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 LO6 - EVALUATION AND REFLECTION

revised project proposal
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Throughout the development of my final major project and website it felt neccesary to re-write my project proposal so it was more fitting to my work. I wanted to keep my initial project proposal in my documented work as I think it is appropriate as it not only shows my development of my concept but also my journey throughout my written work and also this diploma. 

project concept

review 

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evaluation 

Throughout this diploma project, I embarked on a journey of self-discovery, pushing myself physically and mentally in the most rewarding ways possible. The evolution of my artistic creations has been remarkable, surpassing anything I could have ever imagined. Over the past year, my art has grown from something modest and unassuming to a grand, brave, and intellectually stimulating body of work that I hope will provoke thought and contemplation. Reflecting on this transformative process, I realise that every challenge I encountered along the way was undeniably worth it.

 

As I embarked on this project, I sought guidance from tutors and immersed myself in the concept of "Fin De Siècle," realising that it provided the perfect backdrop to explore contemporary frustrations, confusion, and societal turbulence. Numerous themes emerged, including Brexit, the Post-Pandemic world, the Cost-of-living crisis, ongoing wars, the Ukraine conflict, and the rise of Artificial Intelligence. The topic of AI prompted me to ponder humanity's struggle with diminishing job opportunities and our diminishing ability to connect on a deeper level due to the prevalent influence of social media. The increased number of self-scanning machines in supermarkets and the ability to conduct banking without leaving our homes served as extreme examples of this new social world we are living in. 

As I approach the conclusion of this project, I am filled with a whirlwind of emotions and experiences. I have encountered uncertainty, creative blocks, illness, and the constant struggle to achieve my artistic ambitions with the constraints of time and resources. I reflect on the hurdles I overcame, the moments of creative doldrums, and the exhilaration of breakthroughs and moments of inspiration. Contemplating the finished artwork, I feel an immense sense of achievement and fulfilment, knowing that every squiggle, print, and aspect of my portfolio was infused with my passion and dedication.

 

As the final pieces of my installation came together, an epiphany washed over me, and the title "The Power of Three" emerged. This realisation solidified my identity as an artist, instilling a profound sense of accomplishment and pride in my work. With each stroke of creativity, I continue to evolve into what I can now confidently call a 'proper' artist, driven by the fusion of my skills, passion, and unique vision.

weeks 1 to 3

From February 20th to March 6th, I encountered difficulties in narrowing down a specific concept for my project. I aimed to create a final piece that not only shared my personal experiences but also resonated with a diverse audience. To kick-start the process, I dedicated the initial weeks to gathering primary research from my peers. Additionally, I extended my research by posing the same questions to my family, friends, and neighbours, to gather a wider range of perspectives.

During moments of artistic blockage and uncertainty, I found great assistance in employing mind maps and word clouds to stimulate my thinking. These visual tools proved invaluable in overcoming creative obstacles and assisting me in making a definitive choice regarding my concept.

As I sought advice from tutors and delved into the meaning of "Fin De Siècle," it became apparent that the project should centre around contemporary frustrations, confusion, and turbulence. Various potential themes emerged, including Brexit, the Post Pandemic world, the Cost of living crisis, ongoing wars, the Ukraine conflict, and the development of AI. The topic of AI, in particular, led me to contemplate humanity's struggle with disappearing jobs and our diminishing capacity for physical connection due to the extensive influence of social media. The increasing reliance on self-scanning machines at supermarkets and the ability to perform tasks like banking without leaving our homes served as extreme examples of this trend.

During a conversation with Pav about the societal changes between now and a century ago, specifically concerning human interactions, I began to explore the notion of judgments. Refining the concept of judgment and seeking inspiration from contextual artists, my thoughts shifted towards subconscious judgments and biases. It was at this point that I realised my chosen topic would be subconscious biases, as it was something I could draw upon from my own life experiences. I believe it possesses the strength to establish a meaningful connection and dialogue between myself and the audience.

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weeks 4 to 6
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After finalising my decision to focus on Subconscious Biases, I delved into researching artists who had explored similar themes. In addition, I gathered more primary research and conducted my own experiments to test our course leader's subconscious judgments and biases towards our class and other tutors. One experiment I conducted was inspired by Gillian Wearing's artwork titled "Signs that say what you want them to Say and Not Signs that say what someone else wants you to Say (1992-1993)." I recreated this piece and asked Pav to match people's answers to a specific question. Filming Pav's assumptions added a fascinating element to the experiment and deepened my connection with the chosen concept.

 

While studying artists who had addressed disabilities, political statements, feminism, and racism, I learned valuable lessons about conveying messages within the artwork that may not explicitly explain everything to the audience. Although their works weren't directly focused on my concept, the research I conducted into these artists enriched my understanding of storytelling and messaging.

Importantly, I drew inspiration from disabled writers, designers, and comedians. Rosie Jones, in particular, resonated with me due to her comedy, which reflects my own coping mechanisms in life. Humour has become my survival strategy, and Rosie Jones' ability to navigate between comfort and discomfort while fighting for fairness and equality greatly inspires me. Through her comedy, she strives to educate her audience about the experiences of inclusivity.

During my artistic research and concept development, a tutor introduced me to the Harvard Implicit Test. Intrigued, I decided to take the test myself and became instantly engaged with its mysterious nature. I expanded my primary research by inviting some of my peers to take the test while ensuring anonymity for their answers. This stage of the project led me to shift from designing a physical test for the audience to a more stripped-back exploration of subconscious biases and the triggers that activate them.

weeks 7 to 9

As I reached the midpoint of my project, a sense of worry crept in. It had taken me quite some time to settle on a concept, and I still had no clear idea for my installation or what I wanted to create. Seeking guidance from my tutors, I was advised to delve into experimenting with AI faces. This novel process fascinated me, and I utilised MidJourney to explore the presence of subconscious biases ingrained in artificial intelligence. While this exploration proved interesting, I struggled to find a compelling direction to use this to pursue my final piece.

Intrigued by the interaction between colours and biases, I dedicated significant time to studying colour theory. To ensure relatability in my installation, I sought input from my peers and friends, asking them about their personal understanding of colours and the emotions they evoked. This exploration led me to consider incorporating a Tinder-like interactive element within the exhibition using AI-generated faces, accompanied by my own interpretation of a Rothko-inspired colour palette. However, upon reflection, I felt that something was missing from this approach, despite its initial interest and potential engagement for the audience.

During this period of reflection, it is important to acknowledge that while I felt overwhelmed by the demands of my own Final Major Project (FMP), I also embarked on developing this year's Art Foundry Magazine. Curating the magazine alongside my FMP presented a significant challenge, as I had limited knowledge of editing or curating such publications. Furthermore, there was an expectation for this year's magazine to embody a sense of radicalism. To better understand the concept of a radical magazine, I conducted research and found inspiration in Ray Gun magazines. As well as editing and curating, we also had to compile various entries, including photographs, interviews, social media profiles, and doodles to personalise individuals' pages throughout the magazine.

Looking back, I realise that taking on the task of producing the Art Foundry magazine and simultaneously working on my own FMP was a bold, perhaps even stupidly daring decision. Given the deadlines associated with Art Foundry, I had to temporarily halt progress on my FMP for three weeks and work tirelessly beyond regular college hours. 

Despite the challenges I faced, the effort has paid off. I made sacrifices for both Art Foundry and my FMP, but I am ultimately content and proud of the outcomes achieved in both endeavours.

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weeks 10 to 13
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As I approached the end of this project, it felt like a whirlwind of emotions and experiences. Despite having planned out my initial tasks on my action plan, I quickly realised that art cannot be constrained by rigid planning. I encountered uncertainty, creative blocks, illness, and the constant battle between my artistic ambitions and the limitations of time and resources. Furthermore, I had the additional challenge of being ill with COVID for 2 weeks and needing to go to the hospital for anti-viral treatment. Looking back, these past 13 weeks have been a rollercoaster ride, but maybe that was expected.

Fortunately, as the deadline approached and the magazine was sent off for printing, I found some respite. Although I couldn't devote as much time to practical work, the process of curating Art Foundry provided me with ample space for reflection and contemplation. Once the magazine was completed and sent off, I finally felt a sense of clarity regarding my own project. I was fortunate to receive assistance from Sally, our 2D technician, who generously offered her guidance and support to help me and the other Art Foundry editor get back on track with our final major projects.

During this diploma project, I pushed myself both physically and mentally in the best possible ways. I have created and designed incredible pieces that I could never have envisioned before. Over the course of the past year, my art has transformed from something small and delicate, almost unassuming, to something big, bold, clever, and hopefully thought-provoking. Reflecting on this transformation, I realise that all the challenges I have faced have been worth it.

Undoubtedly, these last few weeks have been filled with stress and exhaustion. I have worked long days, sacrificed my free time, and dedicated myself to perfecting my portrait, and canvas and developing my website. However, as the project nears its conclusion, I get a wave of reflection. It's a moment of self-analysis where I have contemplated the journey I have undertaken from the initial spark of an idea to the completion of my final piece. I recall the hurdles I overcame, the moments of creative blockage, and the exhilaration of breakthroughs and lightbulb moments. I've contemplated the decisions I made, the techniques I've explored, and the valuable lessons I've learnt. Looking at the finished artwork, I feel a profound sense of achievement and fulfilment, knowing that I poured my heart and soul into every squiggle, every print, and every aspect of my website.

final evaluation

bibliography

- Artist spotlight: Dadu Shin (1970) BOOOOOOOM! Available at: https://www.booooooom.com/2023/03/15/artist-spotlight-dadu-shin/ (Accessed: February 23, 2023).

- A quote by banksy (no date) Goodreads. Goodreads. Available at: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/998442-i-don-t-know-why-people-are-so-keen-to-put (Accessed: February 22, 2023).  

-Cohen, A. (2019) Mark Rothko’s Color Field Abstractions unlock universal emotions, Artsy. Available at: https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-mark-rothko-unlocked-emotional-power-color (Accessed: 13 March 2023).

- Cole, M. (2021) Hypnotic "abstract" paintings reveal realistic faces when you take a step back, My Modern Met. Available at: https://mymodernmet.com/lee-wagstaff-ai-generated-faces-portraits/ (Accessed: April 4, 2023).

- Gillian Wearing (2023) Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gillian_Wearing (Accessed: February 8, 2023).

- Michael McIntyre at The Comedy Store (2008) (2020) YouTube. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6zvim5iZBGQ (Accessed: February 1, 2019).

- Project implicit (no date) Project Implicit. Available at: https://www.projectimplicit.net/ (Accessed: March 8, 2023).

- Rosie Jones addresses the Disabled Elephant in the room | live at the Apollo - BBC (2020) YouTube. YouTube. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53nRcfosYR0 (Accessed: March 22, 2023).

- Rosie Jones: 'people feel awkward about disability so I always have jokes in my back pocket' (2018) The Guardian. - Guardian News and Media. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2018/aug/17/rosie-jones-awkward-disability-jokes-edinburgh (Accessed: February 24, 2023).  

- The Pygmalion effect (no date) The Decision Lab. Available at: https://thedecisionlab.com/biases/the-pygmalion-effect (Accessed: 15 March 2023).

- Titus Kaphar (no date) BOMB Magazine. Available at: https://www.bombmagazine.org/articles/titus-kaphar/ (Accessed: March 14, 2023).

At the onset of our Final Major Projects, I grappled with the challenge of selecting a concept that truly resonated with my artistic vision and goals. The abundance of possibilities presented by the concept of Fin De Siècle highlighted the importance of seeking advice and exploring a multitude of potential options. Engaging in extensive research, I delved into various subjects and experimented with diverse ideas. This exploration process proved invaluable, granting me valuable insights and bringing me closer to the concept of subconscious biases.

 

Drawing inspiration from the works of artists such as Lee Wagstaff (Cole, 2021), Mark Rothko (Cohen, 2019), and Michael McIntyre (McIntyre, 2020), and the Harvard Implicit test, I crafted an installation piece that aimed to shed light on the concept of our subconscious biases. Moreover, I delved into the life and work of Rosie Jones (Jones, 2018), a well-known comedian with Cerebral Palsy. Rosie's ability to overcome her disability and thrive in her career empowers me, reinforcing the passion behind my project, which explores the interplay between our subconscious and conscious states of mind. It is a reflection of my personal experiences and a testament to the potential of art as a medium for empowerment and understanding.

 

Refining the concept of judgment and seeking inspiration from contextual artists, my focus shifted towards the exploration of subconscious judgments and biases. It became clear that this would be the core theme of my project, as it drew from my own life experiences and possessed the potential to establish a meaningful connection and dialogue with the audience. Inspired by Gillian Wearing's (Wearing, 2023) "Signs that say what you want them to Say and not signs that Say what someone else wants you to Say (1992-1993)," I conducted experimental primary research to gauge our course leader's subconscious expectations regarding the answers provided by myself and my peers.

 

Studying artists who tackled disabilities, political statements, feminism, and racism, I gained valuable insights into conveying messages within the artwork that may not explicitly explain everything to the audience. Even though some of these artists' works did not directly align with my concept, their influence enriched my understanding of storytelling and effective messaging.

 

In my exploration of subconscious biases and hidden disabilities, I delved into the sunflower lanyard scheme that gained significant popularity and recognition during the COVID-19 pandemic. This symbol, used during the reopening of the country, not only helped ease my anxieties about re-entering society but also served as a means to communicate the reasons behind any differences in my behaviour or pace. I appreciated the fact that the lanyard did not evoke pity or the need for assistance but rather encouraged understanding and empathy. It disrupted people's subconscious biases or judgments towards individuals with hidden disabilities and challenged the Pygmalion Effect (The Pygmalion effect, no date), which manifests as individuals fulfilling the expectations placed upon them.

 

Subconscious bias refers to the automatic and unintentional attitudes or beliefs that individuals hold towards certain groups of people, often based on stereotypes. These biases can result in discriminatory behaviour, even when individuals do not consciously intend to discriminate. Such biases can be particularly harmful in the workplace, leading to unfair hiring practices, wage disparities, and limited opportunities for certain groups. Additionally, they can influence decision-making in areas such as education, healthcare, and law.

 

Addressing subconscious bias requires individuals to acknowledge their own biases and actively work towards challenging them. This involves seeking diverse perspectives, questioning assumptions, and being open to feedback from those who may have been impacted by biased behaviour. It is important to recognise that nobody is completely free of biases, as they often stem from personal experiences. Nevertheless, by committing to creating a more equitable society and ensuring equal access to opportunities and resources, we can strive to eliminate the negative impact of subconscious biases.

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As all the elements merged and harmonised within my installation as I'd hoped they would, I couldn't help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride; it exuded an enticing aura. I hope it is compelling to the viewers to ponder its intricacies, hinting at the profound depths of our human minds, while playfully teasing with a touch of cheekiness and kindness. 
Even if the audience fails to grasp its significance in the moment, I hope that it will linger in their minds, subconsciously urging them to unravel and scrutinise what its true meaning might be.

In the culmination of these three vital components, an epiphany washed over me, the title of my final major project piece: "The Power of Three." There is the colour and sense element, the audible breathing element and the triggering of the audience's minds. This realisation further solidified my identity as an artist, filling me with a sense of accomplishment for my work. With each stroke of creativity, I am slowly but surely transforming into what I can now proudly consider a 'proper' artist, driven by the amalgamation of my skills, passion, and vision.

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