On Monday this week I had a tutorial to discuss the progress of my project this semester as we entered week 7. We talked about how the research I have done to help develop my work over the last few weeks has benefitted my overall aim; my research into tattoo artists and symbolisms has helped me build an understanding of the meaningfulness of the art form and decide what representations I want to include in my own design that is personal to me. My experimentation in technical tattoo practice has and continues to help me refine my skills in preparation for the creation of my final piece of work. We also discussed what my next steps are for this week, which I will mention at the end of the post.
During this week’s workshop we each presented our Pecha Kucha presentations relating to our own projects. I chose to do ‘Design Your Dream Tattoo’, as it is very reminiscent of what I am doing in my work this semester and I felt would be a good opportunity for everyone to be really creative. Taking on my feedback from my presentation last semester, I made sure to write a detailed script with a lot more text than I had previously, to avoid gaps of silence in my presentation. This worked very well as I had written just the right amount for each slide, and had covered most of the details and queries about the structure and meaning behind the workshop. I think one thing I could have done differently to improve my presentation would be to introduce it more clearly at the start and to explain the theme of the semester to provide the audience with more context. I also need to work on my presenting voice as it is goes quite monotone when I am stressed and even I was finding it a bit boring to listen to lol.
Planning my Final Composition
Thumbnailing and Sketching Ideas:
This week I began sketching ideas for the composition of my back tattoo. I want to create an ornate and floral sort of ‘frame’ around the symbolisms in the center, inspired by Joris Van Son’s ‘Allegory on Human Life’. For a while I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to include a depiction of myself in the composition, as for starters drawing bodies is not my forte, but I came across several paintings of the famous character Ophelia from William Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ and they helped me decide that I did want to include myself, as the paintings create the exact sense that I feel and want to encapsulate within my tattoo.
Oil on canvas, 1851-1852, Sir John Everett Millais, b. 1829- d. 1896, 762 x 1118mm,
Tate Gallery, London
This painting is of a scene from Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’ in Act IV Scene vii, where Ophelia driven crazy by the grief of her lover murdering her father falls into a stream and drowns whilst singing. There are so many hidden symbolisms in this composition, from the roses surrounding her that symbolize love and youth to the violets around her neck that represent innocence, melancholy, early death faith and peace. When I saw this painting it evoked the sense of bittersweet melancholy that I have been trying to grasp and represent within my project. Although the context of the painting does not relate to my own experiences, I feel a great resonance with how it represents death. It reflects how I have grown to feel about it, I feel I am developing a sense of imperturbable anticipation towards the inevitability of death. It will still upset me, but I am beginning to lose the sense of resentment that I felt for it previously and view it for its beauty.
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke; When down her weedy trophies and herself Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide, And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up; Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes, As one incapable of her own distress, Or like a creature native and indued Unto that element; but long it could not be Till that her garments, heavy with their drink, Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay To muddy death.
Hamlet, William Shakespeare, Act IV, scene vii
Oil on canvas, 1900, Friedrich Wilhelm Theodor Heyser, b.1857- d.1921, 90.5 x 181.5cm,
This second painting of Ophelia further depicts the mood that I want to create in my tattoo. The positioning of the figure is so peaceful, beautiful and accepting of death. The flowers surrounding her link back to the ones I have been conducting research into for my own composition, such as the Lotus flower. The scene looks serene and welcoming despite the presence of death. Obviously due to my chosen medium of tattooing I am not going to be able to create something of this physical quality with all of the finer details, but I hope to be able to take inspiration from the positioning of the figure to add to my own piece, as can be seen from the outline of the figure I have drawn on my IPad. I plan to order several thicknesses of tattoo needle so that I can add more detail and shading to my design.
This is the current progress of my tattooing skills. I have been practicing everyday which I’m proud that I have managed to stick to. I have improved a lot over the past week and am managing to reach the right needle depth more consistently. In order to get my project finished on time I will need to continue improving and this rate and also work on shading techniques so that my design doesn’t look unfinished.
Next for my project I need to finalize my composition and finish drawing it up digitally. I need to order my fake skin and other tattooing supplies and continue to practice everyday as I have been, including moving on to working on shading techniques that will be needed to give my design more depth. I need to research ways to install my work once it as been created, although I already have some ideas for this so will just need to find relevant artists and references to support it.