Of Practice and Craft; of Entrepeneurs, Amateurs, and professionals; and, a post-mortem.

This will be quite the substantial post to launch off this semester’s foray into the subject of MEDA302. My mind is currently bouncing from topic to topic, perhaps due to the staggering amount of red cordial I have consumed to get me through today; so forgive me if my thoughts do not spew forth coherently.

I walked into MEDA302’s first class of the semester with a sense of renewed hope and purpose, and to set me on the path forward, our task for the week was several lists of questions. For convenience I will sort them by their subject matter and include the question itself instead of just blithering on. I feel this is more for myself to keep focussed. I am digressing already – so let’s just get into it.

Entrepreneurs and Amateurs; Practices and Crafts:

Expectations for the Semester:

We have read the subject outcomes, but what are the outcomes you are aiming for in this subject?

Personally I just want to make it through to the end. I have had a bad run with health and life that has gotten in the way. This semester I am determined not to be a victim of my circumstance, and actually have something tangible to show for it. And not only that, but to actually do bloody well at it as well!

I have a lot of projects in mind to work on, and I am rather excited to see them on display at the end of the semester.

How can this subject help you substantiate your learning in your chosen practice or field/major of study?

It would only make sense for me to work on an area in which I would want to improve. Currently my ‘practice’ is somewhat one-dimensional; digital photography. In the past I have worked with Arduino, lasers, interactive displays – however my resources since moving away from home have been somewhat limited. Last semester I continued on this one dimensional path, however this semester I intend on branching out a little. I have recently been experimenting with textiles, knitting and crocheting, and I would love to incorporate that into my work somehow. I know of many artists who have done the same, one outrageously so. I may write on this later on should I choose to pursue a textile-oriented project.

How can it extend your learning and your practice into professional life?

It wasn’t until over the holiday break when I had a chance to rethink my entire direction on life did I actually manage to find a solid path to follow. I had previously only wanted to pursue photography through my own business, and get a boring 9-5 job during the week. However, I now have higher goals to some day be a creative director in the long term. I feel this subject, with it’s focus on practice, will enable me to channel my creative thinking into something to display and to curate, which will be an invaluable skill in the future.

Practice and Craft:

What is your practice?

If I were to say I was in the practice of anything, the one thing that pops to mind currently is a photographer. That is my main medium, it is what I do to earn money, it is what I do for fun.

What is your Craft?

If I were to describe my practice as a craft, I would further go on to say that I engage in macro still life and nature photography, small-scale landscape photography, and general portraiture.

What elements of your practice would you like to develop during MEDA302?

Over the holidays I began expanding upon my practices and I would like to encompass broader mediums. Whether that be with working with film, or more traditional media, or even incorporating my knitting into my work, will be decided when I can flesh out a concept to be excited about.

What elements of craft would you like to develop/practice/learn during 302?

In able to get where I want to be with the aforementioned practice development, I would like to expand the styles of photography that I am comfortable with. This may mean undertaking photoshoots with models of different genres than I am currently comfortable with and breaking down the barriers that I have tied myself to for conventional production.

Additionally, I would like to continue developing my textiles work. The more I write about it the more I would actually like to find a way to combine these two elements together for my major project this semester.

Fiona Hall is one such artist who mixes media and uses textile knowledge to create works.

 

Motivations:

What is your motivation? What motivates you to keep at this practice?

My motivations are simple. I want a good life. I want a good job. I want to move to Melbourne and incorporate myself into the rich fabric of media entrepreneurial and professional scenes down there. I find it very exciting and it is something I would like to work towards. I never again want to be stuck working 35 hours a week in a job that stifles creativity to go home to someone who never appreciated the sacrifices I made.

Are you pursuing a ‘love for’ something? What is that something that you are pursuing for the ‘love for’?

I have been stuck in a job that I had absolutely no passion for. After leaving behind a somewhat toxic life I have discovered (and I am still discovering) love for creative outlets. I had previously picked up photography as a very easy way to express myself. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking pictures – but at the moment they are just that. Aesthetics. I want to dedicate myself to my craft and develop my practice into something that actually means so much more than, ‘ooh, a pretty flower!’. I love my art. I love to create. I love to produce work. So yes, I am pursuing a ‘love for’ something; and in the process, giving it meaning.

Feature picture related: a recent photoshoot I did to expand my stylistic approach to photography.

A Post-Mortem analysis:

The scope of answers I can provide for this section are somewhat limited. I didn’t have much input into my group’s final project other than dropping some suggestions and knowledge, as well as advice on how to pursue the project that was had in mind. Due to time and budget constraints, the final project ended up being very very different to what the groupmates had in mind. I do feel partially responsible for the direction it went, and I am unsure that my groupmates were particularly happy with the results. But regardless of that, I do believe the project itself had potential.

MEDA301 final project:

What Aspects of the work functioned well? What are the reasons you think the aspects work? What is your evidence?

Our project ended up being an exploration of colour and screen interactivity – a look into the science of how monitors and screens produce colour by using an additive colour technique. Basically, when you add more light as colours, the colours would overlap and produce different colours. The work itself was 3 projectors aimed at a white wall, each projecting a colour which progressed through the RGB colour cycle.

It was a very shallow production at its core but worked brilliantly. The projections mimicked what actually happens through TV screens and LCD monitors quite well, and it showed. When colours overlapped, other colours were produced successfully as hypothesized.

Are there aspects in the project that can be extended or taken further? If so, how? Why were these aspects not developed?

I feel this project has a lot of great potential for expansion. More exploration on the way colour interacts would be great, as well as the addition of how colour subtraction techniques (ie. through the use of colour filters) would impact the projections would be quite interesting. Making the project a little more interactive and adding a few more shapes and perhaps even some more animation would be something to work on as well.

If it is the end of the road, why?

I feel it is not my place to take over a project that I had so little contribution to. I was more an advisor to the process than actually participating in the work’s creation. I would love to see an expansion to the project, however I will not be undertaking it myself.

What were the decisions made that may have impacted on the work?

Initially the project was going to be much, much different. The group wanted to create a drawing machine however quickly found that time and budget constraints made it impossible to do by the end of the semester. When the idea was change to investigate the way LED screens worked, I feel a part of my research on the difference between additive and subtractive colour sciences had a major impact on the direction of the project, as the science of colour management through screens would not allow the second iteration of the project to be possible either.

Entrepreneur and Amateur:

Expectations for the Semester:

To recap from earlier, and to finish up this blog post, here the answers I would have had for a ‘speed-dating’ activity during class that never came to fruition. However I feel it valuable I write my thoughts down should the opportunity come up again.

We have read the subject outcomes, but what are the outcomes you are aiming for in this subject?

To create something tangible and impressive for display at the end of the semester, a project that I will be able to keep and take with me throughout my career.

How can this subject help you substantiate your learning in your chosen practice or field/major of study?

By setting a goal to work with my mediums of craft I can produce a work that aligns with my chosen practice and also give me the skills to expand my studies and beyond.

How can it extend your learning and your practice into professional life?

Simply put, the skills I develop (and have developed all through uni) will directly impact the path I take beyond university. For the job I want in the future I need a broader ‘bank’ of knowledge and skills to be considered a viable candidate.

How would you have done this differently?

My biggest regret is not knowing my direction sooner. If I had known what I wanted to do after graduation I would have had more time to develop relevant skills and knowledge, as well as more of a drive to succeed and do as well as I can.

Stills from the final project. Credit: Emily Gegg

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