Thursday, 22 September 2011

What next? Designs.

It's been a while since i've posted on this blog, so I will try and update you on what Emma and I have been doing since the workshops ended.

A lot of very strong and interesting work was developed during the workshops using a wide range of media and processes. It was always our intention to use many different techniques. The artists from the homeless community who we'd met prior to the workshops had a range of creative interests, and they also wanted to learn new techniques. Whilst we wanted the process of developing ideas to be as open as possible, and we had no idea what people would produce during the workshops, we had a specific process in mind for making the final artwork to enable us to bring such an eclectic portfolio of work into a cohesive design. This doesn't mean we had any idea what it would look like!

So at the end of the workshops, Emma and I organised all the artist's work into portfolios, selecting a few images from each artist to try out in our design. We spent hours tracing and photographing people's work, importing the images onto the computer and then adapting some of them further so that they would be suitable for laser-cutting. 

This was followed by many more hours working with the images, finding ways to integrate the various designs, layering them, playing with scale, repetition and the relationships between images. Some images didn't work and we went back to the portfolios to look at alternatives, starting the process again. 

At this stage we started to become more hands on with creating our own drawings and designs to add to the composition. We began to see what was still needed, both compositional and thematically. I went back to the  University botanical gardens to make drawings, tracings and photographs. Emma happened to be in Edinburgh where there are fantastic botanical gardens, and looked at microscopic images of palm leaves. These were the final pieces in the jigsaw puzzle that brought the designs together.

                                          Tracing from microscopic palm detail

We presented the designs to the steering committee and after a few tweaks the design was approved for fabrication.


At 30 October 2011 at 07:36 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello. I have a question:

I'm curious about what the work from these homeless workshops contributed to the project.

Why were they needed? Or was this just an extension of those workshops?

For example if you hadn't told me homeless contributed creatively to this piece would it have made a difference to the outcome or to the idea of the piece? because the final work is quite abstract...

At 6 November 2011 at 13:02 , Blogger Rachel Barbaresi said...

Hello tinroofpress,
Thanks for your comment.
You haven't yet seen the overall design as we were under contract to keep this under wraps until after the official unveiling. We'll be uploading pics and the designs in the next few days.
The workshops with people recruited from homeless projects in Oxford were important as they put the people who will be seeing this work on a regular basis at the heart of it (the artwork is in a Crisis skylight centre and arts centre). It was important that this commission gave opportunities to artists from the homeless community to develop their skills, but also that they could see their work in this important public space.

Each participant in the workshops can see a panel design which came from one of their artworks on the atrium wall of the Old Fire Station, so the final outcome relates directly to the workshops.


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