Week 5 Research

Last week we were asked to research two creative practioners who use disposable materials in their work.

Artist 1: Jane Perkins

The first artist I have chosen is Jane Perkins. Based in the UK, Perkins is an artist who describes her work as taking inspiration from found items and reworking them into something new.  Perkins uses items exactly as ‘found’, no colour is added. Some of the items Perkins uses in her works include shells, buttons, beads, jewellery, curtain hooks and toys. Perkins work includes her remakes of well known artwork such as the Mona Lisa. Perkins states her work is often inspired by impressionist paintings as her work needs to be viewed in two ways; firstly from a distance to be able to make sense of the image as a whole; and also close up to identify the materials used.


Jane Perkin’s Blog site: http://www.bluebowerbird.co.uk


Artist 2: Leo Sewell

Sewell grew up living near a garbage dump where he spent much of his childhood playing. Over the last 50 years Sewell has produced over 4,000 works. His sculptures are composed of recognisable objects of plastic, metal and wood. The items Sewell uses are chosen for their colour, shape, texture, durability and patina; then they are assembled using nails, bolts and screws. The outdoor sculptures are constructed of stainless steel, brass or aluminium objects which are then welded together. Sewell’s sculptures often follows naturalistic themes; with sculptures of animals featuring prominently in his creations. Sewell collects his materials from trash, yard sales and flea markets. For some of his commissioned pieces he uses objects of often sentimental value or personal meaning contributed by the patron who has commissioned the art. The images depict some examples of Sewell’s sculptures.




Week 5 Critical Reflection 

Shown above is the piece that I’ve made for the printing press exercise in week six. While constructing this piece I experimented with the compositional techniques we explored in class yesterday. During the creative process I researched artists Jane Perkins and Leo Sewell, who work with recycled and reclaimed items in a similar style in terms of using items to create an image of one form while also keeping the individual components recognisable. In my own work I was influenced particularly by the work of Perkins and Sewell in that I also wanted to keep the items I had selected in the work recognisable as being spoons, forks, lids and cans while also using these items to create the form of the birds.

In my above work titled ‘litter birds’ I experimented with using the clustering of the bottle tops and coffee lid circles to divide the background in order to create a horizon. I used cropping, clustering and tone in creating the ground cover and also used the same techniques to make the birds. I tried to use visual hierarchy by positioning the larger bird diagonally so that the image is read from right hand corner diagnonally downward to the left hand side then back towards to middle of the field ending on the little bird.

While I was making this image I experimented with having both birds side by side and swapping it around so the little bird was above the larger bird. I explored the relationship between both birds, especially given that one bird is larger than the other. The sizing of the birds was intentional to highlight the idea that the birds may be mother and chick. Using the alignment of the larger bird above the smaller bird I wanted the audience to interpret that the larger bird may be helping or teaching the smaller bird. I used the eyes of the smaller bird looking towards the mother bird to direct the viewers attention back to the larger bird. The close positioning by overlapping the white head feathers of the small bird against the black body of the larger bird again reinforces to the audience that there is a kinship between the birds. The features of both birds are constructed using the similar items of the can, spoons and forks to reinforce that these birds are of the same species.

However, not every feature of the birds are exactly the same. I created the larger body of the mother bird using a plastic bottle while the smaller bird was created using the same Pepsi can as the head; although photocopied using the other side so that it was not the same as the head. Given that I wanted to be able to use images of my work online I was very aware of the branding on the bottles and not wanting to breach any copyright regulations. I tried to cover the branding on the body of the birds so that they were less identifiable to the audience. I also choose to do this so the audiences attention would not be drawn to familiar advertising logos but rather the image as a whole.

Week 5 Round 2: Digital & Analogue 1

These scanned images are of the trash that I collected from Wollongong uni campus today. I experimented with scanning these different items together and using black and white background for different items.

Before I went looking for items to collect I had some idea of items that I wanted to find.

Artist 2: Rae Howell

Rae Howell is an Australian freelance musician and composer who created a 20 minute soundscape for the Frugal Forrest exhibit currently showing at the Wollongong Art Gallery. In the video clip linked below it shows how some of the sounds have been created using recycled materials. 

The sounds created using the recycled materials really sounded exactly like the insects. It was amazing to go to the exhibit then watch how it was created behind the scenes. Although initially I planned on making a similar soundscape my idea for my piece evolved and changed from day to day and I ended up moving in a different direction into making my piece, trying to capture a little bit here and there from the field recordings, the wire string drone sounds we made in class on day one and samples of other sounds I found from free sound.org. 


Life and Death 

I have decided to title my audio piece Life and Death. You can find my track on Soundcloud. 

The piece starts with the sound of piano and birds to create an ambient sound which represents the life of the Aussie bush. The use of the heartbeat is the heartbeat of the birds. A bad storm is coming. The heartbeat stops and the sound transitions into wind chimes which is the start of the change into death. The drone creates an illusion of fear and ends with the sound of a gate closing.    The gate closing represents that the forrest has been wiped out and the birds have died. 

The idea behind life and Death came about through listening to a recording by Bernie Krause of Lincoln meadows. I really liked the way in which Krause used sound to show how logging has reduced the number of the birds due to destruction of their habitat. The link of Krause’s recording of Lincoln meadow is provided below. 


  Week 4: Many sounds to go before I sleep

I have been writing down words to describe my track that I am still in the process of refining. I still don’t have a title yet. I keep on changing my mind on what samples I want to keep in and what I want to cut out. Today in class I played what I had done so far. It still feels like I’m missing something. Listening to other peoples work was also really interesting to see what they had decided to do. 

 I have been listening to a lot of samples from free sound.org and trying to find sounds that will fit in with what I have so far. I have been experimenting with adding sounds such as thunder, rain, wind chimes and drone sounds. I have also been searching for descriptions of melodies such as sad, melancholic and scary. I searched for samples under other keywords such as footsteps, heartbeat, birds, hammering and drilling. I have been experimenting with what these samples sound like when played at the same time. Some of the them I have imported to audacity and mashed together using cut and paste. Some of the sounds I amplified slightly, then had to adjust them because it drowned other sounds that I wanted to the listener to focus their attention on. I have used crossfade tracks in audacity to try get a smoother transition from one sample to the next so it feels less like a sound recording and transports the listener into the space. In other samples I have used the fade in and fade out effect in audacity in order to create contrast between sounds that are quiet and sounds that are louder. Through using the sample of a heartbeat I have tried to create suspense, particularly by using the fade in method to create suspense. 

Copyright & Sampling from the Internet

Tonight I’m still working on my audio piece. I have to have something to share with the class tomorrow morning. I’m not really that pleased with it how it is sounding at the moment. I had hoped to have more done by now. I have decided against taking samples from you tube videos as I found during my internet research a more reliable resource to use from the creative commons site. I have provided the links to both sites below.




With all the sounds that  I have sampled I have ensured that they have been licensed under the creative commons 0 license. This means that all creators of the works have waived their rights under copyright law, allowing their work to be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission. What I have found very helpful about the freesound site is that it allows the user to filter sounds under which license they are under. You can also search for a particular sound that you are looking for as well. This was especially helpful during the creative process when I started to think about sounds I could use for my mechanical birds.


Links to sounds I have sampled are provided below


















Week 3 Studio sessions

I have spent most of the studio sessions this week editing my audio piece. Today I have started sampling other sound effects from youtube that I hope to incorporate into my forrest background that I have been making. I have been working on using the sounds I have found from YouTube in the piece to create an emotional response from the listener. At this stage I’m still experimenting with mixing different samples together and working out which effects I should use in audacity to try and blend these sounds together to reduce clipping so the piece transports the listener into the scene. After talking to Nathan Thompson yesterday I have decided to run with the suggestion of making the forrest the foundation upon which I can add other sounds to.

Frugal Forrest

I went to the Wollongong Art Gallery to see the Frugal Forrest exhibit after class today. It was a really interesting experience. I loved how it used sound in different ways to make the Forrest come alive. I could hear the sounds of frogs, running water; and the crackle of leaves.  I hope I get a chance to take my nieces and nephew to go see it. Below are some pics I took of the exhibit. I am going to do some more research about how the sounds of frugal forrest was created. Below are some pictures I took with my iPad mini of the exhibit.