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Katy Nelson ~ Week 5

This Week’s Workshop: Ideas for our own Workshop

This week we reflected on last week’s cooking workshop for inspiration to help us plan a workshop of our own. We started by choosing a cardboard box and then spent time collecting a list of words that related to what we did last week. From this list we went on to chose a theme or idea that we wanted to pursue in our own workshop; for mine I chose colour. I wanted to create a workshop based around colour as it relates to my own project where I am investigating purple in my everyday life, but also because out of all the photographs that I took during the cooking exercise, my favourite is of the vegetables that we were cooking with- the colours were fascinating. For my workshop I wanted to propose something quite light-hearted and fun, and maybe something that seems kind of strange. I started by collecting a list of different coloured fruits and vegetables, and decided that everyone should chose the one that they feel most drawn to and then ‘get to know’ it. I want people to think of them as something more than just food and also to appreciate their beauty. We would also put googly eyes on the fruit and vegetables and then try and create a life/ backstory for each one. My idea still needs more developing, but I hope that it would be a really relaxed and fun experience for the group.

Workshop Inspiration: Gaku

‘Gaku’ also called Takehiro Kishimoto is a Japanese artist who practices the ancient form of art, Mukimono, which means ‘peeled thing’ in Japanese. He creates elaborate designs within fruit such as kiwis and broccoli, all before the food begins to rot. I was inspired by this work as despite the careful and delicate nature of the carvings, it has a fun and almost childish sense. I liked the way it brought a smile to my face when I first saw it, and this is something I wanted to try and reflect in my workshop idea.

Dan Hays

Dan Hays was born in 1966 in London, where he now currently lives and works as an artist. He has a BA and a PHD in Fine Art and has taken part in numerous exhibitions globally. Hays began painting Guinea pigs in the 1990s, during a difficult financial time in his life. He had first created a piece of art where he took a photo of a guinea pig that he had found amusing and framed it, also adding chicken wire over the top to appear as if the guinea pig was in a cage. He entered this piece into a local competition, where it was stolen and he received compensation for the loss of the piece. He says that he then missed the artwork and so recreated it soon after, this time painting the guinea pig. He then continued to paint guinea pigs on Sundays, with around 40 paintings being created over several ‘Litters’ for multiple exhibitions. Hays says that ‘Guinea Pigs are the definitive experimental subject’ and that in some of the paintings, it is like the guinea pigs are trying to ‘escape the confines of the rectangle’, where only parts of the animals are visible within the composition. I think that this is a very original, thoughtful and positive collection of paintings. I love the distinctiveness of each featured guinea pig and how the chosen background colours affect the mood of each painting and even how the audience interprets the personality and mood of each animal. The simplicity of each composition makes the guinea pigs appear bold and almost comical, as they have no context other than the coloured surface that they appear on, and this is something that relates to my own recent paintings of my purple objects. It is also something I want to continue with as I want to create my own series of related paintings that I can then place together and arrange to make a three dimensional, changeable composition.

Lost Guinea Pig
1990, printed photograph, wood, chicken wire.
Without Desire there is Tranquility
1991, oil on canvas & hutch, life-size.

My Own Project: Update…

Since my last notebook update, I have been working on another painting of one of my favourite purple objects, this time a purple unicorn goblet. I am working again in gouache, as usually I would chose to work in watercolour but I am enjoying challenging myself and developing my painting style. One of the reasons I wanted to paint this item is because it is so intricate and I have spent a long time trying to study the details as accurately as I can. I haven’t yet finished painting it, as I have to work carefully to blend the colours and this has taken a long time. I will be finishing the painting this weekend and then starting a third- I want to paint one more purple object before I then move on to painting my seven pet rodents in purple. My idea is to create a series of purple paintings that are very personal to me, and arrange these freestanding on a surface with purple lighting. I have a lot of painting to get started with, and I am hoping to get two more completed over reading week.. as soon as I have done a photoshoot with all my pets. For the time being, I am very pleased with how my goblet painting is looking!

1 thought on “Katy Nelson ~ Week 5”

  1. great Katy, amazing vegtable carvings! wow the ephemerality of those, the time and work to then rot, wow thats comittment isn’t it? the project sounds clear and focussed, just time consuming, but worth it we hope, I am sure it will be. Perhaps paint the plinth too? research how you will make purple lighting, purple gel I assume, on our photographic lights. Don’t leave these important details to the end while getting absorbed in the painting because they will be so important to the success of the work, but well done keep going. Did you have a look at Fischli & Weiss Suddenly an Overview?

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