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BRIEF Choose a book and transform it into an art piece by interpreting anything related to the book that you find interesting and that affects you.

BOOK SUMMARY The first step was obviously to choose a book. I randomly picked Brighton Rock by Graham Green from a charity shop having no idea what it was. Picked it by its cover. Pinkie is the leader of a small criminal gang in Brighton. He’s only 17-years old but much more ambitious and cruel then the others in the gang. Pinkie murders a newspaper employee, named Fred Hale, for involvement in the murder of their previous leader Kite. A girl named Rose becomes a possible whiteness to the murder and Pinkie starts to woo her with a hidden agenda to get her not to testify. Ida, a woman who fancied Fred Hale, is suspicious with the circumstances surrounding the murder and soon gets convinced Pinkie did it and tries to find proof in order to frame him. She tries to get Rose to realise that Pinkie only uses her, but Rose, who’s starting to really fall in love with Pinkie, refuses to believe her. Pinkie gets more and more paranoid and stressed and even kills one of his own gang members, Spicer, in fear of him telling someone about the murder. It gets more important for Pinkie to keep Rose quiet now that the stakes are raised and therefore decides to marry her seeing that a wife cannot testify against their husband. As the book progresses, things become worse and darker and the events ultimately lead up to Pinkie trying to talk Rose into committing suicide but end up falling off a cliff himself.

RESEARCH After I’d chosen my book I immediately began researching and writing down words that where strongly associated with it. I looked in to everything from the story itself by watching the 2010 film version I’d found out existed and reading summaries, to the life of the author Graham Greene as well as tons of stuff I could draw associations to. The words I came up with where: pier, beach, gangsters, confectionary, gloomy, fog/mist, scar, cliffs, record, love, hearts, camera, god, religion, hell, catholic, bipolar, communism, Russian roulette, cheating, women, espionage. Early on I also decided not to look into other students examples of book interventions and just let myself to whatever the research and inspiration led me to. Since I’ve never done anything like this for my everyday life as more of a designer I thought it would be interesting to se what I ended up with not trying to resemble more artistic people. Graham Greene suffered from depression and made several suicide attempts when he was young. The book Brighton Rock is also dark and reflects, I think, in some sense the mood of the authors early years. I found the strongest subjects in the book to be those of unrequited love, denial, betrayal and evil.

INSPIRATION From the beginning the gangster theme really stuck with me and I read a lot about old gangster films and when I googled pictures of it I stumbled upon Film Noir, which I think looks simply great. Film Noir in my opinion has a really mini­malistic style to it, which is perfect for me since I’m no skilled fine-art artist, and uses a lot of contrast and low-key, dark imagery. This also seemed very suitable for the theme and subjects i found Brighton Rock to be about. I don’t really now how I came to think about it, but I thought it would be interesting to try and transfer the Film Noir feel from the gangster movies to the book. Since I’m not an experienced painter I just decided I would use oil pastels because they seemed to deliver a thick layer of colour, which I needed for the look I wanted. Also I could make it look nice without having to paint a lot of detail but a more rough style, which was suitable. The choice of oil pastels became an inspiration itself since I was kind of locked to a certain style. So in short my idea was to bring the Film Noir feel to the book and try to get the dark theme of the book and the author to shine through and hopefully evoke some feelings in the viewer. Or at least make them fascinated by the colour.

SKETCHES & METHODS When I had my idea of how I would do the book intervention I just started listing key scenes from the book. I also wrote down some quotes from the book that I thought would add to the mood of the piece. And I do love typo足 graphy. Then I sketched up the scenes, kind of like a storyboard and then I just transferred those images to the book. In the book I then sketched up the scenes in pencil before I went crazy with the oil pastels.


CONCLUSIONS In the end my piece isn’t really about trying to say something, it’s more about trying out stuff to see if my idea was possible and if I could catch the mood and feel I sought for. I wanted it to be dark just like the story and the authors early years and the feelings my piece might evoke will be whatever the observer read into it. That said I want to make clear that the piece didn’t exactly turn out the way I thought it would. I don’t think the oil pastels made it dark enough (the book’s text was still visible) and perhaps I should’ve made it even rougher then I did. Also the pastels made it really hard to enhance any sort of details. As I’ve mentioned I really fancy a minimalistic style but when it’s almost impossible to even follow a straight line because of the pastel keep changing shape it’s a bit too much. If anyone disagrees and thinks this just added to the piece I’m more then happy.


Sketchbook - Book intervention  

My sketchbook for an assignment in Advanced Visual Creativity at UWS 2013.