Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Inspiration for A One-Day Discipline Art Project: Follow Step by Step as it Grows and Flowers (I hope!) Stage One: The Raw Source Material

This is a new and hopefully innovative project idea I have literally just this moment come up with.  The sun is shining outside - fairly blazing down, here in North London - and I am trying to distract myself from going to the pub, particularly important since I am due to start a part-time gym instructor / personal trainer course this coming Thursday.  Now, this is due to run every Thursday and Friday for the next two months or so, but should not impact overly on my writing since Monday and Tuesday are my best writing days since I have the place to myself those days (and a half-day or so Friday, but it's rare there is really time to get into it / settle down sufficiently anyway).  

I know what you're probably thinking: 'Why the hell is he Effing about with this stuff then when, by his own admission, he should be scribbling away?'  And you'd be right of course - I DO have several pieces of work languishing unfinished.  But I just know that today the lure of the pub would be too great (AND I'd have to borrow the money - the great thing about this gym course thingy is that it is 100% government funded); already, first thing, I'd started convincing myself I'd get a whole lot done down at the pub; but an art project as I propose to undertake today (if you can call it that) can NOT be done down at the pub (although if I get it finished in time... hmmm...); and if it encourages some who have yet to read my existing stuff to read my stuff (better still, to write their own stuff or contribute their ideas here!) so much the better!

But don't get TOO excited.  What I propose to do today is really only an extension of those photo manipulation things I have been doing for ages, which have been inspired either by my book plots or based on one or more images which I have come across and which have inspired new ideas or suggested things or events for inclusion in my new work or new plot directions worthy of exploration, but not sufficiently so as to tell the WHOLE story in the way I would like them to. 

So often an image on its own may be perfectly innocent, or at most open to re-interpretation, given the right mindset.  But when combined with certain other images - some everyday, some less so - of varying degrees of innocence or potential for re-interpretation, those same perfectly everyday images may well tell an entirely different story.  And that is the subject of today's project - I don't know whether it will succeed or not, nor how far it will get in the time allotted, nor if the resulting image or its part-completed intermediate will gel with any of you out there; I've no way of knowing at this juncture; and that is partly what is exciting about it.  Well, for better or worse, however it ends up, here is the starting point - something I blundered into quite by accident while looking for something else entirely, in connection with an email I'd received first thing this morning.  

I found this on Ebay and the reason my interest was piqued was that it is not unlike (although not perfectly the same - thought it shares stylistic similarities) the sort of work dress or frock-style overall described as a kind of prison uniform dress within the pages of the original INSTITUTIONALISED series.  But what occurred to me for some reason was that it could so easily represent the other side of the equation with a few modifications (something I have played about with before, to be honest).  Now you HAVE to admit that in its present incarnation the imagery really IS perfectly innocent - just a 1950s or 60s work dress on a display dummy / stand, not even a manikin.  

Well what I propose - and what I think is innovative about today's project - is to work on it as the day progresses, publishing the intermediate stages here in a stepwise manner as I go along - and we can see where it leads together.  

Probably the first thing I am going to do - once I get rid of the stand and repair the background - is change the colour.  I tend to like that sort of 'hospital blue' colour (I think that is actually a real shade).  What do YOU think? At this stage the colour is fairly easy to manipulate, so let me know.  Perhaps some of you could even write in with other suggestions / themes - and if I receive them soon enough perhaps I might be able to accommodate some of them in the final image; who knows?  A sort of shared interactive design process.  Let's give it a try anyway!

Incidentally, in glorious (and I'd imagine, almost unwearable) Bri-nylon, this vintage creation sold on Ebay for a stunning £100.  Back in the day - the 1980s to 90s at least - this type of thing along with all manner of matching or at least teamable aprons, tabards and so on would have been available down the local charity shop for a pittance (before disappearing completely) - a source my wife of the time and I exploited many a time in kitting out our young house guest, a girl we had staying with us at the time. 

So here we go with stage one...  

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