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Week 16 (22nd - 26th Feb)

Monday 22nd February

Yesterday I found myself researching the meanings of all of my names (as suggested by my sister one time to be using as affirmations, as Nigerian names are rich in meaning) and felt like I wanted to express them in poetry. I've kept my names out of the works presented, just the meanings. I don't want everyone to know all of my names just yet. They're quite precious and while I'm sharing one aspect of them (their meanings) I prefer not to give everything out. I'm quite reserved and like to withhold information to still keep to myself. Precious things are kept safe and not always displayed, after all, and I think that may be my rationale behind the protectiveness. There are seven lines in the poetry, one for each of my names, and I'm very curious to find out whether any Nigerians can guess what the names are from the poetry. There is however a catch: one of the names isn't Nigerian, so I wonder if that will throw people off when guessing.

I often find myself using either the colour silver or the colour ultramarine for works that are deeply personal. I think my birthstone is aquamarine so there's no connection. I feel like there's great depth to the colours: to me, the silver induces a very calm silence from seep within, and the ultramarine is such a deep blue that it seems transcendent. Maybe I'm referring to spiritual experiences (though I really don't like talking about spiritual things at all because I don't ever feel like I'm communicating it authentically; words are for some ways of experiencing life, but not really for this one in my opinion) but these colours really make me feel things on a deeper level, in a way I don't yet know how to articulate. But I think that is natural because the feeling is so sub-conscious that it escapes the platform for conversion into language; it's its own form of communication maybe.

We had a documentation workshop where we had to practice depicting objects within time parameters. I enjoy having parameters to work within, because I honestly feel like freedom needs to be balanced with constraints in order to be fully, genuinely enjoyed. Makes me think of the 10 Commandments, and how it isn't unreasonable to have them. The right constraints can enhance one's freedom. When you're free to do everything, you don't venture out as much as when you're only free to do certain things. For me at least, I feel like there is a greater appreciation and therefore exploration of this freedom when I'm working.

The 1-minute drawing got messy quickly, so I didn't enjoy it very much. I enjoyed the 10-mark and 5-minute drawings the most. Having to capture the tape measure using 10 marks made me feel much more observant, as again the limited number of marks served as a constraint that pushed me to focus on the most important aspects of the form. I enjoyed the 5-minute drawing because a 5-minute time frame feels tangible to me, like I'm aware of each second as it passes and will be able to tell when time is running out. Maybe because I'm familiar with the time frame, I don't know. It was so short that I was constantly paying attention to it, doing my best to work within it without feeling like more time was needed. I finished this one with a few seconds to spare and tried to start another one in that time. I moved onto a second one because I was pleased with the essence of the tape measure that I'd captured. I didn't set out with the aim of drawing a photo-realistic tape measure, I adjusted my expectations to fit the constraints, so I could still be satisfied with the work when time ran out.

When it came to the 10-minute drawing, I didn't know if I was tired from the previous drawings but I didn't enjoy this one at all. I felt like there was more pressure to produce something better than the last one, and the marks became dark and heavy quite quickly. What I should've done was to start off freely, then gradually build the detail. Unlike with the 5-minute drawing, I don't think I adjusted my expectations as well. Instead, I was pressuring myself to do it better.

The final drawing was created in response to being asked to make a list of everything I could see from outside my window. I felt like it would be boring to write a written list, so I instead opted to write the objects down relatively where I could see them on the page - so I imagined the paper to be the window, and wrote the objects where I saw them. When asked to read the "list" out, Andrew said there was a rhythm to the things I read, which to me started to make the visual work seem musical, giving it aural qualities which I really liked. Music plays a big part in how I work, and I struggle at times to connect them explicitly.

Had I not documented in this way, it's unlikely there would've been any repetition in the work, which would have removed any potential rhythm that could've been created. I'd like to do this again, and hope I remember this technique if I'm ever in the kitchen with pen and paper again, stuck for ideas for what to do with them.

Tuesday 23rd February

Nervous about how well I'll be graded on documentation, as I tend to document my works in the same ways, with very little variety. Just a photo against a surface. Here, I tried to play with this more and work with angles.

I intend to present the four works together, and am seeing a visual story being told of how the paint has been used until it dries. The darkest was painted first, the lightest last. The darkest was me trying to recreate the "waves" painting I did last week/few weeks ago but it didn't work the same way. After realising how deep blue it was, I remembered that one of my middle names, Mary, meant "beloved" and "of the sea" (among other things) and I tried to create more blue works with this in mind.

Wednesday 24th February

Documentation of leftover rainbow cake. The photographs were taken like this purely to push myself to document in new ways. I like them because they're new and they're different, but I don't know where I'm taking this idea. The cakes were going stale and I was on the verge of throwing them away, but found them so aesthetically pleasing. It's interesting how something losing value in one sense can still be rich in value in another sense.

Thursday 25th February

This was me trying to draw in first person perspective. I was trying really hard to produce at least one work of art a day, and was stuck for ideas, so I took a pen and paper and sat in the kitchen. After eating, the only idea I had was to draw everything around me, as I saw it. I really enjoyed the process of training my eyes to see better, and intend to keep doing this, working towards greater and greater accuracy.

Friday 26th February

I created the cards spontaneously early on Friday morning. My housemate and I had planned to do some walking later that day after an appointment, so I brought them with me and asked if she could help me take pictures of me putting them around the areas.

I pretended to hand them out to members of the public, I didn’t actually engage with anyone. It was weird in this case because people could see me holding the cards and looking like I was about to give them out, but didn’t. I was shy and was looking at my photographer (my housemate) a lot, laughing. I thought it would be weird to approach strangers because I was about to present them with information they hadn’t asked for; information that might not immediately benefit them: “hi, you don’t know me but my name is Temitope and there are no silent ‘e’s in my name”. I suppose the objective of this project is to make people aware of how to pronounce my name and create an opportunity for people to be informed, but I’d rather present the information in a different way to handing them cards. Handing them cards is like forcing the information upon them, which I don’t want. I’d rather subtly infiltrate their subconscious, such as by the placement of the signs at a bus stop or train station, or on the grass in a park. It’s a funny concept and one that I greatly enjoyed because I had to perform in the public eye - something I’m not entirely comfortable with, but proud of the effort made. I just went for it, and I’m proud of that, as well as grateful for the confidence.

Reflection attempted using guidance questions

  • What happened?

I walked around the Camden - Euston area, taking pictures of myself handing out name cards and trying to deposit them in places.

  • What was I thinking and feeling?

I was thinking about how I appeared in the photos, and hoped I was posing in a way that was flattering, because the photos were also a way of presenting me. If people are interested in how I present myself, they may be more interested in me and perhaps more inclined to listen to me. I was feeling very self-conscious because what I was doing wouldn’t have made much sense to people looking. I kept thinking about what other people would think and how weird this must look, but in reality, I couldn’t think of a way to not make it look weird, especially because I wasn’t engaging with the public. What's weirder than engaging with the public is pretending to engage with the public. Also, I had a fairly strong feeling that if I did try to approach strangers, they would stop for me because of my outfit; I wasn’t in a uniform, nor did I appear to be homeless, I was just dressed like someone who liked fashion - which is unusual for someone on the street, trying to get the attention of the public. Because I felt like I could get that attention, I shyer away from it because my natural self wouldn’t force information upon people, so I didn’t want my performative self to do the same. Ideally, they wouldn’t even be different people.

  • What was good about the experience?

As shy and uncomfortable as I felt, I still did it, and got some nice pictures. I did my best to fulfil the objective I’d set out to achieve, which was to collect images that made me look like I was presenting information to the world, and I did.

  • What was bad about the experience?

I broke out of character a few times and laughed a lot when I felt embarrassed, which I supposed reduced the number of images I can work with, but I still got some good ones. I would like to be more confident though. The lighting in some of the photos was a bit dull, and some were so zoomed out I wasn’t very clear.

  • What sense can you make of the situation?

I enjoyed the project overall and would do it again with some tweaks.

  • What else could you have done?

I could have left the cards in place, but I was very shy, and so brought all of them back home. I could have elongated my body more and worn a more fitting jacket, or angled my body better so that I looked more flattering in the photos, and hence they were more captivating.

  • If it arose again, what would you?

I would like to do this again, leaving the cards in place and collecting shots of me depositing them in various locations. I would also add the phonetic pronunciation of my name to the cards, as well as my Instagram handle, in case people wanted to know where they came from. Before doing this again, I’d like to practice posing so I can be more aware of the most flattering angles for my outfit. In addition, I’d like to be more mindful of the lighting, zoom and photography angles, so I can obtain the most captivating shots.

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