Concept development & contextual research

So far for my project I have chosen a theme (nightlife/alcohol in modern society) and a medium (ceramic).

Currently I’m still exploring the idea from a variety of different angles and keeping my research broad.

The inspiration for my chosen medium came from the work of Grayson Perry. I have been a fan of his work for a long time.I love the fact that the ‘niceness’ and decorative aesthetic of his pots contrasts with his often shocking subject matter. The apparent ‘niceness’ of Stamford during the day-time and it’s sharp contrast with the atmosphere on a Friday or Saturday night is after all what inspired my theme so it seems a fitting starting point.
I particularly like Perry’s technique of layering sgraffito, transfers and glazing techniques.Because of this I have begun researching into different ceramic-print combinations and so far have discovered laser-print waterslide decal papers that could work well: http://ceramicartsdaily.org/pottery-making-techniques/ceramic-decorating-techniques/the-details-on-decal-paper-for-ceramics/

I’d like to produce pieces that express the sensations of intoxication and the disjointed memories from a drunken night and I think that this layered style would work well.
The work of painter Jessica Rimondi combines a super-real painting style with abstract, textural compositions to tackle concepts of memory and the passing of time.The phrase “it’s not what you put in, but what you leave out” really applies here as Rimondi’s incomplete sections and clever use of negative space conjures a visual sensation of the mist of memory.

Following on from my research into the role of alcohol in various cultures I spent some time looking into the evolution of functional and decorative styles of ceramics through history. I was particularly interested by the vessels used in ancient Roman and Greek civilisations involved with the preparation and serving of wine. The Greeks used three; the amphora, for the wine itself; the hydria, for the water; and the krater, for mixing both before serving. These three ‘stages’ or ‘ingredients’ could lend themselves well to a sequential story of stages of intoxication perhaps.

I was really struggling with pin-pointing the focus of my concept and what I wanted to express with my work. So I decided to record myself discussing the idea, going through my inspiration, research and what I wanted the effect of the end pieces to be. I found this process incredibly helpful and, after listening back and making some notes, I feel closer to having a stronger proposal. I am not aiming to educate or preach about the dangers of alcohol but instead hoping to spark conversation and consideration of our attitudes towards it’s role and uses within our society by presenting viewers with a detached, outsiders observation of the surreal scenarios and anecdotes that take place as a result of drinking. This is where my survey responses come in, using real life experiences in my work. Secondly I hope to make pieces that spark a relation to the sensations experienced before, during and after drinking; anticipation & excitement, blurred vision & bad judgement, followed by a fuzzy head & memory blanks.

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