Friday, 30 January 2009

Interesting weblinks! - Drawn! is a fantastic illustration/cartooning blog where professional illustrators and designers post daily with videos, internet links, interviews and various other creative materials to help inspire others. There are some fantastic gems on there and it's bound to have something to inspire everyone. Great browsing for when you're struggling to get inspired for your latest projects or just need a creative boost. - Passion Pictures is an independant production company who produce many of the great animated adverts and music videos that have been released recently. Some of their more recent and notable works that you may have seen are the new Audi Q5 "Box" animated advert, and the Gorrilaz music videos. This website has some wonderful pieces of good quality commercial animation available to watch, and there are some great examples of how different animation styles can be applied to popular culture and advertising. I'd recommend watching the Coldplay "Don't Panic" and Thomas Fersen "2 Pieds" music videos on there. - A huge archive of illustrators and examples of their work, easily sectioned so if you have a specific interest or style that you like you can search to find a variety of work to suite your own taste. There are a lot of interesting and varied pieces on there, and it's easy to see why animation and illustration are so closely linked! - "30 Unforgettable Movie Opening Sequences" is a really wonderful online article with video clips of some of the greatest and inspiring film openings to date! The article covers a variety of different films spanning different genres and styles. It's really great when a film has a wonderful opening sequence to set the scene, and the clips mentioned on this site really set the scene well. My favourite is the Casino Royale opening on there, absolutely great! - An independant UK based manga group who make and sell all of their own comics. They focus on storytelling rather than artist skill, but requirements to join their group are that you draw in a manga style. They are largely influenced by Japanese manga but have been bringing a new unique style to their comics, so it's definitely worth taking a look. - My favourite animated music video, ever. The song is beautiful, as is the animation. This was one of the animated music videos which inspired me to want to do animation, it combines stopmotion with rotoscoping in such an amazing way. - Official website to the Photographer's gallery, a small gallery on Ramilles Street which regularly holds very interesting exhibitions by upcoming photographers. They are currently showing a photography prize exhibition with some amazing new work. - This is ridiculously cute and catchy. You'll never look at eggs in the same way again. A UK based independent video game production company, who mainly focus on point-and-click games. The games are free to download so far, so it's really worth taking a look at what they've made! They have produced some really great work and it's a good example of how collaborating with various other students can help to create great things. - Carbonmade is an online portfolio site where you can upload your own work to show it to the world, and attract potential freelance jobs! It's interesting to see some of the work that people have put up on there.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Bird in Hand (2006) - Ellen Gallagher

I have decided to review Ellen Gallagher’s mixed media painting ‘Bird in Hand’, as I felt it was the piece that I could most relate to in the gallery. Ellen Gallagher was born in 1965 and often works around themes that are relevant to her own cultural identity as a black Irish-American. She often works in mixed-media, focussing on mythical themes, transformation and metamorphosis.

The painting has been made by using layers of paper which have been built up and cut away in places to create depth and texture in the image, while the figure is painted using oil and ink. The subject is an imaginative representation of a black pirate or sailor walking under the ocean through the “Middle Passage”, which is described as the worst slave trade path between Africa and North America.

I chose this painting because I have always enjoyed Illustration, and felt that this particular image had a very illustrative feeling to it. The painting has a sense of narrative, it tells a story rather than being a representation of reality. Ellen Gallagher stated ‘I think of this painting as an origin myth of sorts, with a kind of evil doctor, perhaps related to Doctor Moreau or Frankenstein, at its centre’. She is fascinated with the slave trade and transformation, and this is reflected in this piece by the subject and her artistic style. The patterns are organic and appear to flow naturally across the composition, while her use of layered paper adds texture to the image drawing our attention to the detail in the image.

The composition is simple - the figure in the image is placed centrally to instantly draw our attention to him and his actions, while the surrounding layered patterns set the scene of being under the ocean. The scale of the image makes the figure almost life-sized, so we are submersed with him. Her use of colours is also interesting as they are limited, and therefore are not overpowering. The pirate is the darkest part of the image, mostly in dull and monotonous colours again drawing our attention to him.

Ellen Gallagher’s use of intricate and complicated detail is often a popular style that many modern illustrators have adopted recently, for example the illustrator Silja Goetz ( In many of her illustrations she uses intricate patterns, paper textures and organic shapes like in Gallagher’s painting, while her subject matter mostly focuses on people. Tara Hardy ( also uses a similar style in her illustration work, however she mostly uses collaged images combined with detailed and flowing patterns. This style is often used to create mythical, sensual images which intrigue the viewer into looking closely and using their imagination to create narrative based upon the image.