Dissecting the Visual

Thursday 6th December

Conducting Pictorial Autopsies:

Why do we analyse art?

  • To get inspired 
  • To improve and learn towards our own practice
  • Close examination can reveal interesting and relevant reflections of the world we live in.
  • Because doing so can enable a deeper level of appreciation and understanding of the work we are investigating.
  • Because it helps us learn and achieve more in our own practice.

How do we analyse art?

Start to look at the image and ‘step inside the artwork, investigate the evidence and analyse’.

Analysing a piece: 

  1. Style?Realistic/Abstract/Expressive (gesture/movement)/Non-objective (NO OBJECT)/Conceptual – the idea is more important than the visual impact.
  2. Formal Elements – Line (actual/implied/contour and phsysioglogical?/Shapes (geometric/or organic?)/Value (how has light to dark contrast been applied?)/Light (what areas have the most light?)/Colours (primary,secondary,complementary.Warm/cool. Are there any meanings or suggestions imposed by the choice of colour?/Textural (actual, simulated or subverted?) Space (2D/3D, shallow, deep, overlapping, perspective. Realistic, linear or exaggerated?)/Time (time implied, stopped time, time of reference. Motion (blurred, kinetic, implied.)


Somewhere in-between abstract and realistic. Perspective is flawed. Unease, something does not seem right. Feels like the house is far away, edge of painting. Contrast between pink dress and grey dark house. Girl is looking towards house, do not see her expression, Do not need to see her face. On the floor, power struggle between her and the house. House is at the top, looking up at house. Inferior to the house. Body language – uncomfortable. .The way you interpret her posture – is she turning away from the house, or towards it?? Hands are not resting in the grass, gripping the ground – support. Grass is cut around the grass, emphasises the idea that she is further away from the house. Head is upright, focused on the house – moment of pause. She is centred to the left, read painting left to right. Implied lines, eye-line to her house. Repetition through grass strokes, so much grass gives a sense of depth and overwhelmingness. Feels quite gothic. Horror film esque. 

Describe the work literally, as if to someone who cannot see it. 

Try to be objective. Do not judge at this stage, observing and describing.

Principles of Design

  1. Movement/direction – where is the eye being led.
  2. Focal points – What is the focus, the dominant area. What do you notice first, second and third. 
  3. Postive/Negative Areas – What is in the foreground/background/middle ground?
  4. Economy/Repetition – Are there any repeating patterns?Why?
  5. Proportions (scale) – Are the elements correct to scale?
  6. Balance – Is the composition balanced? Does this add to the mood of the painting?

In the MoMa.

Christina’s World 

Christina’s World is in the MoMa in NYC. It was painted by Andrew Wyeth in 1948.

82cm x 1.21m


Andrew Wyeth. 

Media is Egg Tempera on Gessoed Panel. Tempera, Levkas.

Strange material to use for the time. 

Subject: Olson House, Christina Olson.

Look at the Title – Your thoughts or reactions may be validated by learning the title. Does it validate your ideas? Vague? Meant to be left for interpretations? Does knowing the title give you a biased idea?

Christina’s world. Automatically assume that is Christina in the painting. Her world – does the house represent her world? ‘Her world’ is this psychological? Logically assume that is her house due to the description. Uneasy title – ‘her world’ seems uneasy, unsettling. 

Subject Matter

  • Are there any interactions or narrative between elements?
  • Is there any symbolic meaning you are aware of?
  • Use of icon/iconography – e.g heart = love.
  • Are there any apparent themes?
  • Are there any references to historical timeframes/events etc?

Blackbirds/crows or ravens? Symbol of death. Birds all fly away. German expressionism – surreal. Dark lines,shadows, contrasts. More of a social reference. Dress is traditional. Pink dress – contrast, to portray her as naive/feminine/girly emphasised. How old is she? Looking at the girl in detail – hair is greying? Is it the sun? Her hand is a bit wrinkly, strained. Ankles, thin. The way she is laying her legs on the ground – extremely unnatural. Not as urgent as her torso – trying to pull herself to the house. Wrinkles, ambiguous age. Stuck in a rut. Poor times. Body is twisted and broken  – portrays her mental state. 

Post Morterm

  • Personal thoughts – what attributes do you think the world has? Why do you think this?
  • Do you get a ‘meaning’ from the work?
  • In order to get a deeper meaning, do you need to research further. Do you want to know more?
  • Do you recognise symbology within it, do you need/want to apply a more educated response in order to engage with it.
  • Is the work for a limited audience or is it accessible? Is it inviting? How do you feel about this?
  • What are YOUR personal reflections?

Remember you are viewing the work subjectively. Back up your argument. 

Dig Deeper

Look at more contextual things. Such as the artist. 

Andrew Wyeth – Realist Painter. Magic Realist painter. Realistic but surreal at same time. Important painting. Father died in 1948. Magic Realism show 1948

Who is Christina Olson – Gave artist a studio. Polio. Paralysed from the waist down as she grew older. Used to crawl around. Watching her crawling one area to another. 

Critical Analysis of the same work: 

Create a structure



The World.

The artist.

The audience.

Looking at other peoples work is just as important

Goals Of Research




Happy Birthday Grandma!”: Stereotypes and Identity Politics Seminar

Thursday 28th November

In groups of 6 decide – What does a Grandma look like?

Curly hair, wrinkles, red lipstick and hair net.

What does a rapper look like?

Tall, skinny, lanky, long tshirt, tattoos, earrings and grill. Wears a chain. Wears converse all stars. 

Comparing to other people’s groups quite a lot of the drawings are similar however there are differences. For example there was a group that portrayed a Grandma with earrings, bright glasses and cool hair. This portrays the idea that not all elderly people are the same and wear frumpy outfits. A good example of this would be Fashionable Fashionistas. 

When it came to everyone’s drawing of the rapper, they all had tattoos. All of the drawings were full drawings, as the full outfit of a rapper is part of the stereotype. All of the rappers are male. This is interesting as there are a lot of female rappers in the current music industry. 

Macklemore feat – Glorious. Him with his Grandma letting her do whatever she wanted to do. Doing things that are considered to be stereotypically young. Grandmas 100th Birthday.  Stereotypes – permed hair, glasses. Rapper stereotypes, tattoos, chains. Her reactions to the actions are genuine. Not a typical Grandma – doing youthful things. Not a typical rapper – being kind and spending time with Grandma. 

Re drawn Grandma and Rapper:

It was easier to draw a unstereotypical Grandma over drawing a rapper. It is hard to not stereotype. Characters predominantly white – even though the group is multi cultural. Why is this? Our rapper was female, in order to be unstereotypical. 

Forms of stereotyping:

Stereotyping nationalities. Gender stereotypes. People’s backgrounds. Clothes people wear. Music genre. Art student stereotype. Levels of stereotypes.

Malcom X – Who Taught You To Hate Yourself?

Stereotypes – women are weak. Bare in mind the context of what was happening at the time. Malcom X is portraying the idea that black women are the most disrespected, neglected people in America (during the 1960s). Internallised racism – black people are told/taught to hate the colour of their skin, hair texture, noses etc. Intersectionality – where areas cross over. Racism, feminism, religion all in one speech. All link together. 

Beyonce and Jack White – Don’t Hurt Yourself and 

Beyonce – Sorry

Beyonce music videos. Stereotypes of view white people have on black people. Old plantation house, police violence. All issues relating. Touches into these themes. First video, ‘rapper clothes’, behaviours opposite to stereotypes around women and femininity. Confrontational – sensual/feminine but also strong and powerful. Tapping into black women stereotypes – African motifs – owns it. Plantation house – comment she is making strong black woman in a plantation house – portrays her rejecting this. Serena Williams – features in the video. Tennis player – won a competition whilst pregnant, the first woman to do this. Pushes boundaries – similar to what Beyonce wants to do. It could create a stereotype that women have to be super strong? Black women have to defend themselves against everyone. 




“Tell Me A Story” Images and Narrative

Thursday 22nd November

Images and Narrative:

To start off with, we had a page of panels and we had to draw an initial drawing in the first panel. Then, we passed the paper along and added to other people’s comics. 


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Types Of Transitions:

Panel Transitions in Comics: Understanding Comics by Scott Mcloud. Radical – theorised what happens in comics but in comic form. 

Moment to Moment Transitions: Used that in example. Read panel transitions. Meaning depends on the action that happens moment to moment. Not just the image. Zooming in on planets, repetition of same image but something different. Changed slightly. Spider and man ‘drama’, something stays exactly the same and something changes. Our comics changed quite drastically moment to moment. Time and shot/angles varied quite a lot.

Action to Action: Baseball bat and man. Not static, a lot of things have changed. Dynamic change, action. Don’t actually see him doing it, before and after but you KNOW it has happened, brain tells you. Man burping – more is going on (action wise) takes longer. That is why it has been portrayed over 3 panels. Perhaps it was several drinks? Portrayed over a longer period of time? Then burps. Open to interpretation here. Depends on what comes before and after. Car crash – immediate.

Subject to Subject Transition:

Focus goes from fighting men to city. Ambiguous. View point has been pulled back. Subject to subject creates a sense of drama – you do not know what is going on. Same story but focus has shifted. Subject of image. People, man woman and telephone. Switches subject quickly. Dialogue shifts focus. Dialogue is important here – shows what is going on. In the same space, facing each other dialogue connects them together. Same perspective, same heights, facing same way. Telephone interrupts their dialogue, again implies situation is connected. Cutting between people, not always person talking sometimes person listening. Establish scene, shot from further away? Showing they are together? Then zoom in etc. Person Running – close up and medium shot. Link together same situation. Culturally know they link.

Scene to Scene Transition:

Detective and ten years later. Caption portrays the time shift, text is important. Tells you what is about to happen next. Text and image work together, neither is dominant. Text supports the image and leads the story along. Countries. Captions portray the countries, and stereotypes ie. beret and eiffel tower. Story telling goes on within two images. Shift can be strong. 

Aspect to aspect: 

Within the same scene, but looking at different perspectives? Mosaic, eyes directed around the scene. Different bits of set, not actually a whole room. Illusion. Narrative – sets the scene. 

Non – Sequitur Transitions:

No logical relation between the two images. Random, unrelated image. Surrealist interpretation. Strange. Does not make sense or have any context. It makes the work disjointed. Is this still a comic? Debatable. Poetry like comic, sentences and words don’t make sense. Can mix up a boring linear storyline. Pushes the boundaries of comics. 

Be critical. Are all of these things in a comic? How is spider more moment to moment than car crash? Spider barely moves, tiny adjustment. Happens in a moment. Action to action ie car crash – car is already moving when it crashes. Spider is not already moving. Man is already pouring a glass. Etc. 

Shared Comic: Moment to moment – rain comes down. Subject to subject – scene to cow. Action to action? Subject to subject. 

Draw own comic: Working in a group of 5, we had to create a comic. This time, we agreed on a topic and had to create a narrative from that topic. We brainstormed our ideas briefly, as we only had 20 minutes. Our idea was based around a pet, and a character coming home and finding his pet doing something odd. Eventually we decided to focus on a spider. Our narrative was: A man comes home and finds his pet spider in the sink having a shower. They clearly have a strange relationship as the spider swears at the man, and he swears back. We tried to play with perspective, so the focus was not solely on the man or the spider. 

Time and Meaning: 

Time within a panel. Mise – en – scene. Moore. A,. Gibbons D. and Higgins. Watchmen. 

Closure – Time/Meaning between panels. 

Breakdown or Decoupage – Time/Meaning across a page. Significant image, can be repeated. 

Braiding – Time/meaning through a work. You can loop back, flashback. Play back forth, perhaps by portraying the same image. 

Page turn Recto/verso Serialisation – Time/ meaning across material objects. Meaning over several pages, wants you to turn the page.

Chris Ware:

Ergodic Literature: Time/ meaning in the order of encounter. Building Stories (2012). Stories are not in a specific order. Broken up. Move the stories around. No particular narrative order. 

Further Reading for this topic:

Eisner, W. (2008). Comics and Sequential Art. New York: W.W. Norton & Company Ltd. Grennan, S. (2017). A Theory of Narrative Drawing. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Grennan, S. and Hague, I. (2018). “Medium, knowledge, structure: capacities for choice and the contradiction of mediumspecificity in games and comics”. In Image [&] Narrative 19 (1): 73-85. Accessible at: http://www.imageandnarrative.be/index.php/imagenarrative/article/view/1765. Groensteen, T. (2009) The System of Comics. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. Hague, I. (2012). “Adapting Watchmen” 2012. In Framing Film: Cinema and the Visual Arts, edited by Steven Allen and Laura Hubner, 37-55. Bristol: Intellect. Hatfield, C. (2005) Alternative Comics: An Emerging Literature. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. McCloud S. (1994). Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art. New York: HarperPerennial. Miller, A. (2007). Reading Bande Dessinée: Critical Approaches to French-language Comic Strip. Bristol: Intellect. Miodrag, H. Comics and Language: Reimagining Critical Discourse on the Form. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

99 ways to tell a story. In Library. Visually – different ways. 

Porta – terms

Thursday 15th November

Porta – terms

What is a porta – term?

(a portmanteau word – Portable Terms)

Looking at words/terms we might use in CTS. Language can be complicated – breakdown words.

Semiotics – study of symbols and signs. Ie. traffic light. Green is go, amber is get ready, red is stop. Agreement made between people – you just know what it means you do not need to be told.

Task 1: 

Match the words to their definitions: 

Definitions could be really broad. Particularly when it comes to movements. This is because history is not linear. I found that these words were slightly blurred, they could apply to some other definitions. 

Our Matched Words:

IMG-5976 (1)


Task 2:

Research the word you are given. Visualize the word – through drawing/collage/storyboard.

Our word was ‘Modernism’. Before we created an image based on the word we knew it was important to find out what the word actually meant. I did some quick research and put it into this bubble map for reference.

Screen Shot 2018-11-19 at 12.05.28

Our Image:

We all agreed that ‘Modernism’ means to reject the old and classical way of thinking. Not only does it apply to art, but to furniture, philosophy and way of life. To summarise this we tried to incorporate shapes onto our page that reject the highly detailed classical way of painting. We then added in paintings – Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer (1665), and American Gothic by Grant Wood (1930). We then ripped up these paintings and added in things like a skull and a warped face. The skull represents the ‘death’ of the old-fashioned ways. I found it interesting how the piece turned out, as in a sense ‘Modernism’ is over and we are now considered to be in a ‘Post – Modern’ world. Ironically ‘Modernism’ isn’t a modern ideal. Modernism and Post Modernism are however problematic. They words that are used to loosely to define certain things, therefore it is rather messy when trying to define exactly what each word means.



This was another group’s drawing that I really thought was clever. Their word was ‘gender’. Again, ‘Gender’ is a loaded word. There are many different definitions, and many people have different opinions on wha the word means. I feel that I use of a playing card is clever, as it can be place either way up. The use of phallic imagery on each side emphasises the idea that gender can be fluid, and does not necessarily mean because you have a specific genitalia, that you have to conform to the ‘roles’ pushed towards a certain gender. 


Representation and Culture 

These were more pieces that I thought were really clever. Representation is the first image, they have used a ‘cookie cutter’ sort of image for the people. I like the effect that this has, everyone cut out what they thought to be a human figure, and it portrayed the diversity that is portrayed in representation. The image is very layered, I think this is a useful portrayal of the word as it shows the layers that people have.

Culture has been portrayed well here, as it conveys the variety of culture. Culture is rather fluid. The word is not assigned to one specific culture, it applies to everyone. Each member of the group wrote what they thought ‘culture’ was, applying it to their own. All of the 4 different cultures met in the middle. I think this is rather poignant as it portrays the word as a collection of many different cultures. 







Seen And Not Heard

Thursday 8th October

Today we posed some questions to ourselves: 

  • What social circumstances shaped the collections within our art galleries?
  • Consider the development of the traditional museum of art VS modern art gallery.
  • How do spaces and curators contextualise art?
  • Are museums and art galleries unbiased spaces?

William Powell Frith (English, 1819-1909) : A Private View at the Royal Academy, 1881.

This image below portrays a private viewing at the Royal Academy in 1881. As a group we talked about how we thought that instead of the viewing being purely based on art, it was also a very social event, and an opportunity for those with wealth to show off (through clothes etc). The people were also on display, not just the art. I found the image intriguing as the walls are completely covered in paintings. To compare this gallery to a modern gallery, it is rather cluttered. Furthermore, there appears to be a hierarchy – there are low and high paintings. Due to the fact that there are many people at the gallery and paintings on the wall, it would be difficult to look at the paintings on the bottom. The paintings at the top are more accessible to the eye, therefore could be seen as more important. 


It is interesting to look at how not only galleries but how art has changed since the 19th Century.

If you look at Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain 1917 replica 1964 (portrayed in the Tate Modern) the experience is quite different. Firstly the object is portrayed in a glass case in a white gallery in the middle of the room. The glass case allows you to get up close to the artwork without damaging the art. I think that the glass case is a good idea as it protects the artwork. One could argue that it is another barrier between the artist and everyday people. The piece itself is controversial, as at the time it portrayed the idea that it is the curator who decides what is art and what is not, not necessarily the public or the artist. 

Image result for marcel duchamp tate

Personally, I feel that having a clear, clean space allows one to focus their attention on one artwork at a time without overcrowding the eye. I think that the gallery and curators do decide what art is, and pushes the public to consider something that they might have rejected if it was not put on a pedestal. 

British Museum:

We then looked at the British Museum – a classic example of a gallery/museum in Britain. It started off as a collection which was donated to the King. Established in 1753, the British Museum was opened for ‘all’ (excluding women, people of colour and the poor). At first, one had to make an appointment to attend. I find it interesting how a museum that was made for ‘everyone’ at first was very exclusive. Of course this is because society at the time was very exclusive. 

Another reason as to why the British Museum is so interesting is because there is a lot of debate surrounding its contents. A lot of the collection is objects that Britain acquired during the reign of the British Empire. In 2018, we are starting to pick apart and away at the colonial mindset of Britain. The Elgin Marbles (actually called the Parthenon Marbles)  are a collection of Classical Greek marble sculptures. There is a lot of debate as to whether or not they should be given back to Greece, as they were originally taken. 

We looked at three articles which all posed different opinions on the matter…

Neil Macgregor – The Times (7th November 2014)


Neil Macgregor is the director of The British Museum. He made these points in the article:

  • He argues that the marbles do not belong to the government but instead the trustees of the museum.
  • He also argues that 30% of the sculptures are in Athens – and 30% are in Britain. Implying that it is fair.
  • Macgregor introduces the idea that the sculptures are seen at eye level and up close at The British Museum, rather than as a piece of architecture in Greece. 
  • They are a global heritage and part of Britain’s national identity.


Neil MacGregor on the Parthenon Marbles – Greece responds 

The Greek Ministry of Culture – 14th November 2014. These are the points they made in their email response to Elginism.com:

  • Britain’s ethics are troubled – the marbles were stolen in the first place.
  • The context of how the marbles were taken is problematic – colonialism.
  • The marbles were moved illegally, Elgin had no right to take them.
  • The marbles are not in their correct context in Britain – they are Greek artefacts and would be better understood in their original context & country. 

Brexit chisels away any right Britain had to the Parthenon marble – Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett  – 25 September 2018


Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett portrays the idea in this article that if we leave the EU, we should have the decency to return the Parthenon Marbles. Here are points she makes in the article:

  • Brexit’s effect means that we will no longer be in the EU.
  • The situation with boarders will mean more exclusivity in Britain – harder to access for those in Europe who want to visit the marbles.
  • Why does Britain have the right to keep an iconic European artefact when we no longer want to be a part of Europe?

To conclude on this matter I feel that the marbles should be given back, as they are an important part of Greek heritage and history. Britain has had them for a long time, and I feel that especially if we are leaving the EU they should be given back.

I watched a debate on YouTube that had Stephen Fry and others debating if they should be given back. I found this debate really interesting as Fry promoted the idea that we should give them back, but not forget about them. He suggested a compromise, of a film portraying how they were cast, and how they were curated. Fry also suggested that it would be ‘classy’ to portray their journey home back to Greece. Personally I think this is a brilliant idea, as the marbles get returned but the British Museum still pays respect and homage to the marbles. 


Afternoon session:

After the presentation we were joined by Ruth who represents the LCC Zine Collection. We were given a set of zines and were asked to curate those zines, by creating a floor plan of an exhibition.







Surreal Science

Monday 5th November 

‘Surreal Science: Loudon Collection with Salvatore Arancio’

On Thursday 1st November I visited ‘Surreal Science: Loudon Collection with Salvatore Arancio’.

The collection comprises of scientific artefacts, educational models and paintings collected by George Loudon. The specific items in the collection were selected by Salvatore Arancio – known for his biomorphic prints and ceramics. ‘Surreal Science’ is exhibited in Gallery 7 – a small room on level 1 of the Whitechapel Gallery.

What I found really interesting about the collection was that it was not just a case of looking around at the objects in a white room. The Whitechapel Gallery made the exhibition a sensory experience. The environment made the collection appear more special than perhaps it actually was. Most of the collection was placed on black irregular shelving with purple/green reflective glass panels. Instantly, looking at the artefacts against/through these panels gave the collection another worldly feel. Furthermore, the ambience was surreal, an irregular soundtrack consisting of chimes, strange ‘bloops’ and unrecognisable sounds filled the air, accompanying a projection of warped scientific images projected onto the wall. Low lighting portrayed the dark artefacts as mysterious.

I feel that some of the work in the exhibitions was more enchanting and ‘surreal’ than other artefacts in the collection. Not all of the work was credited to an artist as the collection was generally used for scientific purposes, rather than to be lookied at in an artistic light. For example, the collection featured to-scale glass slughs. Although I found these to wbe well-made and interesting, I did not class these as ‘surreal’ as they looked relatively ordinary. However, there were pieces that fit the description of surreal. Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka’s delicate glass model of a Portuguese man o’ war particularly stood out – and not only because it was placed right by the door to attract the eye. Made in Germany in the late 19th Century out of glass, this miniature jellyfish model is one of many invertebrate marine models manufactures by the brothers. Leopold became ‘enchanted’ by the sight of jellyfish flowing in evening waters’. I think it is interesting that the scientific models like the slugs and fungi are less inspired than the likes of the models made by the Blaschka brothers. Not only were they interested in the scientific scientific aspects of the invertebrates but also ‘enchanted’ by their form and the way they were ‘glowing in evening waters’. I think that the Portuguese man o’ war stood out in the collection as it was heavily inspired, not just for educational purposes. George Loudon himself said this about the Blaschka brothers’ work, “They made me realise that there were objects made in the 19th century to convey scientific knowledge that were also very beautiful: art, or nearly art. It is true that in the modern era that these objects have ‘lost their function’ and can now be ‘viewed from a fresh perspective’. Therefore, all of the artefacts in the collection can be viewed as pieces of art, as they are no longer needed to educate. 


Why Reference?

For CTS we were set the task of writing a 500 word essay on the topic ‘Why Reference?’ I found it easy to write as I know it is important to source your information properly. Harvard Referencing Format is a key feature of referencing. 

Why Reference?

Citations and reference are an important factor of research based writing. Without citation and reference there are several problems that may arise when it comes to how readers perceive your work.

Referencing and citations are tools that are used to avoid plagiarism. Without giving evidence for points, one takes credit for an idea that is not their own. Shields and Pears (2006,p1)  expressed the idea that referencing and citing is the ‘only way to use other people’s work without plagiarizing’. Without referring to where you got your inspiration from, you are outright implying that your points are original. By using references, you are able to expand on other people’s ideas and interpret them in your own way – without taking complete credit. Other people cannot use your work as a reference if all of your work has been stolen from other people – your writing is untrustworthy.

Another reason as to why referencing is important is because it strengthens your argument. Dunleavy (2017 pg1-2) wrote that research “can always be checked” and “all claims should be checkable”. Dunlaney is portraying the idea that if your evidence is from an unreliable source, then the strength of your evidence can easily be examined – if you have referenced. If your evidence is unreliable, then it completely changes the reader’s outlook on your writing. With reference, evidence can be accessed and checked by the reader. I think that having reliable sources in your work is important as it makes your writing more valid.

Moreover, referencing is important as it shows that the author has a level of  understanding of what they are actually writing about. If one was to write an argument on a topic merely based off of their opinion, then it would not be a valuable argument. Research is vital in creating a piece of work, if there is no understanding of the topic, then the work produced would reflect this – making it biased. Dunleavy (2017 pg1-2) argues that an academics decision as to whether or not to reference plays an ‘very important role’ when it comes to ‘how their colleagues regard and evaluate their work’. I think this is a good point to think about as if there are no references/citations in your work then other people may not trust/believe what you are writing about. Dunleavy (2017) portrays that referencing shows the author has read the relevant literature. Detailed citations and references depict a well thought out piece of writing with a rich collection of evidence. Therefore, a good initial impression is made on readers.

In conclusion, referencing and citations are important as they allow the readers to engage in the piece of writing without thinking that the work is all of the author’s own ideas. Having citations in written work allows the reader to read safe in the knowledge that the author has thoroughly researched the topic and that way they can take the writing more seriously.

Reference List

P.Dunleavy (2017) Why are citations important in research writing? Writing For Research

R Pears and G Shields (2017) Cite them right: The essential referencing guide. Palgrave Macmillan


Cite Them Right Online (2018) Setting out citations in your own writing

Available at: https://www.citethemrightonline.com/Basics/setting-out-citations (Accessed: 23 October 2018).

Cite Them Right Online (2018) The Basics of Referencing. Available at: https://www.citethemrightonline.com/Basics (Accessed 23rd October 2018)

P.Dunleavy (2017) Why are citations important in research writing? Writing For Research

P.Org (2017) What is Plagiarism? Available at: https://www.plagiarism.org/article/what-is-plagiarism (Accessed 21st October 2018).

R Pears and G Shields (2017) Cite them right: The essential referencing guide. Palgrave Macmillan


No Google

Thursday 25th October

Today we had a session called ‘No Google’ .

Veronica our course librarian gave a presentation on the ‘deep web’. I was really interested by this as I had never heard of that term before. 

Deep Web
  1. the part of the World Wide Web that is not discoverable by means of standard search engines, including password-protected or dynamic pages and encrypted networks.

Ironically, I looked on Google for this definition. I had never thought about how anything we search on an engine is technically what they want us to see. When we search a topic we are looking in Google’s index. As a part of UAL we have access to databases and the Deep Web – meaning that we do not have to be controlled by Google to find research. I think this exciting as there is a sense of exclusiveness to this. 

We thought about how 65% of the world’s population has no access to the internet. Therefore, they have some sort of control as to where they get their information from. I think that in the 21st century, we are so used to just getting instant information. When we use a search engine, we are only seeing what they want us to see. 

Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 1.16.52 PM

Then we looked on Moodle and had a look at the databases that we had access to. I looked in my spare time further at the databases so I could get an understanding of what information is available to me and where I can get it from. I looked in particular for databases that I thought would be useful to my practice, and ones that I am interested in. 


I first looked at Mintel Academic. Mintel is a statistical database where you can find reliable statistics and figures relating to specific topics. I found some statistics on ‘Shaving and Hair Removal’ from October 2018. I know this source is reliable as it is current, and will include new material. The source includes diagrams and graphs depicing female opinions on shaving brands. 

Mintel is a very useful database as it gives you actual context for essays and subject matters. As the information is reliable, I think that I will most definitely use it in my work. 

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Bridgeman Education

Bridgeman Education is an image database. Once you are on the database you can type in a desired image, you can search by orientation, color and image size. You can also sort by the date, creators name and relevance. I think that this database is useful as you can gain access to high quality images. Also these images are often credited, which means they are useful as they can be referenced if used in an essay for example. For example I typed in Hans Hofmann, and all sorts of images came up which I could refine down to my liking. 

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Then I looked at ArtFilms. ArtFilms is a database full of films and programs relating to art & design etc. I thought that it would be a useful thing to look at as it could be a big source of inspiration. ArtFilms has films relating to architecture, communication/culture, dance and fashion (to name a few). For example I typed in ‘London’ into the search bar and quite a few results came up. I will definitely use this in the future, as well as the other databases we have access to at UAL. 

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Transnational Histories

Thursday 18th October 

Transnational Histories

Today we looked at transnational histories – how do we tell the history of art? Where do we start? Why is it important?

First off we started looking at cave paintings which are often portrayed as the origins of paintings/illustrations/ art in general etc. These paintings are organic in the sense that they were not created for commercial benefit, which suggests that there is something natural about image making. These also suggest that if we think back enough, we can universally  agree on where image making came from.

Lascaux Caves (FR) 17,000 BCE 

Image result for lascaux caves

Who are the top 10 most important artists of all time?

In small groups we had to decided who we thought were the most important artists of all time. Then as a whole we listed all of the artists who our groups had mentioned at least twice, and tallied up the votes for each one. 

Artist Votes
Leonardo Da Vinci 8
Vincent Van Gogh 8
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni 8
Pablo Picasso 7
Andy Warhol 6
Claude Monet 6
Salvador Dali 6
Frida Kahlo 4
Jackson Pollock 3
J. M. W Turner 3
Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn 3
Katsushika Hokusai 3
Marcel Duchamp 2
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino 2

What was interesting about this list was that most of the artists are white, dead European males. I feel that this list is who society tells people are important and iconic. This is interesting as the question is a very biased question anyway, and there are no rules when it comes to opinion towards artists. These artists are now part of our vocabulary, it is drilled into us from a young age that they are influential and should be celebrated. This is called ‘The Canon’ – ‘the best and most important in a field of cultural production’. 

So how did it become that white males ran the art world? And why are they still recognized as the most influential? 

Context: European Expansion 1400 – 1800:

The European Expansion 1400 – 1800 ( often referred to as The Age of Discovery) was where European royal houses expanded their territories starting with trade, and eventually changing social structures to suit them where they went – (in a nutshell it was colonialism). 

“From the Cape to Cairo. Tough the Process Be Costly, The Road of Progress Must
Be Cut.” Udo Keppler, Puck, December 10, 1902. Source: Library of Congress

This is a perfect example of the West’s view on colonialism. Published in 1902, this cartoon portrays Britain’s Boer War and portrays the colonial powers as ‘doing their duty’, bringing ‘civilization’ to the ‘barbaric’ natives. Keppler portrays clearly here the idea that the West see the rest of the world as uncultured, and as if they are doing them a ‘favour’ by bringing Western culture to the rest of the world, (hauntingly similar to The Crusades). 

Political cartoons like this one are helpful in allowing us to discover why we are told to celebrate art by white western males. People of colour and women had no rights at the time of the European Expansion in society. Therefore, it has become engrained in history and passed on by generations (subconsciously) that we should celebrate these people. To me, it does not make them the most important just because they had privilege and the white male race was seen as the predominant race at the time. 

Image result for from the cape to cairo cartoon

Tate Galleries:

An example of an institution that still has colonial undertones are the Tate Galleries. Henry Tate (who the galleries are named after) was an industrialist who ‘made his fortune as a sugar refiner’ (Tate.org.uk). In 1889, he gave some of his art collection of British 19th century art and provided the funding for the first Tate Gallery to open in 1897 (Millbank, London). What is interesting about this is that Tate made his money through free labour from the slave trade. A. Stuart says in his 2012 book ‘Sugar in the Blood: A Family’s Story Of Slavery And Empire‘WHEN next you visit one of England’s Tate museums, spare a thought for the slaves on whose backs the Tate & Lyle sugar empire originally rose. The British empire itself owed its existence, and much of its ultimate wealth, to a scatter of Caribbean islands dedicated to the dual exploitation of “white” and “black” gold’.’ It is interesting to think that one of the most famous art institutions in England was created through colonialism and the exploitation of slaves. 


In his influential book, Orientalism (1978), EDWARD SAID (1935-2003) explains how ideas (‘knowledge’) about the ‘exotic Orient’ reinforces the idea of ‘opposites’. Said explores the idea that the West view the The Orient in an almost alien like way, they are often portrayed in art and literature as exotic, dangerous and barbaric. This frequent portrayal implies that the West indirectly view themselves as the opposite, as ‘culutred’ and ‘normal’. The ideas, images and knowledges constructing an idea of ‘the orient’ also sets up ‘the west’ as the centre of modernity. By setting the groups apart the West suggest that they are what is considered to be ‘normal’ and other cultures to be ‘barbaric’, ‘uncivilised’ and ‘abnormal’. 

The ideas, images and
knowledges constructing an
idea of ‘the orient’ also sets up
‘the west’ –
as the centre of modernity…

‘THE ORIENT’                                        
Barbaric (but sexy…)
Traditional & Timeless

‘Modern’ &



Part 2:

Christopher Hutchinson (2014) ‘Postcolonial Thoughts: Picasso Continued: AvantGarde Africa’

In this article, Christopher Hutchinson portrays the idea that Picasso’s ‘genius’ owes a lot of credit to African art. At the time of Picasso’s breakthrough, Western art was generally linear and  classic with figures that were beautifully rendered and detailed. The article states that Picasso’s ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ (1907) was completely different with its flat uneven features and geometric shapes. Hutchinson states that the ‘stylization’ and ‘distortion’ featured in the artwork directly ‘came from African art’. He also conveys the idea that ‘all modern art derives from Africa’. To summarise, I think that Hutchinson is portraying the idea that Picasso appropriated African art, stole their ideas and took the credit. Just because a white, European man ‘copied’ African art, he is labelled as a ‘genius’ and a pioneer of modern art. 

I partially agree with this article. To start with, I think there is no doubt that Picasso took a lot of inspiration from African art, as it is clear in his work. Furthermore, Picasso admitted his influences, and the article literally says: ‘inspired by Iberian sculpture and African masks’. I do not think that Picasso referred back to African art for every piece he made, like millions of other artists he found something that inspired him, took influence and picked out elements that he liked, and applied it to his own subject matter. Personally, I think it is a generalisation to say that all modern art came from Africa. Many modern artists were/are influenced by other people, but to say it ‘came’ from Africa is a broad statement. I do think that it is an injustice that African art is not as appreciated as it should be, and that Picasso’s influences should be more well-known (not necessarily his fault). Therefore I agree that African art is overlooked and people’s influences should be made aware, however I think that the article is slightly biased. 

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A (Hi)story of Betweens’

This powerpoint is about Japan’s relationship with the West. During the European Expansion, Japan were ‘closed’ to the West and ‘refused’ to trade with anyone until 1853. At the time, woodblock prints were very popular. After Japan started trading with Europe, Ukiyo-e prints were brought into the West. These prints proved popular with Europe. Claude Monet was an example of this, and ‘drew inspiration’ from Japanese culture. Monet built a Japanese style bridge in his garden, even though he had never been. He also painted a portrait of his wife in a kimono. Siegfried Bing started a magazine called ‘Le Lapon Artisque Japan’, and opened up a shop named ‘Art Noveau’. Ukiyo-e subject matter (such as normal everyday scenes) influenced artists such as Edgar Degas. Western art was usually about upper class people doing upper class things. Trade also meant that European objects such as satirical art, fashions etc were also going to Japan. ‘The Japan Punch’ was modelled on Britain’s ‘Punch’ magazine. Manga is often only seen to have influences from Japan, however Osamu Tezuka (considered to be the ‘god father’ of Manga) was heavily influenced by Beligan, French animation and Disney. 

To summarise I think that the article is saying that the European Expansion meant that eventually Europe traded with Japan equally. Europeans were drawn in by Japanese art and culture, and Japan adopted some Western traits also. I think that this article is portraying the idea that nobody ‘stole’ ideas or influences from anyone but, in fact sharing cultures can be a good thing. I think the author is saying that if taking ideas/influence is executed well and seen as a mere influence (like the Japan Punch, Art Noveau, Manga etc) then it is not so much appropriation. However I think that if it is just adopting mannerisms of Japan for example without any understanding of the culture (Monet’s wife, Siedfried Bing dressing up etc) then it is more of appropriation than an appreciation.

To compare both articles, I think that the articles are portraying the message that aknowledging influences is important. I think taking influence is fine, as long as you are not completely copying another culture as I think that is total appropriation (if there is no real understanding of the culture). For example Manga was influenced by French and Belgian animation – however it is a new and fresh style.