Our latest project is “Displacement”. The brief was to look at the rules and accepted systems behind composition, shape, form and aesthetics. The idea behind the project was to deconstruct and rearrange compositions of colour and shapes. We had to create a body of work in 2d and 3d.
I’m not certain I followed the brief as intended but in choosing the materials for my first brief my mind went off on a little tangent. Armed with a sheet of braille, neon yellow paper, white card and a bright pink felt tip my first creation was very rectangular and a bit instinctive in approach. When I put my work on the wall I realised that the braille wasn’t obvious. The words “can you see me” formed in my head. So looking up the Braille Alphabet, I decided to colour the raised dots with the pink felt tip.
The pink next to the yellow reminded me of the hi-viz clothing I wear when out and about with the dogs and horses. Amongst the materials we could use I chose a misprinted road sign in blue and silver, neon paper in orange, green, yellow and pink, a cardboard box and a cardboard cone.
I did a couple of visual experiments with the colours, shapes of the box and cone, I also used a torch to see how the special light refraction material of the road sign worked. It was interesting to see the way our focus shifts when looking down the narrower end of the cardboard cone. Our eyes automatically focus on different shapes/colours with the change in field of vision and light change with it.
I found an image of me and our pony in our reflective gear. I used the same image in all my pieces of work. The final piece I used tracing paper to mute the tones. I had drawn a geometric pattern using the golden ratio and had traced this on the paper to cut shapes out of the neon paper. I then decided to use a black and brown paper background. I wanted to understand which colours and tones stood out the best.
I’ve deliberately used the same image of me and the pony as I wanted to understand how visible that would be. The tracing paper effect is very similar to fading light, misty rain etc.
I was very surprised at how clearly the neon green stands out and I can see that at different times of the year that mixed with orange and yellow it would be a good colour to wear. The reflective silver is definitely the best choice for cyclists or walkers out at night. Most of my hi-viz are a mix of yellow, orange and pink after doing the exercise I will definitely invest in the silver reflective and neon green.
If I was displaying this body of work in a gallery I would make them larger and try and recreate more shadow effects and use headlight bulbs to show the different effects of the colours and materials and how they all work together to make the wearer more visible. I would also replicate each piece with a bright sunny day image and more summer colours as that would give a more rounded conclusion. The more vulnerable road user groups are just as invisible on a bright sunny day as a gloomy winter one.
So, as I asked in my first piece of work – can you see me?