I think that my choice of project was good, as by starting with loose ideas about age restrictions and upper age limits, I was able to explore a variety of different ideas, from play to appearance and socially acceptable activities for different ages. I then narrowed it down to consider the differences between printed material aimed at children vs. adults and the aspects of ‘fun’ and creativity that are seemingly diminished as you get older. The project has kept me interested throughout the whole of the FMP period. I wouldn’t have changed my project if given the option. However, more time would have been useful as there were so many different aspects of age restrictions that I would have liked to investigate in more detail.
I have stayed on track with some of my statement of intent but not all of it, because when I wrote the plan I was considering having my outcome as a video alongside an interactive task. However, despite initially experimenting with creating video, the type of outcome that was of most interest to me was that of a magazine, after I received peer feedback suggesting that I could try putting lots of activities together in some way, especially as colouring in and other paper-based tasks are something that many children enjoy and can also be enjoyed by older ages despite being an activity associated more with young children. It was difficult to know so far in advance what the outcome would be.
I have really enjoyed working independently over a longer period of time, as this has given me more freedom in experimenting in different ways and also helped me to learn how to plan my time and contact different technicians and tutors for guidance, etc.
This project has definitely confirmed that I am pursuing the right discipline for me at degree level, having chosen to study Fine Art at Southampton next year, as I love the freedom that Fine Art provides. The outcome of my project could be whatever was most suitable, and I was able to explore ideas in different ways, from videos and surveys, to playing with toys, drawing, photography and visiting areas of interest. I find it interesting how much my work has changed over the course, having initially been most interested in painting and nature, and then using other media such as paper cutting and photography, to creating my final piece which is far more technology-based and child-like, being created in InDesign.
I was mostly able to stay on track with my time management, although I didn’t complete as much of the sketchbook as I would have liked to, as I kept putting it off. Also, sometimes I overestimated how much I could complete in a day, especially towards the end. However, I managed to complete it all eventually and am pleased with my magazine. Sometimes my time management wasn’t specific enough – later on I added some more detailed time plans, to set me tasks for each hour and ensure that I knew that I was on track.
The research phase of my project was useful in inspiring my project and giving me ideas to think about, such as through thinking about unusual, more complex uses of children’s toys, such as through Etch a Sketch art by Andrea Tilden or Ai WeiWei’s political use of LEGO and Sean Kenney’s detailed LEGO sculptures. Researching in places such as the V&A Museum of Childhood, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art and children’s toy shops as well as looking at work online by artists such as Ruth Spencer-Jolly gave me lots of different ideas about how I could create my work. I also considered more interactive ways of working such as Numen/For Use’s large climbable sculpture and Josephine Pryde’s interactive train. I am now more interested in Etch a Sketch art, and I have found out that it is a medium that lots of artists experiment with.
Dorothy G. Singer and Jerome L. Singer’s book, ‘The House of Make-Believe,’ impacted on my project, giving me different ideas about play and reasons why children play, e.g. imagination to escape current bad circumstances or considering different future outcomes. This book reminded me of the importance of objects in children’s play, using imagination to turn everyday objects into more exciting things, e.g. creating a car or a horse from furniture. This inspired my idea of playing with found objects such as the ’car’, which I later used in my magazine. An online document also provided me with play theories, which I found really interesting. Although they didn’t shape my work very much, they are something that I may investigate more in the future. The ‘Ladybird and Enid Blyton books for grown-ups’ also inspired my work, as they include humour to show issues of adult life or less interesting topics in a child-like way. I was also inspired by three children’s magazines – Peppa Pig, Mister Maker and LEGO City – as these helped me to decide how to format my magazine and what to include.
To create my magazine, I used Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, programmes that I have rarely used before. I now feel much more confident in using these, understanding more about how to use different techniques such as the bleed, removing a background and formatting a page, etc.
I didn’t necessarily develop my individual ideas too much, as I instead looked at lots of different elements in less detail, in order to combine them at the end. I developed some aspects, e.g. considering how to change my playing and film this,, etc. However, my project was most suited to lots of smaller parts, as I wanted to explore the wider idea of upper age limits and was inspired by things that I saw that were relevant to this project, e.g. things on the streets and people’s clothing. Developed my ideas by changing the format in which I was working, initially considering a video installation and then choosing to create a magazine – lots of my work was experimental and led towards my development of the magazine format.
My solution is creatively exciting, as a children’s magazine is an unconventional outcome, yet it is appropriate as it allowed me to include humour and interactive activities. The combination of fun, simplistic colouring and drawing tasks with that of dull, repetitive and uninteresting aspects of adult life is interesting and fun to complete for the viewer.
If I was going to do things differently, perhaps I could have created more variation in the appearance of the pages of my magazine, as they are somewhat repetitive. More different types of activities could have been included, such as a spot the difference. Also, I could have made another magazine, either another similar one or another one at a larger table which includes child-based content in a boring, plain, complicated way.
I would ideally photograph the image on the front cover myself to avoid copyright issues. However, after a discussion with Myfanwy I decided to leave this image as I won’t be sharing the magazines and I didn’t have time or resources to photograph a similar image – I could have used a different image, but I felt as though this was a good front page as it kept to the childhood and adult theme and used primary colours. If I ever plan on distributing these magazines, I will need to ask the owner of the photograph for permission or reshoot this myself.
When printing the magazines, there is a bit of white left at the side of the pages when the book was cut. I should have created more bleed at the sides to prevent this. In my test print it printed with less, but it is slightly different in my final printings, so if I had had more time I would have liked to improve this.
I am pleased with the final outcome, as I think that it looks child-friendly, fun and is humorous. I have also had positive feedback from people at the private view and people seemed to enjoy colouring it in and drawing on the surrounding wall. I also like the way that I have laid out the table, chairs, low shelf toys and business cards with it.
I have learnt to work with others in an exhibition, discussing where we should put our work and helping each other to clean the space. I have also learnt how to put up a shelf and ensure that it is straight, as well as constructing my furniture and helping others to paint the walls. There is a lot of work needed to put on an exhibition, so it is useful to help others out where needed.