Waterlow Park Project
Brief: In ‘Park’, you will extend your investigation of materials, but this time with the clear aim of manipulating them in response to a space or site located within Waterlow Park (see as well separate ‘The Park’ Project). This is an extended period (three weeks) allowing you to learn and develop essential basic skills needed to build and install a site-specific work. These skills will increase your confidence and ability to realise ideas and therefore stretch your ambitions. Risk assessment will be an essential tool in this project, as the outcomes will be made for the general public
Initial Ideas and Themes.
My first thoughts were to create something either in response to the parks natural elements or the historical factors that the park has. To create a sculpture that relates to the park and has a connection to it was fundamental to me. As being site-specific played a crucial element to the success of the sculpture. I know for certain that if I were to create something too alien or has too deep of a contrast to the site it would not sit right in the location. Nor would it be successful in the sense that park users would enjoy it.
So already from these thoughts I knew that the park and its significance will influence the way the sculpture will develop. As creating these 'successes' in the sculpture will be determined upon how well it correlates to the park and its surroundings. Another aspect to the sculpture that I realised to be of the upmost importance is to be aware of how the sculpture may affect the park. So the materials used needs to not cause any harm to the environment nor cause any threat to a member of the general public. Not only that but the material used need to be able to endure any severe weather. Strong gales is one of the most concerning element as well as the chance of rain. So the sculpture needs to withstand the force in a way that will not cause any damage to anyone nor the park and animals within it.
Visiting the Park.
My first visit to the park helped me focus upon possible places for my sculpture to be situated. What I found to the interesting was the tress and how the branches could offer an interesting composition with the future made piece. The place of the work could help produce some interesting work. Could it wrap around the tree? How could something sit upon a branch change the look of tree? Could it be decorated or adorned in a certain way to draw people to look?
After a while I became interested the elements the park had to offer. The natural parts of the park were interesting to document. The bark was nice to draw and was an interesting surface. I realised I became drawn to surfaces and pattern. Whilst walking through the park I found myself drawing many of the natural features like a leaf or flower in a pattern form. This documentation patted way to the possible idea of creating something that focused upon patterns of natural elements.
Whilst looking at natural forms, I wanted to look into a contrast to this. In hopes of generating ideas and hopefully broadening my forms of the sculpture. I looked into man-made elements to the park. Found myself drawing bricks and a fence but got soon bored of it very quickly. It did not captivate me and I knew to create something that had this theme of man-made would not be suitable for me. In addition I felt to do so would also be too alien for the park.
After the first visit I found that I was certain I wanted to create something that was to do with nature and the main elements of the park. Anything 'too man-made' felt too wrong to use. Did not feel appropriate for the park.
Exploring Natural From In Sculpture.
I wanted to work with the natural elements thatI had documented in my sketchbook in a physical form. Working with paper and card felt best as I could create something quick and rough with a simple and malleable material. Working with what I found in the park I created a small sculpture that help interesting aspects to the surface. The ripples of the paper looked like the intricate lines within leaves. The round ball echoed elements of seeds or an accord and the circle holes in a patterned shape were interesting to see. Overall the sculpture was a lovely piece to photograph but I felt very unengaged with it. I did not feel like I could develop this to t=fit into the park.
To help me engage more into the park and what I wanted to do, I looked into the park and researching the history of it. I realised just how important the park was. IT was a place that was donated to the public in hopes for them to have place to enjoy nature at its finest. This thought intrigued me and knew I wanted to develop more from it. The function of the park and what it was used for was interesting to research. After looking into the main park users I found that many used it as a place to escape the city life. A form of escapism. It was a place to appreciate nature and the beauty of it. This was something I knew I wanted to work with. To work with what the park represents to many felt appropriate and could mean more of a chance of making an successful sculpture. One that the public would enjoy and engage with.
Focusing My Idea and Concept
After my research into the park users and how people interact within the park, I started to focus upon what I wanted to create and achieve for my sculpture. I wanted to create something that would help a visitor appreciate the world around them and the beauty that nature has to offer them. To help a person away from their troubles of everyday life and to focuses upon the peach and quiet that the park has. These ideas made me understand just how much the park has grown on me and developed my own appreciation of nature. This is what I wanted to repeat in my sculpture so that others would feel the same way.
Working from my idea developments and realisation of what I wanted to articulate in my sculpture. I started to experiment with photography and ways to help a viewer focus upon the world around them. The most successful were the images of the trees and a simple black frame giving a focus to the imagery. I then edited the picture so that the colours inside the frame were heightened and turned everything outside of it black and white. This proved to be very successful as it encouraged the viewer to focus upon the nature and what was captivated within the frame. What I had learnt from this was that simply encircling or framing something can help engage a viewer and draw them to the main focus. The images brought up ideas and themes or escapism, quietness and mindfulness. IT seemed to be a quiet piece that made the viewer reflect inward as well as outwards. I don't know what it was about it but it was simple and effective piece.
Visiting the Park with sister.
I wanted to visit the park with my sister to see how she interact within the idea of working with frames and photography. It was a lovely day out wth her and she really enjoyed playing within the park. To witness her childish interactions in the park was a nice experience. It helped me understand in more depth how people and children interact in the park. She created some nice visuals of her with the frames. She used it as a prop and played with it. I did learn much from it and it was a fun form or experimentation with her. She helped me enjoy the park and it actually was a very important experience for me personally. As I myself have trouble to sit back and enjoy small moments like these. It evoked many emotions within me whist photographing her. It helped reinforce my ideas of creating something that would allow a viewer to enjoy the park in a calm and peaceful way. To help bring a moment of peace to a persons busy city life. To give us an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of nature.
Putting the idea of frames in Sculptural Form
So I had the idea of creating a form of frame or viewing station to help the viewer focus upon the world around them. Initially I wanted the frames to be made out of metal whilst mimicking the patterns of nature. In the centre of the frame could be a sheet of glass. However, these ideas of the proposed sculpture held many flaws. Firstly my design held many financial worries. Working with metal felt to me to be too great of an expense. Also, using the metalled to cut out the floral design work could prove to be too difficult. A major concern was if I were to cut out the design it could create a potential hazard. The edges may be too shard and could cause harm to the public. So the design had many elements to it that was just not appropriate for the park.
Solving These Issues.
I found myself constantly putting off doing any more work for this project. The issue involving finance had really pushed me into a great reluctance to approaching my work. I was too scared to create anything and fell in a negative mindset that hindered my process. I later found myself a week before the end of the project and near the installation date. So I was pushed into making something quickly. I researched into suitable materials for my 'viewing station' and found that scraps of mdf board could offer a more financially do able material to use. initially I wanted my sculpture to be situated upon the bridge. As I felt this would create a lovely platform to view from and felt to fit nicely into my idea. So securing the sculpture was something that I had not thought through well ad presented to be a big problem to my ideas. After speaking to my tutor, the use of cable ties would offer a good solution to attach the piece to the bridge.
Creating the Sculpture.
Looking at the faults of my previous design I looked into what I could make using the MDF. After reflecting back upon the failed design I realised one of the major faults was that it was just too complicated. It had too many elements and it almost took away the intention of the original piece. So I decided I needed to make it simpler and not create something that would distract the viewer from the original purpose.
Final Days and Final Panic
I had to quickly revise my ideas within a small frame of time. I wanted to create numerous frames and simply the previous design to just simple shapes. The added circles were in relation to the sculpture made in response to nature. I liked the holes I made in the paper and I felt this would be good to incorporate again into this piece. So it'll mean I could keep the element of decoration in a pattern that relates to nature. But it would be in a more subdued way so that the viewer would not be distracted by it.
The colour pattern came by chance. Ive always been drawn to these colours. Initially I wanted to go for dark browns and greens, so earthy tones to relate back to the park. However, I felt that would not make the piece noticeable. So I decided to use a more vibrant colours. The red black and gold.
Installing the piece presented a lot of issues for me. I found that I could not put my sculpture in the original intended position and I had great difficulty in imaging it in another place. However, with aid of my tutor I was able to find a place for it. Whilst installing it I met a few regular park users who were very intrigued with the activity of the art students in the park. I found myself engaging in talks with strangers about my work and many were keen on visiting the park when the exhibition was open. After installing work Helped others set up their pieces and took photographs.
Final thoughts on the sculpture.
What did I set out to achieve?
I set out to create something that would allow the viewer to notice the beauty and world around them. To create something that had a use and wasn't just an art piece. One that would make us self aware as well as giving us the opportunity to truly appreciate nature at its finest. I set out to create something that would have the viewer walk away from it feeling a sense of calmness and in appreciation of the world around us.
What did i actually produce and exhibit?
I managed to produce three 'view finders'. These were quite tall and situated along the pond, secured on the metal railings. They were visually engaging by the colours and made people stop to take in the sculpture and to look through the shapes at the stop.
If these differed, how?
They differed in the sense that they weren't how I originally intended it to be. I had to alter and change my design due to various reasons. However, I believe the concept and its results stayed the same.
What problems did you face and how did you meet these challenges?
I experienced many problems on the way of creating this piece. My first issue was the cost of the sculpture. However, I managed to overcome this with aid of tutors (who I am very grateful for their help) and through sourcing scrap materials. Another major issue was the health and safety hazard that was then sorted through the altering of my design. The issue wth my lack of work and timings was a great problem, one that was not met and changed of the better. However, I am working extremely hard to correct myself in regards to this. The placement of the piece was another issue that I had trouble with solving. Initially I wanted my piece on the bridge. I had made arrangements with a girl who was also wanting to put her work there. However, on the day the plans changed and I was forced to place mine elsewhere.
How did you work with others?
I find this to be very difficult, however I helped many carry their artworks to their locations. I was also more than happy to help lift have objects to and through from the van. I also helped fellow students put up their works and take pictures for them
What was new that you did not expect?
I did not expect the extent of alterations that I had to make in regards to health and safety. It was a completely new experience for me and made me take into account other factors that I were not previously aware of.
What would you do differently?
I would do a lot of things differently when actually making the piece of work. I would try to be more engaged with the process of making and not let financial difficulty and personal issue take over my productivity. I would also try to think more about my timings and how I use my sketchbook.