How Artists Research (Monday 12th November )

We had a seminar with Juliet Laura  as will as two artists James Irwin and Kristina Pulejkova on Monday 12th December. James and Kristina showed us several digital visual projects with the research processes. These two artists both connect physical with digital reality through technology like computer programming.

One thing impressed me is that when James did the project ‘The RGB Spectrum’, he searched for the key words of his work online and found that another artist France Languérand had already got a similar outcomes, so James contacted Languérand and invited her to contribute her work to the show. It’s really interesting that although artists’ reasons for the the similar project were different, they share the researches and information in the visual fields. It provide me a approach of research that when go through my own projects, try to find if there anyone else who have done the similar works with mine and maybe I can glean some useful information from them. 

In addition, during the Q&A, Kristina mentioned that there is no necessary to show the solution or outcome within the research as a scientist do. As a artist, we just need to ongoing around the theme, don’t think too much about how to explain why we use this kind of colors and lines, it’s just our a kind of artistic practice. Besides, research is not only seeing what other people but also trying different materials, processes and getting thing together. This tip is kind of working to me. When I am doing a research, I normal be likely to focus on the outcomes ( forms) and ignore the experiments. Sometime the research could be my works.


The projects James Irwin showed

The projects Kristina Pulejkova showed



Research and collection for V&A project

After I decided to focus on “shadows”, which is inspired by Paul Brown’s “Sculpture Simulation”, I have collected some artistic works that are also related to shadows.

  1. hands shadow puppets

Shadowgraphy or ombromanie is the art of performing a story or show using images made by hand shadows. It can be called “cinema in silhouette”. Performers are titled as a shadowgraphist or shadowgrapher.

  1. Shadow play\ Shadow puppetry

Shadowplay, also known as shadow puppetry, is an ancient form of storytelling and entertainment which uses flat articulated cut-out figures (shadow puppets) which are held between a source of light and a translucent screen or scrim. The cut-out shapes of the puppets sometimes include translucent color or other types of detailing. Various effects can be achieved by moving both the puppets and the light source. A talented puppeteer can make the figures appear to walk, dance, fight, nod, and laugh.

According to these examples, the shadow can be well used in the narrative. The performers create the desired shadow image through hands or objects and lighting. So I begin to think whether I can express my daily life of real feeling through shadows. I mean, normally, people are used to hiding their true thoughts or feelings to others. And shadow really doesn’t exist at all. It’s can’t be owned, can’t be captured, has no physical form or shape. So maybe I can express people’s inner thoughts through an exaggerated way of shadow.

Research of V&A project

Last Wednesday, we went to the Victoria & Albert Museum and look at the collections of computer-generated images closely. Then I am kind of interesting in a printing image called “Sculpture Simulation”, created by Paul Brown. Actually, it’s a 3-D computer simulation of a free-standing sculpture, digital inkjet print on paper. I think this piece of image is powerful, because although the ring sculptures keep still always, when the position of light change, the shape and the position of shadows will change. For the purpose of observation, I built a similar model scene through the 3D software.


As shown in the figure, the shape of the shadow changes because the light source is constantly changing. The shadows depict the characteristics of the actual object in an exaggerated, abstract way. So maybe I can do something related to shadow.

How artist research ( Monday, October 15th)

We had a great seminar with two artists Fiona Grady and Daniel Silva on Monday, October 15th. Fiona and Daniel showed us a series of amazing visual project in direct ways and shared with us about creative processes through their works. Honestly, this was the first time I communicated with artists in a such close distance. It was really helpful to have chance to ask them some questions and get the answer directly about research and creation.

Here are some reflections about the seminar.

Fiona made her presentation in a very literal and well organized way, she showed us massive detailed information about “why does she research” “what are her research methods” “what is the specific process”. For me, the way she used to show information is really easy to understand, which would be a good sample to do presentations. So next time when I have to do presentation Maybe I can list some key words on the sliders about the structure of each section, it would help audiences have a clear logic about my context.

The way of doing research varies from artists to artists. Both Fiona and Daniel have their own pattern/ approach of researching. I think the range of Fiona’s research is widely which from content and environment to practice and experiment. Although finished the image work, she try to find more possibilities of the work like making 3D sculptures by using different materials. It makes me to reflect on my own projects which I did before. They normal ended at the evaluations, and I rarely do such a kind of thing Fiona do after a project seem like had been finished.

I think Daniel does his research in a deep way which means he focus on a detail of his concept and research around this this. For example, when he did a project called “wax and guts, 2008”, he mainly focus on the materials, so he just researched a lot on this aspect, and finally he achieved good works. It reminds me that even if a tiny idea could give me inspiration to develop a project, just to find what I am interested in.

Reflection about the course on Monday, October 8th

We made some discuss about Christopher Frayling’s  essay ‘Research inArt and Design’. According to this, I got fellowing reflection.

1. The express of research varies from different artworks and fields. Some of the outcomes have a close connection with the research, some of them are inspired from it. When we do research on something, it doesn’t means that our project have to focus on the specific field, but we can develop the idea inspired from it and create something new.

2. Doing research before creation. Even some talent artist like Picasso and Vincent van Gogh did research before painting like colors and the shape of lines.

3. Doing research is not just making questionnaire survey, collecting information on the internet. The category of research could be complected and specific, not simply as primary research and secondary research.

4. When work on a project, research should be done not only at the beginning of it but also during the process. Before the project, we should get the information about the context/ background and professional aesthetic etc. During the project, some experiments and practices can also be regarded as research.