Stories and Fairytales have always been used as a way of understanding the world around us. They give us warnings and help us to see things in a new perspective. Stories, legends, tales, mysteries, lore all create a person’s culture and identity. I wanted to explore how a person creates their own set of ethics built on the stories, interactions and experiences that a person has gone through. I used Tarot cards as an anchor to link my stories together. Tarot cards, used for divination are a way of revealing hidden dynamics within a person’s life. The link between these cards, the icons that they represent and the meaning they can hold fits with stories. Within fortune telling and divination practices people will fit their lives into what they are being told, I wanted to use and explore this phenomenon within my outcome. I have used small extracts, snippets and some abstract summaries of stories to allow the audience to mould and manipulate what they are reading into something personally relatable. When I read anthologies I always skip between stories and do not follow the order.
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From my reflection at the end of the last two practices, I identified that I wanted to create textural tangible illustrations for this final project with elements of 3D, Mixed media and collage. I identified some main inspirations in the form of current artists and illustrators, of which all influence me . I have used the Hermit archetype as the method to deliver the stories. The hermit is a person, on the fringe of society, a person who can sometimes be ostracised and outcast. The collection of stories begins to make the audience think about things outside our society or the people who are on different from us. People are made from the stories and the experiences we go through, the people closest to us often share the same stories, family stories, local stories, so the more we reach out to others then more enriched our experiences will become. The stories and illustration force people to think differently about the icons used and about how they relate to their own lives. Within my discourse and reflection module, I explored and inquired about how modern figures/celebrities fit within well-known archetypes; Trump playing the Fool.
The stories I have presented give the audience the ability to connect archetypes, with the tarot arcana, with current figures. Within my project, I was unsure how I was going to present my project or what I was going to produce. I began exploring and looking at sets of cards like tarot cards. I wanted to see how I could use cards to tell stories, similar to the children’s story builder cards/cubes. I became interested in how a person can interact with a story and adapt it to their own experiences however I began to look too much into written storytelling and needed to refocus on my visuals and images. I decided to use snippets of stories to allow the reader to imagine what could happen next and leaving out detail creates a mystery similar they way in which Brett Helquist used frames in his Illustrations for A Series of Unfortunate Events, you always want to see what is beyond the frame. The images also create an air of mystery – things being cropped short, dark shadows etc. The images are all somehow linked in the real world but it is not clear as to how they are. Within my 22 images, I have produced an artefact that relates to each story. The artefacts are all cultural tools used for storytelling, puppets, models, books, statues all have strong cultural significance in their own right. I decided to create this work as I felt there were not enough illustrated anthology stories for young adults to explore.
Fairytales and folklore stories are always very popular mediums and have been presented in lots of ways over and again, they are stories that we all know. I wanted to add a new perspective to some of the stories we know and compare and contrast them to other stories from history and legend to show that all stories have a place and a purpose. I have explored Three-dimensional illustration in my previous projects so I knew I wanted to explore this again. Within my practice, I always experiment a lot with materials and techniques and one of my strongest skills is in using a wide range of materials. As with my other 3D illustrations, the final outcomes become flat through the capture of a camera, this takes away an essence of the artefacts I am producing.In recent visual arts history, many designers and illustrators are working with texture and tactile mediums, there is a push back against digital methods and I wanted to join the conversation in the same line as illustrators like Shaun Tan, Dave McKean and Chris Sickels. Anthology books can be used in the same way as Tarot cards. Divination tools like Tarot or Runes or Oracle cards all give the audience a reason to look at their lives from a different or specific perspective. Tarot cards themselves all have many meanings behind them which people than fit to their own lives, as we read a book, or watch a film or listen to lyrics we search our lives to see how we can connect to the art we are experiencing.
My philosophy of approaching image making is an interesting and ever-changing process. I often will start with an idea but not plan out what I will do I then let the materials tell me what they want to do, I do not try to force the materials to do what I want I use them in the way they want, the quilled paper keys developed into a distinct design for each key. Working with stone for the High priestess sculpture was difficult and a new process for me, the soapstone didn’t want to be slick and polished, when I spent hours polishing it and making it smooth it did not communicate in the right way so I re-filed and sanded again and it looked better somewhat unfinished. My tactile illustrations bring a sense of touch with a contemporary dark twist on craft techniques, by using physical materials such as paper, sculpture, fabric and found objects. I have been inspired by both folk art and design crafts/ applied art for my images and concepts. Folk art was never ‘Art for Art’s sake’ this helped me to finalise the objects I used for my images, by thinking about how these stories would have been told. I could see my anthology as the beginning of a collection of books on different themes, stories, lore and legends all brought together for a new audience.
The use of tactile illustrations brings the stories into a new perspective. The Hermit would have explored further worlds and locations and collected more stories. There could be explorations of other cultures, stories about gods, animals and so on. I suggest this project will be appropriate for older teens to people in their 20-30s. I am focusing on mostly western stories as these are the stories I have grown up with and that my local audience will most relate too. Also, if I tried to encompass stories from around the whole world it would be a bit too broad and not have the depth of personal connectivity I am hoping for. If I look at my illustrations as twenty-two distinct images there are some that are better than others. The Empress & Emperor images are stronger than that of the Hermit for example. The type layout pages have become much more pleasing than I expected them to be. The residue from the gold foil around the test has added lots of texture and tooling marks.
The fact that some pages have less legible text causes the reader to move the book around, trying to catch the words in the sunlight so they can read it. This makes the reader have another level of interactivity with the book and more of a physical relationship with it as an object. Good design does not always have to be easy to read. Throughout the project, I was worried about how to make sure all the images look like they are from the same project and how they work together as a series. They do all work together as a collection of images; no, they don’t all have the same visual elements or the same colour scheme but they all have my own style of image making within them. They all have a tactile, tangible approach, even the image for The World which was a digital collage, gold leafing that image adds a surprise and a new dimension to the book.
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