The purpose of embarking on this project was to chart a course that would reflectively create a line of focus with regards to the progressive path I intended to follow as a creative within the professional sphere outside the academic environment. While over the last two years the comfort of being within the academic bubble has been very rewarding as this has become an avenue to learn new processes and techniques, the collation and application of these techniques via the engagement with various workshops and personal exploration has put into perspective one singular fact; breaking out of the academic bubble whilst channelling and utilising everything learnt from that environment and making contributions to the creative circle is highly imperative.
Introspectively, I’ve been able to come to terms with several realisations. These include evaluating my approaches to projects, taking into consideration where I was prior to engaging with the course (illustration and visual media), where I am now, and where intend to be in the near future.
Over the years, I have spent a majority of my time working on improving my draughtsmanship abilities via the utilisation of certain traditional mediums i.e pencils, ink pens, poster/gouache/acrylic paints on various paper, and canvas. Diverting such abilities to the utilisation of other mediums like photo-collaging, 0rubber etching, screen printing, ceramic painting/printing, metal etching/scratching amongst others has helped in escaping my comfort zone, broadening my perspective towards the application and the execution of such techniques in various projects I’ve been privileged to be engaged in.
I have always had a deep connection with graphic novels/comic books. These formed the basis for which I became engaged in expressing my creative abilities from the early age of 4. The ability to utilise imagery whether via photographic images or hand-drawn visuals to create a narrative intrigued me as a child and formed became the foundation on which I embarked on this journey I am on today. This is where an inspirational figure like Katsuhiro Otomo comes in. Best known as the creator of the manga Akira which became adapted to animated film, Otomo’s attention to detail as typified in his hyper-realistic drawing style carved out a new cultural phenomenon and is often referred to as the reason why anime as a modern art-form came to global recognition by many western fans of the Japanese art form. His attention to detail, paying close attention to activities around him is an affinity I share as I pay particular interest to my immediate surroundings and global issues, and try in the best visual way possible to communicate these through my works.
I have always from been drawn to the lights and sounds of television from my early childhood, been glued to tv screen whilst been transported to the many virtual worlds created by artists in the form of animated tv shows. The likes of Jim Henson, Hanna Barberra, and Walt Disney had a profound impact on my childhood. The thought of being able to convert my illustrations into animated features for television screens and for the appreciation of an audience has also been the driving force in the perfection of my illustrative abilities and this is where Aaron Blaise is a worthy inspiration figure. Aaron Blaise has played a pivotal role in the development of noteworthy animated characters that have graced the big screens and imp acted on the lives of global audiences. From the likes of Lion king, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin (just to name a few), he has ove 27 years of industry experience within animation, 21 of which were spent with Disney studios. I am intrigued by his ability to maintain a connection with hand drawn animation (whether by utilising traditional of digital tools) in an era where 3d animation has become the end all and be all. Aaron is the main reason I ventured out of my comfort zone, embracing the change from traditional to digital drawing platform, which led to me acquiring the Wacom intuos tablet 3 months ago. I have since engaged in the study and perfection of my utilisation of this tool tool in the development of not just my draughtsmanship skills, but also in the utilisation of this to engage in tutorials and online classes via Aaron Blaise’s website on which he offers animation classes for a fee.
Growing up and being influenced by the rebellious approach of hip-hop culture, I have always had a deep connection with streetwear because of how it is a fusion of a collection of various sub-cultures (grafitti , breakdance, hip-hop, skate-boarding etc.). While the likes of Karl Kani , Stussy, and Marc Ecko were pivotal in my tilt towards this genre of fashion, Scott Sasso has been highly influential in maintaining my close affinity to the genre. With his influences stemming from a marriage of contemporary sub-cultures namely punk, graffiti, break dancing, hip-hop and skateboarding. Channelling this into the creation of one streetwear’s biggest brands, 10 Deep, Scott’s involvement in the creation of every piece churned out from his studios, from the conceptualisation to production of be it graphic tees, to cut and sewn pieces is always and will always remain an inspirational factor. His approach of designs from a rebellious stand point, be it politically influenced or the disregard for trends within streetwear fuels my desire to constantly push myself in this direction.
James Jean is a visual artist I have come to love with every piece he creates. Combining surrealistic elements, dreamy romanticism and lyricism, his work incorporates traditional symbolism and dynamic narratives. His work also introduces finely rendered imagery created with a unique aesthetic, extraordinarily sophisticated colour palettes, subtle yet suggestive themes of metamorphosis, mortality and sexuality, creating a seamless blend and bridge between the real and the imagined.
Looking closely at the-afore mentioned individuals who have been highlighted as major influences, I must state that my major points of interest are thus; illustrator, animator, designer (putting the idea of fashion and streetwear into the mix), and visual artist/image maker.
While I can work on my own, I must say that I relish the significance of working in groups which I haven’t done enough of, as no man is an island and people can only get better when collaborative projects are executed, and the strengths inherent in the different approaches and techniques of different individuals within a group are capitalised upon. While the aspect of working towards being a graphic designer is a prospect I look to develop, the role of video editor is also another field I intend to explore as I continue my walk towards self-development.
Overall, the wake-up call project has exposed me to learning new approaches to projects and places me in a position where maintaining a level of consistency with every given opportunity is key.