When first starting to conduct the research that would help me in this module I felt lost and it seemed pointless- why would I need to put research behind something that was my own idea?
After every bit of research I conducted, I felt that it benefit me in some way. I felt my idea coming together more from watching the documentary about ‘Involuntary Celebates’ to conducting research into an art movement that came about in Hitlers ruling called Degenerate Art. Every piece I looked at was to do with the power of men, or how men feel about themselves to make sure that I could try and gain as good as an understanding as I could of the male way of thinking as a female. Had I not have done this, I feel that I would have been so completely uninterested in my own work like I was two months ago at the beginning of this module.
From conducting my own survey specifically aimed at men and their body confidence, it taught me a great lot about a number of things, firstly how materialistic some males are when they have physical insecurities, how like women they use beauty products to try and cover their self believed flaws and how the only age range that really seemed to be that fussed about the area I was looking into was sixteen to twenty one year olds. With my very first initial idea I liked the idea of using Gillian Wearing’s style of voice dubbing to create anonymity and innovation within my work, however I doubt this style would have worked with my finalised piece because i had a lot more participants that were interested in being in my work than I thought- originally I thought I would struggle with finding two people to dub their voices, which again reiterates how males in the same age bracket as me must feel like male self confidence is something that should be addressed and questioned more.
Even though my primary research helped me to gain an understanding of the audience and participants that I would be dealing with when producing the final piece, finding research resources and inspiration from other artists was something that greatly benefit me even up to the editing stage of my video where I decided to use Yoko Ono’s experimental video ‘Fly’ (1970). Doing this not only added depth to my final piece but added a contemporary twist to the fourty year old video.
Had I not had conducted basic contextual research about artists that look at women self esteem and rights such as Barbara Kruger, Nickolay Lamm who produced a realistically proportioned Barbie doll and the recent Dove campaign that stormed itself through social networking sites, I would have been stuck within a whirlpool of unimaginative work if I hadn’t seen what people like these have achieved themselves.
At the start to this module I felt as though researching artist that touch upon male power and confidence would be cheating the fact that I had to produce something innovative, however now I see that this really isn’t the case. As mentioned above, not giving myself the freedom to research the artists that I have and making use of an artists work that I believe in in my own is adding extra depth, detail, context and interest. Researching contemporary, influential and ancient artists such as those from the Renaissance movement who in themselves made their work innovative by being the first people to pay attention to perspective, vanishing points, the human form and shadows created by different lighting situations.
When exhibiting my work, I asked a few of the more experienced artists to give me some feedback on my work, almost like a focus group to give me further research on what was successful and what wasn’t about my piece. The statement that I was most happy with was the following: “I recently saw Sam Long’s installation ‘Androcentrism’ at a local exhibition. The first thing that struck me was the sheer power in the imagery, particularly when capturing the body. There are no romanticised portrayals of human form, only the reality – and at times, the painful reality. The images make for uncomfortable viewing, which for me is what makes the piece so successful. It not only challenges the preconceptions we have about our own bodies, but also the gender stereotypes that come with self image. This is the most refreshing element of the piece, the focus on male insecurity provides a new voice to an otherwise tired story.”
Other brief quotes stated
“A strong, thought provoking installation which left a resounding feeling of my personal insecurities and what I would portray if I had the courage.”
“A complex study which has barely scratched the surface of a topic which feels fresh and innovatious.”
“I would be interested in seeing these images bigger as I feel that they don’t reach their full potential in such an enclosed space.”
Coming away with this research after my product has been completed and exhibited, it helps me when thinking of what can be done with it in the future.
My research in general made me lean towards certain styles of artwork, distance myself from others and using everything I found became beneficial to my piece in one way or another, using things I liked within my own work in a new and innovative way.