11 February 2017

My Art Journal || Migration

Towards the end of January, I took a leap of faith. I flapped my wings as fast as I could hoping I'd fly. I did. My previous art journal post was met with such positivity. I haven't drawn anything in a while...but I just might. 

After completing my previous art journal (find here), last year, I started this one. The theme for this journal is 'migration'.


There was more research done in the journal, than what I've shown here, but, this time around, I was not as inspired to do research as I had been in my previous journal. I preferred to experiment. That's the nature of an artistic process, I guess. I've never seen it as a ruler-like, unbent path, but rather a twisty-turny process with surprising bends in the road.

This is an experimentation that I did. If you look very (very carefully) it should look like bodies on a tumultuous sea. If you don't see that, then I give you full permission to create your own subject matter in this piece. My art teacher wasn't really impressed by this. Not at all.

I had A LOT of fun making the three experiments that follow below. I used oil pastel on paper, which was then painted over using black acrylic paint mixed with soap (to soften the black paint). I then went into the black with a wire, which revealed the colour. 

The negative white space was made using block out medium. It's a vile smelling white substance that uses friction to remove a rubber texture.

I really do appreciate and see the value in doing primary research to enhance a process- artistic or other. These images are of Johannesburg's CBD or 'down town' as the locals call it. These trains remain motionless on tracks that once bustled with eager travelers.

Some snaps of Johannesburg

I'm all about experimentation in my artistic process. This is a 'drawing' with ink and rope. 
Double page spread of a photograph of the trains

The photograph above led to the drawing below. I was really proud of this piece. I remember thinking 'wow, I may actually be able to say that I can draw'. I am enchanted by the contrast between the two achromatic non colours- black and white. I think that binary opposites- both in life and in art- make for striking compositions.

Once I was happy with my experimentation, it was time to hold my breath and go in for the 'big one'...or the daunting 'final'. At first, I faced a massive, untouched paper which became more touched as the days passed.

Talk about getting my hands dirty!

Ta-daahh! The final product! 
Media: back ink, block out medium, string and pencil on paper.
There's a natural distortion and stylization to the work. I'm still not sure about the negative space in the top right corner. I couldn't make up my mind; Should I fill it...or not? In the end, I decided to leave that part untouched.

Conceptually, the trains seem to 'ride off into the distance' but simultaneously get 'cut-off' by the border. This symbolizes how even life after migration isn't 'hunky dory'. There are still constraints. And, sometimes life is even harder.

I found the research stages for the artwork very interesting. I found photographs and three dimensional concepts that I absolutely fell in love with. Below, on the right page, is my initial ideation phase- conceptualizing an idea. I enjoyed playing around with blending markers and copic markers.

I am essentially the grandchild of immigrants. My grandparents left their native homeland, Greece, boarded ships that hauled across the Mediterranean Sea and landed in South Africa. Below is a photo-montage of my grandfather's migration to South Africa as well as more contemporary relics of migration- life jackets and cellphones. 

I used an old suitcase as the inspiration. I bought mesh or 'chicken-wire' as it's known here and layered each side of the mesh to add depth. I then made small hinges for the corner- reminiscent of older suitcases, like the one my grandfather up and left with on his way to a new country, thousands of kilometers away.

Remember that bendy, 'twisty-turney' process that I spoke about earlier? Here's more research that links with my thought process at this point.

I then printed the images that you saw earlier in the photo-montage on transparent paper. I then used wire and staples to connect the images to each other and to the suitcase.

Using 4 years worth of weekly sewing sessions, I put in a fully functional zip.

When I exhibited this work, I put a light inside the suitcase which shone the lights outwards. The deeper meaning behind this three-dimensional work is rather beautiful...but then again, I am biased.

A rationale is a 250 worded text explaining an artistic concept. Remember that beautiful deeper meaning I was talking about? You can read about it below:

Till next time-

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    The final piece of the trains is amazing! you're so talented. never stop creating art <3

    1. Faith!

      I'm glad to see I haven't disappointed since my last art journal!

      Thank you for the comment and taking the time to look at the post!

  2. This is so amazin I love all of this top to bottom, especially the subject matter and I'm so glad that you're finding so much inspiration and making so many beautiful things, it's really very motivating! Keep sharing these kinds of things, I love reading things like this :)

    1. Hey! Thanks for taking the time to go through all of the post.

      I did this journal at the end of last year. Inspiration in the art department seems to be scarce.

      I'm glad you enjoy this kind of content. Once again, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

  3. You're an amazing artist! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you so much!

      That means a lot.

  4. Thank you for sharing your journals, it inspires me a lot, I must be working on my final project (I'm studying arts, too!) but I have no clue of how to write it, I'm very bad writing my ideas, I rather expressing myself with the paintings!
    From your artwork, I really loved how you work using collages (I should make more!) and the idea you used for making the suitcase, the final artwork looks amazing!

    P.S. Answering your comment in my blog (I forget to do it!) Yes, I translate all the posts of my blog by myself, thank you for appreciating this, I like to do it because I the half of the readers of my blog are spanish, but the other half is foreigner, so I think the best I can do for satisfy them is to write in two languages ^^ but the best is that helps me to practise english, since I ended school, I don't study this language, and for me it's important to keep using it, so if you see a gramatical mistake on my texts, please, tell me!

    Sorry for the long talk!

    1. Hi Cilia,

      I'm so so glad that my journal could inspire another person.a good way to express your ideas well is to start. Usually, getting going is the hardest part. What is your favourite thing to paint?And with what media?

      The suitcase took a lot of twisting and bending but it was very rewarding in the end.

      Your English is great! Keep practising. Blogging is a great way to learn.

      I love reading long comments- thank you!

    Thank you for giving me the much needed inspiration to start one myself

    1. Rithvika!

      If you do decide to start a journal, I would definitely love to see it!

  6. This is wonderful! Keep up the great work!
    xx Brittany

    1. After the art that I've just seen on your blog...I am honoured. I'm enlivened in knowing that you like my art.

      Thank you, Brittany.

  7. Very neat to see your artistic process- so glad you left me a link! So cool!

    1. Thanks so much, Vivian! It's always lovely to compare styles and explore the differences in people's artistic processes.

      Thanks for leaving a comment!


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