The Old Man of Berlin
Tuesday 3rd November
"There was an Old Person of Berlin,
Whose form was uncommonly thin;
Till he once, by mistake,
Was mixed up in a cake,
So they baked the Old Man of Berlin"
After reading the limerick of the Old Person of Berlin I imagined the old man to be a tragic character filled with unrequited love who is painfully shy yet witty and kind and intelligent. On the day he finally plucks up the courage to speak to the baker who he loves, he is accidentally and tragically mixed into the cake. By creating my own background story and setting for the Old Man I was able to form a stronger image of his character and appearance. In order to illustrate the shy nature of the Old Man I drew him as being hunched over. As well as suggesting the introverted nature of the Old Man, the slouched back also implies he is insecure about his height and thinness. In order to further emphasise the thinness of the Old Man I made him wear baggy and ragged clothes. i also made his facial expressions gaunt and hollow to suggest an inner sadness as well as a thinness.
After creating several different drawings of the Old Man of Berlin that illustrated his personality I created an outline of him. In order to emphasise his character effectively I created a caricature of the Old Man. By creating a silhouette of the figure I found it created a bold and dramatic image due to its simplicity.
When I placed my silhouette in a composition with other people's work I found it strengthened the impact of the overall image as it gave it a context, purpose and contrast as well as the possibility of a story.
In the afternoon we worked with food, mine being a piece of cheddar cheese. I found its texture and taste to be dry, heavy,thick,creamy,old,dense,rich,salty and sharp. In order to illustrate the different taste and textures of the cheese on my plate I used different and contrasting materials/textures. I wanted to depict both the density of the cheese with the softness of it. Therefore I created a strong firm structure in the center surrounded by soft waves.
When acting out our reaction to eating each plate of "food" the way in which the "meal" was eaten changed between the structure of each plate.
Monday 2nd November
I found the exercise of illustrating the personality of a vegetable extremely important before working with food in this project, as it was helpful to imagine food with a personality in order to understand what would be the most appropriate food/ material to use.
Personality of a Parsnip
Thursday 5th November
I was inspired by the decadence, gluttony, wealth and excess explored in Sofia Coppola's 2006 film Marie Antoinette. I think all of the themes above were clearly expressed through both food and costume in the film. What is more the deterioration of Marie Antoinette as a character was echoed in the food and costume. A line in the film ("I think she's delightful, she looks like a little piece of cake") particularly resonated with me and inspired me with the idea of creating a costume that looks like a piece of cake.
With this in mind I filmed candles burning entirely onto a cake. I loved the way that by melting the candles on a cake you can turn something that is delicate and beautiful to something distorted and misshapen. I particularly love the way the colours of the cake and candle wax all melted together. When recreating this image in my sketchbook I used waterclours as I found it effectively depicted the colours all ran into each other.
Monday 9th November
Making models from cutlery
I wanted to push the idea I gained from Marie Antoinette further by combining it with the images of the melted cake. I wanted to create a dress that would slowly disintegrate in a similar way to the cake and Marie Antoinette as a person in order to evoke ideas of wealth an decadence and its ability to corrupt.
Still from Final Performance
Thursday 12th November
"The illustrations of the dress are really good and clear. As for the performance I think you should of had some candle wax dripping on your dress or paint on your head dripping down to make it look more real."
Although I was pleased with the overall out come of my costume I think there were several ways in which I could have improved- particularly with my performance. I think I could have smartened the aesthetic quality of my costume by spending more times on the seems and making sure they were all smart and hidden. I would also listen to the feedback I was given by covering the top half of the dress in dripping wax. Through out my entire creative process for this project I found two books (Character Costume Figure drawing by Tan Huaixiang and Period Costume for Stage and Screen by Jean Hunnisett) particularly helpful in creating costume designs and patterns. As for my performance instead of standing in front of a projected image of fire I would have someone stand nearby who would project it directly onto the crown and hands. I would also have my audience surround me in a circle in order to create more of an impact when I pop the balloons and melt to the floor.
Still from Final Performance
Tuesday 10th November
I really want to represent the idea of if decadence and gluttony is pushed to its extreme it can be destructive. Therefore I wanted to create a dress that echoed this idea.
One of the ways I chose to represent this idea is by having the dress look like a cake that had an element of Marie Antoinette to it (as she is the epitome of decadence leading to destruction- "Let them eat cake"). The top half of the dress should look like melted candle wax in order to pull on the image of the beauty of a cup-cake being distorted and destroyed by candle-wax. In order to suggest melted candle wax I will use dye of different colours and mix them together. To create an illusion of real flames I will project an image of fire onto a white paper crown. finally inside the dress are multiple balloons that will be popped during the performance, causing the dress to deflate- once again representing the corruption of excess decadence and gluttony.
I want to raise questions of the decadence of food e.g. at weddings and whether it is a necessity and when is it too much, because if there is enough food to eat why is the starvation in the world?