Monday, 25 November 2013


Something I feel strongly about?

Societal inequality
  • Rich/poor
  • gay/straight
  • male/female
  • young/old

I do find it quite distracting to look through magazines and newspapers for images as I find articles I didn't read the first time round then loose the flow. I started just trying different ideas with the pictures I could find.

 I don't think the ones above are very exciting though I quite like this one (below)
 I tried editing it a bit with Paintshop
You can see from the  above that I'm far too attracted by figures. This could create a problem with the people involved ( if anyone reading this is offended please let me know and I will remove them) but also I think using objects as metaphors would be more effective.
 I guess there are two quite distinct ways of approaching this brief. One is to use available images and manipulate them to change their meaning, the other is to think of a meaning and find images to represent it. I tried the second approach with the pictures below. I was working on the difference in housing between rich and poor. I like this view of a tower block taken from Google streets by tilting the camera up.
 I think the biggest problem with this is that I love it as an image in its own right so I don't want to add much, maybe a super yacht?

Trouble is you can't tell whether its a crappy block of flats or a luxury development

So I tried to create contrasts at street level
I've not really got into my stride with this project yet, I need a better idea to run with.

I tried to do some research and got distracted and excited by Varoom and Reportager especially Jamie Bradford, David Sparshott, Olivier Kugler, Julia Midgeley & Anne Howeson all of whom are completely unrelated to my current task....
There is this image  by Grete Stern which says much more than I have managed
I think to make an impression you need to be quirky and a bit humorous, think Banksie. There are some great ideas here I particularly like "Broken Missile" by Peter Kennard, and John Heartfield's image of a body draped on a swastika.

I searched Inequality and found in  a Guardian Editorial from 2008 the phrase "Gambling with other peoples money" which lead to;

I prefer the one on the left but neither has much punch.

My preferred image is this

The change was quite simple, the reclining figure was advertising a sofa, she is riding on a man transporting some sort of clay. He was already burdened but she adds to that.

I have struggled with this task I'm short of punchy sharp ideas, maybe I've chosen too wide a subject to work with and should have focused on something more specific. It has asked me to work in a completely different way to what I am used to.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Abstract Cities

I started with my personal reactions to the cities and looked at their flags for inspiration I've also noted my "gut feeling" colours

Madrid: Grand buildings paella colourful dance reds, yellows

Malmo: Clean bright, water, bridge, twisted tower white, wood, sky blue

Managua: Palm trees, modern/colonial, Volcano Momotombo green, blue, stone

Manchester: rain, redbrick, football grey, red green

Manhattan: money, skyscrapers, river blues, greys

Marrakech: Market colourful souk tiles white blue

Marseilles: Sophisticated blues, black, yellow

Melbourne: Sun, grass, sky, green, yellow, blue

Montreal: Snow, red/white flag, grey buildings

Mumbai: hot, slumdog millionaire, water, red, green, purple, blue

Is a guidebook attractive if it reflects back prejudices to the potential buyer?

Luxe City Guides are doing a similar thing Desirable and collectible

Also have some great designs which look like they're based on street maps
Shame, I had a similar idea in my early sketches
I wanted the covers to have a consistent theme

I tried a variety of typefaces and settled on times New Roman which has the sort of M I'm looking for and works with all the city names

I used Paint shop pro to create the following designs

Of which Manhattan is my favourite and Melbourne the one I like least. I felt that the addition of a complementary colour made both colours duller where I had expected this to make the design "sing"
I don't think I've made this project work somehow. I think I'm not good at abstracts and although I've tried, this is too literal an interpretation.

My tutor suggested that the skylines could represent the actual cities which I like but had previously thought wouldn't be abstract enough. Whilst researching I found this lovely watercolour by Simone Ridyard.

I Googled the cities to look for representative architecture which wasn't just the most famous buildings and made some sketches '

For colour schemes I looked again at the national colours which worked for some countries but didn't really give the right feel for somewhere as exotic as India whose national colours are orange and green. In my first attempt I was using the colour combinations to differentiate the guides but having different skylines freed me up to use more similar colours if the character of the city called for it.
Madrid was a combination of the red and yellow of the flag and orange to represent the heat and the sun.
Malmo used the blue and yellow of the Swedish flag which seemed to me to represent the cool sophistication of the country
Nicaragua's flag is blue and white but the country seems rural so I used the greens to reflect this and the skyscrapers to make a contrast. I think I may have used too many skyscrapers here?
Manchester had to be primarily red because of the football team, I used the yellow and green for contrast. I got a bit more literal here with the wheel.
 Manhattan is blues and greys and brown for stripped wooden floors. Cool and sophisticated, I like the top image best but the bottom one is probably more representative.

Marrakech is golden yellow for the heat the sun and the buildings, and blue for the beautiful tiles.
I'm back with blue for the water and the sky and creamy sand for the buildings but the shapes of the rooftops are quite distinctive.

Melbourne is hot and sunny but looked quite green in the photos I saw. I'm not as sure of this colour scheme.
 I found Montreal difficult. The red and white of the flag wasn't eyecatching enough (apologies to my Canadian friends) I experimented with a symbol in the picture but it doesn't work
 I dropped the red line and tried yellow which I quite like but I'm not sure its very Canadian so I went back to red and white and added green since it looks such a green country
It's a bit dull compared to the others.
Finally Mumbai. Pictures I Googled had a lot of blues and dark pinky reds. I like the shapes of the temple roofs but I wonder if Mumbai would prefer to be seen more as a modern city with skyscrapers and shops?

On a similar theme I've just found artist Yoni Alter who does coloured paper cut shapes of cities. It's not related to this project but I particularly liked his running dalmation too