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Christopher Cooper Project Report Extended Practice LAUIL 603


Statement of Intent What is my practice?

Action plan/proposed briefs

Within extended practice I want to identity and investigate the themes and ideas that form the foundation of make practice. These have included: - the uncanny -narrative; often through a single image or set rather than linear story telling (such as in graphic novels) -ambiguity as a method of enhancing communication/evoking feeling through image

Editions This will be a print based project through which I can develop and refine my visual language and methods of production in an uninhibited manner. I am aiming for a collection of 5-10 finished pieces that will be based around religious and mythological iconography. Conceptually I am particularly interested in exploring motifs that are repeated across different time periods and cultures.

Furthermore I want to develop and refine the visual language I have been building over the past 3 years. The corners stones of this visual language are: -texture -reductive representations of figures and forms -bold compositional techniques -considered use of tone to create tension/interest within my compositions -reductive colour palettes used to enhance content rather than for purely aesthetic reasons

Don’t Look Now I will undertake a series of print and web based projects. These will underpin they’re current promotional campaigns for events therefore I want to build upon and evolve the work I have previously produced for them.

I believe these are the factors that make up my practice and I wish to further refine and expand them through 603 to create a distinctive and dynamic professional practice.

In what context do I see it fitting? Contextually I am most drawn to image making for the music industry and adult publishing. This is because I believe they are the areas within which my work is best suited tonally. Furthermore I believe they also greatly reflect my own personal interests something which I think is essential to developing and maintaining a practice that is highly investigative, honest and ultimately engaging. In particular I am interested in the vast and eclectic world of independent electronic music. This is due to how its often D.I.Y. attitudes and production methods are used to produce highly engaging and experimental music. This is something I aim to achieve visually.

Secret 7s/Secret 7s style project I have chosen this due to the fact that I want a project where, much like the editions brief, I can work in quite an inhibited and experimental manner yet have a more specific context through which to channel it. Although I like the concept of Secret 7s, I will evaluate what music is included this year and potentially change this to be in response to music of my choice which I feel better reflects my interests and where I want my practice to be. Mono No Aware This is a Japanese concept that roughly translates into the ‘awareness of impermanence’ or the ‘transience of things’ and influenced the tone and content of much of my work in 2nd year. Therefore I want to create a series of images that more specifically explore this. Dune I intend this to be my largest project. Being one of my all time favourite books, it is something I have wanted to centre a project on for a long time. I intend this to loosely be a Folio Society style brief; cover image and 4 narrative images. However rather than simply illustrating the story, I want to create images in response to its themes and ideas. John Carpenter Posters Produce a series of limited edition screen printed posters so as to better understand print process at a large scale and the context of limited edition artwork for specific subjects.


In my initial project report I stated my desire to further develop the visual language and I have been working in for the past few years. Although I have built upon this by furthering my experimentation with texture, the merging of traditional print process/aesthetic with digital process, 603 has had a much more evolutionary effect on my practice than originally anticipated. This is best demonstrated by my collection of self-portraits/key images (including thought experiment). My first image is composed in a precise, reductive, cinematic style with subtle screen print textures overlaid onto it digitally. This is typical of the way in which I was working towards the end of last year and, although it has some merit through creating an ominous and brooding atmosphere, which helps communicate a sense of narrative, in hindsight it feels overly restrictive both in terms of process and communication.

Therefore my though experiment can be seen as both a reaction to and transition from this image. This is both in terms of working with a more visceral visual aesthetic which, is comprised of a lot more analogue processes/mark making, and more direct communication; the image was made in response to how over thinking things is often my biggest downfall. The final two images are much more reflective of where my practice is now showing a more intricate and believable merging of analogue and digital processes as well as a shift away from the restrictive image making I was undertaking at the start of the year to something much more playful, encompassing drawing, collage and printmaking. Although the thought experiment started this transition, the true point of evolution within my practice occurred during COP3. This was due to the decision to work in a more free and reactionary manner to the content that I was researching and ultimately trying to communicate. This was in contrast to simply studying a concept and trying to think how I could apply my aesthetic/process to it rather than thinking what might suite the subject matter best and amplify the communication of content.


However, despite this transformation within my practice I recognise the need to keep challenging and evaluating it rather than simply becoming content with the new way in which I was working. Therefore I used my editions (Iconoclasm) brief to question rather than simply develop the processes and aesthetic I had been pursuing in COP3. This was mainly in regards to how I could better integrate the drawn and collaged elements of my compositions. Therefore, this brief was primarily concerned with how best to draw my own elements of a composition, such as figures and buildings, in a way that would be able to combine with collaged elements in a more cohesive way than in COP3. This resulted in a reductive and graphic style of drawing that could be easily combined with textures taken from found imagery as well as my owned printmaking scans to create final digital images that feel analogue. Arguably this is one of the main aspects of my practice now and is present in a lot of my subsequent briefs.


I took these explorations even further later on in 603, with my Mutant Beat Dance brief in which I wanted to explore the lo-fi yet considered and almost refined nature of the music in question and how this could be explored visually. For the most part I think I was able to achieve this and was able to achieve an even greater level of integration between drawn elements, found imagery and scanned objects and printed textures within my compositions. This also highlighted how small, quick briefs can very effectively develop ideas touched upon in longer briefs by forcing you to make quick decisions and work intuitively. I found this to be especially important as, given that I feel my sketch booking/roughing has been weaker and in smaller volumes than previous years, it shows that I have gained a greater confidence in my practice by being able to quickly choose and effectively execute ideas. Despite challenging helping question and develop the processes and aesthetics of my practice I realise that there wasn’t much room for clever or sophisticated forms of communication given that the content was pretty self-evident. Therefore I realised I needed to undertake some briefs that would help me to develop my communication skills. This was further highlighted by what I see as communicative failings with projects I undertook earlier in the year. For example with my Don’t Look Now posters I don’t think they best communicated the dark and visceral nature of the musical events they were promoting. This is mainly due to overly bright colour choices as well as the sterile feel the images have due to lack of effective texture usage. Therefore, this showed me that for future briefs, both in university and beyond, I would have to more carefully consider content and context and ask my self is the way in which I am working suited to the subject at hand.


Although I feel that the images I created for my ‘Mono No Aware’ brief did tonally suite the concept, particularly in communicated the subdued, whistful feeling associated with it, the project was perhaps a bit too open ended and therefore maybe I needed to engage with a brief that had more conceptual depth and contextual possibilities.

My John Carpenter Posters can be seen as reaction to these issues. Given the small size of the brief, only 2 final posters, I used it to allow myself to quickly and effectively evaluate how best to respond to the content and the context. This is shown by the use of simple but powerful visual devises that concisely communicate the core themes of the films in a way that, visually, is highly effective in the context of a large scale, promotional poster.


I think that my final major brief, Dune, can be seen as an effective culmination of all that I had learned from my previous successes and failings. This is due to how it effectively and appropriately communicates the content of the book. Furthermore, through designing both a fold out publication and editioned art prints, I was able to consider how specific context may alter the images in question and ultimately affect my decision making process. I was also happy that the former allowed me to effectively combine what I’ve learned through commercially freelance design work with my illustration practice through sophisticated type setting and layouts.


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