Monday, 29 December 2008

Sepia Influences

These images are other examples of how sepia toned images have been used in visual art. I think that it can be agreed that using these tones give an earthy, autumnal feeling to an image.

Brothers Grimm 2005

Moulin Rouge 2006 (opening scenes)

Edgar Allen Poe, Tales of Mystery and Madness
Illustrated by Gris Grimly 2004

Boris and Bella
Illustrated by Gris Grimly 2006

Coldplay Video "Trouble" by Tim Hope 2001

Arthur Rackham (1906?)

Arthur Rackham (1906?)

Pans Labyrinth 2006

Tim Burton

Tim Burton communicates a dreamy surrealistic mood in his movies, often with an aura of the macabre. I am particularly interested in his sepia tones and what he hopes to communicate with this effect. In an interview about Sleepy Hollow, this effect was described as “somewhere between black and white and colour” states Mark Kermode (The Guardian. Jan 6th, 2000). Burton used a “slight bleaching process to the film” to get this effect but did not give a term for the look.

Sleepy Hollow (1999)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007)
Sweeny Todd was descibed as "sepia toned gothicness" by Paul Branfield (Los Angeles Times. Nov 25, 2007).

Thursday, 18 December 2008


These photos are of the second set of bronze (I think) doors at Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. I think they and Gaudi are marvelous. I can't help but wonder what each of the symbols mean. If anyone knows please educate me.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Resevoir Mice and Moths

Todays experiments with screenprinting.

Moth (no not a mosquito)

I wanted to look at screen printing more detailed illustrations. This print is on a finer cotton material. I was pleased how this turned out but I did notice that the ink did not come through in some area so need to A) push ink through harder B) make sure the emulsion is washed out correctly.

Moth- T cloth First Print

My mosquito- I mean moth, come out fairly clearly but not as clear on the tighter material.

Moth- 2nd Print

This one was the second print. Note how much blurrier the lines are. I am exasperated that you can not clearly print more than once. It adds so much time to wash a screen and let it dry inbetween each print. Can you imagine how long wallpaper would take? There must be a better way...Oh TAMMMMSINNNN.

Resevoir Mouse

Umm- this is meant to be a mouse wearing a Christmas hat-not one that has been stepped on. Should have used a solid colour on the hat and used a different type of ink. That way it would have sat on top of the under layer rather than be translucent.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Sanderson Wallpaper

Here is a good example of colour making it modern. This wallpaper is from Sanderson. They use a strong colour in the background with a monotone foreground to take a classic illustration into the 21st century.


KAAS in New York follows along the same lines as John Derian.

"At our small shop in the West Village, we combine the traditional art of decoupage with our love of antique and historical prints. Our work involves the art of decoupage under glass. Each piece is put together by hand using reprinted images that we have collected from frequent trips to flea markets, antique shows and estate sales.
The final result is a sentimental collection of trays, plates, coasters and paperweights. Both decorative and functional, each piece may be used on a table or dresser, or displayed on the wall with the use of a simple plate hanger." Accessed 13/12/08

Globe Artichoke

Blue and Yellow Octipus (their spelling)


Product is the factor that makes it modern in KAAS. The last one, Daisy, is a great example of juxtaposition in context with the lovely black pattern behind the dasiy illustration.

John Derian

John Derian does not technically meet my criteria of interior textiles but I have decided to let him in as he does apply beautiful original illustrations. He uses decoupage with original illustrations and sandwiches them between glass. His products include plates, serving dishes, paperweight and cake stands.

“Decoupage is the art of cutting and gluing paper images to surfaces. John Derian, an avid collector of antique fruit, flower and animal prints, hand-paints borders over centuries-old ledgers and letters. He combines all these elements into charmingly eccentric collages, which are reprinted and pieced together in layers under glass accessories. His ever- expanding collection includes plates, platters, paperweights, coasters, lamps, bowls, bell jars, urns and vases. Collectors around the world prize his designs.The John Derian Company Inc. was established in 1989. John Derian’s designs are handmade in his studio in New York, where he employs a small staff of artists to assist with production.” accessed 13/12/2008


These are a set of hanging plates with an aillustration of back of a skeleton as the subject.

Tree Plate

Owl Paperweight

Bug Cakestand

Bat serving Plate

In answering my question of “what makes it modern” I wanted to include John Derian. I think his inclusion in this study is important because with his work, it is the product that makes his designs modern. Placing these images in glass has made the antique illustrations more accessible and visually available to the user. His use of these original illustrations in products looks perfectly comfortable in major retail chains. He has a new line at Target stores, USA.

Juxtaposition is another factor when considering John Derian’s work. His positioning of bats with trees or layering of bugs does give his illustrations a more modern context.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Thomas Paul

Thomas Paul uses silk screen printing on interior textiles and papers. His images are reminiscent of older illustrations but without the excessive detail and fine lines.

Birds and Bees Maize 22" shown: front & back (below)

These pillows are good examples of how traditional subjects can be used in a more modern context. The main point to note with these is the use of colour. The first pillow uses a monotone background with a single block of the colour yellow. The image of the bees has almost a photographic negative effect, having the bees highlighted in white.

Oology 12" x 20"

The use of bright colours with a plain white background brings this illustration into the 21st C.

Botany aqua

Colours are key in this cushion, once again only using blocks of solid colour, in this case two. However they use the technique that Timorous Beasties also uses, of positioning the image so that it's edges are cut off. I think that is a wonderful way to cause tension in a design and thereby capturing the viewer's attention.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Timorous Beasties

Ahhhhhh, the most fabulous Timorous Beasties. I first saw their designs a couple years ago when I was researching the possibility of doing a post graduate course. Their designs make me go weak in the knees. I think that they are the classic example of images that are similar to the detailed illustrations of the 17-20th century applied in a modern context.

Glasgow Toile

From a distance their toile looks similar to the 18th century French toile de jouy scenic pattern. Only on closer inspection can you find “a nightmarish vision of the city, teeming with drug addicts, prostitutes and homeless people” Jeffries (2007). Timorous Beasties take this traditional design and make it modern by changing the subject area. I propose this design is modern because, to the best of my knowledge, no one has used such a controversial subject on wallpaper before.

Digital Moth

This lamp shade design from Timorous Beasties is very detailed. One of the Beasties, Paul Simmons, can be quoted in The Guardian regarding traditional wallpapers saying “that there were often butterflies or flowers in wallpapers and fabrics, but they were always soft and romanticised. You wouldn’t see the tendrils or the scales” Jeffries (2007). I think that the modern aspects in this design include the attention to gnarly details such as feathered antennas, the larger scale of the image and a different angle to the typical straight on direct from above angle. One very important point in considering their modern context is how the moths are juxtaposed with each other. There are five different moths layered on top of one another. The early intent for illustrations were informational, thus layering were never have occured as the viewer would miss details. The effect here causes some tension, with the layering of the moths, grabbing the attention of the viewer. One final point that makes this image more modern, is the position of the moths on the material. The intentional chopping of the image on the edge of the product is another way to grab the attention of the viewer.

Jeffries, S., 2007. The writhing is on the wall. The Guardian, 8 Feb.

What Makes It Modern?

In next few entries I am going to be looking at designers that apply detailed organic illustrations to modern interiors. These designers will be based in Europe and America. I will be specifically looking at interior textiles including wallpaper, curtains, upholstery and cushions. From analyzing these designs I hope to find factors that contribute to the question “what makes it modern”?

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Grave Discoveries

Here are some more gravestones. These are from Falmouth and Penryn.


"Sacred" -What a great word to desribe the memory of someone that has passed away. The font and scroll work are fantastic.

RIP Grave Falmouth
Ooh this one makes me giddy. It is not the image or words this time but the metalic RIP against the moss and aged stone.

Skull and Cross Bones Penryn
I love this gravestone,with the skull and cross bones being framed by stone drapes. There is something comforting about this no nonsense image of what is below. Mid 18th C. With all the time in the world I would like to make a long black skirt for "Day of the Dead" with a ruffle on the bottom being pinned aside to reveal the skull and crossbones.

Tree from Watercolour to Digital Print

I wanted to go back and look at my original watercolour and compare it to the final printed digital image. You can't see the colour that well in this photograph but it has changed quite significantly. The original background was a subdued brown. Through scanning and printing the final colour has turned into a yellowish orange. Not attractive to me. Maybe scanning in the photolab with the truecolour scanners will have a better effect. The only other thing that I can think of is experimentally adjusting the colours before print to see if I can get closer to the original. Hmmm sounds tricky.

Original "Connected Tree with Digitally Printed Cloth"

Friday, 5 December 2008

Oranges and Oranges

In trying to produce more complex images I painted this orange with the thought of turning it into wallpaper (or what wallpaper would look like).

Orange- Original Ink and Watercolour

Orange Wallpaper

After painting the orange, I scanned the image and then loaded it into step and repeat. I thought that I had blended the edges well but was disappointed that you could still see a lighter square around the orange. It is really much more obvious from this image than the small tile in photoshop. I did not want the background perfect and tried to achieve an old, coffee stained, washed out look, but not with an obvious square. So guess it is still a work in progress.

Hopefully will digitally print this with Vic next Friday

Screen Printing is the Way... OR IS IT?????

Ahh I thought that all trials and tribulations were over after I had screen printed the blue butterfly (previous entry). Surely this was the way. I was taken aback by the bold colour and sharp edges giving the image a much more 3D quality than digital printing. I found my thoughts confirmed when I digitally printed the first butterfly below. The image is subdued and hazy compared to it's screen printed counterpart.

Blue Butterfly Digitally Printed

Blue Butterfly (with different colour scheme) Digitally Printed

Hmmm, a fly in the ointment. I find that my detailed ink and watercolour drawings work well with the subdued and hazy qualities of digital printing. I also acknowledge that this is where I can, perhaps, excel as my illustrations are pretty good (quite detailed and fairly skilled). I was aware of the feeling that "anyone can do this" when I was making the screen printed butterfly. My thoughts were confirmed when I had a tutorial with Simon. He showed no emotion over the screen printed images but thought that butterfly and milkweed pods were quite good and worth exploring. He also noted that the colour scheme below was sophisticated versus the crassness of the screen printing. I also showed my work to another couple of fine art graduate students, once again no emotion over screen printed butterflies but illustrations below evoked a more positive response.

Ink and Watercolour Butterfly Digitally Printed

Ink and Watercolour Milkweed Pods

So, I am going to experiment over next couple weeks with potential sophistication of screen printing whilst also looking at digitally printing some more complex ink and watercolor images (as well as attend university, prepare blog, write critical review, beef up sketch book, make poster, manifesto, prepare exhibition, go to January Frankfurt interiors show, have fabulous and magical Christmas with 5 year old...... sleep is overrated..OR IS IT?).