Reflective Evaluation

Pursuing graphic design as a possible career change had not occurred to me before last year. This has also been the first time I have kept a blog.

I felt my practical work needed to have a hand-drawn element, without relying too much on Photoshop or InDesign, and I was intrigued by the idea of producing a contemporary book in the ‘Illuminated’ style, as this had been my initial direction of research.  My tutor agreed that this could be a suitable project, however I had not drawn anything in some years.

My research used the keyword ‘illuminated’. This led to a varied range of approaches, my first being an introduction to the extraordinary world of illuminated manuscripts and the rich heritage they represent. I have always been interested in history so this seemed a rich vein for research. However most of the academic sources could be long winded and dry, not great source material for an in depth critical analysis. I then looked around for something different and found Edit Toth’s article on Bauhaus mainstay Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s ‘Light Prop’. I had recently seen this sculpture in person while on a trip to Berlin and was intrigued. I found my first critical analysis of a text in 15 years more than a small challenge.

The stringent thinking process of both making sense of a text and reinterpreting it myself proved to be a very rewarding process, and I gained a greater insight into the cultural and social impact of the Bauhaus than ever before. I was also intrigued more by the idea of the ‘Light Prop’ and found my research taking me into the subject of lumia, or light artworks.

The illuminated manuscript idea was one that I stuck to for my practical work however, with a number of historical references coming through in the work. Artists I mention, such as Frances MacDonald, in particular were influenced by two of the subjects I mention in my blog, both illuminated manuscripts and Japanese ukiyo-e art.

As a photography student moving into graphic design work I have noticed a great deal of crossover aspects in the too disciplines. The use of lighting in particular struck me as an intriguing angle to explore in the blog, understanding how human beings make sense of designs and images in general through an innate understanding of how light can provide form. I outline in the blog how both photographic and video explorations of these shifting attributes of light can also inspire fresh ideas in design. This thought process comes full circle to the ‘Light Prop’ and the generation of abstract moving images.

Overall this has been a very interesting journey. However I feel I have fallen short in respect of the overall conclusions of my work. I do think these will be ongoing subjects for research into art in the future and these are subjects I am passionate about. I am not sure that I have accumulated enough research however to fulfill the brief for this module.


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