F I O N A W R I G H T P R O F E S S I O N A L P R A C T I C E
C O N T E N T S ABOUT THE ARTIST..............................................................................5 PERSONAL PRACTICE...........................................................................6 WORK EXPERIENCE............................................................................12 NEGOTIATED PRACTICE......................................................................18 EXTENDED MAJOR PROJECT...............................................................24 INTERNET PRESCENCE........................................................................29
A B O U T T H E A R T I S T
I am an illustrator, model/puppet maker and occasional animator. I draw influence and inspiration from many sources; in particular I am deeply interested in dreams, the subconscious and the uncanny. I like to work in metaphor and explore critical ideas and theories and concepts whilst maintaining a quaint and stylistic aesthetic. I find creating puppets and animating to be deeply gratifying. The process of creating a tiny narrative or instance or character and being able to breathe life and magic into them is something I am keen to expand on in my future work.
P E R S O N A L P R A C T I C E The necessity to draw and pursue creative outlets has been the main drive of my existence for as long as I can remember. I learnt very quickly that the escapism that drawing and creating provided me was unrivalled by anything else in my life. It has always been my ambition to pursue a creative career in some form or another. I would venture to say that it goes beyond a career preference and is more an essential aspect of my life. If I can also sustain myself and the hoard of cats I will inevitably accumulate, then more the better for it.
and peers, however, I found myself experimenting with model making and more tactile mediums. The convergence/divergence unit at the end of level 5 really pushed me to take a leap out of my comfort zone and embrace a new method of working. In model making and puppets, I can achieve a level of depth and life-like aspects that I struggled with in my drawing practice. Because I have been learning â€œon the jobâ€? in my endeavours, I have become far less precious with my practice and have found myself able to relax into a way of working that feels completely natural and most importantly, enjoyable.
My time at university has been full of self-reflection regarding the direction of my work and what I truly find rewarding about my practice. The act of drawing for me had always been about escapism and I always found it difficult to make this gel with the work that was required of me. I found I was being too precious with my work to the extent that my creativity became immensely stifled. With encouragement from my tutors
I experienced a steep learning curve when designing and making the puppets for my stop motion animation. I had very ambitious ideas about how the puppets would be articulated that was based off of the construction of Hans Bellmer’s “La Poupee”. I meticulouslyI experienced carved and sanded ball and socket joint to a steepeach learning curve when designfit perfectly ing andand to be balanced via a system ofstop elastic chords making the puppets for my motion anirunning through eachI had hollow Whilstideas this was successful mation. verylimb. ambitious about how theto a degree, the size of would the puppets made ensuring each joint puppets be articulated that was based offand of hook and fastening was fully secured awkward. Consequently, the construction of Hans Bellmer’s “La Poupee”. the puppets had to be reinforced with wire running alongside the stunted I meticulously carved This andis sanded each I elastic, which articulation slightly. not a process ball and socket joint to fit perfectly and to be would return to unless working on a larger scale to ensure proper balanced via a system of elastic chords running robust construction. through each hollow limb. Whilst this was successful to a degree, the size of the puppets made ensuring each joint and hook and fastening was fully secured awkward. Consequently, the puppets had to be reinforced with wire running alongside the elastic, which stunted articulation slightly. This is not a process I would return to unless working on a larger scale to ensure proper robust construction.
W O R K E X P E R I E N C E For one week in June 2011 I attended a work experience placement at Asylum Films at their studio in London. During my placement I worked on props and scenery for a segment of animation for the still unreleased “Project Chapman”. A feature length 3D animated film comprised of shorter films depicting scenes from the autobiography of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman. The segment I was working on featured an animated retelling of an old Monty Python talent show sketch. For this project I was in charge of creating to scale props and set pieces that will actually appear in the film when it is released. I was unable to take any photographs of my work, or anything else going on at the studio due to the confidential and unreleased nature of the project. I fabricated several stage
pieces including chairs, a clock, a withered and neglected potted plant and a tacky prop Holy Grail. It was a really valuable learning experience for me as I got the opportunity to see a real working stop motion set as it was being constructed. I got a good idea of the ideal scale and quality of materials used for both sets and props, while also gaining insight into the design process of props before they were even real tangible objects. Above all else, I found it comforting to learn that the range of materials utilized in creating the set and props did not necessarily have to be top of the range expensive or very specific materials. A huge obstacle for me was coming to terms with embracing a more DIY aesthetic and allowing my work to not look factory perfect
all the time. It was an enormous comfort when I was instructed to make a clock out of whatever junk I could find. The bottom of a soda can is the perfect size and shape to fashion into the rim of a wall clock, for instance.
In addition to my time at Asylum Films, I also spent a number of weeks with director Kate Herron developing character concepts and visual aids for a scriptwriting competition held by Script Factory Development Scheme. From the work that I produced when working with Kate, she has expressed an interest in recruiting my animating services for a music video once my time at AUCB is passed and I can commit to a project fully. Below are some character concepts for her script. After rejecting my initial concepts on the grounds of being too animal-like and not relatable enough, she specified that she wanted a sea monster character that possessed both repulsive and charming characteristics, “Like a Kelpy E.T”
I was recently asked to produce a simple cover by a writer friend of mine to use on his dissertation for Creative and Professional Writing. The text I was illustrating for was a 5000 word short science fiction story dealing with issues of human conscience, and morality issues concerning AI and androids, based heavily on the writings of Hans Moravec. I was instructed to read through the story and come up with a simple graphical line drawing that complimented the story well. I produced several simple colour variations for the author to choose from:
N E G O T I A T E D P R A C T I C E
Following on from my animation experimentation at the end of level 5, I was feeling burnt out and despondent about the idea of beginning another animation project for Negotiated practice at the beginning of level 6. As a result of this, I devised a way to incorporate model making and set building with static images with the intention of creating an image only narrative. I began designing an abstracted and simplified version of a personal story/ narrative Iâ€™d had knocking about in my head for a while and eventually came up with the idea of a narrative revolving around a surreal masked beast of burden who, upon awakening at its ridersâ€™ campsite, discovers it is totally alone. Its rider vanished. I thought this plot would give me a good foundation on which to base a visual narrative as the best searches for its rider through a wooded area.
I constructed the beast of burden puppet in a very similar fashion to the puppets from the unit before, using ball and socket joints held together with strung taut elastic. As with the Ghostboy puppets I sculpted all the limbs and appendages by hand with polymer clay and then painted details. I kept the bandaged up body for the beast of burden to try to establish a sense of aesthetic cohesion between the two pieces. Although I didnâ€™t want the creatures to look too similar, it is important to me to keep certain thematic elements throughout my work, regardless of how successful the final outcomes may be. Hence the prominence of bandaged bodies, awkward limbs and mask like featureless faces. I
was very conscious throughout designing the beast that he didnâ€™t look too twee or friendly. I had originally intended for the puppets and scenery to be used again in my Extended Major Project where I would then proceed to animate the illustrative narrative produced in Negotiated Practice. However, the narrative did not end up being as cohesive as I had anticipated, and while the images I produced are pleasing they highlight huge flaws in the narrative. From this I realized the importance of having a fully realized narrative planned out way in advance of shooting or image making.
E X T E N D E D M A J O R P R O J E C T Moving on from Negotiated Practice into Extended Major Project, I began to miss the process of animation once more. Upon reflecting back at the mistakes I made in negotiated practice I felt I had gained the necessary insight to try once more at making an animation with a cohesive narrative. One thing I particularly enjoyed about the creative process between divergence/convergence was that my narrative and whole idea came from an abstracted metaphor for isolation and the convergence of individuals after periods of isolation. With memories of this process in mind, I began to think about the creative process and how my relationship with being “creative” had changed recently. I was finding it increasingly more difficult to be creative in any capacity and I found I was overthinking things to such an extent that I couldn’t get anything done. I decided to turn my own shortcomings around on themselves and came up with the idea of relating creativity to autonomous and every day activities – like making a cup of tea.
Like drawing used to be for me, making a cuppa is something deeply ingrained in people’s habits. It’s an activity they turn to in stress and when seeking comfort. It seems like such a small task but if it were to suddenly become insurmountably more difficult, if you were so small you could barely lift a teabag, the dynamic of this familiar ritual would be shifted dramatically. With this in mind I began rifling through my sketchbook for an old sketch I had produced of an impy creature sitting in the rim of a teacup. It was just a doodle, something that oozed out of my pencil so easily and naturally I was barely aware of it. I began formulating a narrative for this little dude, projecting my struggle with creativity onto his physical struggle to make a cup of tea with tools several times bigger than he was. The narrative was already there for me as making a cup of tea is a well-known process, I just had to tweak it to fit with the context of my little imp dude.
Following the design in my sketches, I began researching how to properly construct a stop motion armature that would be sturdy enough to withstand hours of bending and stress. I wanted something that I could build relatively quickly in comparison to the labour heavy ball-jointed method I had used previously. I ended up utilizing a very simple wire armature, wrapped in cotton wool and bandage for padding and then bound in yards and yards of black thread. Again, the thread was a stylistic choice similar to my use of bandages in my previous projects. It also ensured that everything was bound and held tightly in place, in the end he was a very sturdy little fellow and it was only in the last 2 days of shooting that I ran into any problems. By this time one of his ankles had weakened considerably and the epoxy putty foot from within came loose, meaning he couldnâ€™t bear any weight on one leg.
I sculpted his face from Sculpey, the same material I used on my previous puppets, with a meticulously sculpted face. It took me around 6 attempts to get the right balance of vacant, unsettling and endearing that I try to keep predominant in my visual style. I made sure his ears were prominent and mobile for extra expressiveness to compensate for his unmoving face.
When planning and constructing my set for this animation, I utilized every piece of information and experience I had gleaned from previous units and my work experience with Asylum. I needed the set, an everyday kitchen side, to look as convincing as possible while still being accessible from different angles to maximise camera angle variation. I constructed the set from wood and cardboard, not the most sturdy of materials but they were the cheapest available. If I make another set I will definitely use MDF for the surfaces as itâ€™s a lot sturdier and less prone to bowing. Decorating and dressing the set was a real pleasure and it is something I would love to expand on in the future. I have become more and more interested in production design for film and I feel this set may have been my gateway into a field I had no idea I was interested in.