Fine Art

What is fine art?

Fine art is a broad art form that integrates a variety of disciplines from new media to installation and even performance.

When practising fine art it is important to consider a range of factors in order to create a well structured and thought provoking piece. The  formal elements, for example, are still relevant even when traditional drawing methods aren’t used as they still exist within all objects and materials that we do use.

If you keep an open mind the process of developing your work can can be a constant influence, something unexpected or accidental can take your work in a whole new direction. In some cases it’s the process itself, possibly captured through film and photography, that becomes the final piece.

When looking for inspiration you can draw from your individual experiences which not only makes your work personal but adds meaning. Some artists use politics and media, especially those making a statement, but your work could relate to something from your daily life that may seem mundane or trivial and yet still be effective.

Mapping Journeys

For this task we had to retrace one or all of our journeys whilst paying attention to details we would otherwise miss. This was in preparation for our final task of designing and constructing an installation. We were encouraged to collect objects, take photos, make rubbing’s, to sketch and to record our journeys in whatever way we could think of, but to also be selective and focus on the simpler smaller things instead of instantly thinking big. I think this was an excellent way to encourage our work to progress and develop from a smaller concept through to our larger finished piece, helping to refine our creative process.

It was difficult to not indulge the instant flood of ideas that entered my brain and to stop myself from focusing on ‘what would make a good installation…’ but in the end I was glad that I kept my mind open long enough to explore different avenues.

I began by retracing my journey from college to home, listening to music as I often do. Music influences a lot of my journeys, how quickly I walk, if I catch a bus or not, whether I walk a slightly longer route in order to fit in another song. This in itself seemed significant to me and so I logged the idea of incorporating the music into my work.

I tried to pay extra attention to where I was walking, hoping to notice something that I usually miss, however it was then that I began to realise how much I take in when I walk. I naturally examine the floor, taking note of cracks, wonky slabs, plants, surrounding buildings and signs. Because of this I began to struggle to pick up on anything that felt new or worthwhile.

Something that did draw my attention was the amount of abandoned items, mainly furniture like mattresses, chest of drawers, clothing. These were all things that I have seen before and acknowledged, as I have been known to find some rather useful and amazing things in back alleys and taken them home with me, but I felt like this could be relevant to the project as waste is something that I feel quite passionate about. I decided to take photos of the items so I could refer back to them for the next project.

As well as abandoned items I began to notice how much litter there was which is something else that frustrates me as I find it to be unnecessary, selfish and lazy. It made me wonder if I could use these ugly crisp packets and empty cans that were cluttering the streets, bushes and gardens, to make something beautiful.

I also came across some intriguing images, one was a replication of the pattern of a railing, as it was indented into the pavement bellow the railing I was interested to know how it had come about and so I took a picture along with one of some mysterious marks on a pole.

By this point I felt like I had enough scope to help initiate my thought process and begin working towards a final idea. I browsed my pictures and bits of rubbish I had collected and thought through the various avenues I could go down.

One idea was to compile a sculpture from the trash I had found, turning something ugly into something beautiful. Another was a series of images of abandoned but useful/functioning items with again, some kind of sculpture made from said items.

I finally decided to revisit the concept of incorporating music into my work, it was then that I realised that the one thing I hadn’t thought of trying was to try my journey without it. When I did I discovered that what I don’t normally experience are the sounds around me and the more I realised this the more amplified the sounds became, crunching leaves, car engines, even my creaky back gate.

It was at this pointed I concluded to create and atmospheric experience, I wanted to record and play these sounds whilst using lamps, stencils and shadows to enhance it.

I spent a day attempting my stencil/lamp concept but eventually realised that it simply would not work in the time that I had. I ended up not showing my work that day but looking back I could have kept it simple and used just the recording.

I cannot upload the sound file to this blog due to compatibility issues but I shall display the dictaphone with my final work for assessment.




For this assignment we were required to select an item from a given list that we would then spend the next 6 weeks examining, de constructing and then reconstruct in a whole new way.

I knew that I wanted to work with textiles because of how much I enjoyed the previous textiles project and felt like this would be a good opportunity to indulge myself in what is the field I want to go on to study. The only textiles item on the list was a jumper but I didn’t think I could get as much out of it as I could other items so I decided to bend the rules and hunt through a charity shop to find something that would give me more scope.

It was in the charity shop that I came across a suit jacket which I instantly wanted to work with. The structured form, bold lines and masculine connotations gave me my first insight into what direction I wanted to take this project. Through exploration of gender stereotypes within fashion and the history behind this I was going to de construct this traditionally male garment and reconstruct it into something delicately feminine. This project would not only push the boundaries of my textiles, fashion design and pattern cutting abilities but also my contextual and research skills which was a challenge I was eager to take on.

A history of  the suit

During the 1920’s menswear became more casual, in comparison to the previous era, with sportswear being introduced as acceptable daytime attire. A shorter suit jacket, popularised by icons such as Charlie Chaplin and Al Capone, began to phase out the frock jacket that had been fashionable since the Victorian and Edwardian periods. The jacket was often teamed with a waistcoat and could be worn for daytime or business dress. Despite the changes that the suit jacket saw over the following decades it is the style of the 20’s that modern suit jackets are based upon today.

A 1920’s advert showing the style of men’s suit’s that we still use today

The 1930’s brought the dawn of the golden age of cinema and with it came a wave of influential role models plastered across the screens and billboards. It wasn’t just the women wanting to look like movie stars, the men also strived to recreate the styles they saw on the big screen with icons like Clarke Gable and Henry Fonda. The ‘drape cut’ or ‘London drape’ suits became increasingly popular with their looser more comfortable fit, tapered around the wrists and ankles.


An example of the looser fitted 1930’s suit

Expectedly the second world war impacted the world of fashion in the 1940’s greatly. With rationing enforced there was no room for expansive garments consuming more fabric then they needed and so the wider styled suits of the 30’s quickly got nipped into sleeker styles. Tightly fitted with straight cut lines, these minimalistic suits were often made from grey flannel which was very popular at the time. This trend of suits was reinforced by stars like Frank Sinatra and Humphrey Bogart.

mens summer suit 1940

Fabric saving suits of the 40’s

The 1950’s meant the end of the war and of rationing and so the comfortability of looser styled suits came back into play. This allowed for freer movement and easier dancing to the popular swing music. With fabric once again accessible suits became double breasted with wide shoulders and turn up’s were introduced  to the bottom of baggy trousers. Designers indulged themselves by using richer fabrics, in particular velvet for the breasts of suits worn by ‘Teddy Boys’.

Wide shoulders and turned up trousers

Moving onto the swinging 60’s where The Beatles rocked the mod look of skinny suits and drainpipe trousers. This era was one where the working class and the newly found ‘teenagers’ were centre stage and it was very important to get the look just right, even if it meant carrying a comb with you wherever you went.

The influential band The Beatles in their tight fitted suits

The 1970’s and the era of Disco brought us something brand new in the form of flared trousers and exaggerated lapels along with bold and vibrant coloured suits. Some may say this is not necessary a good thing as this era is among the most criticised for it’s fashion choices but it was an important one as it pushed boundaries and allowed for maximum experimentation, something that star David Bowie took full advantage of.

David Bowie embracing the opportunity to experiment with fashion

Opposing the power-dressed minions of Wall Street, Giorgio Armarni used the film American Gigolo as a platform to launch a new silhouette of men’s suits. He did this through removing the lining and padding and by using softer, more flexible fabrics, instigating a new trend of suit for the 80’s.

Armarni’s trend inspiring suit from the film American Gigolo

The minimalistic era of the 90’s led to matte black, sleek suits with white shirts and skinny black ties. This was encompassed by the film Reservoir Dogs and embraced by many teenage boys and young men wanting to recreate this ‘cool without trying’ look.

A well know scene from the iconic movie Reservoir Dogs

Women’s fashion tells an intriguing story of their fight for independence and equal rights. We can see this through the development and adaptation of fashion in response to politics and sociological changes.

Historically a women’s role, particularly within the upper class, was one of looking pretty and drinking tea. As this didn’t require much physical activity their outfits were often constrictive and impractical. Corsets were used to enhance their womanly hourglass figure, but came with there own complications and in some cases even led to fatalities. As you can see from the image bellow the corset underwent a series of developments in order to modify a woman’s silhouette in accordance to what was deemed fashionable at the time.

Vintage corset fashion -Timeline

From the start of the 20th century fashion began to adapt to more simplistic designs, but it wasn’t until the revolutionary decade of the 1920’s, led by fashion designers such as Coco Channel, that men and women’s fashion really began to evolve. Freed from the constraints of corsets women embraced new boyish silhouettes and expanded their wardrobes to include shorter skirts and trousers.

1920’s women embracing their lose fitted dresses

Examining my item

I began to look at my item, photographing it from different angles as it hung of the mannequin showing it’s own natural form as opposed to being manipulated by the person wearing it. I noted the angular frame and defined edges.

straight lines jacket

My next step was to see it being worn so I enlisted some ‘volunteers’.  I wanted to seen it worn by people of different sizes, shapes and genders in order to gain the best understanding of it qualities.



polaroid 3 polaroid4polaroid5

Ribbet collageHHH

IMG_1054 IMG_1053 IMG_1052




Formal Elements

The formal elements are used by all artists and by getting to know them, there properties and there uses will allow us as artists to add depth and variety to our work.


A line can be used to outline a shape, create texture and depth, to shade. It is indeed the starting point of the formal elements.

Terry winters takes particular advantage of the use of line as you can see by this example of his work, a very chaotic image created by repeatedly layering lines over lines. In places the lines, created with oil paints, have been layered so much they have created a bock of colour.

This conveyed the chaotic, scrawled look that was suited to the essence of my small crafts company ‘Rough Designs’ and so I  incorporated it’s style into my business logo.

Terry Winters, Internal and External Values


A shape, enclosed by an outline, is created through the use of the other formal elements such as line and tone. Although similar, it differs from form as it is always a 2D image rather then 3D.

Shapes are often a prominent component of traditional African art, whether it’s a part of a mosaic, textile piece or painting. Patterns such as the one shown bellow have become the inspiration for fashion prints in recent years and even spilled over into nail art and other accessories.

Designs like these are actually quite simple but with the use of colour they appear more complex. They remind of the work by Bauhaus artists such a Paul Klee who rely heavily on the use of geometric shapes.

The patterns shown here are something I could see myself using when screen printing allowing me to increase my skill level by experimenting with a variety of colours.


Form uses mass to create a 3D object. This can be done through the use of any combination of materials and not always those which are usually associated with Art.


Tone is created with shading, colour and the contrast of light and dark. With the right level of skill it can be used to create some wonderfully realistic pieces. Here is an example of the incredible work it can help to produce.

Sail away: An elegant ship appears to be sailing through a sea of white paper sheets in one of the artist's creations

Here you can see the artist, Ramon Bruin, has used shading to give the illusion that the image is 3D when in fact it is simply a 2D drawing. Although this is inspirational I could not hope to relate this to my own work as I simply do not have the skills needed.


Space can be made up through positive and negative space, positive being the space that is used and negative the space that is left unused.

An illusion of space can be created through perspective drawing. You can see how effective this can be from the street art pictured bellow where it actually looks as though there is a deep hole going down into the floor.

Streetpainter-Hell_in_London. Click for large version.




Brining The Formal Elements Together

Although most artwork combine a number of the formal elements I felt that this haunting piece by Chiharu entitled ‘Silence’ brings them all together nicely.

It demonstrates the use of form by building a web like sculpture using lines of black thread around a grand piano and chairs.

I found it difficult to stop looking at this piece, from the beginning where the thread rises from the floor, entwined with the objects, all the way up to the top left hand corner and across to the right where it looks like layers of pencil drawn lines.

To me the association of cobwebs create an illusion of age and time and although there is little negative space the empty chairs and unused piano manages to leave the room feeling empty. These things combined gives the piece an edge of sadness.

It creates shapes of triangles as the threads cross over and the change of intensity creates tone.

Although I cannot feel the texture from just seeing a picture I can easily imagine what the threads feel like, this could be altered by how taught they were but in order to create a structure like this they wouldn’t have much slack.

And so that just leaves colour from this particular piece by Chiharu although she has created similar work using red thread.


Laser Cutter

Laser cutting opens doors to a variety of designs on all sorts of materials which I can use when working with textiles or craft and at only 5 pounds for an hour and half when you’re working on non college related projects it’s definitely worth while learning about.

When I got to the induction I suddenly got nervous about the amount of information I would need to take in considering how much you could achieve with it I assumed it would be really complicated but it turned out to be fairly straight forward.

She began to talk us through the health and safety so we could sign the form needed to be able to use it ourselves.

After this we discussed the materials that can and cannot be used, for example metal and PVC cannot be used. Here is the full list we were given.

The machine has two settings, one is cutting the other engraving.


The Way Things Go

Drawing Space

Photo’s courtesy of Joshua Fathers and Alex Lee

Formal Elements

Tribal nail art patterns

Land Art

Bauhaus Research

Performance Art


Introduction to Glass

Introduction to Textiles

De construct/Reconstruct

Short History of Womens fashion -1900 to 1969

50s Clothing – Men’s Overcoats & Suits

Rough Designs Logo

Brushed Borders Pack – 27 Textures & 27 Brushes

Artistic Language

Crysalis Skills Tour

To help enhance my work at college and to better prepare me for when I move onto the Fashion BA course I have applied for the Crysalis Skills Tour Program run in conjunction with PCA. When I saw this opportunity I knew it was something I would want to do, learning about screen printing, sustainability as well as more traditional surface pattern techniques. Here is my supporting statement and examples of work that I included for my application.

Supporting Statement

I am currently running a small upcycled crafts business alongside studying level 0 fashion and textiles at PCA, progressing to the BA course next year. I am particularly passionate about sustainability and hope to breathe new life into old clothing and fabric. I intend to do this through skilled pattern cutting techniques as well as creative surface design, resulting in diverse collections to accompany my existing products. I see the Crysalis program as an invaluable opportunity to explore practices and develop skills that will enrich my studies as well as my help me to realise my professional goals. If I am given the chance to be a part of it I will take full advantage of everything it has to offer.

Here is an example of screen printing with the theme of language and culture. I chose this direction as I was intrigued by the shapes and patterns created by text finding the intricacy to be very decorative. This was my initial piece which was produced more to understand the process of screen printing. Through this I discovered that to achieve the best results I should have a clear contrast between the image and background whereas in my first attempt here there were shadows left from the photocopier which then transferred to the screen.

Experimentation with screen printing.

This was a tie dye piece which was a follow on from my induction to textiles. In the induction we had used food in order to dye our fabric which gave some varied results. I then went on to try the technique at home but with man made dye to try and achieve a more vibrant colour, which was successful. I used a selection of circular objects to create Bauhaus inspired shapes.

Experimentation with tie dye

This was an experimentation with hand printing where I used a combination of fabric paints, bubble wrap and leaves to create interesting and original patterns. I particularly like the bubble wrap as it has picked up the texture of each bubble, showing the lines and creases in the plastic, making each bubbles different. The leaves remind me of a surfer style print which is already commonly used within the fashion industry. I was impressed with the detail that the print picked up and like how this method makes each piece unique.

Experimentation with hand printing.

These are optical bottles which I have upcycled into lamps to sell as part of my brand Rough Designs. I originally got the idea when working in a bar and had to constantly throw away the bottles which I thought were very decorative. Some have detailing in the glass, some have attractive labels and others have an interesting shape to them. So after doing some research I discovered that I could make them into lamps. The lampshades I have acquired from everywhere from skips to back lanes to charity shops and then used a range of materials to decorate them. Shown above are ones decorated with lace, tissue paper and an old book.

Upcycled bottle lamps.