Shaving Foam and PVA Monster

I have always loved working with unconventional materials that are not the obvious choice when creating art. Shaving foam has been this years odd choice that I have loved experimenting with and creating amazing textures. I wanted to push this further and see what else shaving foam is capable of. Inspired by the dripping wall manipulation of Daniel Arsham, I found out that using the same medium of shaving foam and PVA glue, along with a few added extras, I could create a tactile gooey sculpture. I mixed together PVA glue, bicarbonate of soda, shaving foam and contact lens solution until the liquid turned into a gooey, stretchy solid.

I love that this gooey monster will always adapt to fit the shape of the bowl or whatever it is placed in, no matter how much it is stretched and manipulated. It has a liquid look but can be handled whole. I played about with hanging the monster off of tables to see how stable it would be.

I could easily imprint my hand into the sculpture so I decided to try out what else I could imprint. I tried the photo plate I used at the start of the semester to create my early blind embossings and imprinted this into the goo. The marks were subtly visible but after a few minutes the sculpture returned to its smooth finish.

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I am currently enjoying trying out new things and having fun with my medium and am unsure whether this monster will appear in my degree show, dripping from a plinth perhaps, but I will continue to find out the possibilities of shaving foam and pva and push these as far as I can.

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3D Printed Characters

Back in semester 1, which seems like a lifetime ago, I was stuck for what to make. I had been doing a lot of research but did not have much work to show for it. My tutor had told me just to make and the ideas would come, so I found myself in the DJCAD MakeLab. I had enjoyed 3D printing in the previous year so decided to give it another go seeing as they had just bought new, larger 3D printers. I printed my friend Kate’s head in real-size, placed it on my studio wall and dripped shaving foam down it. This work proved quite popular with passers-by and drew people in as much as the shaving foam covered wall itself did, it is also the logo for this website. The 3D print even helped me to become a finalist in the DJCAD artwork competition for the advertisement of the degree show.

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I could not ignore the popularity of this work, but I could develop it to see if it could be a possible contender for my degree show. As drawing people into my space is a big task for me I felt like these 3D prints might just do the trick. I decided to test out how successful the work would look on a foam covered wall rather than a plain one which proved quite popular as well.

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To develop this I 3D scanned the heads of the 3 girls that are in my fashion film and printed these. I hope these prints bring my film to life in my exhibition by immortalising the nostalgic yet futuristic characters and allowing them to fill my ’empty’ space just as they fill the urban void in my film.

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I plan on displaying these 3D prints in among my framed embossings showing the life that lies between the empty land. They will be displayed at the height of the characters and in the order that they first appear in the film.

Foam Canvas Development

While thinking about different ways to make my Park Seo-Bo inspired foam canvases I came across a handy tool, masking tape. Unlike the razor, masking tape allowed me to make clean, straight foam-less lines on the canvases which I believe to have a powerful aesthetic. I have also been mixing up the ratio of shaving foam to PVA glue to give different textures and effects once dry. The more glue, the lighter and fluffier the end result.  This process has allowed me to learn a lot about the application of the foam and how it dries and I will apply this knowledge when covering the walls of my degree show space.

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Inspired by Lucio Fontana, I also tried cutting the canvas and putting light behind it to see how effective this would look but I was not as fond of this technique.

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Getting back to the razor, I created canvases inspired by the white acrylic on my fashion film photographs (https://laurendailly12.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/a-fashion-photo-album/) complimenting the animated effect these strokes have, whether they be made with razor or brush.

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While deciding what to do with these canvases, I wanted to see how successful they would look on the gallery wall. I enjoy the canvases displayed together on the white wall much more than on a foam covered wall as this makes them stand out less. I also placed the canvas on a wall where the foam does not cover the area around the canvas.

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While scraping shaving foam off my studio wall, I found use for the fallen debris. I scraped shaving foam off one of my less successful canvases using the same tool that I use to apply the foam. I then reapplied this dried foam back onto the same canvas using the same pallet knife to add pva then sprinkling the foam back on. I love the amazing texture this creates and how I am using the same mediums, tools and techniques as I have previously been using but I am given a completely different result. This action relates to my theme of urban voids by removing what was on the canvas, just as the buildings and life were removed from the urban voids. I then fill the canvas again just as I hope to fill the empty land with the memories that my audience holds of them.

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I am not yet sure if these canvases will be displayed in my degree show space as I am still figuring out how my space will look, but I am learning a lot while creating them and enjoying the medium of shaving foam even more.

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I stumbled across the technique of having foam and PVA on Facebook while procrastinating from doing actual work, and I have never looked back since. I have found this texture to be really exciting to passers-by and always draws people into my studio space. The majority of viewers are completely unaware of what the medium is I have used, they just love how it makes the wall come alive. I hope this technique fascinates my audience just as much at degree show and pulls them into the void. My urban void. I have been playing about with the application of the foam, using pallet knifes (left below) and pushing metal plates onto the wall to create a suction effect (right below). It was also helpful to see how the foam would look on a larger scale as I hope to cover a full wall in foam for my degree show.

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As well as working directly onto the wall, I have been applying the shaving foam technique to canvases. Inspired by Park Seo-Bo, (see blog post https://laurendailly12.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/degree-show-plan/), I have been working with the application of the foam and also the removal of it. I applied lines with a ruler, scraped the foam away with a pallet knife and also used the same suction technique as on my studio wall to create texture.

I also tried using the tool that is associated with shaving foam, a razor. I scraped foam onto the canvas and removed foam already on the canvas to create new shapes and textures.

As my fashion film is based around the urban void at The Stack Leisure Park where a jute mill once stood, I decided to incorporate jute onto my canvases.I used similar techniques as on the studio wall to both add and remove shaving foam from the canvases and let the remaining of the jute hang loose. I enjoy the way the foam clings to the jute, just as I am clinging to the land at the stack and the history of this material.

I have played about with compositions and love how effective the canvases are when hung on the white studio wall, but I am unsure whether I will include these in my degree show display. I am currently concentrating on emptying my space to encourage the viewer to feel like they are in the urban void, so I have to be careful not to clutter the exhibition. I will continue to develop these canvases and take photographs of them and I will soon have to decide their fate.

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Film as a Piece of Art

With the degree show looming it was time to think about the best way to display my work. I imagine my degree show to consist of film, prints and wall based work. The wall based work is a little easier to display, however it is the film work that left me with a lot of decisions to make. I was introduced to an artist, Matthew Barney, by my tutor. Barney works primarily in film and displays his work on multiple screens in a unique way. I came across a book titled Matthew Barney : Mitologie Contemporanee that showed me some great examples of the artists work and his exhibitions.

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Left- Cremaster Cycle, 2002. Right- Drawing Restraint,  1987-2007.

The book made me think a lot about the message of my own film and the way that I wish my audience to interact with it. Once my film is finished I will display it on different monitors, both HD and 4×3 to see what works the best with the film. What I love about Barneys exhibitions is that he displays ‘props’ from his film in the gallery space to bring life to the 2 dimensional. This has inspired me to display work in my degree show that relates to my film and my concept of the urban void that led me to my finished work.

‘She Town’, my fashion film based on the urban voids of Dundee, crosses the border between memory and premonition, nostalgic and new- through setting, sound, costume and choreography. The setting is the true protagonist of the film, not the characters. The characters appear as objects to link past, present and future with no leading role. Sound provides a sensorial responsibility to fill the empty gallery space with the history of the bare land. Costumes made from the modern material that triggered the closure of the mills are cavorted in both a glum and fun fashion. A surreal world has been created that the spectator is not detached from due to the recognisable land and the memory’s that come with it. Many thanks to Dundee Heritage Trust for providing audio work.

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I borrowed a display table from the university to play around with and see if it would be successful in my degree show space. I placed Tyvek (the material that my costumes in my film are made from) a 3D print of one of my characters face covered in foam, and a canvas with foam on it inside the table. I laid these objects on top of a roll of jute, relating to the history of the setting of my film. I love how the colour of the jute contrasts with the white objects, which also matches the colour of my frames displaying my blind embossing,(see https://laurendailly12.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/blind-embossing-development-and-framing/).

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I returned to the site of my fashion film and collected the stones from the ground where I had spray painted the shape of the jute mill that once stood there. I placed these half white stones in the cabinet to see how these would look. I may need to spray them entirely white to make them blend in but I do enjoy the ombre effect they have. They also match with the new transfer technique I have been trying out in my fashion illustration sketchbook and on the material of my costumes. Pictured above on the left is Tyvek with an acrylic transfer of one of the photographs from my shoot. I am not yet sure if I will include any of these items in the display or if I will have a cabinet at all but I will wait until I receive my space to see what works best.

 

 

Degree Show Plan

It’s been a tough start to the week with the degree show proposal due on Wednesday. It felt like all of a sudden I need to know exactly what my degree show will be like, without any work completed. I went between wanting a dark room, then wanting a light room to display my work. It is all feeling very real right now. I initially showed my tutor my idea to create a room where the viewer is taken into the urban void. My plan was to have a dark room and project onto each wall the different viewpoints of the urban void at the Stack Lesuire Park, the site of my fashion film. The idea of creating an immersive room came from the discovering of Chris Engmans work. He creates rooms that take the outside indoors and makes the audience feel like they are in a completely different place.

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I thought about projecting onto a wall covered in foam and decided to take out a projector to see how successful this could be. I discovered that the foam took away a lot of the detail of the image so I decided against this idea.

Specifying a dark room could be really limiting to any future work I create from now until my degree show so I took time to think, write and find out what it is that I want to say. I looked through my sketchbooks from the very beginning to capture what I wanted from the start. The whole idea of the void came from my love of white work against the white walls of the gallery space and the emptiness it conveys. I decided to scrap the idea of taking my audience into the urban void and I will take them into the white void instead.

Going back to the roots of the project, I plan on creating a completely white space that seems empty on first entering. I will be drawing on the modern gallery’s set up of ‘the white cube’ (https://www.artsy.net/artsyeditorial3516) to create this empty world. The walls of the gallery space will be covered in shaving foam, a texture I have found that excites and entices anyone who comes into my studio. I hope this will draw my audience in to the space where they will watch my fashion film. The film will emit sounds from the jute mills, the history of the urban void that is the setting for the film. On another wall, my blind embossings of urban voids will be displayed in frames (blog post to come). These embossings seem like blank pieces of paper at first, but on closer inspection they show images of urban voids in Dundee. I hope these embossings will also draw my audience in and make them notice the land that they usually walk right past.

Inspired by Park Seo-Bo, I have been working on canvases with shaving foam and playing with patterns, levels and textures. Parks gallery spaces feel empty, but hold a lot of thoughts and skill in the canvases. I hope to create the same effect with my blind embossings. I believe that the shaving foam works best applied straight onto the wall rather than the canvases, but I am going to continue create different canvases to further develop my skills.

 

So for now this is where I am, a drawing of a possible room and possible artwork that may fill (or empty) that room. I will continue to develop consisting work and possibly create new work that may make an appearance in my degree show. Although the proposal has been handed in, it does not mean that changes cannot be made. May is still a while off so keep reading to find out what else I create.

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Foamin’ Up

“My paintings are the ashes of my art”– Yves Klein

As I mentioned in my previous post, I felt as if I was getting too bogged down in the meaning of my work and was forgetting to just make. I find it difficult to make without any meaning, but I often find that making can lead to knew meaning and development that I could never achieve from reading a book.

I had a great response from fellow students for my shaving foam meltings mentioned in my previous post so I decided to carry on playing with this medium. I started covering objects in foam to see if it sparked any ideas. I “foamed” a candle and a Smurf that I then put back into the original box. I also covered a canvas in foam and then accidentally dropped it behind my desk which scraped off half of it. I really loved the effect this happy accident created and I aim to work with more canvases and perhaps screen print on them, add foam and scrape it off letting the print show through underneath.

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I have always loved working in the print studio and was desperate to work down there again this semester, even if I wasn’t exactly sure what I would be printing. I decided to use a photograph that I had taken (shown on my previous blog post The Void) of a drain with a paper plate on top. I screen printed this image on both white paper and tracing paper in white ink, in keeping with the all-white-everything theme that is flowing through my work. I added foam on top of my prints to see how they would look if I used this image on a canvas. I enjoy the structure of the photograph against the wild foam. I also stuck the tracing paper print on top of the foam and I love how it makes it look like the print is melting.

I’ve also had fun working in the MakeLab at DJCAD as they have such exciting and new facilities. The 3D printer is a firm favourite of mine and I was delighted to be informed that they could now print up to the size of a human head (much to my friend Kates dismay). Kate was lovely enough to let me 3D scan her head (again!!) and stick the 3D print of her face on my wall. I then covered it in foam to make it look like the face was coming through the wall and making it look like it is melting.

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I look forward to continuing in the print studio and developing creating all white prints. I am excited for my tutorial next week to show where I am and hopefully gain more ideas on where to go next.

Colour is a Cosmetic

‘a denial of death, a fiction of life’, Roland Barthes

Contrary to what many may believe, art university is hard. Particularly the final year. It is not all painting sunsets and playing with paper maché, it is stressful and confidence-knocking. It may only be the beginning, but the final year seems to bring with it a sense of urgency to have an amazing idea right now so we have time to develop and create it. For me, this has not happened yet and it is frustrating. I have ideas, but nothing that I want to take forward yet. I just need to keep remembering that it is still the start and it is normal not to know what you are presenting in May, but that doesn’t mean that you feel any better. My lecturer keeps telling me to just make things, just keep making and the ideas will flow.  I guess I should follow that advice.

After reading David Batchelors ‘Chromaphobia’, who I recently found out was born in my home city of Dundee, I was inspired to look more into the meaning of colour and its relation to white. I loved the idea of colour being a cosmetic, something that covers a white surface to hide the truth that is underneath. As Barthe stated, colour denies death as it is painted onto the faces of those who have passed on. It is also not true to life as colour is used to paint over and make things prettier. These statements are also true for cosmetics. They produce illusions or deceptions, much like a drug.

Cosmetics are a drug of the skin.

So with this idea that colour=cosmetic=drug I have found myself again stuck. My lecturer tells me not to get too bogged down in the meaning and to focus on creating right now which is what I have done.

Playing about with the white walls of my studio, just as Daniel Arsham does with his amazing works, I used the colour white and the texture of shaving foam mixed with PVA glue to manipulate the walls.

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There may not be meaning yet, but there is making. I saw this technique on Facebook, it was advertised as an arts and crafts exercise for children but I feel like I could develop it into something more. Another idea I saw on Facebook was putting skittles into water and letting the colour drain from them. I decided to try this out on top of my foam creations to see if this sparked any ideas. This allowed me to continue working with unconventional materials and was also fun.

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Recently, Skittles removed the rainbow colour from their packets and sweets in London for the weekend while the LGBT parade took place. They wanted ‘only one rainbow to be centre of attention’ referencing the LGBT rainbow flag. So the monochrome Skittles linked back to my white project and how taking the colour away leaves the truth. And in this case, I thought the truth was more appealing than the rainbow.

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I also played with levels to see how this affected my mood towards the piece (low hanging pieces in a gallery are seen as underprivileged). I feel like the colour takes something away from the work, like a cosmetic pasted over something that is already beautiful, the colour is not needed.

So for now I will continue to make, create and hope for something to come of it. Sometimes I just need to take a step back from the research and just have fun in the workshops. Next stop, 3D printing! Stay tuned.