A selection of artworks, reflection and development of practice
For my practices project I decided that continual development of my skills with the Photoshop program would be both interesting and beneficial in obtaining opportunities in the future. Over the duration of this semester my Photoshop skills have gone from non-existent to a stage where I can effectively merge images and use refining methods and adjustments to improve image aesthetics. Although there is still an evident beginner aspect to a lot of the content created, an improvement was recognisable as weeks progressed. Also the development of certain themes created a path for content creation and although the direction was altered at certain points it resulted in a critical dialogue regarding the use of my practice by myself and by others.
The first week of practise was focused on familiarising myself with the basic Photoshop functions such as removing objects, layering and masking, adjusting colour levels and cropping. The images that I worked on ended up indirectly setting the tone for future images and themes as an interest in popular culture was evident. This carried through to next week’s practices as I explored self-involvement in popular culture, adding myself into images resembling aspirations that weren’t achieved or neglected due to laziness. This set the precedence for my first theme in which individuals ambitions are often influenced by popular culture, but are often more of a ‘pipedream’ than attainable. In terms of Photoshop skills the second week saw the development of the initial familiarity with basic Photoshop functions.
The following week resulted in further exploration of the aspirational pop culture theme as other people’s attempts and ambitions were reflected in ‘Photoshopped’ images. The creation of two images showcasing people in these aspirational environments yet deliberately lacking in participation was meant to create a juxtaposition of what some people endeavour or dream about doing but in the end don’t achieve. Ultimately what was achieved for this week resulted in a change of direction for both the overall theme and what was important when implementing my practice.
Reflecting upon the theme established over the first three weeks of the practices project and taking into account comments made on my blogs it was at this point that I decided to change the direction of my theme. This was because I felt the ideas I was trying to communicate were a bit stringent in their capabilities. Therefore drawing from the images previously completed I realised how most of them were some sort of parody on popular culture using myself or someone else. From here the idea developed into an outlook on the merging of media and how parodies use existing recognisability to either create, establish or extend upon an idea. Therefore I began looking at the manipulation of current images in order to repurpose content. In particular by parodying popular television shows or movies with album cover artwork. In regards to the implementation of Photoshop it was important for me at this stage to work closely on the refining of edges so that these images in particularly had a smooth texture and didn’t seem out of place. It also came to my attention in the week prior that shading was important so that when an image is merged or replaced that it looks aesthetically pleasing and flows with the rest of the image.
The final week of the first component of the practices project saw the continuation of ideas expressed in the previous week as the parody of television and album artworks continued. Although the difficulty of these images was greater than previous examples. This resulted in one of the images being currently unfinished, although this has allowed me to recognise what needs to be improved and what needs to be learnt, in particular lighting and shading, in order to create an effective product that communicates my ideas.
Overall in terms of research, most of the practical components relating to Photoshop were learnt directly via the Photoshop tutorials available on the Adobe site. This would involve applying the effects used in the tutorials to my own images and comprised of a lot of trial and error. When developing my themes the course content, Chuck Close exhibition as well as the exploration of popular culture online and my own understanding of it informed the themes practice immensely. At the moment I believe the skills achieved in the previous weeks have put myself in a good position to create a major work that is hopefully consistent with the themes and demonstrates a comprehensive understanding of the Photoshop program.