Friday, 3 October 2014

Summer Project and Practice 1

Before the course began, we were assigned a summer project of producing a poster that displayed "Who we are/Where we are going".  In an art school setting I have a fairly unusual background, given that I have a Masters in Mechanical Engineering and that all my art and design work up to now has been very much from a hobbyist setting, I found myself struggling with this task.

Who are we/Where are we going? Summer Project Poster
It's fair to say that every student on the postgraduate arts course has many facets to their talents and their histories, but I personally found myself torn between two distinct sides of my background; am I an engineer first and foremost or is my mish-mash of hobby art my most important attribute? In this setting, I feel like my engineering background certainly makes me unique, but given that there is very little visual elements that represent that side of me, I chose to display a mixture of the arts practices I have picked up over the years.  Unfortunately, this varied image set means that I ended up with rather a dogs dinner of a poster - especially when you compare it to posters made by the illustrators and graphic designers in the room.  Regardless, I feel like it represents me well; a bit of ordered chaos and precise in its own way.

I arrived late to the display (problems in the print room on the ground floor) and to my dismay we were being asked to do a mini presentation to briefly explain our posters, which I was not prepared for.  I used to get very nervous about public speaking, but during my engineering degree I had to do a few and so long as I know my subject well, I can present fine.  Nerves got the better of me and I somehow managed to avoid having to present my poster but I ended up having a panic attack (something that doesn't happen to me often but has happened on occasion in the past).  I think it was the fact that this was literally the only time I have ever had my art work on display to such a large crowd, and amongst such a talented crowd at that.  It's all very well and good showing engineers my blog, but displaying art to a room full of artists is a whole different kettle of fish, and that was enough to set me off.  Thankfully I recovered quickly and managed to mingle with fellow students during the break, explaining my poster to another Product Design student.

We were then split into groups to work on our first group project, Anticipating Change.  The idea of this project is to predict the next key influences in design in terms of craft, materiality and technology as well as the senses, collaboration and play.  I've been grouped with a wide range of disciplines including graphic designers, illustrators and 3D modellers and honestly it's fascinating to hear them brainstorm.  We have such varied views of concepts that I would have previously seen as fairly cut-and-dry, and its great to get into discussions with them.  I'm looking forward to this project and am a bit sad that I'll only get to be part of the first two weeks, but I'm excited about where it could take us.