Sunday, 22 April 2012

Space: Animal Testing

Before man went into space, animals were used as living test subjects, sent into space in rockets. Monkeys and apes in particular were used because of their physical similarity to humans, forcibly strapped into rockets with their vital signs monitored. 

Many animals were killed on these dangerous missions. 

Looking into the use of animals for exploration has been really interesting, and something I was eager to do an image about. The number and and extensive range of animals used in space exploration research in one form or another has been a real eye opener. All sorts of animals have been used in dangerous rocket testing, as well as sent up to the labs in space stations for research. I didn't really want to get too political about it, but the cruelty factor of some of the stuff they put the animals through is pretty high. Treated as dispensable and strapped to rockets, often hooked up lots of wires in confined spaces, is no better than whats done to them on earth in medical testing.

On the other hand, the fact that we may never have ventured into space, or made hundreds of other discoveries and technological advancements without animal testing presents an interesting dilemma....hmmm.

The image above was to try and represent the idea that they are still caged and imprisoned in order to make it safe for human astronauts to do something that could be considered completely freeing and a privilege...

 I've got another image in the works for the underwater exploration counterpart to this image (and by in the works, i mean in my head...) so I'll post that up when it's done obviously.

Over and out.


Friday, 20 April 2012

London: Pick Me Up

Whilst in London the other week, we went to the Pick Me Up graphic arts fair at Somerset House on the Thames, and this was the first exhibition I'd been to that most of the work seemed to be close to the sort of work we are all looking to produce as illustrators at the moment...if that makes sense. 

There was work on show by lots of different people, some exhibiting as individuals and some as collectives, and a lot of the work was for sale. I saw some great work there, including stuff by Fernando Volken Togni, Matthew Dent, Dominic Owen, Tom Frost and Zim and Zou, and there was also a cool exhibition by the Pick Me Up artists in residence; Peepshow Collective. Their exhibition was titled 'The Museum of Objects and Origins' and featured all sorts of work, from wallpaper and prints on the walls, to objects and textiles in cabinets. Peepshow describe it as...

" Exhibiting items from an invented past, the collection is also a living, growing display as themed workshops create new works to fill the final few cabinets."

I've posted some images below of some of the artist's work, and also Peepshow Collective's exhibition (photo creds to their sites).

I have to say, some of my favourite pieces of work their were the stamps set by Tom Frost, and looking through some more of his work, I'm definitely a fan, so check out his blog to see what I'm on about, and I've also posted some pieces of his work that weren't at Pick Me Up below,... just because.

Dominic Owen

Tim McDonagh 

Peepshow Collective

Tom Frost's work...

The hand made, screen prinited toy and 3D work of some of the best things I've seen in a while....seriously want one of those cars!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Creative Review: The Abyss

We haven't done a creative review session at uni for a while, but I'd thought I'd put up a film recommendation due to it's link with my FMP. Whilst looking into underwater creatures, diving, habitats etc, for my space/underwater project, the film 'The Abyss' is always popping into my mind, particularly when looking into bioluminescent creatures.

The film was released in 1989 and directed by James Cameron, and follows a team of underwater oil drillers as they help search a sunken Navy submarine for survivors. It turns out that they are not the only ones living down their, needless to say excitement and insanity ensues....

Cameron obviously has a huge interest in exploring the oceans, and it's obvious from watching this film. Not only does the story itself explore many areas of interest such as underwater habitats, diving equipment such as underwater rovers, underwater diving technology such as diving suits and liquid breathing, the effects of saturation diving, and underwater creatures etc, but the production of the film itself is incredibly interesting. 

The film was the biggest underwater production of its kind ever, with around 40% of the film being shot underwater. A huge underwater set was created in and old nuclear power station, and the actors had to go through weeks of dive training. Extensive research and development had to be done to create new technology to make shooting possible. For example, the diving suits with full face masks were designed specifically for the film, along with a special radio/sound recording system to capture sound whilst diving.  The film aimed to capture as much real for real footage as possible, with minimal digital effects, model use or stunt cast used. Even the aliens were built and performed by puppeteers!

Seems like an incredible (and expensive) undertaking, and I always find it really interesting to see how much work and effort goes into what you see on screen.

Anyway, check out the making of below if you're interested...

Also, some of the set still exists in the power station, check out some pics below...

Monday, 16 April 2012

Crab Ship

Crabs have a strong exoskeleton that protects them from predators and water pressure, as well as providing support for their internal muscles and organs.

Rockets and shuttles sent into space also have a strong out shell, designed to with stand the negative pressure of space, remain airtight and to protect the inhabitants; both people and technology. Some rockets have been built using a monocoque technique, using the strong 'exoskeleton' as its structure to bear the internal load.

The importance of exoskeleton integrity.

I built on this crab image (above), which I originally made as just an element for a larger image, to create a space shuttle/crab hybrid based on the similarities in their structure, and the importance of their protective shell. As always I may add to this to perhaps make it more clear that its to do with the external structure. I'm also not too sure about the background and if there's more I could do with that, although it's nice to use some brighter colours for once; can't seem to escape the dark blackness of space/underwater with some of the images I've been doing recently! Over and out.

Angler Pod

The deep sea angler fish uses bioluminescence as a lure for food, creating light in a place natural sunlight can't reach and a point of attraction for various creatures.

Astronauts use stars and the sun in particular as a method of guidance and plotting their distance from Earth.

Light is a guide.

Above is my initial sketch of the fish based on two circles; a large one for the body and a smaller one for the light. I found it quite hard to get this image to look the way I wanted, and was having some trouble with the fish in particular, so I might change some parts of it yet, and probably need to add some more clues to the idea of the star guidance system, and maybe some more information to suggest the huge size difference between the fish and a space shuttle/pod.

I'm in the process of thinking about some text to accompany my FMP images, either some technical info about the idea I'm trying to illustrate within the picture, or something more abstract such as some fictional quotes relating to space/underwater or it's been suggested that some biblical verse could work quite well with the light/dark, heaven/hell aspects of the project.

Leave a comment below if you feel the urge, and I'm open to suggestions for text....

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Teenage Market

Recently a group of us uni students went down to 'The Teenage Market' in Stockport to sell prints, cards, jewellery, crafts, etc. that we'd made, to raise money to go to D&AD New Blood in June.

The market seemed pretty successful overall, with lots of people turning up and all sorts of stalls and performances happening. I wouldn't say we made that much money, but it was definitely worth going and seeing what we could sell. We sold more of the craft/handmade items than we did of the cards and prints, but i think with a bit more prep time we could have done better on that front, with maybe a wider range and less specific images. My own at least was probably too specific and not the sort of thing people would put on their wall perhaps. And the cards were mother's day cards. The market was on the 1st of April. Enough said.

Overall, the market was a good experience and definitely worth a shot to make some money for D&AD, which we did. It was also good research for if we ever go to any fairs or markets etc. to try and sell work in the future, as to what sort of things sell and which don't.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Hayward Gallery - David Shrigley: Brain Activity

(images by linda nylind)

Whilst down in London we went to the David Shrigley exhibition at the Hayward gallery on the south bank. The exhibition was called 'Brain Activity' and was a mix of printed work, sculpture, and animation. It was a really fun exhibition to look round and there were lots of little things that could have easily been missed if you weren't looking carefully. For example their were some tiny little pictures near the floor you had to bend down to see, a peep hole in the wall, and a random stuffed rat just lying on the floor in the corner. 

I think my favourite parts of the exhibition were the prints that were up; one wall consisting of big posters (above) and another two walls of smaller doodles that were really funny observations or pictures of objects with a line of writing to explain them. It was just really interesting to look around and see the different things he'd made, and it had a great sense of humour. Not that often you find yourself laughing in an art gallery.

I've posted a video below of David Shrigley talking about the exhibition, so check it out...


Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Bioluminescence - Edith Widder

I've been looking into bioluminescence of underwater creatures as part of my final major project, and came across this fantastic talk by Edith Widder. There are some incredible creatures down there....