Starting University

So I recently started University in September (the day after Fashion Week). I made the mistake of thinking since I was going to an “art only campus” that it would basically be like Hogwarts and it would be this magical creative space where everyone was just the friendliest most crazy people!

Unfortunately I forgot that not everyone who goes to an art school is necessarily an artists, people go to uni for all kinds of reasons and sometimes pick subjects they aren’t passionate about.

Even though it was slightly difficult at the beginning I’m slowly starting to realize my potential and I’m starting to figure out exactly what I want to do in this world! Even though its very much early days I’m happy with my choice of course and campus and I feel I can really thrive in this environment.

Even though there are like a hundred different people who don’t think much of me and want me to fail instead of letting this destroy me inside like it used to, I use this as an excuse to work harder and be more ambitious with my projects!

Even though I may not have many skills as of yet, I am hopeful for the future and I know that as long as I give it my all and work hard, I can do anything I want!

obsession with plastic surgery…

Plastic surgery has become such a norm in our culture, that many brands have had to have campaigns just to make us feel, like being ourselves is ok, such as the “Real Beauty” campaign by Dove, but even though we have these heart touching adds that help us accept ourselves, plastic surgery is still rising at an alarming rate.

More and more people are going under the knife aiming for “Perfection” using photo shopped magazine images and celebrities as reference. In-fact cosmetic surgical procedures grew 13% between 2014-15.

We are told that to have all that we wish of, we must first “look the part”, turn ourselves into life-sized, walking and talking Barbie and Ken dolls, we idolize those who have had “improvements” and have seen people cash in millions due to their procedures (Kylie Jenner), as time goes on more and more people do it, and they are doing it at a younger age than usual.

It has gotten so bad that something that used to be seen as “taboo” is now a “solution”, as a society we have lost the ability to be comfortable with looking “average and everyday”.

Of course as most people know women are the ones who are affected the most, because they are constantly being bombarded by advertising campaigns, perfume advert, supermodel fashion lines and even make up and hair brands, all create this “ideal” body type that all women are “meant” to become “desirable”.

Of course beauty standards change over time/ the centuries and the Barbie doll brand has always been a representation of this, and its actually quite insane to think that so many little girls grew up believing that they were only valued if they looked like this stick figure doll, with completely unrealistic body proportions. Till this day millions of grown women as well as children idolize this slim toned physic that most times is impossible to achieve, even the most slim and muscular model in the industry are then photoshopped out of existence to a point where they don’t even recognize themselves.

this is something that is so innate in our society that there have been and are some tv shows that are entered all around this, where it be one to teach us to love ourselves (How To Look Good Naked) or one that promotes the idea that your body is constantly a “work in progress” (Extreme Makeover).

there are shows like Embarrassing Bodies where if anyone has anything they are are uncomfortable with when it comes to their physical appearance, even if its something quite minute and that doesn’t necessarily need to be messed with, the first thing they always suggest is surgery, because to them that is the perfect solution to everything.we never see them trying to build the persons spirits by telling them how they can grow to be confident with the insecurities and eventually forget them.

we idolise people like the Kardashians who are almost Connoisseurs of the “plastic” world, we find more interest in this unattainable image of beauty, power and success than we do in, acceptance, love or family.

“We live in a society that constantly tells us we have to be beautiful, or at the very least feel it. But the truth is that that’s a hollow goal doing more damage than good. What will really keep us away from the plastic surgeon’s knife is, instead, granting ourselves permission to be a bit ugly. ” 

chapman brothers…

Jake and Dinos Chapman create work that aims to be deliberately shocking, they have even used original watercolors by Adolf Hitler in a series of works in 2008. In the mid 1990’s, their sculptures were included in the YBA showcase exhibitions “Brilliant!” and “Sensation”. The two brothers were also nominated for the annual Turner Prize. In 2013 one of their paintings  (One Day You Will No Longer Be Loved III) was used as the subject for a Channel 4 special of Derren Brown (The Great Art Robbery.)

Jake was born in Cheltenham and Dinos was born in London, their mother being an orthodox Greek Cypriot and their father an English art teacher. They were brought up in Cheltenham, but later moved Hastings where they attended William Parker School. Dinos studied at the Ravensbourne College of Art, from 1980 – 1983, and Jake studies the North East London Polytechnic, from 1985 – 1988. Later they both enrolled into a school together (The Royal College of Art) they studied there from 1988 – 1990, while there they worked as assistants to Gilbert and George.

They began collaborating in 1991, for most of their work they have made plastic/fiberglass mannequins. One of their earlier pieces, which was inspired by Francisco Goya, consisted of 83 scenes of torture, disfigurement and pain, similar to Goya’s etchings. They have even turned some of their plastic models into life-sized works of art such as The Disasters of War.

 The chapman brothers have always continued this theme of the anatomical, pornographic and grotesque, they have made mannequins of children with genitalia in place of facial features, sometimes a group of children fused together.  Their sculpture “Hell” (2000) consisted of a large number of miniature figures of Nazi’s arranged in nine glass cases lay out in the shape of a swastika.  In 2003, in  “Insult to Injury”, they altered a set of Goya’s etchings by adding funny faces. “As a protest against this piece, Aaron Barschak (who later gate-crashed Prince William’s 21st birthday party dressed as Osama bin Laden in a frock) threw a pot of red paint over Jake Chapman during a talk he was giving in May 2003.”

 The Chapman brother’s body of work has also referenced work by William Blake, Auguste Rodin and Nicolas Poussin.

History of the Baphomet…

Baphomet-by-Levi

The term Baphomet is a word derived from the medical Latin word “Baphometh” this is usually a term used to describe or explain a foreign deity an “idol” of sorts. In the 14th century the Knights Templar were accused of worshiping this deity, and subsequently it was incorporated into disparate occult and mystical traditions. It appeared as a term for a pagan idol in trial transcripts of the Inquisition of the Knights Templar.

The name didn’t become popular in English usage until the 19th century, when it was debated and speculated that it was the reason for the suppression of the Templars.

Since 1856, the name “Baphomet” has been associated with a “Sabbatic Goat”(like the one and the beginning of this post); it contains elements representing the “sum total of the universe” (e.g. male and female, good and evil, etc.)

The name Baphomet appeared in July 1098 in a letter by the crusader Anselm of Ribemont:

Sequenti die aurora apparente, altis vocibus Baphomethinvocaverunt; et nos Deum nostrum in cordibus nostris deprecantes, impetum facientes in eos, de muris civitatis omnes expulimus.

As the next day dawned, they called loudly upon Baphometh; and we prayed silently in our hearts to God, then we attacked and forced all of them outside the city walls.

The word “Bafumarias” was used by a chronicler of the First Crusade, Raymond of Aguilers, as a name for the mosques. In 1195 the name “Bafometz” appeared in an Occitan poem “Senhors, per los noshers peccatz” (troubadour Gavaudan). In 1250 a poem bewailing the defeat of the Seventh Crusade by Austorc d’Aorlhac refers to “Bafomet.” De Bafomet is also the title of one of four surviving chapters of an Occitan translation of Ramon Llull’s earliest known work, the Libre de la doctrina pueril, “book on the instruction of children”.

On Friday October 13, 1307 the medieval order of the Knights Templar was suppressed by King Philip IV of France, he had many French Templars arrested, followed by tortures that lead to confessions. There had been over 100 charges against the Templars, most of which were the same as the ones leveled against the Cathars and many of the King’s enemies, he had earlier kidnapped Pope Boniface VIII and charged him with near identical offenses of heresy, spitting and urinating on the cross, and sodomy. These kinds of acts were intended to simulate the sort of humiliation and torture that a Crusader could be subjected to if captured by the Saracens, where they were taught how to commit apostasy “with the mind only and not with the heart”. Similarly Michael Haag suggests that the simulated worship of Baphomet did indeed form part of a Templar initiation ritual.

The indictment (acte d’accusation) published by the court of Rome set forth … “that in all the provinces they had idols, that is to say, heads, some of which had three faces, others but one; sometimes, it was a human skull … That in their assemblies, and especially in their grand chapters, they worshipped the idol as a god, as their saviour, saying that this head could save them, that it bestowed on the order all its wealth, made the trees flower, and the plants of the earth to sprout forth.”

The name “Baphomet” came up several times in the confessions of the Templars, in the book The Knights Templar and their Myth written by Peter Partner in 1987 he states that  “In the trial of the Templars one of their main charges was their supposed worship of a heathen idol-head known as a ‘Baphomet’ (‘Baphomet’ = Mahomet).” the description of this “object” changed from confession to confession, some Templars even denied any knowledge of it at all. Others, under torture, described it as being a severed head, a cat, or a head with three faces. It was know that the Templars possessed several silver-gilt heads as reliquaries, some were marked/named including one marked capud lviiim, another said to be St. Euphemia, and possibly the actual head of Hugues de Payens (first grand master of the Knights Templar).

Gauserand de Montpesant, a knight of Provence, said that their superior showed him an idol made in the form of Baffomet; another, named Raymond Rubei, described it as a wooden head, on which the figure of Baphomet was painted, and adds, “that he worshipped it by kissing its feet, and exclaiming, ‘Yalla,’ which was,” he says, “verbum Saracenorum,” a word taken from the Saracens. A Templar of Florence declared that, in the secret chapters of the order, one brother said to the other, showing the idol, “Adore this head—this head is your god and your Mahomet.”

Modern scholars including Peter Partner and Malcolm Barber say that the name “Baphomet” was an Old French corruption of the name Muhammad, which leads us to believe that some of the Templars, through their long military occupation of the Outremer, had begun incorporating Islamic ideas into their belief system, and this is what was seen and later documented as heresy by the inquisitors. Alain Demurger rejects the idea that the Templars could have adopted the doctrines of their enemies. Helen Nicholson wrote that the charges were essentially “manipulative” the Templars “were accused of becoming fairy-tale Muslims.” medieval Christians believed that Muslims worshiped idols and objects and that they worshipped Muhammed as God, with mahomet becoming mammet in English, meaning an idol or false god. This idol worship is attributed to Muslims in several chansons de geste. An example of this are the gods Bafum e Travagan in a Provençal poem on the life of St. Honorat, completed in 1300. In the Chanson de Simon Pouille, written before 1235, a Saracen idol is called Bafumetz

 

barbara kruger…

I used imagery from some of Kruger’s work in one of my samples, the reason for this is because since I was working on a female mannequin (womannequin) there were a lot of different messages I could’ve put forward, about female equality, the “perfect” female body and how women are perceived, the possibilities for something like this is endless, even though all this topics are of the utmost importance unfortunately this wasn’t what I wanted to base my project on, but it wouldn’t be fair to not mention it at all.

Barbara Kruger 

Born in 1945 she is an American conceptual pop artist, she was born in New Jersey (Newark). From an early age she had an interest in graphic design alongside writing and poetry, she would also attend poetry readings.

She studied at Syracuse for a year and shortly after she moved to New York and began attending Parsons School of Design in 1965. She studied alongside such artists as Diane Arbus and Marvin Israel; they introduced her to other photographers and fashion/magazine sub-cultures. After only staying at Parsons for a year she left to work at Condé Nast Publications (1966). After a short while she started to work at Mademoiselle magazine, there she was an entry-level designer, after about a year she was promoted to head designer.

After that she had several different jobs that fed her interest such as a graphic designer, art director, and picture editor in the art departments at “House and Garden”, “Aperture,” and did magazine layouts, book jacket designs, and freelance picture editing for other publications. Her background in design was and is evident in her work; you can tell that she was heavily influenced by her years working as a graphic designer.

Of course everyone knows that she is a feminist and if they didn’t, the moment they look at her work it becomes clear that she is. Her different professions in life have always affected her work, when she took up photography in 1977, that was when she produced a series of black and white details of architectural exteriors paired with her own textual ruminations on the lives of those living inside. This was published as an artist’s book (Picture/Readings (1979)) this foreshadows the aesthetic vocabulary Kruger developed in her mature work.

Once 1979 came about she stopped taking photographs and began to use found images in her art, most of which came from mid-century American print-media sources, she would collage words directly over them. “Her 1980 untitled piece commonly known as “Perfect” portrays the torso of a woman, hands clasped in prayer, evoking the Virgin Mary, the embodiment of submissive femininity; the word “perfect” is emblazoned along the lower edge of the image.”

Due to the nature of her work and how it included techniques that she had perfected during her time as a graphic designer, she was able to bring up such issues like feminist provocations and commentaries on religion, sex, racial and gender stereotypes, consumerism, corporate greed, and power.

The 80’s was when she perfected her signature “agitprop” style, she used black and white photographic images and would juxtapose them with the text that she added over them which were against black, white, or deep red text bars, the text would be thought provoking and sometimes ironic and was always types in Futura Bold. “The inclusion of personal pronouns in works like Untitled (Your Gaze Hits the Side of My Face) (1981) and Untitled (I Shop Therefore I Am) (1987) implicates viewers by confounding any clear notion of who is speaking.” these mature works function successfully on any scale, and they had a wide distribution, they were printed on mugs, t-shirts, tote bags, postcards even things like posters and umbrellas.  Something like this causes confusion when talking about the boundaries between something artistic and something commercial, this brings attention to the role of the advertising in public debate.

In the last few years, she has extended her project, creating installations of her work for the public in galleries, museums, municipal buildings, train stations, and parks, as well as on buses and billboards around the world. Walls, floors, and ceilings are covered with images and texts. Since the late 90’s she’s incorporated sculpture into her work when it comes to her critique of modern American culture. Justice (1997), in white-painted fiberglass, depicts J. Edgar Hoover and Roy Cohn—two right-wing public figures who hid their homosexuality—in partial drag, kissing one another. This highlights the conspiracy of silence that enabled these two men to accrue social and political power.

confinement part 2…

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This was the second sample I done using string to “cage” the mannequin but this time I also used bandages, at this point I was planning for the photo shoot and was trying to picture different things I could do and the different types of images I could take.

I like how the string and the bandages look next to each other, I feel the string looks tighter and stronger vs. the bandage, and it would press and burn the skin, whereas the bandages would just softly lay on top, but visually the bandages offer up something more, especially since we associate them with injuries and as a way to “fix something which is broken”, so using them almost tells a story and obviously makes the viewer wonder.

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confinement…

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Throughout this project I have liked/enjoyed the idea of being caged or trapped in something whether literal or emotionally, possibly even spiritually. I’ve always dabbled a bit into this within my imagery and samples, but this is more of an obvious example of this, by wrapping the mannequin in string you “cage” it but the ironic thing is that its already “caged” because the mannequin itself can’t just get p and easily move anyway, so you’re trapping something that is already closed off and caged anyway.

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I like the way these pictures came out and I wanted to use this string for the photo shoot I done, but due to a short time frame and a lack of notice I couldn’t.