This publication has been created to support a motion piece created using the poem â€˜Twatâ€™ by John Cooper Clarke, inspired by the artworks of Barbara Kruger. In this publication you will find our entire process of creating the motion piece, from our research, initial ideas, sketches through to the final completed piece.
John Cooper Clarke
11. Ideas 14.
JOHN COOPER CLARKE
Not knowing who John Cooper Clarke was, we was eager to delve into his past and figure out exactly who he was and was both pleasantly surprised. Not being particularly keen on poetry, due to its more stereotypical form, we were glad with our poet choice. His poems were interesting, different, aggressive and rather exciting to read. It wasn’t just his poetry that we found interesting but in fact his whole life, which was far from boring. Born in 1949, he rose to fame during the late 1970’s with the punk movement, because of his unique verse and rapid- fire performance style.
2 After touring with most of punk’s ground breaking bands including the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Buzzcocks, The Fall, and Elvis Costello, to list a couple, he began to pull in large crowds in his own right performing to thousands up and down the UK, releasing various LP’s and getting signed before spending the majority of the 80’s suffering from a serious heroin addiction. Although this did put a knock on his career he has since made a come back, featuring in TV commercial including McCain’s oven chips, Films and even started to tour again all over the UK.
JOHN COOPER CLARKE
We decided to go with ‘Twat’ mainly because of the way in which it didn’t feel like a poem when we were reading it. Yes it rhymed, but the overall tone of the poem reminded us both more of a rant or an argument when it’s being read. It starts off bold and hard hitting from the start and gradually gets more aggressive as the poem goes on.
3 When it came to picking one of John Cooper Clarke’s poems we was swamped with a vast number of potential contenders. What we particularly liked about the poetry of John Cooper Clarke was the way in which his poems completely contradicted any stereotypes that we had of more traditional poetry.
We chose to focus on the last half of the poem, starting from “Like a sucked and spat out Smartie” because we felt that this was the most interesting half of the poem, not only for the content, but also the way which the whole poem gradually builds up to the last line which also titles the poem.
When you think of poetry you normally instantly think of poem that talks about the idea of love, serenading someone or the use of metaphors and similes to express somethings beauty. However, John Cooper Clarkes poems are completely different. All of his poems are grittier and have darker underlying themes that set them apart from any over poems we have ever read.
Barbara Kruger born 1945 started her career at Syracuse University, the School of Visual Arts, and studied art and design with Diane Arbus at Parson’s School of Design in New York, before obtaining a design job at Condé Nast Publications. While working for “Mademoiselle” magazine, she was quickly promoted to head designer, before working as a graphic designer, art director, and picture editor in the art departments at various publication companies.
8 This background in design is clearly visible in the work for which she is now internationally known. Kruger layers found Imagery, witty slogans and aggressive text in their trademark black letters against a rectangle of red. However whilst this is her most well known work, she has also worked created work in different formats including large-scale projections, installations and video based pieces.
While looking at Barbara Kruger’s work we was both more familiar with the poster-based work and not so much her installations. These both stood out to us as we felt that these styles went hand in hand with the whole idea of the poem. The poem and Kruger’s work are bold, in your face, making a statement and hard hitting. Our initial ideas for creating the words in motion was to fill an environment with large text murals, which we both felt would work well with the poem. We began thinking of ideas in which we could do this and the idea of projecting stood out to us massively and believed that the combination of the right location and the right projected imagery would create a fantastic outcome. However when it came to the equipment needed, the amount of projectors, lighting, camera equipment and the fact that we would be in remote areas at night with all of this equipment we began to realise that maybe this style of work wouldn’t be as achievable as we both initially thought.
We then began to think about alternative methods of creating a similar effect, which led us to the idea of motion tracking. Motion tracking would enable us to digitally add in text/ words to a filmed piece, making it look as though the words were actually there during filming, saving time of painting and installing the murals and also gaining permission to do so. However we was once again restricted, this time by our lack of knowledge in After Effects and discovered that this technique was well above our current skill level and even a level of skill we would be able to obtain in the time period we had to work with.
11 After realising our initial ideas were something we couldnâ€™t achieve we reverted back to the drawing board and soon found a method in which we could still achieve what we wanted to. The idea of creating posters would allow us to fill an environment, making a statement that is bold, clear and in your face in the same way projecting or motion tracking would, but would be something that is a lot more achievable for us to obtain a professional looking outcome. Although this method wasnâ€™t our first choice and was initially something we wanted to steer clear of we felt that it would still work for what we wanted and although our investigation into other techniques rendered itself useless in terms of production, we are both glad we did so as it has helped us understand exactly what it is we want to create by using this method. BARBARA KRUGER
14 We began by sketching our rough ideas for the posters, breaking down each line of the poem and thinking of relevant imagery we could use to capture the tone, emotion and show what the poem was saying. We decided to take a real literal take on what the lines of the poem were saying but then when it came to the imagery we tried to think of and find real obscure images that captured the ideas expressed. We felt that by doing this the posters would definitely relate to the content of the poem, but it wouldnâ€™t come across in a clichĂŠ manor and would enable us to create a series of visually effective posters that worked well.
Like the shadow of the guillotine
Speaking as an outsider,
on a dead consumptive’s face.
what do you think of the human race
Like a sucked and spat our smartie,
you’re no use to anyone.
You’re heading for a breakdown
Your attitudes are platitudes,
better pull Your dirty name gets passed about when something goes amiss
just make me wanna piss
You went to a progressive psychiatrist before scratching your bad name off his list,
You hear laughter breaking through, it makes you want to fart
he recommended suicide... and pointing the way out
What kind of creature bore you
They canâ€™t find a good word for you,
was it some kind of bat
but i can...
After creating the posters and finding a location that we wanted to display the posters in we decided to go out into this environment and test the posters. We pasted up each of the posters to get an idea if the posters worked as well as we wanted them to, if they worked in the environment, if the size we was thinking was big enough in proportion to the surrounding and to highlight any mistakes, errors or rooms for improvement within the posters. By doing this we picked up on issues with spelling and grammar that had been missed, allowing us to make these changes and confirm that the posters were of the right format, large enough and worked in the location we had found.
When it came to generating ideas of how our motion piece would go we started by sketching out a brief initial storyboard. The main reason of this wasn’t to set in stone every shot and the flow of the motion piece, but was more to get us thinking of the process of filming in general. Although our storyboard wasn’t very conclusive, we did this on purpose so that whilst shooting we wasn’t restricted to just what we had on paper, but allowed us to look at the whole shooting process a lot more creatively.