Starting the final major project, I developed the idea of working with a concept surrounding dreams from researching the work of Gabriel Isak, who, themselves, works with the idea of the subconscious state of mind. I felt inspired by this artist to pursue a similar concept myself. My initial question asked ‘Do dreams relate to our daily lives?’. After some time, ti came to my attention that the answer to this was obvious, and the process of proving the answer through primary research studies was nothing new or exciting. I developed the question to ask ‘Why do dreams relate to our daily lives?’. This gave a lot more depth to my project and opened up new research activities such as researching the content of people’s dreams more closely in relation to their lives. After a great amount of research and other development processes, I concluded my concept question to focus on the idea that dreams help us to solve psychological problems. If I hadn’t developed my question in those initial stages, my conclusion could have been incredibly mundane in comparison. I think my conclusion provides an interesting and innovative outlook on the subject of dreams, which is why I chose to translate this through the recently popularised medium of stop motions in my final piece. Using stop motions allowed me to use physical movement to convey my concluded ideas, ensuring said ideas weren’t lost in something abstracted.
Beginning Foundation year I lacked conceptual understanding, which is something that has improved immensely over the course. Last year, A-Level art surrounding mimicking other artist’s techniques and adhering them to personal ideas that related to the project. I developed some conceptual understanding through this, but this wasn’t a focus of mine until Foundation. To build upon this skill over the year, I continually pushed myself to consider innovative and thought-provoking pieces, experimenting with both complicated and simple ideas and extensively developing each. In addition to this, throughout Foundation year, I have greatly improved my time management skills and self motivation. In comparison to the year prior, I lacked motivation throughout, meaning that my work was left last minute or left incomplete. In contrast, this year I remained on top of my work by self motivating.
Foundation has encouraged me to become self-dependent, to be my own tutor. I have managed my own time and motivated myself, rather than depending on my tutors to do so. This will benefit me at degree level as I will be able to plan my own time and encourage myself to complete tasks.
Through comparing the project ‘Opposition’ to my final major project, I understand how far I have come as a creative over the course. My final piece in the first project was somewhat thrown together, created a few days before the deadline, with elements shop bought to fill the space. It lacked much conceptual representation and only presented a limitation of the skills I am capable of. At this point in the course, I knew I was capable of pushing myself further both conceptually and practically, which is something I set my mind on achieving during final major project.
Through my final major project, I believe I have achieved an independent work ethic. At the beginning of Foundation, I relied vastly on motivation from my tutors, as well as much support with creative ideas. In contrast, I have completely turned around during FMP. Through keeping my reflective journal updated, I have slowly become self motivated and have become my own tutor. Sometimes I still need partial guidance, however, for the vast majority, I am in a position where I can identify my own mistakes and problem solve them to move forward and overcome them. I think this is where the reflective journal has helped me the most as it has been a place where I can record my feelings and analysis, noting what worked, what didn’t, and how this will help me in the future. Doing this for myself so frequently has helped build this independent work ethic which I believe will assist me at university.
One of the most influential research elements in my project was keeping a dream diary and asking a selection of different people to do the same. This enabled me to answer my initial question of ‘is there are a relationship between life and dreams?’ and progress it forwards to questioning why this is. Is became apparent to me that my initial concept question was naive, being that, obviously, dreams relate to daily life as they are essentially a story created by your own mind – naturally, it uses elements of the daily life to do this. I think this initial question was necessary to gather some ground in the subject and fully submerse myself into all aspects of dreams and the theories behind them. Furthering this, I later concluded my question to ‘dreams help overcome problems’. This enabled me to focus my concept on a specific area and consider what I wanted my final piece to communicate. This is how my project has developed theoretically.
Much of the research for my project was scientific studies regarding psychologists’ theories and responding work. One of the most important research elements was a YouTube video which summarised the seven main theories why we dream – taken from a range of different studies. It was this video that encouraged me to focus my concept and conclude my question and continue developing with a focus.
Beginning my project, I struggled to transfer my concept and ideas visually. For the majority of the project, I was trying to convey everything in a very literal sense – through illustrations and sculptures. It wasn’t until the latter stages of the project I reflected on how this wasn’t working successfully. I concluded this was because dreams aren’t literal or physical things, so how can they be translated into such without representing something similar to children’s novel illustrations (something I wanted to avoid doing). This was when I began abstracting my ideas with inspiration from Rothko and Kandinsky. This visually developed my project greatly and led on to the dream journal featured in my final piece.
Over the course of the project, my reflective journal was the most successful element. As mentioned prior, I used it as a place to evaluate my processes and creative outlooks and problem solve what I encountered. This was really useful in continuing to push myself forward in the course and evolve my ideas.
The research stage of my project was also really successful. I researched many surrounding areas of my project and properly delved deep into the theories of and responses to dreams. This helped me gain a basis for the project and was something I continually turned back to for inspiration.
Something that didn’t go well was finding artists that had experimented with dreams in terms of the subconscious dreams we have at night. I continually found artists who worked with dreams in terms of aspirations, which was greatly frustrating. In addition, the artists I did find who worked with some element of dreams were often fictional based from often naive illustrative artists. I found the work by photographer Gabriel Isak really inspiring and it was they who in fact inspired my concept initially. I struggled to find anyone else. To problem solve this, I sought artists who portrayed techniques I enjoyed and could experiment with my own ideas. This worked well for the most part, however it did have some down falls when I was struggling for ideas. Again, to problem solve this, I sought inspiration from my peers. I found that it often helped to gain an outsider’s point of view on my project.
Another element that didn’t work so well was my habit of entering a very fictional world, which, as mentioned prior, was something I wanted to avoid. I wanted to produce a mature and interesting response to my concept, however I kept finding myself in a whimsical sense that was difficult to understand or reered upon the exact aesthetic I wished to avoid. To problem solve this, I began considering instillation pieces that would appeal to a wide range of people rather than majorly children as a fictional piece would. I Considered the idea of prescribed dreams, which began sophisticated and interesting, yet developed into something targeted at children. To problem solve this, I took a step back from those ideas and began re-thinking.
Throughout my project on dreams, I have learned many aspects and varying conclusions regarding the subject. This has lead to my understanding that my own primary research is vital in projects as this is something I can rely on and create personal responses to. I enjoyed the primary research aspects of the project as they enabled me to see how myself and those around me responded to dreams. I have always found dreams interesting, as an avid dreamer myself, I maintained the desire to understand more. Being able to translate this in my final piece has been really enjoyable. I also enjoyed learning a new technique in this project; that being, stop motion. I previously avoided stop motions as I considered them too hard and too far out of my comfort zone, however, I have really delved into the technique and feel proud that I have pushed myself to do this. Stop motion actually finalised as being part of my exhibition piece, which I think works in cohesion with the abstracted elements I incorporated also. I find that the literal responses work well with the abstract to communicate the dreams and interpretations.
If I were to repeat my project, I would focus my concept down earlier on. This would ensure my further research and development pieces became more quickly focused. In addition to this, I would develop my research pieces as I was researching them. This would boost up my development pieces and provide me with more ideas. I would also have realistically planned my final piece in more advance. I feel that my initial final piece designs were still immature and ineffective and they didn’t move out of this stage until near the deadline.
Installing my exhibition piece was a new experience for me. In the previous exhibition earlier in the year, I simply created a type of interior scene featured around my piece. This time however, due to some problem solving with the gallery space, I had to create my space as one whole piece – attached together so that nothing had to be screwed into the wall. This was an interesting experience and I enjoyed using my 3D and woodwork skills to make the piece. Having everything all attached together made it really easy to install as the cabinet (with the iPads attached) only needed moving into the space.
I encountered some issues in installing my piece which needed to be problem solved quickly. For example, the chargers initially didn’t fit through the holes I had made, meaning I had to reshape the holes with sandpaper. Also, one of the wires to charge the iPads isn’t long enough, meaning I had to create a hole in the back of the cabinet so that the extension lead could sit closer to the short charger. In addition to this, I had a great deal of trouble getting the stop motions to loop on the iPads due to various blocks college had put in place on the iPads, this meant I had to figure out a way around the system blocks to achieve what I wanted.