Research provides the primary foundations for a project; it is essential to understand the basis and surrounding elements of a subject to develop creative ideas in response. Therefore, I spent the first stages of this project researching some of the many topics within my concept, which asks the question; why do dreams relate to daily life? Prior to this, however, I spent time visiting galleries in Manchester and Lancaster to help me consider an initial concept. I felt outfaced by the potential of choosing my own concept, so visualising how other artists had responded to their own concepts, while considering the concepts they had chosen, helped me decide on my own. I took much of my initial inspiration from Gabriel Isak, who considers the subconscious mind in his photography series ‘The Blue Journey’. His mesmerising pieces encouraged me to consider working with the subconscious mind and the dreams it creates.
At first, my research was mainly factual, looking at psychologists’ responses to my question often featured on a website called ‘Psychology Today’ which made scientific studies easy to comprehend. Much of my factual research stemmed from work by Sigmund Freud, who worked closely with my concept on a psychological basis. I often referred to YouTube and Ted Talks videos, which simplified some of the studies I looked at too. The YouTube clip that inspired me the most was a summary of psychologists’ interpretations of the main reasons why we dream. These reasons were; dreaming to remember, dreaming to forget, dreaming to maintain brain function, dreaming to rehearse fight or flight instinct, dreaming to heal, dreaming to solve problems, and dreaming to fulfil wishes. I found this factual research useful in understanding the depths of my concept, but my own primary research in the form of questions and interviews gave me more personal and direct answers.
Past projects throughout the year have provided me with the knowledge and understanding of what is expected in final major project. From successes and failures through these projects I could understand the essential balance between research and development, and therefore knew how to approach this project. In addition, during a project in November, I considered the idea of putting a childlike imagination into an adult’s reality. From this project, I found my passion and interest for fiction and the things that the mind can create. I believe that this was one of my main inspirations for this project.
I found much of my creative inspiration from watching films that related to my concept. For example, ‘Inception’ helped me visualise dreams and the possibilities of them, and ‘The BFG’ gave me the idea for prescribed or controlled dreams (lucid dreams) to help people overcome problems, which was the direction my concept took later in the project. I found that dreams were prevalent in more films than artworks. Initially, it was hard to find artists who looked at similar concepts. To problem solve this, I began considering artwork at face value – doing little research in the concept behind it, and instead, interpreting the piece in relation to my concept. Doing this opened many doors, and I found inspiration from Velwyn, who’s work I interpret to reflect the contrast between the conscious and subconscious mind, and Eiko Ojala, who displays complicated papercuts that entangle and support each other, in a similar way to the conscious and subconscious minds. These artists, amongst many others – depicted on my blog – have given me conceptual and practical inspiration for development pieces, encouraging me to experiment with new techniques and materials.
My concept began asking if there was a relationship between dreams and daily life, which quickly developed into asking why. Asking why was essential here as it really broadened my concept and the directions I could take it. Later in the project, I focused on one reason for why we dream – dreaming to solve problems. Out of the seven main reasons, I find this to be the most interesting, and believe it could lead to some compelling art pieces.
I initially found my concept hard to transfer visually, in the sense that I tried to avoid the immature representations the subject of dreams is often presented. To achieve this, I experimented with abstract felt making and mark making, while also working with illustration in various mediums to progress literal ideas. In the initial stages of my project, I found myself working in the childish manor mentioned, using swirls and cloud patterns to visualise my ideas. I think doing this was an important part of development, because it allowed me to move forward and use some elements in a more intuitive way. I believe, through more experimentation and development, these past visuals will eventually inspire an immense outcome that reflects and combines many of my ideas.
To finalise this project, I aim to achieve a great exhibition space that translates the conclusion of my concept and synthesises many of the ideas I have had. I wish for it to take the form of an instillation that communicates my concept and fully submerses the viewer into the conclusion – the idea that their dreams can help them. I want it to encourage the audience to seek help from their dreams, to consider their lives in relation to their dreams. Perhaps my piece will inspire the audience to look further into their dreams, to better understand themselves and the power of their mind.