This year in Visual Arts, we were assigned to create a conceptual wallpaper design inspired by our cultural context. This unit, ‘Culture Vultures’, was centred around Michael Shermer’s quote “Humans are pattern-seeking story-telling animals, and we are quite adept at telling stories about patterns, whether they exist or not”. This influenced us to draw from our experiences and reflect these themes through patterns in our wallpaper.
Analysing cultural elements in Ah Xian, Yinka Shonibare and Gustav Klimt’s work, enabled us to develop a strong concept that represents our culture and identity. This process began by creating a detailed mind map where we explored various concepts drawn from our cultural context. These ideas were later developed into thumbnail sketches and the research of multiple artists helped to create a profound understanding of the concept we wanted to portray.
Through motifs and symbols, we created the aesthetic of our work experimenting with different art mediums and Adobe Photoshop to merge our designs into a finished poster. Ideas addressed in our wallpaper include ethnicity, the significance of human connection, socioeconomic status, mental health, Australian culture and many more.
The final unit of the year ‘Future Artefact’ enabled us to expand our concepts further through hand-built ceramic vessels. My wallpaper conveyed the process of metamorphosis, the idea of human transformation with the motif of the butterfly being the focal point of my design. I was heavily inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s ‘butterfly series’ and Japanese’s artist Yoyoi Kusama who explore her childhood trauma through the repetition of dots in installations. This unit has helped me develop my artmaking and technology skills and has expanded my knowledge on various artists and my cultural identity.
Written by Eliza Bowen
future artefact- ceramic vessels
In Term 2 we studied the conceptual, aesthetic, and fundamental nature of ceramics, and to what degree they affect the decisions of an everchanging society. A quote by Christian Violatti was the foundation for 'Future Artefact' stating how the elements of pottery (shape, type of surface, colours, drawing patterns and decorative styles) in particular cultures and times can lead the development of a society by challenging ideas, values, or authorities.
We commenced our artmaking process by visiting the Art Express gallery on an excursion to gain inspiration from prior HSC major works and brainstorm the conceptual ideas which were primarily from our wallpaper designs, as well as designing the aesthetic properties our pots would have. Unintentionally, I chose two of the technically hardest forms when working with earthenware clay, which was a sphere and a flat slab. The idea I had in mind was to create two identical book ends in the shape of an 'L' from two rectangular slabs combined together and a hemisphere in the middle. My conceptual idea behind this was to signify conflict and dispersion that our society is facing with opposing ideas such as racism, gender identities, climate change, wars, and politics.
After many lessons learning the correct technique to handle and shape clay, I made four rectangular slabs that were identical in size with the assistance of a slab roller and a paper cut-out, used as a stencil. From here, I waited a few days for the clay to harden slightly and combined the slabs by first scoring the area where they connect, and then applying slurry to reduce air bubbles, which was held in place by a metal stand which wasn’t exactly 90 degrees but was good enough. Proceeding, I built a hemisphere on top of each 'L' shaped book end using a technique called coiling, which was a challenge as I was determined to achieve two identical, perfectly round hemispheres. The pots were then fired in a kiln, coming out rock hard for us to paint, and using white and black glaze, I painted a checkers design on my pot, continuing the same conceptual idea by incorporating two polar opposite colours, signifying societies differences. Overall, this was an awesome term, as it gave me the skills and knowledge to take into my HSC year and beyond.
Written by Benji Dyce
Dissidence & dreams - propaganda posters
For our last unit of the Year 11 course, ‘Dissidence and Dreams’, we studied ‘protest against official policy’ through the form of propaganda. We began the unit by studying ‘Guo Jian’, a Chinese Australian propaganda painter of whom used his extraordinary experiences as inspiration for his art, through reworking elements of propaganda to document the milestones of his generation. We viewed several of Guo’s works, to study his style and approach to portraying a closed cultural and political system, through momentous, heartbreaking change as China struggled to absorb the influence and criticism of the outside world. Once gaining insight into how propaganda is formed and used to deliberately alter people’s attitudes we started our own works. Our task was to develop an artwork responding to the quote “… the deliberate attempt by some individual or group to form, control, or alter the attitudes of other groups by the use of instruments of communication, with the intention that in any given situation the reaction of those so influenced will be that desired by the propagandist.” T H Qualter.
We began our creative processes via brainstorming, researching, gathering inspiration and feedback. Due to the limitations of COVID we were unable to use oil paints as originally intended however, we adapted the task to create portrait sketches. We used graphite transfer techniques to create an outline of our work, followed by the shading of the image with several different types of pencils. When our sketches were complete, we transferred them to our computers to begin the process of adding text and colour. All portraits utilised different colour palettes coordinating with the chosen themes and ideas. The process was challenging due to the restrictions of COVID and the inability to gain face-to-face feedback. However, through several zoom calls and constant feedback sessions we were able to create a selection of propaganda posters, each unique in its own way, illustrating ideas in an attempt to alter the attitudes of the viewers.