More thinking and walking alongside old footsteps to make sense of things in the face of frustration. Attempting to think about synthesis of drawing/searching/thinking/learning/researching, with production/talking/explaining/showing, whilst surviving/eating/paying bills. A delicate balance that I am trying to get my head around.

Four weeks until graduation and I have a lot of work to do. Not quite sure how I am going to pull it off.

Still. Putting panic and mind-buggering fear of deadlines aside for a moment, had a very practical talk about illustration portfolios with tutor Luke Best this morning. It was definitely interesting. Lots to think about. Especially whether or not £70 for a portfolio box is a good idea. Yikes. Sort of wish my book-binding skills were more up-to-scratch because I’d make one for a quarter of that.

Trip to the Horniman museum shortly after that. Still looking at the disjoint between the information that this natural history room attempts to present to people, and how people actually react to it/the way the meaning can get lost or obscured. Tried some hardcore looking at the layout of the place. Not quite seeing the big picture here yet, but my drawing caught the attention of one of the guards. His name is Jim, and his philosophy on life is one of the more interesting ones I have had the pleasure of listening to.

I’ve always liked how having a pad of paper in hand and a smile on your face tends to make you rather approachable. I think people often just need someone to listen to them. I know that’s often what I need. It’s even better when you get an interesting, thoughtful response to your wittering. I don’t know if I managed to say anything of note to Jim, but our ruminations on the ethical implications of humans colonising Mars were very interesting (we agreed that Mars should really belong to Martians, even if they are bacteria). Also, a warning to all would-be Horniman visitors: do not run in the museum because you’ll only piss the guards off (like, really piss them off) and they’re actually quite nice if you take the time to have a chat.

Back to the drawing. Was just trying to work out the spacing of the central part of the room, the focal point of which is a massive, over-stuffed walrus. Had I drawn this going purely on instinct, I would have made that walrus sitting on its iceberg far bigger. there is so much emotion in this room … the smell of the place … the kids running around screaming, the mums with their push chairs looking tired … the dead animals in the cases … the information on evolution and all the history that goes with that and not to MENTION Horniman’s original motivations behind displaying the collection in the first place. Oy. Too much to take in in one drawing.

As it is, this was an exercise in discipline – taking a single point of reference and measuring out the height and depth of each other point I chose from that one point, until I was able to map out the image I could see in front of me.

It is filled with mistakes and far too simple to actually do the scene justice (everything is very square and I haven’t even begun to describe reflective surfaces and all the points and movements they bring to the room). I am somewhat rusty at this kind of thing and I know I need to make more time to do this sort of exercise over the summer and into the year beyond. My first year tutor, Jeanne, would have murdered me for giving that walrus a comedy face. Sorry Jeanne. Similarly, as this was a point-finding exercise, I shouldn’t have got bored and blacked in some of the cabinets during a lapse in concentration. More discipline needed next time.

Had planned on doing some careful studies of some of the displays I have been particularly interested in, but after my long chat with Jim there was only half an hour left before the museum closed. I am going back in the morning.

I want some of this thinking to transfer over into homonyms prints … although I suspect that they are meant to be more gut-punch obvious in their presentation of information. How frustrating. I may look into returning to colograph/rough woodcut print to execute those, as the crudeness of the cardboard makes subtelty difficult to get hung up about.


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