All these private posts. Deeply secret? Rude naughtiness? Bit of a hustle on the side?
No. Well not exactly. These are all destined to accompany various publications. One is for a book cover, the others will sit with specific poems in an anthology and there’s no letting them out in public until the written work is published. Cover reveals are a big thing and not to be pre-empted; it’s a bit like winning Bake Off – you really can’t go telling folk before that last episode had aired.
Part of the brief for this assignment is to reflect on the way text has influenced the work or been made to be the work. In this instance, I have very much been driven by the text itself to provide the imagery and to guide both the palette and the style. Each of these works, literary and painted, is different, and I found I needed to read, read, and read again, the poems or the brief I had been given to become immersed in the emotional sense of them. I also needed to check back with the author/editor that I had that sense right, that I hadn’t ‘misheard’ what was being said.
The poetry anthology is due out for Christmas so not only will I be able to make those posts public, I can also set them in context. The book may be a little longer in the making although it’s been through the writing and editing process and it’s with the publisher. I have no idea what will happen to the art work, how much of it will make the cover, and how much sacrificed to the business of author name and titles but it’s going to be pretty exciting to see it on sale with whatever it is of mine that makes the cut.
Meanwhile, I have permission to use all of these for my course work, in some cases with digital additions to meet certain criteria, and to share these privately with my tutor where they comprise assignment work.
For the book cover, I needed to know who the main character was, why they were in the place they found themselves, and what the social context was. When I’d read, (and re-read) that, I gave the author my impressions of what the key theme seemed to be. She had a very clear idea of the mood of the cover and sent me the mood board she had developed for it. Then I needed to find reference material to guide development of my own impressions – which turned out to be right – of who this character was. I was very clear that there would be no copies of reference images for the setting, I just needed enough of a guide to create something instantly recognisable. It also occurred to me that leaving quiet space here and there might be useful for the text it needed to carry.
I showed the author an early paint sketch and from that went on to develop the painting, which ultimately included a totally serendipitous addition that, I was told, was perfect.
The poetry came as a request from the editor for art to accompany a particular poem. At first I was sent just a sample and, when I fed back my impression of the mood of the piece, the editor replied with the whole poem – that first small section had sent me in completely the opposite direction. This made me resolve always to get as much information in the brief as possible, and always to check I had it right before starting the work. This came up in a video I saw recently, put on live by the Edinburgh International Book Festival, in which artists, marketers, and book sellers talked about the process of producing the best cover for both the book and the various audiences. The video is available now on YouTube.
In one piece – the Star Roots/Speed of Things duo – has text physically written into it; Flood uses the puzzle pages of a newspaper to reflect in collage the intellectually invidious position we find ourselves in whereby we are in possession of all the clues, we know how to find the solution, but yet we do almost nothing. Bang Bang and Tokyo Ghost are unalterable in their physical form for different reasons and so I have used digital apps to superimpose those elements.
The videos are in themselves extensions of this process, each building on the message within the paint and the words and offering an active perspective. I’ve described the process briefly elsewhere but to summarise, I import the image into an app for iPad called MotionLeap (by Lightricks) which permits modifications of various kinds, including overlays, animations, the introduction of elements, and visual response to music. I’ve found that, the free music being somewhat limited, importing the animation into my video editing suite, Filmora, and stripping out the audio, leaves me with an image that twitches and can be paired then with a different track.
Filmora is the editing suite I use. Recommended by a fellow OCA student, I began with Filmora9 which was relatively simple, upgraded to Filmora10 when that appeared, and then decided to purchase the Pro version. This has turned out to be nowhere near as simple to use but, after watching several tutorials, some aspects are becoming familiar and I think it will be worth the effort. Most of the videos here and in the Parallel Project are made in some combination of MotionLeap, Filmora10, and Filmora Pro; the last two interchangeable as I move back and forth between the frustration of not being able to do something in Pro that takes seconds in F10, then applying a new-found technique in Pro that isn’t available in F10.
For me, video is another step to public engagement with art. In a digital world, it seems to me important to acknowledge this and to capitalise on the range of technologies available. It’s also important to me that there is at the base of film, an actual physical piece of work constructed in the physical world and existing as a tangible entity, because apart from anything else, I like the feel of making that kind of work and the experience of textures; the lumps and bumps of collage and thick acrylic, the tacky grip of glue, and the smooth glissades of a glossy surface.