It is really just multilayered…

We did our studio critique today. It was a great experience, there is nothing better than to be surrounded by other artists all talking about art and what it means! Apart from possibly being surrounded by poets or Tarot readers :)

I was really pleased with how my setup looked, considering I was completely flummoxed as to how to present it a week ago. The first comment was ‘Wow’ !and to be honest, that is what I thought when I walked in the room for the first time after setting it up. It does look good at first glance, but I think this is because of the uniformity of the shapes and the colour scheme. It is hard to go wrong with these colours against a white wall I reckon!

Anyway, this is how it looked today. I present my identity project, in it’s 80% finished state:


I looked at my feedback and everyone got the constructing identities part. Pauline was very encouraging, and that made me feel good. Barbara  Kruger was mentioned by Natalie and when I discussed it with her after, she said it was the red labels. The labels will actually be giant dymo tape images in the final thing but I didn’t have time to make them today, so I quickly hand wrote some to give the idea. One comment that was cool was that the work felt like a media ad, because of the pixelated images, and the colors. As these colours remind me of the newspaper joke I found that interesting. The pixelated images are actually blown up photographs which I had converted to halftone, which I did on purpose to represent a magnified view of life which brings it down to dots, or points in time. Kind of like looking at life or a person under a microscope, but focusing on moments, rather than cells.

I am not sure I got the kit part across as the poster was a bit small. I think I need to make the advertising poster about four times the size, and maybe place it more strategically. Also I will make a proper box for the  Identity Kit, instead of the little one that I used for show here. The images and labels and building blocks are larger than life because that is exactly how companies sell things to us, with a promise of something that is way bigger than the reality.

The identity in this project is focused on me, but it could be anyone, the message is that anyone can make themselves anything, with a camera and the right clothes and accessories, (or my wonderful identity kit toy!), but it is always only an image. To make the truth, or a reality behind the image takes much longer, it requires solid building blocks. I tried to explain this concept, using the image of myself and Pollyanna as a newborn, I looked like a mother, but I was only a mother by name. I am still learning how to be a mother 19 years later, those are the years of experience that make the building blocks. I can see why Kay thought that it may be two different pieces, but it is really just multilayered  and it can be deconstructed as far as anyone cares to take it.


Anyway I will try and talk to more people about this, and see what I can do to make the work clearer to the audience. Although to be honest, does it matter? Everyone picked up the basic theme of constructed identity, and it is a fluid do it yourself kit, so people can play :)



2 thoughts on “It is really just multilayered…

  1. Hi Bobby, unfortunately I was unable to be a part of the critique yesterday, however, here I am today giving online feedback. My initial thoughts from your work was one of ‘vinyl records’ or the ‘cover art’ taken from 70s/80s metal and rock bands – funny how none of the themes used within the art convey that message outwardly, but, as I said “initial” and fleeting as it was I think it’s important to mention.

    However, looking again, it does fit nicely with the building blocks or ‘product’ concept direction. Nice concept. I really like the use of photography where it’s degraded to a point of pixilation, it adds to the aged or in this case ‘manufactured’ idea of it being modular. Saying that, I wonder if the “identity kit” would be so pixilated (although I love it personally), would it not fit better if it were flawless, perfect straight edges as if made by a robot in a factory – this plain template of which to populate yourself, to promote your identity in a “kit” form? A neutral building block on which to build?

    I have to say that it is an engaging work, I think with some tweaks and small changes – it could be hugely successful (it’s still 80% finished). One suggestion is to put the price up from $10 for an “identity kit”. The notion of identity is hugely important to people and it shouldn’t be so cheep, unless this is the market you’re appealing to. It’s my experience that people will spend huge amounts of time and money on themselves in order to define their place in a crowd, if a ‘kit’ were to be a vehicle for that it needs to signify exclusivity and value.

    I’ll catch up with you again soon, keep blogging :-)

    1. Thanks very much for this Will. That’s interesting about the vinyl flashback… do you know what that came from? I would love to know… When I make the Identity kit box the image on the cover will be clear and not pixelated. This way the overblown building blocks etc will give the feel of nothing being quite as it is advertised on the boxes. Real life isn’t like the ads etc. This concept has several layers. I am using the kit as a way of presenting the fragility, of instant identity, at a level that can, hopefully, be easily grasped.

      On a deeper level the images represent the vision of an identity, ie Mother, but the blocks are actually all the work and building it takes behind the identity. Before I came up with the kit I had a torn poster to show the fragility of the 2 dimensional image, next to the relatively stable blocks. But then I reconsidered as it would be quite easy for someone with bog boots to stamp on and crush a box too!

      Thanks for your input and the price is a good point. I made it cheap because I was thinking of the idea of cheap and quick and instant identity but you are right, the more it costs it seems the more people want to buy it and see it as something to aspire to.

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