Process Journal

WEEK 1

Everything seems completely different in Grade 10, it’s like a sudden transformation from a child to an adult. Whenever a teacher that taught you walks by, they would just be like: “wow, Michelle, you’re Grade 10 already”. It looks like I have done an amazing job as a student, I guess I should probably be proud of myself. Apart from that, the MYP system has changed dramatically as well, like the criteria, the terminologies, and most importantly we are going to develop our dw digitally. At first I thought that was just a brief idea, and I personally think the majority of art teachers would prefer using the conventional way. Well, but Mr. Mike is such a risk-taker, that would try things differently. I couldn’t really accept it in the first place as this is something extremely new to us, but I guess this is actually a better way to express our creativity more effectively as you’d have to spend hours just to complete a mood board. So now dw’s are not really necessary in Visual Arts anymore, but this blog we’re making is like the woods for the bridge to our moderation year and Grade 11. I believe I achieve my goals even better this time!

What have we learnt today?

In conjunction to creativity, this is basically what I’ve learnt in today’s lesson. Creativity generally means not being mainstream / hipster, communicate and unleash emotion and mood through an unique way, etc. But creativity can be performed in several ways, such as writing, drawing, inventing, and more. Nonetheless, today we are emphasizing on visual / non-verbal communication. According to Mr. Mike, we spend mostly 3 quarters of our communication non-verbally, meaning we merely communicate through actions or body language. Just like the Mr. Bean movie, it’s such a popular comedy mainly because of the main actor’s action and expression. According to a video about visual communication that we have watched earlier, it is to be comprehend through listening, visualizing ideas, sharing, connecting, build team working, releases creativity and more. Speaking of creativity, this should be one of the most creative ways to communicate in a different way. These are the following videos we have watched today:

Our brain can never generate information without us experiencing ourselves, it’s like a phone will never turn on itself without being charged. So what we have experienced actually affects the way we think, and this is defined as the word perspective. Perspective allows us to playback what our brain knows, or even thinks, like why do we say an apple is red in colour instead of blue or green. Moreover, even when sequence is messed up, our brain is such a smart thing to know that “ovle” is actually “love”. However, our brain is not as smart as we think. Our brain loves accepting things, and that shows the weakness of our brain, which is why human often makes the wrong decision. The reason why we are so fond of some things or afraid of somethings if because our perspective gives a sign of how we should react to them. This also leads to knowing the information about the function of our left brain and right brain in distinct to provide a different message to our body, like left brain generates more information about knowledge while the right brain tells us how to express our mood and emotion to people that let your creativity flies freely to the world.

Also, this time we are also taking our blog as our process journal, while the one I’m writing now is a process journal for the lessons and also my blog, and the blog posts will be my research and analysing works. Well, I think doing this is probably more effective because it allows us to express our creativity however you want, though the fact in the beginning I thought it wasn’t a good idea for an art class. Since there should always be an introduction blog post, I think I should post something about perspective, and I’m choosing happiness as the main point. Meanwhile for analysing artist’s work I feel like choosing something that is contemporary and irony to the society, while it should be meaningful to the society. Of course, perspective is going to be my main theme!

These are basically what I’ve learnt today and I really love this topic because it gives me an understand about my emotional and mental state through visual / non-verbal communication. I hope to see more next week while getting introduced to our unit title, and also new perspectives to be added into this blog!

WEEK 2

In last lesson, we have focused on the effect of visual communication / non-verbal communication. But today, we are focusing on contemporary art by looking text as an art form.

As the word “contemporary” could be extracted in the name, it means art created by modern living people today. In spite of that, the artists in this range largely react to the global environment, like our science and technology, the society, etc. Their works are mostly based on their comments and opinions on our generation nowadays. In fact, in Contemporary Art, aesthetic is no longer important to an art work, but it’s the visual communication implied in the art work that really matters.

Text may be taken literally in language, however; text could actually express a message, mood and emotion of the artist in Contemporary Art. Text is largely used by them to emphasise virtual message, tone, mood and emotion to the viewers.

As discussed in class today, visual art is expressed through text by using media and processes drive creativity and negotiations with audiences. Look at the cinema’s ad poster everywhere, they often use words to “portray” the images in the poster. A very good example of how texts can affect our perception and attract us to watch the movie is the movie ‘Oblivion’ by Tom Cruise. It’s not only the main actor that attracts audience, but also the word “oblivion” that makes the audience curious about a man walking on a titled bridge. Without the title, the movie does not look interesting at all.

Language existed ages ago was created based on the observation on the environment. For instance, Chinese language was first created by observing how things look like.

These are called Oracles (甲骨文) and I believe every human could understand the meaning of the words even without understanding the current language. These shows how the visual communication is so powerful to connect with our perception, to create the language we are all communicating in another form of communication. By understanding this, I shall be able to understand why visual communication can help to develop human perception.

As a relation to the main topic we are learning, Contemporary art is also a kind of visual communication where you understand things through language and words. Rather than saying contemporary, what we are really studying today is called the Conceptual Art. They have the same elements but Conceptual Art is like part of Contemporary Art. In 1967, Sol LeWitt, a Conceptual artist, once gave an art name in his essay “Paragraphs on Conceptual Art”, and he wrote  “The idea itself, even if it is not made visual, is as much of a work of art as any finished product.” He said this because in a Conceptual Art or Contemporary art, aesthetic is not very important and influential anymore. But the text that has the ability to communicate with the viewers and persuade them to change their perspective. By the following will be the art works Mr. Mike has shown us today about Conceptual Art:

These are what a Conceptual artwork looks like, they are typically inspired by photographs, music scores, architectural drawings and performance art that have a equal footing with painting and sculpture. (Moma Learning)

Other than learning factual knowledge, we are also focusing into the conceptual knowledge on Conceptual Art. Analysing the works would be one of the ways to find out the conceptual knowledge in this art form.

In order to understand an art work, I know I have to first find out the Visual Elements. However, in Conceptual Art, you don’t really focus on that first, because it’s the words that have made up mostly in an artwork.

First of all, the first three artworks created by Jenny Holzer are derived from photographs. Despite that, in all these three pieces of art, perhaps it’s only possible to figure out the meaning through the texts she has put into. Indeed, by observing the surroundings can also help to contribute clues to what the texts might mean. So, I would say in ‘Fluorence’ Holzer put “you are my own” means the city in the background belongs to her, meanwhile some other would say the entire work is in black and white because Holzer wants the viewers to focus on a feeling where there’s a looming darkness involving in the text. Linking back to what Conceptual Art really is, the amount of work is as equal as any finished product. So this gives me a clue that the three art works Holzer has done are in fact meant to be connected together as a journal or a book, in addition that they also have the same theme colour that expresses darkness. Perhaps it relates to a war, The French Revolution as texts have mainly given the clue that they relate to war, world, and ourselves and the theme colour that gives us a better perspective. Also, there’s another point I haven’t realised today during class, it’s the style of the text, I can see that every single texts in the photographs are actually capitalised, which might mean she’s emphasising everything is important in the texts.

While moving on to the another Conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth, those two artworks are rather pretty plain and simple. They are made by texts in majority and some numbers in the clocks he put in the second picture. The texts are so small that we can’t even see it from a normal view, it’s rather blurry even you zoom 500% into the image. However, for people like Mr. Mike whose British but is living in Malaysia, he would think in the second picture it means the two clocks represent different time as the title is ‘Clocks (One and Five)’, which might mean different time in the world. But I might think differently that maybe Kosuth wants to emphasise the importance of time by putting two clocks. For the first picture, it would be easier for viewers to understand if the texts in the artwork is clear. That’s why texts in a Conceptual artwork is very important because they’d give you a clearer perspective on where to focus on, which is why I would not understand what “25 plates” really mean in the artwork as I don’t see any plates in the book but the blurred out texts on the book.

Lastly, my favourite thing today in art class because this Conceptual artist has “provoked” me in such a mental way, and it is done through texts as art. She is Tracey Emin and most of her popular pieces only have words in them, and this is definitely why these could become so popular. Through the guidance of Mr. Mike, I can finally understand the style of writing is actually the expression of mood and emotion from the artist. In ‘I Can’t Believe How Much You Loved Me’, it’s very obvious that the texts are all rapidly joined and they tend to overlap each other. Emin must have been quite mad and angry when she wrote this piece, and she even underlined “You Loved Me” to expressed how upset she has been when doing it. In resemblance to ‘Never Again!’, she also expressed her emotion by putting an exclamation mark at the end to show the desire to never do something ever again. Also, I realised in both of the works, the last letter is capitalised. In my perspective, I believe it means she has been very serious when she does the works.

And for the very last, ‘Everyone I Have Ever Slept With’ should be labelled as provokative in art and also the society. This artwork has made all of us today a little bit emotional with the title, and almost everybody owns the perspective that this artwork is about a sexual thing Emin has got. But at the end we realised it’s our perspective that has a very serious problem, and it has something to do with the ‘Popular Culture’ where we think “sleeping” means having a sexual thing. So, this is the favourite thing I’ve learnt today and I really like how Emin is being such a provokative artist trying to mock at our perspective with only a word, and the virtual artwork in that image is just another tool to trick our brain into thinking in a dirty way.

It’s quite a meaningful lesson today and I really like how these little texts are so important that could influence my perspective in such a way. Art is being labelled as provokative when everyone actually misunderstands the meaning of an artwork, just like what has happened earlier. Artist like Emin is very brave to stand up and tell us that we’re all having the wrong perspective while she’s the correct one, and this is what provokative meant as what I’ve understood at the end of the lesson.

This shall be the end of my process journal today and I hope next lesson would be even interesting and meaningful than this lesson we’ve got!

For the progress of my blog, I think I’m on my track and I’m only to keep training my analysing skills so one day I could read through artist’s mind easily! 🙂 I will upload another analysing work next week and I hope I could find an interesting one.

WEEK 3 & 4 (as learning the same concept)

Last week we learnt about how we could perceive visual communication through texts and how they can change our perspective. Today, we have learnt a theory that is totally visual and artistic which completely relates to our unit title – Gestalt Theory.

I have learnt that our brain always perceives things that is seen foremost from our eyes, especially things that is bright and interesting. Taking the image above as an example, it should also be the very first thing to be seen from this post (excluding the title) no matter who’s eyes it could be. This is what we call perception, because our brain is always the one receiving different kind of information from a difference experience, and this makes it one of the notion of what we are covering today in overall.

Gestalt Theory is a psychology study of how human perception works to understand complicated yet unfamiliar things we see. Gestalt is considered as an art theory simply because it means “form” and shape” in English. As a more detailed understanding, Gestalt’s originated meaning from German means “essence shape of an entity’s complete form” (Kaizen Marketing), which can also be simply defined as “a complete shape or figure, which has structure and meaning” (The 9th Way of View). They basically mean our brain is very capable of making things easier to understand, but the key is instead of focusing on the entities or the little details but our brain is more often focusing on the relationship, the pattern and the entire image. The incomplete smiley face above is understood by us because our perception and awareness have this ability to visualise the complete picture of what it could be, because we know what a smiley face looks like, which is why we can perceive that as a coherent idea.

This image is made out of many tiny and large triangles which turns into a composition of a figure, and very quickly our perception could tell us it’s the Statue of Liberty. As our brain has the cognition of how the virtual statue looks like, when we experience another composition that is comparably the same, our perception can tell us that the large image of all those small entities is the statue. However, it’s not really because why our brain is such a big memory card, in fact, the main reason why we could perceive it as a statue is because we are looking the shapes and forms as a whole. We can never find out what it is if we tried figuring from the parts, this is  the self-awareness human has got that is giving the ability to simplify sophistication. In fact, this is what Gestalt Theory all about, it’s all about understanding human perception, and the way we think when we see an object.

This piece of image is the evidence of how our brain would tend to perceive things in a very simple way. I believe majority would definitely see this as an “x” shape even though the fact that the real elements in this image are two lines. This is mainly because our brain always helps us to simplify our understanding on what we see. This is another very interesting principle of Gestalt in art.

There’s one thing that really confused about me during the class, why wouldn’t we see some shapes in a whole while for some others we would focus them in a whole? Then I found out there are actually different principles of Gestalt Theory, which is really fascinating!

There are a variety of principles and law in Gestalt Theory, but what I have learnt today so far are Figure-ground, Proximity, Similarity, Closure, Simplicity and Continuation. These theories are not just important for us to understand our perception, it’s also very important for the artists and designers to express message indirectly.

The first thing I want to talk about of what I’ve learnt today is the law of Figure and Ground because in my personal opinion it’s the most complicated yet extraordinary principle in Gestalt Theory, and these art works are extremely successful because they make my mind hurts so much and I have to stare at least 20 seconds in average of every image above.  The images are usually perceived when you see an object as a figure and a surface as the ground, most of them look like two different images out of an image. This law also makes me understand that colour can influence our perspection by using a eye-catching colour, mostly colours that is highly contrasted. I realised every single picture above is in black and white, I believe this is how the designers trick our mind because we always see the colour black first as our screen is made mostly out of white.

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As I analyse this principle, I have found out the law of Figure and Ground is actually the key concept of Gestalt Theory. In all the images above, it’s very hard to decide which is the actual figure and ground, and this makes some kind of motion in the images, but it’s actually our brain that has the delusion of motion. According to the 9th way of view’s blog site, Gestalt theory is a study of behaviour using science founded the phenomena of apparent motion. Apparent motion is the perception of motion even though there’s no actual movement. (The 9th Way of View) So, by observeing the first three images, our self-awareness has helped us to recognised shapes in those images. Even though the animals and faces aren’t really the main object in those images, but our insight changes our perception by considering them as another different object, and those faces might not really exist at all, because it’s our Gestalt psychology that makes us look at them as a whole rather than just looking a particular feature. So how our perception works and the reality is actually related directly to what Gestalt Principles really are, this should get me a kick start to what they might be like already!

 

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Another very important principle that explains a huge role of Gestalt Theory is the Law of Simplicity, the central law of Gestalt Principles.  All objects seen are often simplified into as simple as possible. This is how Gestalt can explain why sometimes we could understand complicated objects and figures through out perception, even when a number of shapes are messed up.

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These are called the law of proximity, where our perception would simply sense elements in groups that are placed close to each other. For example, the first image technically have 4 groups of dots because each group’s dots are close to each other as if becoming a whole. However, for the second image, there’s no proper groups because the dots on the left hand side acts an an individual as they are not placed closely. On the other hand, the dots on the right hand side would be perceived as a group because they are all close to each other. Real life examples include the Adidas logo, it’s rather simpler if the law of proximity is happening in the logo as we can instantly figure out that’s Adidas’ logo as the three lines are placed close to each other.

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The Law of Similarity is a principle that even a 5-year-old can tell you the difference about. It is very similar to the law of proximity, but the principle could be identified even all elements are placed close to each other because they clustered through similar characteristics.

For the next three laws, it’s going to be what our brain tends to create a delusion on images in order to perceive the meaning  behind them.

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The Law of Continuity is when something that is the same or similar in two or more things and provides a connection between them (Merriam Webster). Our brain tends to continue the pattern that has the same elements in a continuous form naturally when we see a few similar elements connecting together in a line, rather than making them complicated. Therefore, even when other elements interrupt our perception would automatically consider them in another form of continuity, this allows our brain to perceive lines are always heading in the smoothest path and direction.

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Lastly, I’ve also learnt about the Law of Closure. When you see an entity that is partially incomplete, that will be called the Law of Closure and they are often clustered in such a way. Our brain tends to ignore information that are contradictory like the gaps between the entities, and fill up the gaps in information. (About.com) In the first picture, our brain would instantly know that it is the shape of a panda because we ignore about the gaps on the head and fills up information ourselves, because we see it as a whole and we could understand how it could look like.

These are what I’ve learnt so far, and my journal this week isn’t just my reflection, it’s also my researches of what Gestalt Theory is. I was really confused in the beginning but now I can roughly differentiate them and understand that’s how my brain actually works! I feel so wonderful after learning this topic because I feel smart when I can actually understand complicated entities. Thanks to my brain for being so wise all the time.

Last thing I would like to talk about of what I’ve learnt today is the Principles of Art, I know it sound embarrassing to mention it as a Grade 10 Visual Art student but honestly it’s the first time I’ve heard about it! Ugh, I’m pretty good at analysing Visual Art Elements but how could I not know anything about the Principles of Art! I shall use these methods to add another post of analysing an artist’s artwork latest by next week!

The Principles of Art, absurdly strange for me 😡

I suppose I will stop my process journal here because I realised we have things of two weeks in a row – The American Poster. I think they must be related to each other, but that also means I have to do a process journal of two weeks? Ugh, next week we’re going to start creating our poster, so another journal and blog post are waiting for me for the next few days! *Sobs* I think Mr. Mike hates me.

References:

WEEK 4

Finally no more researching for today! No more over-elaborate words for today’s process journal. So we have done some very “IB” works, which is a group work. The objective of the class today is to test our understanding of Gestalt Principles so that in the next week we can be able to present designs with the knowledge of Gestalt as this is a very important key for our Summative Assessment.

Objectives             Questions

What we have done today is basically what I’ve done in my week 4’s process journal, we are divided into 4 groups to analyse two different posters Mr. Mike showed in last lesson. This group work would need the demonstration of collaboration skills as an IB learner and this would be the most important key to get effective learning progress in Visual Art.

Before we start our group work, we have been asked of several questions, they are all in the image on the right hand side. Since I’ve been writing to much in my process journal for the pat 4 weeks, I should do something that don’t look boring this time.

Mind Map COMPOSITION

Composition in art is something that leads you when you observe an art piece. It’s also a “sly” tool for artists as they tend to use composition to trick you to observe every single detail of an artwork before getting to the main emphasis.

 

Mind Map Personal & Cultural Expression

Everyone has a different notion about personal and cultural expression, but this mind map represents my own idea of what they are to me C: Especially I highlighted the word ‘representation’ because that’s the Related Concept of this unit.

 

An image says a thousand words, two of these images are doing exactly that. Even when I say a word ‘expression’, I believe many people could think of many perspective of this idea.

These images also lead to the third question, “Can we ever communicate effectively using only visual methods”. In my own opinion, I would say a yes. A great critic can effectively analyse a literature because he/she could imagine visually in their mind what is happening in the story, of how the author is using figuritive language or literary devices to create different mood and atmosphere of the story. “The dark wallpaper” and “the bright wallpaper” are two very different mood and atmosphere because readers imagine the scene in their head to get the idea behind the words. Without having some hallucination of how words are made into an image, it is impossible for one to understand the real story. Therefore, it would only be effective to understand things by only using visual methods, even when literally texts are included, like the works I have done above.

I really like the collaboration we have all demonstrated today, because everyone has equally demonstrated an excellent collaboration to the group work to our mind maps. In addition, Mr. Mike has created the idea of amending other group’s mind maps so that we could all learn together, which I think is a very good idea of understanding each other’s perspectives. These are the evidences of our group works:

IMG_20140828_120045_1

 

Lastly, before we finish our lesson today, typical Mr.Mike has assigned us some works. Honestly I have no idea how I should do my poster designs because it pretty easy to understand about Gestalt Theory but it is not easy at all to create one poster design with using one of the principles because I do not have a creative mind at all! Plus, it is going to be a Talent Show poster design and it makes it even more challenging. I have some “rough” idea in my mind already, but still I hope I could finish them by next Thursday!

That’s all for today, love the work today! But not the work that is going to be done after today.

Anyway, congratulations to myself for finally not exceeding 1K for today’s process journal, look how powerful visual communication is!

Reference:

WEEK 5

What we have done today looks very similar from what we have done last week, but it’s way more complicated and hard this time. We are separated into 4 groups and we are to analyse the gestalt theories applied in two different posters given in our groups. In fact, what we are analysing today is going to be much greater than last week, where we will have to answer the following questions:

20140904_111444

(Copyright from one of my groupmates Lianne) We’re just too great at thinking

Through these images, I seem to understand what this question is trying to say…

Apart from analysing the Gestalt principles, which we are all so great at it already, this time we have to also figure out the artist intention of these posters. Taking my group’s poster for example, the poster on the left portrays three hands with some patterns on them. After observing the pattern, we think it should be from an Indian culture because we understand how Indian culture looks like, and through logically perceived by our brains, we would also understand that the hands represents unity as they are drawn as coming close to each other.

What I have learnt today is not just about how an artist apply the Gestalt principles, it’s also why they apply those Gestalt principles as a message for the viewers. Artists tend to use the knowledge they think majority has and through their personal experience to express their skills of art to the viewers, and this basically leads to the final question Mr. Mike has asked us:

How does an artist create an image that can literally stop us in our tracks?

And my wonderful classmates have great a beautiful mindmap on the white board!

Mindmap

These are our opinions, and in my personal opinion I have written that an artist can create confusion, like unusual composition so that we could wander around in the painting for a long time, just like Gestalt Theory. Apart from that, some artists also use juxtaposition and paradox to confuse the viewers what the artist is really trying to interpret. Being provokative is also one of the way to literally stop us in our tracks because it changes human perception and perspective by receiving brand-new information or even “false” information that our brain perceives.

Today, we have also started sketching our own design as what Mr. Mike has asked earlier when we analyse the posters. He has introduced something called the thumbnail sketching, which is something completely unfamiliar for me, plus I have already done about 2 designs last week.

We are supposed to finish 4, but I have only finished 1 because I couldn’t think that much in such a short time. But I think I have done a good one.

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I personally like this design a lot but actually I still don’t understand the reason of using this method of designing, maybe we need to understand about composition so that viewers don’t get out of their track as explained above?

Getting with Visual Art is never easy at all! But what I need is time, I still have 2 more designs and I’ll be done!

But, unfortunately I will be redoing my previous 2 desings again because the IBO visual art policy strictly disallow us to use glitters but I happened to not know anything at all. Well, too bad, now I have more work to do! But after today’s lesson, I have learnt many things that have helped as an inspiration to my designs, I think I could even take the ‘redoing’ as an improvement of my designs!

 WEEK 6

This week is the final week to submit the final piece, so that means we will have to finish everything by today and we will be free!

So bellow is my final piece (was too busy doing it and I forgot to bring my phone to take the process!):

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