Saturday, 25 April 2015

Experimenting with Drawing on Frames

After producing some A4 watercolour and ink animal portraits, I felt they needed an element of imagery which reflected the issue faced by each species. Therefore, not wanting to spoil the original imagery, I directly drew onto the glass in permanent marker. The left illustration reflects deforestation with the stumps of trees and the right illustration reflects the illegal pet trade of orang-utans with the bars. Scratching into the thick lines gives the impression of depth for the bars and also adds texture. 

Even though these are quite effective for creating a statement about the issues, the harshness of the black draws attention away from the illustrations and the subtly of watercolour is subdued. 

To make the illustrations more prominent and the focal point in the exhibition, white frames could be used, clear with the original illustrations. This will highlight the illustrations and raw texture in the pieces without distracting from the sensitive content.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Combining Digital and Traditional

As experimental development, I used my own primary source imagery combined with illustrations to create new ideas and themes. These have been heavily manipulated in Photoshop so the quality may not necessarily be there although these could be used as reference to create new illustrations.

Here I have used a photograph of bars combined with an illustration to make it appear as though the elephant is trapped and caged.

Left: The original photograph.

Below: The manipulated imagery.

These images reflect the trauma of the Asian elephant when faced with threats from the human race. Rather than elephants being physically caged, my intention is for the cage for be a symbol of how such a large animal is made to feel demoralized and trapped in a number of ways. This could reflect on how elephants are used within the tourist industry in Thailand or even how they are kept behind the scenes of a circus. 

Intentionally, the elephant appears vulnerable and lost. Perhaps this is the only elephant left before they become a long lost memory into extinction? The red hues reflect violence and danger, a sense of darkness which is the elephants impending fate.

Using the same elephant illustration, I superimposed the animal into a forest scene. The forest scene is manipulated from a primary source photograph and put into a new context. The in the left image the elephant seems vulnerable in its own habitat whereas in the right image the elephant seems to be fading away. This sense of fading reflects the threat of extinction through habitat loss. Whilst the habitat is replaced and preserved, the elephants and forced to survive elsewhere, or not at all...

 Using an ink illustration, I thought about a comment I had during the formative assessment- why not add a background? Whilst I feel white space encourages the viewer to pay closer attention to the main subject, I decided to use a primary source landscape photograph to provide a sense of context to the image. The darkness of the landscape highlights the elephant slaves whilst the red tones in the sky imply a sense of danger and foreboding. Where are the elephants being taken? What is their fate?

These illustrations were manipulated in Photoshop and given a simple forest-like background. This background was painted digitally and fills out the image.

Overall, I believe these experiments were a success in how they reflected the threats of extinction and providing imagery which is more thought-provoking for the viewer. The colours are vivid and the use of photography brings stronger compositions. However, the manipulation in Photoshop can appear over-worked so it could it effective to replicate similar imagery in traditional media.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Introducing Orang-utans

To progress on the development of my project, I have decided to focus on threats to orang-utans in the wild. The threats include habitat loss through deforestation, the illegal pet trade and agriculture for palm oil. These facts were all sourced from the World Wildlife Fund website and Orangutan Conservancy.

The choice to focus on orang-utans came from when I initially looked into endangered species of the Sumatran forest. Then when I went to Chester Zoo to take primary source imagery I felt I sympathised with the animals, especially one who was by the glass and looked to somber and sad.

Although the animal was hard to photograph due to the reflection from the windows, I cannot explain how emotional this made me feel, how sad it was to see such a grand animal being observed in a cage which resembled not even a small portion of his original habitat. This made me want to make a change even more through my illustrations so that perhaps people will become aware that these animals were put on the Earth to achieve more than be viewed as an object in a zoo. If people are ignorant to the threats of orang-utans in the wild then they will be destined for a life in containers until they eventually fade from this planet entirely.

Here is a couple of experimental illustrations defining the character of this beautiful creature: