Monday, 20 February 2012

Major Project - The Proposal

After doing some good design working template's the 'Making Of document, I found it pretty useful getting to taking on board the style of Art Nouveau, so the time invested in the design was a great way of preparing myself for pre-production stages. That said I feel I've finalised the direction I've wanted to go in, without spending weeks on researching. Hopefully my proposal gives a clear direction to where I am headed.

Major Project- Proposal Book

Friday, 17 February 2012

Major Project - Artist Research/Influences

I wanted to gather some extensive research into artists that fall into the category of 'Art Nouveau' in order to immerse my self in the style, I know it'll be very difficult to try an imitate so the more reference the better. There are a few that have indeed tickled my fancy in what I'm headed for, so I've compiled images & styles I feel work well and contrast against one another to get a broader range. My first point of call in this project, and who I had in mind to begin with: His originality lies in the way he was able to marry the ornamental design with the figurative painting

Alphonse Mucha:

His originality lies in the way he was able to marry the ornamental design with the figurative painting,based on a strong composition, sensuous curves derived from nature, refined decorative elements and natural colours. One could hesitate to say that the artist saw them as “sex objects”, to use the present-day terminology.

Aubrey Beardsley:

Beardsley's images were executed in ink,  heavily influenced by Japanese woodcuts,featured large dark areas contrasted with large blank ones. He also juxtaposed areas of intense detail with pure white space. His later work has a dark undercurrent, because he also produced perverse images and grotesque erotica.

Gustav Klimt:

Klimt's primary subject was the female body, his works are marked by a frank eroticism, a scandal at his time because of the display of nudity and the subtle sexuality. He saw himself more as a mural painter and decorative artist, using a lot of gold and silver colors in his art work.

Harry Clarke:

Harry Clarke was an incredible illustrator and stained glass artist born in 1889. His work is most comparitive to Aubrey Beardsley, due to its extensive textural lifework and amazing craftsmanship, featuring disturbing/grotesque detailing. Considered on of the many leads in the Arts & Crafts Movement.

Yoshitako Amano:

His influences include Western comic books, art nouveau, and Japanese woodblock prints. In the early 1980s, Amano concentrated on illustrations for science fiction and fantasy works moving the the game industry later. Combined with the influence of his prior experience in animation, this focus resulted in a personal style influenced by both modern surrealism and realism

I wanted to add Yoshitako Amano in here, because I feel I needed a more modern element, that has roots based in this genre, to add a freshness to the style. Most contempary artists tend to 'mimic' the style, instead of adding there own spin on it, so although there are many modern takes, Amano has a uniqueness to his. 

Finally, here is a compilation of the pieces I feel I want to incorporate into my work, these pages helping give a clear route for my Proposal:

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Major Project - Art Nouveau Symbolism Research

With a massive chunk of background research out of the way to help me gain a better footing in understanding Art Nouveau, I came across a few tid-bits of information that may help me direct my designs more, and understand the direction particular artists where headed on an aesthetic and symbolic level.

Symbolisms of Art Nouveau 

Symbolism gave Art Nouveau a metaphysical approach to the visual world. Art revealed what could not be seen; it could provide access to what industrial life had left behind. Touching upon examples of weakness and vulnerability, temptation and degeneracy, the narrative of many Art Nouveau's design concepts contain complex ranges of symbolic matter.  Mystical aspects were acquired from many sources, particularly by French Symbolist Movement. The symbolist writers promoted prose of birth, growth, decay & death. Some frequently inscribed lines of verse from symbolists on to vases & bowls. These symbolically represented the never-ending chain or cycle of birth, life, death & decay.

The female from was increasingly used as a symbol of eroticism & decadence. Art Nouveau artists portrayed woman as an ethereal, spiritual creature frequently combining her with motifs of dragonflies, butterflies and flowers in an attempt to convey sensual & melancholic undertones running deeply through the concept of nature. It was overt in its use of erotic forms of imagery and its symbolic use of myth and religion played a part in the development and formulation of the ‘New Art’ style. At a time when the position of women in society was changing, these females ' exotic, dangerous, and sexual' could only exist in some "otherly" place.

Woman’s enigmatic expression with eyes closed to conceal her inner world was symbolical of conjuring up images of death, hidden chimeras, sorcery and cults for hallucinatory drug taking. Art Nouveau woman represented a symbolist offshoot of this theme. Gone was the femme fatale and in her place was the tousled enchantress in an allegorical & symbolic role, personifying ideals like truth, justice, progress and faith. 

As icons or symbols, flowers have always been very popular and with their previous long history of symbolism were given to a whole range of erotic meanings. They were used to denote the boundaries and extremes of maleficent evil to the virginal purity. Language had also reinforced floral symbolism with the so-called “deflowering” of a girl being a common theme to be found in art with the use of lilies, iris’s, sunflowers and poppies. 

The eroticism of Art Nouveau was perfect as a vehicle using symbolism to convey a message to the public, realised through advertising it was sold an idea of lifestyle and sex sold the products. Muchas’ posters used the image of erotic woman to carry the message that made them the definitive symbol of the modern era. His tousled-haired beauties presented every commodity and idea from cigarettes and tobacco to beer and cars. The eroticism of the advertising varied but the symbol remained the same, woman were the premier symbol used to sell the product. 

*Images to come*

Major Project - Art Nouveau Background Research

It's reached a point now where I need to step up a gear and take my project forward out of the ideas stage, and onto conceptualising my piece, but since not having a clear starting point to begin with, I need to first wrap up my research in order to really define my idea and get a better grasp of the subject. This will act as a research dump for reference, picking out elements for formulating ideas and proposals.



Art Nouveau was a movement committed to abolishing the traditional hierarchy of the arts, which viewed so-called liberal arts, such as painting and sculpture, as superior to craft-based decorative arts, and swept through this and architecture in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Generating enthusiasts throughout Europe and beyond, the movement issued in a wide variety of styles. Practitioners were among the first to create "art for art's sake".

Industrial production was at that point was widespread, yet the decorative arts were increasingly dominated by poorly made imitations. Art Nouveau sought to revive good workmanship, raise the status of craft, and produce genuinely modern design. The style went out of fashion in the 1920s, after it being disused to favour more streamlined, rectilinear shapes which was cheaper and thought to be more faithful to the plainer industrial aesthetic that became Art Deco, now seen as an important predecessor of modernism.


Influences & Artists

Jan Toorop

Art Nouveau has affinities with the Pre-Raphaelites and the Symbolist styles, and artists like Aubrey Beardsley, Alphonse Mucha, Edward Burne-Jones, Harry Clarke, Gustav Klimt, James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Jan Toorop could be classed in more than one of these styles, however unlike Symbolist painting, Art Nouveau has a distinctive  appearance, and is linked to the artisan-oriented Arts and Crafts Movement (a reaction against the cluttered designs and compositions of Victorian-era decorative art), as well as it's then current vogue for Japanese art, particularly wood-block prints, that swept up many European artists in the 1880s and 90s.

Some argue that the patterned, flowing lines and floral backgrounds found in the paintings of Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin represent Art Nouveau's birth, or perhaps even the decorative lithographs of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, such as La Goule at the Moulin Rouge (1891). But most point to the origins in the decorative arts, and in particular to a book jacket by English architect and designer Arthur Heygate Mackmurdo for the 1883 volume Wren's City Churches. The design depicts serpentine stalks of flowers coalescing into one large, whiplashed stalk at the bottom of the page, clearly reminiscent of Japanese-style wood-block prints.

To a person living at the end of the nineteenth century, nature was not neutral, the way we might consider plant or animal motifs to be today. More than simply suggesting shapes and patterns for artists to copy, nature was a model for transformation and metamorphosis. Its changeable states could also mirror psychological realities.


Style & Traits

The practitioners drew inspiration from arabesque, organic and geometric forms, evolving elegant designs that united flowing, natural forms resembling the stems and blossoms of plants - as well as geometric forms such as squares and rectangles, with more angular contours. Often described as "sudden violent curves generated by the crack of a whip", which became well-known during the early spread of Art Nouveau. Asymmetrical shapes, ethereal figures, tall plant like growth and such decorative "whiplash" motifs formed dynamic, undulating flowing lines in a syncopated rhythm,are found throughout architecture, painting, sculpture, and other forms of Art Nouveau design.

The appearance of motion, movement and abstraction of the natural world allowed for remarkable freedom. Natural forms could be twisted, elongated, and curved to the spatial requirements of any composition. Flowers, birds, dragonflies, spider webs, and especially the female form were favorite motifs. The motifs became more and more abstracted to the point where artists were no longer trying to copy nature exactly, but rather create their own artful interpretation of it. This distinction marks the difference between Art Nouveau and that which came before it

Two-dimensional Art Nouveau pieces were painted, drawn, and printed in popular forms such as advertisements, posters, abels, magazines, and the like. Japanese wood-block prints, with their curved floral lines and bulbous forms, patterned surfaces, contrasting voids, and flatness of visual plane, also inspired Art Nouveau. Some line and curve patterns became graphic clich├ęs that were later found in works of artists from many parts of the world. Art Nouveau artists readily used new materials, machined surfaces, and abstraction in the service of pure design, and did not negate machines, making use of many technological innovations of the late 19th century. It was a time of both technology and spirituality, of  "machines and ghosts."

Major Project - Alchemy Prep & Shape Creation Tutorial

Although my project isn't exactly set in stone as of yet, I know roughly where I want it to head, and I feel it'll be good to start to get some visuals down to explain my idea further and more effectively considering it's a visually driven piece. Yesterday I began to gather some shapes and brushes from various sources, and carry out the laborious task of filtering through ABR. brush sets individually, to single out the brushes I want to use in alchemy, which where very floral, intricate and ornamental, an above all typical of Art Nouveau.

However the problem I came across in previous projects is that with intricacies and dots, is that it generates well too many negative space shapes, and those said dots as separate singular shapes, which breaks the fluidness and effectiveness seen in it's standard brushes.

So I set out to find a way to remedy this, and make the brushes into fuller shapes. After many hours and perseverance, I cracked it again :D. I decided to put a tutorial together for people who might want to join me in this technique, as well as a point of reference for myself

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Major Project - Spit-balling a Proposal

My heart is most definitely set on Transcribing a piece of work into the style of 'Art Nouveau', however this is still my only starting point which I have not progressed past. My initial thought was to take this into a more character based approach, but after a chat with Phil about bringing something new and different to the table, using my weakness as a strength I've started to think about pushing this into a more visual piece. I have a few similar idea's based around this, so I'll jot them down as though using them in a sentence for a proposal

Proposal Idea 1

'Using a variety of 2D & 3D techniques I've acquired over the last 3 years, from animation to modelling & texturing, I wish to capture the Illustrative style of Art Nouveau using mixed media, and bring it into the 3D World in the form of an 'Animated Portrait'. Exploring the components that together build the final image, I propose this as an inspired installation piece.'

Proposal Idea 2

'Exploring a particular source from literature that encapsulates the theme of Man Vs Nature this (such as poems or short stories) I wish to personify the material into the style of Art Nouveau using mixed media, and bring it into the 3D World in the form of an 'Animated Portrait'. Exploring the components that together build the final image, I propose this as an inspired installation piece.'

With what I intend for this project, I feel the style is the most important aspect in an almost abstract way. I hope for the outcome to produce a strong impression on the viewer, very similar to an installation piece an interesting and different approach to what I would usually take. I need to do do some research into 'Art Nouveau' as a style, as well as the main artists involved to get a better understanding of what it mean to be a apart of that movement to capture it into my project.

I know that usually this isn't the case, that I should first find the source and give birth to my style from this.
It may seems like I'm trying to justify creating a piece of work purely for the sake of using 'Art Nouveau', but I think I have something very good here and add my own spin on CG .

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Major Project - A Starting Point

So after having my first tutorial with Alan, which mainly consisted of discussing my Re-Sub from my Minor Project, and how to go about pushing the groundwork I've reached to a final conclusion, I put forward my idea of using 'Art Nouveau' as a starting point for this project.

I started to consider this as a general direction whilst working on my Minor Project, however no particular route came to fruition during this period. after discussing this with Alan the day of the briefing, he suggested that I came back this week with more in mind in terms of content instead of style. There is one particular idea in mind which I can't seem to shake off, which is to create an Art Nouveau styled painting, usually consisting of a female surrounding by natural forms, tones  markings, and translate it to an inspired 3D Character and Environment.

Similar to what I proposed with my Minor, instead this time around, I want elements to be animated, almost like a moving, Animated Painting. To give and example, looking at the piece above by 'Alphonse Mucha', I can imagine many of the cloth, leaves and hair to be subtly moving, in conjunction to this the move clearer components and designs to be rotating, slotting, falling into place similar to many VFX pieces

Purplemid - Ramadanman from Jack Chute on Vimeo.

I can imagine to look very visually stunning, however content wise it seems very flat. What I propose is to transcribe not only a style, but also a piece of literature, such as a poem, that was created around the same time as when Art Nouveau was in it's prime, and 'Personify' the core elements found within the said piece, into the design and final result itself.

The next step will be to define the source of transcription, and build some visual and background research on Art Noveau, as well as more examples more subtle animation