This lesson was focused on everything that can be used to make a mark, and not just any mark but your personal mark which u make with preferred tools and techniques. To start we tried out a range of ways to make marks, some which we had done before and others were totally new to us. One in particular which I found really interesting was the Quick and bleach method, the Quick is a dark indigo colour and when on paper if you use a brush to mark across the Quick with bleach a totally different colour if created. The contrast is cool between indigo and the bright yellow/orange which is left behind from the bleach.
Once we had tested various methods we were given our second task of creating a stencil. The theme of this image would follow on from a previous task which was to interpret an audio clip based on a discussion about the Suffragettes. I had gone with the idea of focusing women’s empowerment and protest within music and had looked into the Riot Grrrl movement. They had a quote.. or a demand within the movement which was ‘Girls to the Front’ ! The singer Kathleen Hanna of Bikini Kill, who I have drawn underneath, would say this… but in honour of the Suffragettes have changed it to ‘Girls to the Polling Station’. This is my drawing for the stencil.
The area of Spitalfields and Brick Lane is one with a lot of history and is connected to immigration, specifically concerning the Bangladeshi, Huguenot, Jewish and Irish communities. Street art is also a prominent subject as we move forward into the future. During this walk these were topics and discussions we delved deeper into but to begin with we started at the Bishopsgate Institute, and old building full of incredible material which would have stood tall in its day but now is hidden away underneath a bustling financial hub. The Bishopsgate Institute opened in 1895, it was built to be library and always has been just a library. The inside of the building was beautiful with the main library still containing a lot of its original furniture and book shelves. The library books are not available for lend or allowed to be taken out of the building, and because of this the library has been able to maintain a huge amount of rare old material that may have otherwise been borrowed and never returned.
Walking through the archives and book shelves we received information on past librarians who were huge assets to bringing in incredible old books, maps, guidebooks etc. to the library, finding things while just on their lunch time excursions to pubs and locals market stalls, such as the Old Spitalfields Market. The thing that interested me the most was old maps of London which had been collected. One map even dated back to the 16th century and it was able to show from then to the 19th century, just how much London had expanded and grown in terms of housing and the amount of people who began moving to London. Central and West London was were everything was happening, very little happening in East and virtually nothing was happening in South, in fact, South London was still mostly fields, even in the 18th century.
Other maps which were shown to us were maps revealing statistics on how many types of certain people lived in those specific areas. We were shown a ‘Jewish map’ of London and a poverty map of East Central London, both of which you can see above! The two maps were completed by Charles Booth, and the statistics for the maps are now thought to be semi-accurate, this is because Booth didn’t really take accurate surveys. His preferred method was to instead walk arounds these areas and judging people by eye, he would put them into a specific category.
Below are some images taken from this walk once we had left the Bishopsgate Institute. Moving along Brick Lane and discussing the Bangladeshi areas and then moving up further to places which were now renowned as being a common place street artists would come and make their mark or leave their tag. It was interesting to see how street art has changed, it is an incredible way to get information across in many way, but a lot of it was quite uninteresting.
This one day project asked us to consider the ordinary, and allow imagination repurpose the outcome. Find the alphabet, A-Z, in reality, looking at everyday objects in a different light.
Once we had found all 26 letters we then had to draw each on an A3 page.
From these 26 letters we had found plus everyone elses in the class, we had to create a world, a city scape ! Built up of only are found characters.
CITY SCAPE !
The image above is my first drawing of the city scape which we were asked to complete, although the whole final image which is below had to include drawings which resembled a city skyline, plants and shrubs, transportation and figurative characters/creatures. I had changed a few things from the first image, for example, the Z formation which was once part of the skyline has now been changed into birds in the sky !!
The riot grrrl movement was based in America and is associated with ‘third-wave feminism’. In their music they discussed issues such as rape, domestic abuse, sexuality, racism and patriarchy. For this image I felt inspired by their use of constant bad language but also, of course, by the theme of female protest/empowerment. I’ve done a drawing of a typically ‘girly’ or ‘fruity’ cocktail and instead of the ice cubes written ‘fuck you’. This could also relate to gigs and concerts played in clubs/bars in which men buy drinks for women and try to spike them with drug, another huge issue.
The right to the city is an interesting concept and one which I was able to delve into during an excursion around the area of Elephant and Castle. Meeting with people who had lived in the area for years, decades, and hearing what they had to say about it’s history, how it once was and how progressing on into the future it has effected their lives and the lives of many others who once were able to feel comfortable calling Elephant and Castle their home.
Elephant and Castle to most people is described as quite an ugly area. An eyesore with not a lot to offer. There were many housing estates for people with a lesser income to live and a wide range of different cultures in the area. Fast forward to today in 2017 and things are vastly changing in zone 1’s ‘south central’. New buildings have arrived, construction is underway, regeneration is in full effect and consequently, people are being pushed out.
During the walk we were introduced to a few people, one of which owns an artist studio in Iliffe Yard, and another who is part of running the Infoshop just down the road. Both of these places in a way are like old relics, and both have battled for their right to stay in the areas which they are. Due to regeneration, the artists who remain in Iliffe Yard now feel as though there is no longer a place for them as it has become more of a desired residential area in recent years, but still to a lot of people this space is considered to be a valued part of the community. Concerning the Infoshop, we were informed that before this was an official space they had battled with the council for some time due to the fact they were squatting in this building and not actually paying rent. When they first moved into the building it was old and derelict, with no heating or running water the council had turned a blind eye. The squatters had transformed it into their own home and once it was more desirable they had difficulty trying to keep peace with the council and eventually gave in and began paying rent. The Infoshop is an open-access archive so you can read about radical politics, they also have a shop and a bike repair space.
Following on with the walk we began the discussion of gentrification and quite appropriately ended up at Heygate Street, an area which is currently under major housing development. The Heygate Estate was demolished in 2014, a place which was able to accommodate thousands of people with affordable social housing. Once these people were removed they were promised 500 new spaces to live, but only gave 82 families from the original plot confirmation of a home in the new build. As for the other flats, these will more than likely be bought up by foreign investors, which they will probably leave unattended for most of the year.
Every Flat in New South London Development Has Been Sold to Foreign Investors, Vice
Exhibition visits !! EVERYTHING AT ONCE @ 180 the Strand, and Frieze Sculpture Park