Sunday, 29 July 2012

Creativity takes courage

Creativity takes courage

Quote by the French* artist Henri Matisse, whose work I studied during my days of GCSE Art & Design! The title of this post is relevant to 3 things;

a) The above image is my first shaped set ever! I've never made anything like it on Polyvore, and I really like the fact that it isn't square and that the pieces don't quite fit perfectly, I think it adds something. Trying something new or different requires creative courage.

b) Today I watched my sister's performance (at my town's theatre) which was written for the Olympic culture festival, and so my sister and her friends are the original cast! Standing up on stage, reciting lines and acting, in front of the actual playwright and associated press (tonight was the first time that the play has been performed) takes massive courage.

c) I've been watching the London 2012 Olympics (well, I love watching sport on TV, and I am mildly patriotic, I watched the Diamond Jubilee, Royal Wedding etc.) since the Opening ceremony** and the amount of creativity and courage involved in the Olympics is really inspirational. It's not just Danny Boyle's opening ceremony which was creative - every dive, gymnastics/trampolining routine, dressage performance, every athlete's requires artist design. It's not just the competitors who need courage either, the organisers, and so that decided to make the 2012 Olympics so eccentric and so different to any really seen before must have had courage too.

Therefore these two things, as illustrated by the above examples, go hand in hand.

*Speaking of the French - what a good night for their swimmers! Well done for winning against some pretty tight odds and even fiercer competition!

**I absolutely loved the Opening ceremony, seeing as some reviews have been mixed about it. It wasn't a complete spectacle, like Beijing, but it wasn't supposed to be, it represented the people of Britain, all people, and the crazy British sense of humour. It focused on some of the darkest parts of our recent social history (mistreatment of workers during the industrial revolution, Suffragettes, World Wars) but then reminded the world what Britain has given to everyone, the internet being the most incredible and appropriate example, considering that you are reading this online! Sure, some of it was confusing and chaotic, but so is life - even athletes are not machines, we're all human, and that's what binds us all, regardless of nation, country, language. Isn't that what the Olympics is really about?

Regardless, GO TEAM GB!

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


I've been spending some of my time recently taking photos, of things that I know I can use on Polyvore, Tumblr etc. Anyway, I'm going to post these images up here because they're interesting in themselves (not merely a means to an end!) and they're for anyone to use if interested, just credit (I don't even know what that means...) or post a link back to here! (That's more straightfoward I think :)

Taking photos of random things I find in/ around my house is a good way to kill a couple of bored, job-less, hours a day, and I can convince myself that this is somehow productive, as these images may prove useful in later life...

I made the collage myself out of leaflets from my local library! Desperate times call for desperate measures! Also, the beautiful text and illustrations are from an old copy of my dad's "The complete works Shakespeare, illustrated".

Every day is a small victory in the game of Life and Death.

Every day is a small victory in the game of Life and Death.

So, there you have it. Another few days of summer have passed, the weather has improved, and my life? Well, it's pretty average at the moment, although all of this boredom has led to some creative advances (see above piece for evidence!). Other than that I've been doing some more work, looking for another part time job and taking driving lessons...not exactly thrilling is it?

I've been spending a lot of time in my local park (well, technically not my local park, but the one near my city centre) for an International Festival, and on another day when I had a picnic with my friends. This is quite standard, nothing out of the ordinary (well, the International Festival itself is, but not my presence there - I go practically every year since it's on my doorstep!) EXCEPT I used to spend loads of time there 2 years ago, during my GCSE summer, it's sometimes like the past 2 years never happened (which is a crazy idea), the amount of similarities between my post-16 summer and post A-level summer - it must be the extraordinary length of time causing these parallels!

Strange when that happens, when you KNOW loads of time has passed, for example, since I was 16, and then suddenly something happens, and you remember something, a memory, a moment, in such striking clarity that it's as if no time has passed at all...

Thursday, 19 July 2012

End of an era

100 Followers! :D

I had my Year 13 prom last week, and it's really hit me that it's the end of an era, the prom is a milestone in itself, because throughout your school years you never consider that one day it will be you leaving, it will be your turn at the Year 13 Prom (which you will have spent the time since the Year 11 Prom hearing about)...and now it's over I feel like I really, definitely have left secondary school. Strange.

All of the effort was worth it though, and contrary to popular belief, everything, clothes, shoes, bag, hair and make-up, the ticket to prom itself did cost just under £100, and anyone spending much more than that, is in my opinion, slightly over the top. I hate news articles with teenage girls and their mothers claiming that Prom is the most important night of their lives, and therefore they must have a £200 dress, or £50 nails. In what way does that increase the importance of the night, or what it represents?

In other news, I managed to see another £5 show, the lion, the witch and the wardrobe with Mousetrap (a threatre group working mainly in London to help young people see shows) which was in Kensington Gardens, and in a 360 degree threatre which moved kind of like a cinema, but with a circular stage as well - it was incredible! The special effects (visuals, puppets, lighting, fake snow) were so varied that I found myself really engaged in the entire show, which is unusual for me, because although I like theatre, I can never usually stay focused for the whole thing, I do tend to "zone out" for 5 minutes or so.

So, this image, I got the idea of strawberries and red from Wimbledon, watching the tennis last week, and then I found those pictures of Emma Watson in a white dress, and so I combined the floral dress with the wedges at the bottom as well, the frame is a template, but I think it works well, not exactly as a masterpiece, but the way that it makes you naturally want to look straight at the lower picture of Emma Watson, and at the strawberries. They must be the "focal points" for this picture, I think.

This was my post for the end of last week, sadly, something messed up when I was publishing it, and so I'm publishing it again, now, out of chronological order, sorry for any confusion but currently there doesn't seem to be a way to change the order of published posts on Blogger!

It's not procrastination; it's a higher form of planning.

It's not procrastination; it's a higher form of planning.

So, the last week has been pretty standard, in fact, nothing much has happened except that I visited my old first school, for their final assembly (the school is closing at the end of this term to be re-opened with my old middle school as a combined school) to give out an award to a little boy who has made some amazing academic progress! Bless, his mum looked so happy when he won his award, as did all of the children, who didn't really realise the significance of the assembly, but did very much like the look of the prizes!

Time moves much too quickly, just 10 years ago that would have been me, sitting cross-legged on the floor, eager-eyed and staring up at the teachers at the front of the hall! It feels as much like yesterday as it does a whole lifetime ago. The building was still so familiar, although much of the decoration itself has been changed, improved, updated, and I even got to speak again to some staff who had known me when I was 4!

To disorientate myself further, with my work I was showing some foreign students around the city where my Firm university choice is. It was a good day out (I love the city, obviously, otherwise I would not have made the university there my firm choice!) but also, by association, it was a little angsty, I just want my results now so that I know whether I'll ever get to live there or not! Strange, knowing that I might well live there for 3 years, but I might well not visit again for another 10 years, if I don't get in, because I can't bear to see it again if I'm rejected, it'll be too raw.

There you have it. I feel completely in limbo :/ within 48 hours I revisited memories of my first school days, and then walked around the city that, by October, may well be my new university home. However, at the moment I am unfortunately stuck somewhere between archaic memories and distant hopes for the future, which can only be solidified by my results on the 16th of August. Until then, I fear, I am completely lost at sea.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

2 Years Later...

My most recent Polyvore design

2 Years ago today I started this blog, beginning with images (coincidentally, images that I started using when I first opened my Polyvore account, at around the same time) from my GCSE Art and Design course. It started as a blog about art, concerning the creation of different types of artwork that I'd learnt about, but now my blog is much more about myself, somehow, and how this increasingly is shown through my art.

So basically, where as the the art did all the talking previously, now I do the talking, and the art is simply a more visual explanation for my thoughts.

I'd like to think that I've learnt a lot, since that 16 year old, bored after GCSEs (although admittedly I am very bored after leaving school, and genuinely cannot wait to get my results, go to university and start learning again, but that's just me I think) who had little direction in life other than some mediocre artwork and a random blog. Not that the art has really improved dramatically, although it has evolved somewhat (I primarily use Polyvore rather than GIMP to make images, and rather than photo manipulation I tend to use internet images and "arrange" them into bigger pieces rather than create the components themselves from scratch if you know what I mean).

This post is a pretty big milestone then, certainly, I know there are much older blogs around, but as far as Blogspot is concerned, the average lifespan of a blog seems to be under 2 years, so I think it's an achievement that I have continued to update this, if only for its consistency rather than for any extraordinary content, after all I'm not trying to change the world, I just want some way to record the things that I do and that I find interesting, I'm not fussed about having 100s of followers, although of course I like the idea that at least someone is reading what I write.

At this point I'd like to thank my actual followers (currently at around 15 I think?) for putting up with this nonsense, in the hope that they find something (if only occasionally) worth reading on here. As a side note, I have had over 3,900 views on this blog, which is far more than if I had decided to never publish it!

So here we are, I'm not world famous, I'm not a celebrated blogger or by any means a talented artist, I'm not a budding author or even an exceptional writer, but I am I believe, much closer than I was 2 years ago to finding myself, though if there's one thing I can be accused of, it's forgetting the past in favour of obsessing over the future, as opposed to say, living in the moment. (Ironic for a potential History student, right?)

For example, I tend to forget or overlook the things I've already achieved, the work I've done, however small, and instead I worry about what the future holds, where will my life go next etc. (to be fair, until I get my A2 results I don't even know where I'm going to be living in 2 months!) This however, is no way to live, there needs to be more of a balance I think, between positive reflection and active (but not anxious) anticipation of the future. That can be my target for the next year, until this blog's next milestone ;)

Maroon 5's song Payphone actually sums up the above scenario pretty well;

"You turned your back on tomorrow
Cause you forgot yesterday..."

The only way to the future is to remind ourselves of the best parts of the past -

"Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past"

- George Orwell, 1984

Who would have thought Maroon 5 and George Orwell would ever have belonged in the same sentence? Only on this blog!

A tree, a real life representation of Carl Jung's tree of self actualization....just kidding -
(A photograph I took on a shady walkway in Calpe, Alicante, if this picture is rotated it makes a really nice desktop background!)

Monday, 2 July 2012

Alicante, Spain 2012

Alicante, Spain 2012

Just got back from my week's holiday, looking through all of the photos and working out what I'm going to do with the rest of the summer! To summarise the past week;

  • Fiestas, with live music and fireworks on the beach (the Bonfires of St. John)
  • Party in the town where we were staying due to Spain's success in the Euros
  • Private pool at the villa we rented!
  • Shopping at the sea front, sun bathing, actually being able to go swimming in the sea without dying of pneumonia or something similar...
  • Eating out, late, and every night, with cocktails and bars overlooking the sea shore
  • Living on about 4 hours sleep a night, but not caring, and simply getting up the next day at noon to do it all again...(starting to sound like a lyric from Katy Perry's Last Friday Night)
  • Sounds stupid, but I really loved this one night that we just stayed in, and cooked a massive BBQ (there were 11 of us!) and then played music all night, whilst taking photos, and some people jumped into the pool fully clothed

I miss the sun already (welcome back to England, where "summer" usually consists of a month of rain, wind or if you're lucky, tolerable overcast days) but not the heat actually, most days it was above 35 degrees and we're just not used to it, and so we had to keep finding places with air-con, and apply ridiculous amounts of sun tan lotion, which turns oily and attracts insects :s

Honestly, it was a great week, well worthy the mass organisation and months of preparation, just what was needed after exams. I'm not joking, some parts of the trips practically required head counts, and the precision of a military operation, but I'm so glad we did it - and now we have loads of great photos to remember the holiday - the polyvore image above is made of pictures which are a representation of parts of the holiday, not my actual photos (though I have nearly a hundred of those). Regardless, I think the mood of the collage comes across fairly accurately :)

EDIT: found some of my best photos to upload!