Updated Figure Drawings on my website.

The flowers are blossoming in London and that can only mean one thing: SPRING. And with the change in season comes Spring Cleaning of my apartment. It’s officially time to store away 2-3 sketchbooks and throw away stacks of loose paper. The more I draw, the less attached I get to any one drawing. When I was in high school, I used to get protective over every painting, drawing, and doodle. But I’ve started thinking about my art as an ongoing journey and form of creative meditation rather than a portfolio (required for college applications or job interviews). This mentality has completely changed my approach to figure drawing… and my willingness to stuff A3 sketchbooks into the trash.

How would you change your approach to something you love if it was for purely personal fulfillment rather than professional development? 

Most people believe in the ‘Do what you love’ mantra about work, but I think it’s hard to receive personal fulfillment if you’re being paid to create work/art for someone else. To me, there are things I love doing at work and things I love doing in my personal life. Equally satisfying, but in separate ways.

If you want to see my favorite figure drawings, I’ve uploaded them to my website (obviously I created digital evidence of my work before throwing them in the bin!) Check them out here.

 

Chanel No. 5 Films and the question of Stardom.

These are a couple of the Chanel No. 5 Films which have come out in recent years. This merging of entertainment and advertising is called ‘Branded Content’ – which as the name suggests is working towards marketing a certain Brand Name. In this case, it’s the classic Chanel Number 5 perfume, which has had female endorsements from Marilyn Monroe to Catherine Deneuve. It’s interesting to note – through the main choice of female actress – the way stardom works.

1. Both films reference each actresses’ most known and popular film – Amelie for Audrey Tautou and Moulin Rouge for Nicole Kidman

2. Both films were directed by the same director as the films listed above – Baz Lurhmann for Kidman’s Chanel No. 5 and Jean-Pierre Jeunet for Amelie.

3. Look at the way nationality is rendered in each film – the subtle differences between European Femininity and White American Femininity (despite Kidman’s Australian roots).

4. Both films have a marked different visual aesthetic despite the fact that they are selling the same product. Look at the pinkish tones paired with Kidman’s blonde hair as opposed to the yellow tones paired with Tautou.

Each star has a different persona that is built over a career of appearing in films, advertisements, magazines, talk shows, and inter-textual materials. A star’s on-screen and off-screen persona as well as their public and private life begin to merge. If you’re interested in stardom as a formal discourse, I would suggest Richard Dyer’s book Stars (London: BFI Publishing, 1979) – in which Dyer sets out to distinguish between stars as a social phenomenon, stars as images, and stars as signs. Furthermore, he analyses the tensions between ‘character’, star, and performance.

I leave you with a question from Dyer to ponder over stardom and performance…

Are stars a phenomenon of production (arising from what the makers of films provide) or of consumption (arising from what the audience for films demands)? (Stars, Pg. 9)

What is it about advertising that fascinates people so much?

Firstly, advertising is innovative; it adapts to new technology faster than television or cinema since advertising is always looking to grab the public’s attention. For example, PIXAR was creating 3D animated commercials before the company set off to make the first feature-length film.

Secondly, the industry itself is trendy. For example, Mad Men has glamourized the advertising agency’s work of the 50s with its pictorial images and Don Draper. Plus, certain advertisements utilise famous celebrities; and thus, they draws on society’s enthralment of fame. And after all, adverting is the business of selling, so agencies also sell the business itself – perpetuating the idea of advertising as fascinating and innovative.

Thirdly, advertising taps into our fascination with ourselves to understand why and how we are influenced. For example, why certain taglines or jingles become viral in a certain culture? As an industry, advertising aims to identify human and social needs and find a way to satisfy them in a profitable way for a brand. Thus, from a sociological point of view, advertisements can reflect us back onto ourselves in a more stylish and sleek way.