Name: James Tarbotton

Student Number: 28143346

Phone (Home): 94887751  (Mobile): 0423377109

Postal Address: 24 Benning Ave, Sth Turramurra, 2074




2a) Looking at these quotes, write about what these quotes can tell us about an artists practice. Do this by describing the relationship between the artist, the artwork and the world.

I dream a lot. I do more painting when I’m not painting. It’s in the subconscious.
— Andrew Wyeth
I like living in the 20th century... to me the world has never been more beautiful. I am trying to paint the real world I live in, as beautifully as I can with my own eyes.
— Jeffrey Smart
Whoever wants to know something about me (as an artist, the only notable thing) ought to look carefully at my pictures and try and see in them what I am and what I want to do.
— Gustav Klimt
I know that to paint the sea really well, you need to look at it every hour of every day in the same place so that you can understand its way in that particular spot and that is why I am working on the same motifs over and over again, four or six times even.
— Claude Monet

Many of these quotes explore the idea that art can be influenced and inspired by the world around us, and that ideas and originality can come from within, subconsciously, as if in control of the super natural. This concept is demonstrated specifically in Andrew Wyeth’s quote; “I dream a lot. I do more painting when I’m not painting. It’s in the subconscious.”

Jeffery Smart’s quote represents the way that the 20th century, including the industrial and social changes that it brought along, has influenced and changed the way artists practice their work. Smart once again brings fourth the way that the world has a direct effect on the art produced in a specific era.

The quote from Monet shows us that art is not completely created by the world and that dedication and observation from the artist themselves is needed to find the inspiration and ideas that the environment has to offer. Lastly, Gustav Klimt further embellishes the roll of the artist by explaining his practice of looking into is pictures carefully to see himself in them, proving that inspiration from the world is rendered indifferent if the artist has not put their own touch on their work.


2b) What are some of your main interests or preoccupations in life? What do you enjoy, like or dislike the most, what do you do with your time? What influences from the world inspire or move you the most.

As long as I can remember I have been interested in music. At age 3 I started learning violin after much pleading to my parents. As a result of these early beginnings, music has played a very important role in my life up until now and much of my younger years were occupied by musical endeavours. I’ve always enjoyed taking pictures and making films and so this takes much of my time, whether it be shooting and editing films and photos, or progressing and working on my techniques through online resources and practice. I spend a lot of time in photoshop, manipulating photos or creating things from scratch, making as many designs as I can, while improving my skills and refining my style. I dislike violence and outrage associated with juvenoia. I am inspired by other artists and nature while I am stimulated by minimalism, architecture, abstraction and colour. I see little need for conceptual analysis in many photographs, as to me, they serve more as aesthetic presentations rather than thought provoking pieces. This being said, I do enjoy photography that shows grotesque figures or otherwise controversial visual displays which would often be subject to analysis.


2c) You now need to brainstorm, document and show evidence of research about these interests, influences or past times of yours.


2d) Find THREE artists whose work you like. This may be for either or both aesthetic reasons (you like how it looks) or it might be for conceptual reasons (you like the meanings behind it).


Red // Denef Huvaj // Photography, 2013

The first thing that strikes me about this photograph is the limited colour palette, a quality which I enjoy in portraiture, allowing the eye to focus more upon the line/shape and contrast in the image. The obvious colour contrast of the face from the almost camouflaged floral clothes and background makes for an interesting image, as there is more to see than what first greets the eye. The photo, having been shot digitally, still has filmic qualities achieved through post-production. These are characterised by the darker, bluey and desaturated greens, coupled with the darker reds, more towards the orange end of the spectrum. This colour palette/processing style is something I often like to adapt into my own photography, achieving an almost retro look reminiscent of film photography. The subject’s expression is nothing forced and the shot appears almost candid. This adds to the DIY and somewhat cheap feeling created also by the forceful flash that illuminates the scene.


Untitled // Jack Steel // Photography, 2015

These are three works I selected from Sydney based, 21 year old photographer Jack Steel. The primary reason I have selected his works is because of his colour treatment, which is exceptionally inspiring. I think the best way to describe the look of his works is in his own words; “Painterly, hazy, colour-filled but not colourful”. His pieces again are reminiscent of film photography - The highlights and shadows are not overly harsh, instead rounded elegantly towards each respective clip point. The colours are also not overly saturated or diverse, acting more to create an overall mood. Often a cooler colour temperature is prevalent as well. Steel does a good job at minimising distractions within an image, allowing the eye to focus on the subject. This minimalism tends to go as far as the model’s clothing. His models appear almost caught candid, a quality which I like in portraiture. This being said, I find something quite appealing in an almost “overly-posed” shot, incorporating perhaps an odd choice of prop, something nature-inspired. In other words choices for the shot that would make the audience confused, or somehow believe that there is more to the photo than what meets the eye.


Untitled // Jack Vanzet // Paint, Photography, 2015

Jack Vanzet’s colours have always been the primary inspiration for me, that mixed with the organic forms of abstract paint. I guess colour and form have always been more important for me over subject or meaning. Simply the aesthetic qualities of an artwork are stimulating enough. A limited but contrasting colour palette seems to be an ongoing trend through these chosen artworks, however I am often excited by complex colour schemes as well, generally only if they are executed well without blending the colours in a dirty way - This goes for photography, sculpture and painted works. The colours, as with the previous two selections are not overly saturated, achieving an elegant, refined look. Vanzet’s workflow is intriguing, and something I can relate to in which he might create something in the physical world, photograph it and then further manipulate the piece digitally to replicate perfectly the initial intention of the artwork. He also has developed custom methods for changing the way light reacts to the paint by painting upon clear perspex or glass that is lit from beneath, allowing him to manipulate the way colours interact as well. Despite the complex painted patterns, the works still appear minimal to the eye, perhaps due to the colour palette or the way the highlights and shadows are softened, just as explored in film emulation seen in the previous two artist selections.



(3a) Write where you think your ideas might be heading. It does not have to be a finalized plan, just write your idea/s down as it is at this point. (do not write about the medium here, just the idea of theme or concept) 


One of the first ideas I had for my body of work was this idea that people were turning into brands within themselves. Instead of advertising a product, they'd advertise themselves, as they are the product. This concept explores globalisation and how technology and us are becoming closer and closer together, aided by services such as social media. My aim is not to discount the idea of social media, as I mostly detest the "hate" that it is popular to receive nowadays, nor am I trying to convince the audience that concept within my idea is a "good" one. I'd rather just make a statement about what it actually is, rather than make it a persuasive piece. In saying this, I am not necessarily writing off creating anything that may come across as shocking or controversial. 

The main reluctancy I initially have with this idea is that I am at a loss as to how I can represent it in a style that is my own, or rather the type of medium (photography) that I am adament about pursuing for my body of work. However, I am willing to stick with the idea in the hopes that inspiration will strike that will allow me to link what I have in mind to the idea. Really all I came up with before now was an image in my head of someone's Instagram account being advertised on a large billboard in times square.



(4a) With consideration of your idea at this stage what kind of art medium would best suit your work? Is it going to be a painting? Drawing? Installation? Sculpture? A few of these? 


I think I've always assumed my medium of choice would be photography, as it is the area of art making in which I am most passionate, and so wish to pursue photography for my body of work. Though I am still open to utilising other mediums of course. For example, I could paint a background and a model the same colour, or contrasting colours then photograph this combination of my subject standing against their matching background. This idea would explore minimalism, photography, colour and painting all in one. The only thing to do of course is to link it to my concept, which I have decided to call: yournamehere™ The trademark logo highlights the branding idea behind the name, and then of course the rest is self-explanatory. Shortly after I had the idea, I went ahead and made a mockup logo, utilising the "Facebook blue" in order to link it to social media.


(4b) In your VAPD you need to stick in, draw, and write about the type of medium you will use and example artworks that you are inspired by. 

Most of this has been explored in section 2 when I evaluated the work of three artists that inspired me.



Today I hit the beach to take five photos of my friend Edward. These are the results.




I honestly didn't find this very useful because I pretty much just talked about ripstiking and holiday shenanigans but it did give me a chance to reflect on the fact that I didn't do much art making/photograhpy after the beginning of the holidays and it would have been good to keep up the practice. The only exception being a short film that I worked on doing cinematography, this is a screenshot of a shot where I played around with lighting etc.



Whilst I can not provide any actual photographs/pieces of work, I have devised a new concept I am adamant on pursuing for my major work. The idea is as follows: 

I will pull random people off the street and ask to take their portrait. I will place them in front of a selection of coloured backgrounds, matching the background with their clothing or a colour that works best with their aesthetic. I will then have a colourful selection of portraits of many different people and personalities. Upon taking each person's picture, I will ask them to describe themselves, their life, hobbies, thoughts, personality etc. these will be noted down.

Following this, I will show the portraits to a myriad of other people, asking them to describe the person they are looking at. These descriptions will also be noted down. I will then sift through the responses I receive and find commonalities or similarities between each one, finally narrowing it down to one third-party description for each person. Each portrait will be displayed with, lying beneath each one an interactive device I will build that houses both the personal description I received from the subject, and the coagulation of responses from other people interviewed. The audience will then be able to switch between the two descriptions (which are unlabelled) and choose for themselves which one is true and which one is merely the public's opinion. Below is a diagram/prototype for the interactive device.

I could provide a cacophony of seemingly random and unorganised photographs in an attempt to unsuccessfully grasp at a farfetched concept, however that idea seems to be on the whole unnecessary when I have an idea fully fleshed out like this, with merely the task of taking the time to shoot it to do.



Today I brainstormed further some ideas in terms of displaying the work. Thoughts came up about light boxes, printing photos on perspex, and for the "box", perhaps sources old pencil boxes and repurposing those, or instead go for a slicker, more refined and minimal design with clear and white perspex boxes. Perhaps also laser cutting the text or the person's name onto the boxes.

In terms of a succinct concept or idea for describing the work, I could say something about identity, and how others' opinions may shape one's identity, or perhaps a concept about the importance of appearance and how that is often the first impression someone may get of something, probably influencing their thoughts on the matter. These ideas can encompass not just personal identities and appearances but also those of art, music etc.

One may attempt to brand themselves in an effort to influence others' thoughts before first (and perhaps inaccurate) decisions can be made.




Yesterday (Good Friday) I went out to shoot my images. And so, stationed against the QVB on George St armed with five pieces of coloured cardboard and a camera I approached random people to ask if they'd be interested in getting their photo taken.