In our term one unit ‘Culture Vultures’, we responded to 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”. We sought to create wallpapers inspired by this quote as well as artists such as Ah Xian, Yinka Shonibare and Margaret Preston.
Our creative process began with creating a mindmap with all the things that were a part of us and our culture. We then refined this mindmap into thumbnail sketches, which became development sketches and then our final design. Using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, we scanned our final images and lined them up to tesselate in the template. Throughout this process we were inspired by the artists we studied, as well as all of the research and feedback we had.
My design, inspired by the vast cultural differences between Ah, Shonibare and Preston, was motivated by the fact that these three artists, as well as everyone throughout the history of the world, have vastly different cultures and art. This led my artwork to use various symbols from different cultures around the globe. These symbols were all bound and connected by a chain, which linked them to a cave-art style hand, symbolising humanity’s ever-lasting connection to art.
by Saul Magner
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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.