This is a portrait of a sensitive and fragile Colombian girl living a long way from home. She is determined and focused, planning for her future, but wishing to be loved in an environment that is harsh and unfeeling. Her ephemeral youth and perfection will vanish with transience of life. Will her dreams and desires be fulfilled in the passing of time?
I have supported my painting with two video experimentations, which bring the character to life.
Ariel’s fantastic ballet career is over. She is no longer able to reach the gates of heaven during her never-ending pirouettes and glamorous jumps. Her body is now deformed and she feels constant pain. Her twisted joints are permanently inflamed and swollen. Her potential to perform and inspire is forever gone. Underneath her fake pose and put on facade, she is very down to Earth. She has never enjoyed dancing. It was her parents dream, which destroyed her future, health and beautiful body… Once upon a time, her mother had one distinct ambition in life – she wanted to become a famous ballet dancer.
I have continued with the painterly process while repeating Aries’s body in a rhythmic movement. The intention is to arrange a sensation of grace and ballet in the context of anxiety and worries. After all, Ariel has bend her moral spine and made her principles vague and ambiguous. What is she going to do next?
I have finally made some progress with my current piece. This breakthrough stage follows a long period of stagnation and uncertainty. Re: living my trip with Captain Ahmed and the danger of the experience of sinking on his little and crude boat has made me realise the importance of hypnotic repetition of daily survival.
I developed a screen with images of fish we both caught while struggling to stay afloat. I proceeded with a complex process of overprinting and stating each layer with ink – somehow trying to imitate the sophistication of glazing while using a range of water based media, including inks and water soluble pastels. More developments will come soon.
I have started to introduce a range of vibrant details in the background space. The idea was to create a sense of cohesion and belonging. I have used a repetitive motif of a baobab tree, which is typically associated with this fantastic island. The current stage of the painterly process is below:
I have gone through a long process of consideration and reflection on my current painting. I was questioning how to make a radical progress with my current painting? On the one hand, the composition is intentionally balanced and scattered, on the other, the image lacks the desired level of depth and mood. My intention was to make it more dynamic and dramatic.
Currently, the skeletal silhouettes are quite rough and crude in execution. The idea is to echo the reality of my primary source – crows and ravens feasting on rotting seaweed, which is tumbled and mixed with rubbish, decomposing plastic and other organic matter, and surrounded by the most repelling possible stench. This analysis of my research findings describes and outlines both the source and the concept, while setting my work in a horrid, dark and depressing context.
Somewhere, in the centre of the compositional entrance, there is a portrait of myself. It is covered with an embedded text in Spanish. The fonts are almost impossible to decipher. My intention was to draw analogies to the final end and death of the most amazing and pure experiences in life. I wanted to question the purpose, sense, direction and destination, while embracing the most powerful existential thoughts and feelings.
Subsequently, I started to experiment with a range of glazes using alkyd paints. I wanted to drift away from the time typically used media in my studio: oil and encaustic media. Alkyd paints are thicker and stronger. They consist of thermoplastic polyester resins made by heating polyhydric alcohols with polybasic acids or their anhydrides. Their main function is to create protective coatings, which are resistant to ageing and general wear. This physical property of this toxic medium creates a significant clash with my need to protect the significance of the past. To experiment with the viscosity and luminosity of the glazes, I have diluted them with the best quality of extra virgin olive oil. The use of a top-of-the-range product, here again, is intentional and carefully thought out. The idea was to depart from commercial qualities of cheap and raw linseed oil. I wanted to replace them with a natural and silky translucency of an opulent food ingredient. It is like feeding the birds and, simultaneously, covering the essence of the subject matter of the under image with a preserving layer of indulgence, luxury and melancholia. The additional purpose of this is try to safe myself from the attack of the cruel and metaphorically important ravens and crows.
I have included below, two documentary photographs of the glaze alteration process. They illustrate a long cycle of the building of the layers. It consists of warming up and cooling down the compositional colour scheme. Ultimately, the developed image will be ‘touched up’ with oil bars in order to continue to increase the vibrancy of the tint and add another element to the piece – texture.
Looking back at the painting process, my inspiration came from both, observation of a primary source and digestion of a piece by Greta Alfaro. I saw her work on display at the Saatchi Gallery. Her 2009 piece called In Ictu Oculi, Single channel video (HDV, 16:9, colour, sound, duration: 10:37) The Latin title in translation means ‘in the brink of an eye’.
She uses birds in a Hitchcock-like, metaphorical way. However, the meaning of her piece is different. It focuses on questioning human desires and has a very dark side to it. I thought that quoting her video and learning from her use of analogies and suggestions was very relevant to my painterly explorations.
Day 2 was also extended to most of day 3. My team – 11B got very passionate about crating a holistic and xcohesive platform. Our concept was to bring people together in a time of crisis, social distancing and isolation.
We produced a very comprehernsive proposal for a range of ideas and supporting online platforms. I was selected by the team to present our proposal to the forum of 174 observes via Zoom videoconference. Our proposal was very well received and the team and I are awaiting further news on a range of possible developments.
The first day of this event was dedicated to getting to know the problem. I was allocated to team 11. It consisted of 6 people from Bahrain, Dubai, Ireland, The Phillipines, India and the UK. Their positions varied and included artists, senior managers, consultans and a student.
Our allocated problem for investigation was to look at the creative industries and identify key challenges in terms of reducing fixed costs of operation. Our task was to go beyond the obvious austerity measures and simply cutting down expenditure.
We used Zoom for videoconferencing and Slack for textual communication. Our team managed to work through a long list of challenges and activities in order to isolate a specific research question and refine it.
This is were our group split into teams A & B.
Team A focused on legislation.
Team B (my group) started to explore ideas for the creation of a creative community and a supporting network. The plan was to start with by preparing for a prestigious event to axchieve clout ans broader recognition. Suceess is addictive.