into the limelight and set off their careers which was important as there wasn’t a lot of well known actors from the East Midlands before then.
This film showed the importance of friendships. The fact that Shane Meadows covers a lot of different themes in his films is important as it allows him to be more relatable. I like that he shows the highs and the lows as life isn’t all doom and gloom but it also isn’t sunshine and rainbows all the time.
This essay takes consideration into how the uses of environments in Sean Meadow’s films impact upon human development.
“Set in towns and cities once characterised by thriving industrial and manufacturing economies, these films depict communities in which the working-class of the British documentary movement”
“Therefore, I want to frame my consideration of Meadows’ representation of space from the perspective of these debates about the relationship between consumption and masculinity. What follows, then, should be read as an attempt to begin thinking about Meadows’ work in light of this theory, and to hopefully contribute towards a possible understanding of his work in the context of this changing landscape of contemporary British social-realism.”
How researching into Shane Meadow’s filmmaking is relevant to my project:
I was recommended to research into Sean Meadow’s films by my tutor during my crit as he often films in the east midlands in council estates similar to Leicester, often close by in Nottingham. I found he way he combines landscapes with different people and demonstrates the unique relationships between people and the places they live. I like that he maintains the realism of the places he films and doesn’t feel the need to photoshop or change anything to suit a particular aesthetic. It is a true depiction of the world some people live in which is very unique, embracing the true beauty of the world.
James Rosenquist was an American Artist who was heavily involved with the Pop Art movement, being a co founder of the movement. As he had experience in sign painting, his work often explored advertising and consumer culture in art and society. To do this, he used his experiences and techniques used within sign painting to create work involving popular cultural icons and mundane objects. Although his works have been compared to artists such as Warhol and Lichtenstein, he is considered unique for the ways that he incorporated surrealism by including actual fragments of advertisements and imagery to show how ads can often be overwhelming.
Information I got from video above:
“Art historian and curator Sarah Bancroft had the great privilege to work at the Guggenheim where she co-curated James Rosenquist’s retrospective. Beginning in 2015 Jim asked Sarah to come and work for his foundation and his studio, making her the vice president/the director of James Rosenquist studio and the executive director of the James Rosenquist foundation. James Rosenquist is one of the founders if you can call it that of the American pop art movement he along with his contemporaries Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol who really grouped together by art historians and curators. At the time they weren’t working together as a group, but the young artists were painting figuratively, coming out of a moment where abstract expressionism was at the apex of the art world. These young upstarts painting in this fashion was quite shocking and so there were no characters like Henrik El dollar at the Met and wonderful gallerists around town who started to show them together and it was really quite a shock this artwork at that time, so he was one of the artists at the forefront of this group and in the early 60s became known as an American pop artist and he’s really pushed himself over the decades to create new and new forms he’s never repeating what he did before. James Rosenquist was born in North Dakota and grew up in Minnesota spent most of his young life in the Midwest the middle of the country and he moved to New York to study at the art students League while also working as a commercial artist to support himself. Before he became known as an American pop artist, he was really standing on the boards as billboard artists called it painting commercial advertisements and his focus was on massive advertisements. In his private time, he had a little studio where he did tiny abstract drawings.
In 1960, a friend of his and a colleague fell off the boards and died which made Rosenquist realise that he didn’t want to be painting commercial anymore. This led to him moving into a studio in lower Manhattan to focus on his fine art career. Very quickly thereafter his career had momentum and he became known as one of the American pop artists. When Rosenquist moved into the space his work changed dramatically; rather than making small abstract drawings he started incorporating elements of the commercial advertisements into his own work, so he would take snippets of images make collage from them to make these unexpected changes to positions and then use the collage to paint the canvas and these became the very first pop paintings of his.
In the marine Gallery there’s a beautiful collection of Jim’s source collages almost every painting has a source collage which is a working document for him, he created these collages sniping imagery from advertisements, women’s magazines, lifetime or from photographs he had commissioned or taken himself, alternately even from photocopies. These developed his billboard painting experience as whatever it was that he needed to paint on the Billboard he was given a small image and he would use that image to scale up on a massive billboard and so when he started painting his own works he decided that he would continue in that tradition. However, rather than using imagery that had been given to him, he chose the imagery himself in unexpected ways to create a composition of his own making and then painted the canvas from these collages. These are known as working documents which he did not show to people for many decades, he was very secretive about them as he didn’t want people to understand the process of how he composed the work. This meant that they didn’t enter the realm of the public until the 90s. For the Guggenheim retrospective, he very generously allowed us, or he was convinced to show a much larger body of work because they are relevant to his process, to the conceptual backbone of each painting and quite frankly they are works of art. This space is a perfect marriage between architecture and painting, there is enough space for these paintings to breathe, many of these works are enormous, monumental in scale and yet they feel calm/peaceful. It’s almost cathedral like, it’s an incredible show, this Gallery is really a destination and I can’t imagine a better place for these works to be shown.”
Information I got from video above:
Rosenquist talking about his 88-foot-wide painting of an F 111 fighter plane in 1965:
This was a combination of number of ideas, and one was visiting an amusement park in Texas, seeing a beast 36 aeroplane just sitting there rusting and then going to an amusement park that had a lot of unnatural things about it as a theme park. Then wondering and then talking to Barnett Newman about seeing something which is relegated by peripheral vision, what you see through the side of your eyes makes what you think you see that colour for instance or colour can change other colours according to the whole show rounding up senses of colour light dark everything. I wanted to make a room that wherever you looked you would that colour would be that colour because everything else made it that colour. I learned that income taxes were started by the Chinese to the donation to make a humanist or was a humanist donation to make it a community or society just at that time I met Paul bird from the St. Louis post dispatch, we had just come back from some combat missions in Vietnam so the culmination of all these things created the painting. I thought of the economy that this war weapon supported in Texas and then Long Island so that was the beginning ideas to get me off the chair to do this is painting. Later, it was taken as a great anti-war picture and how illogical it was to be an artist in this century at this time, how what a joke it was to be an artist I mean of 1 think that they have any power political power by being an artist or saying something or doing anything it didn’t doesn’t seem to be the artists role in society to be silly at that time.
Rosenquist talking about whether Pop Art was revolutionary:
I don’t think it’s revolutionary. Revolutionary painting shows in history a few times, like in the high and low show there was a beautiful Miro painting and the inspiration from that came from him clipping with the scissors, clipping off little pictures of a knife, fork and spoon out of catalogue. He used the positive – negative space as a sketch and then this became a big, beautiful painting which was very atmospheric and very unusual as the knife, fork and spoons were transformed into funny shapes, but they were still from the drawing. People have always been searching for an idea or a reason for to get them off the chair to do something so during the time of abstract expressionism a lot of students were merely taught to be careless with abandon, hit the canvas with a rag with a broom with a rush after you make a mark on a canvas does that mark suggest an inspiration? Then you have to have the responsibility to finish something and do something about that mark that you made because you destroyed the beautiful painting surface, Lots of people were being taught that the brush stroke and the viscosity of paint became a cliché so people were becoming tired of that and abstract painting being misinterpreted into something else, for instance something that could be very serial looking gradually could have a figure of Popeyes sitting in there right in the middle of it. You see the strangest artworks coming out of people, so called pop artist commercial artists Roy Lichtenstein and I was a billboard painter, and many other commercial artists were.
Rosenquist discussing why Pop Art happened when it did:
I can’t put my finger on that one, one could say that abstract painting up until 1945/1950 really had its roots in Europe from French non-objective painting but then one could say well this looks more American and with that which has less roots in your in Europe. I don’t want to say that because I don’t see enough reasons for that as it would be a self-conscious attitude, like saying hey I’m going to do this now because I don’t hate Europeans, I’m not going to be like that I’m in America I can’t, I don’t see that well. Lawrence Alloway coined that term pop art, we were called new realists and lot of other things, I think Pop Art was a misnomer as Lawrence Alloway seemed to think that everyone was infatuated with popular imagery which I don’t think was the case. Strange thing is that since 1960, the pop art has still remained popular or people remain interested in it, also the artists involved have been very lucky to have a rather long life with exception of Andy Warhol but I’ve been pretty lucky to have a rather long career.
Rosenquist discussing what he wants people to see when they look at his paintings:
Well, I mean I like them to realise how much can come out of a little paint pot, just open a little pot of paint and it flies all over the place. That’s a thing that students don’t know, and I’ve tried very few times but I’ve been to a school for boys and girls there the trying to make an expression from a little tube of paint and they don’t know how to mix paint or do anything practical so they get very frustrated so they take a cigarette and put it in the mess, and they will home and everything is dirty in a mess everything. So, I showed them how to take the paint out of the tube and smear it up and how much space they could cover with just a little bit of paint in that tube. I showed them how to do that and after a while they could make these big beautiful abstract paintings. I said fantastic, now you must have an idea that’s the next part but it’s the same with film to be able to use it be able to do it to be able to light things to be able to do all that takes someone to show you the knack of how to do that, it’s craft.
James Rosenquist discussing where his ideas come from:
My inspirations when I was first starting was that I thought I could devise a new space from painting outdoor billboards in Times Square and that was as a kid I was subject to Rinso White commercials and early television commercials. Our commercial society which is quite unlike Russia for instance, and I thought my job was to paint big pictures of movie stars and then to paint objects to sell and if I could paint them well the company would sell them but if I didn’t I’d get fired. I had to paint a beautiful beer, beautiful shirts, beautiful everything so salesmen would be attracted. They said the beer had too many hops in it, tell that kid change it, got to change it so that only meant making a slightly different colour yellow and repainting the whole damn thing slightly. So, I take it home with me and I take Franco American spaghetti orange I take that home which was like red dye number 2 and yellow I take that, and I make abstract paintings out of these. Then I thought hey I’ll use magnified imagery that spilled out of the picture plane and I’d set it up so the closest thing you would see would be recognised last because would be too personal and what irritates people. So that’s how my so-called pop art painting started, and I really use generic things unlike say Andy Warhol who used Campbell’s soup. I painted spaghetti, I painted soup, I painted hot dogs, jeans, cars, generic things instead of out there things. The labels and the title might occur to me and this title with the stick out my mind and then I’ll think in terms of everything I think of I’ll think in terms of that title. For instance, I did a painting called 4 nuclear women which is meant if women become powerful and they are like women who own a lot of stock in the stock market or better be like Golden mate or become president like Golda Meir, Margaret Thatcher, or Indira Gandhi, will they be new clear women or nuclear women, will they blow us up or are they smart something like that. So, then I met Zack Darlington’s actress Liv Ullmann, she saw that painting she says oh what are you going to do next and I said I’m going to do the persistence of electrical nymphs in space and she said oh what’s that about I said well that’s the sound of all the souls after the earth blows options.
Okay so those are titles that I would think about before I would start working. Then I like to think about how young people want to live in the future too which is interesting as people are like animals and still have all the best visuals. I mean still have all the best vestiges of anatomy and they have claws, fangs, ears, noses just like animals you see running around here and then I go to New York, I see beautiful girls that have claws, fangs, noses everything and I see they are very sophisticated and they smell nice but there are still animals so I wonder how will a young person like to live in a really high tech environment such as a rocket ship or an apartment or a business place like that but would they prefer to live a pastoral life like little lambs in a Meadow so I think that’s curious what the future generations will select as an environment. If the environment is going to hell those oil slicks all over and Hussein burned the oil fields down and all of that and one wonders what you know when will people get busy cleaning it up or are they interested or whatever it’s curious, I’m interested in what people will select so I started making paintings that look like people reincarnating into Flowers are starting to be intermixed with flora and fauna and machines too, they were sort of pieces of flesh start starting to be connected to machines or Flowers or an I did those in a shot images cut in shards so that with the least amount of suggestion you could see what an image of something yet there was a whole ground to put another image in to paint there was a lot of area left over and then that would be a specific image and then the mixture of both of those I was hoping for a third image it would be if all artists have crosshatched including Michelangelo Rembrandt and everybody like scribbling and in those scribbles screw doing that one day and then that I thought haven this crosshatching I could like this for instance put two images overlapping so you could see both images at the same time and still have more area to paint it and you could even describe with pieces of imagery which no one has done before yet so I mean use using imagery as a sketch to describe another image that would be really confusing so or illuminating so that that’s why it was one inspiration.
A lot of James Rosenquist’s work is very abstract Pop Art work including a range of different objects and materials, with collage being a big part of his work. Rosenquist arranges each piece of cut out prints differently to create a range of interesting compositions that work with the bright colours used to draw the attention of the viewer. For instance, in ‘Miles’ (shown above) the shards of the plate are spread around the circle in the middle to draw the eye to that part of the piece which is quite interesting as the background of the piece is very detailed, so you don’t expect the centre of the piece to be the main point. Sometimes Rosenquist didn’t have to use actual images of things, but instead used shapes and colours to translate into something he wanted the viewer to see without having to make it too obvious. In ‘The Bird of Paradise Approaches the Hot Water Planet, from Welcome to the Water Planet Series’, Rosenquist builds up the ‘bird’ using flowing lines and cut out prints and I find this fascinating as people don’t have to see an actual object or figure to understand the work. Even in circumstances when actual objects are used, they are made abstract to go along with the rest of the elements in Rosenquist’s work.
There are many abstract forms and lines used throughout his work which he is well known for. Although these sometimes seem quite spontaneous, they are actually considered for a while by Rosenquist as he puts a lot of attention into getting the right compositions and angles of the different cut out pieces in his collages.
In some of his work, Rosenquist focuses on key objects and figures throughout history, such as the F-111 plane mentioned earlier on in this post. This is because he was trying to demonstrate what life was like back then and how this could have impacted on people’s lives. Yet he also focused on subjects heavily involving what could happen in the future and how young people would react to different situations which I find very interesting as a lot of people are quite unpredictable.
A crucial part of Rosenquist’s work was parody yet he did this in a way that still allowed him to demonstrate his own individual perception and purpose. His parody was mainly focused on advertising and he wanted to demonstrate the powers that advertising had in an innovative way.
Ways James Rosenquist’s work is influencing my project:
The key influence I have from James Rosenquist is his bold uses of colour that demonstrate a flow in his work. I find his combinations of colours very interesting and feel his abstract approach could add to my work. I am hoping to do one of my paintings using a colour palette inspired by one or several of his paintings to allow myself to fully explore whether this would be right for my project.