Sunday, 27 December 2009

Better late than Never

Well, the Christmas period is now on its way out... all we've got to look forward to now is New Year, which never really means much to myself but this year might be different (or not)...

anyway... this well needed break has given me time to get some things out of the way and the chance to not do others... but after making a bit of a hash of the project on the last day (due to printing difficulties) I'm now going to catch up on adding my research to my blog (then I'll add up the pieces of work I made too) and although I doubt it will now affect my mark anymore, it needs to be done for my own closure.

Mars and further:

After our own Moon the next closest sources for water (in ice form) are still within our Solar system and not some distant planet in a galaxy far, far away.

Space exploration has fallen down the back of the sofa of society, forgotten about except by those with an interest in it or until theres some discover that can benefit the human race. (i'm kind of going off on a tangent here, whether its to add cause to my research on water in space or just because I'm feeling a little defensive about space exploration). A few years ago, our interest was firmly set on Mars and discovering the hidden water on it's surface, from the ice layer beneath the soil, the believed liquid water flowing and carving it's way through the Martian landscape and the idea that Mars once held oceans.

The NASA Phoenix Mars Lander has given us the most extensive evidence of water on Mars from the images and data it has sent back from the planet's surface. Evidence of ice can be seen in its own tracks across the surface but it has also collected video of snow falling from the clouds on Mars.

This article from New Scientist ( or the original NASA article: ) shows evidence of the changing landscape on Mars due to flowing water escaping from beneath its surface. Some believe it is merely the result of dust storms eroding away at the sides of the craters but when looking at Discover magazine's article on the evidence that Mars held oceans ( ) you see carved rock similar to that of the Grand Canyon, where water has eroded down through the rock creating a valley/canyon and may have once held and channeled water on it's surface.

However, things are a still uncertain about where the future of Space exploration lies... whether it is on the surface of Mars or our Moon or even further a field...

This article ( ), from Discover, interested me after I originally found out about the idea of a habitable zone in our solar system. Basically, since the big bang, our Sun has been expanding and growing hotter (which may mean global warming is not man made) but the heat given off of the Sun helps maintain water (h20) as a liquid on our planet, as well as allowing it to evaporate (but our atmosphere stops it all escaping completely and keeps the cycle going).

The band/zone that scientists say provides the optimal light, heat and radiation from the sun has our little blue planet sat in it, but it hasn't always been like this and nor will it remain. It is universally presumed that life needs water to survive and planets need water to sustain life which, based on Earth's placement in our Solar system makes it the perfect place... almost too perfect. We are comfortably sat in this band at the moment, but as I said, the Sun is continuing to heat up and expand which means the band/zone will shift too and may be why we are finding more encouraging signs of water on our Moon and Mars. It could also mean Mercury and Venus
could have once held water ( ) and supported life, but that Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and further may support life in the future if not at this very time but what will happen to Earth when this zone does shift?

If the above is true though, then why is it that we believe that some of the Moon's of Jupiter and Saturn hold liquid water or in the case of Europa are completely covered in an ocean of water under a sheet of ice... These all fall outside of the habitable zone but at the same time we are only just at the point in history were we are exploring deeper into our Solar system. It may be 10 years before we head out to these "Moons" (i say moons as technically the are planets, but they are captured in the gravitational orbit of Jupiter much like our own moon), but I can't wait to see what is discovered.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Water in Space

Ok, so I have neglected the blog a little bit, but that is purely because I took a bit of time off for my birthday and I've spent the rest of the time researching material... but it now means I've left myself with very little time to actually produce something as a final piece and I need to get all of my findings online for this friday... :/

damn... (i might run over a bit)...

I can't remember if I initially spoke about what got me onto water and space, but with the tone of the initial briefing looking very grim, I wanted a more positive subject to run at... and the recent finding of water on the moon sparked my interest, combining my love of space with science and dreams of science fiction.

With all the talk of Climate Change, the Copenhagen conference (currently going on) and Humankind basically destroying the planet we inhabit... the idea of finding another Earth for us to relocate to is growing in popularity. Although it sounds like something that only appears in tv shows or comics, recent discoveries are now adding new levels of plausibility to the idea, admittedly this still wont happen for god knows how many years, but "we" are searching local and distant galaxies for stars like our Sun that would provide sunlight and heat to neighboring planets with sustainable atmospheres.

But bringing this all back a bit closer to home, we have discovered signs of water existing or that existed on planets and moons in our own solar system. If you pick up any book on our solar system, you'll be presented with information about water on our Moon (averaging only 238,854 miles away from us!), evidence of water on Mars, Jupiter's moon: Europa or Saturn's moon: Titan. To me, this is amazing, since I was young I have pictured the other planets and moons to be like our deserts, barren and inhospitable to ourselves but the evidence of water suddenly opens up new possibilities and reasons to explore these places in search of life (maybe not your typical green or grey aliens, but lifeforms, microbes and bacteria),or ways in which we can harvest the water for our own benefits.

The Moon:

In early October this year, NASA bascially crashed a $79 million satellite into the Moon's surface, and it was intentional. This BBC page actually has some good graphics about half way down the page and a boring video at the top ( here ) as it explains the reasoning behind the crash. The idea was to give the LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) one final mission to analyse the 6 mile high plume of debris kicked up from the inital impact of a spent rocket from the satellite, before the satellite itself crashed into the southern crater on the moon. The results showed promise, as from the data received proved there was water on the Moon, but also that it's a substantial ammount, 25 gallons was measured within the debris which is approx 94 litres or 200 pints for the average layman. (By the way, this was invisible to us here on Earth)

As I mentioned, I have always thought of our Moon like a giant, dry dust ball that is full of craters from passing meteors crashing into it's surface (or satellites!) but in November 2008, India launched it's first satellite, Chandrayaan-1 on it's mission to study the Moon,

"It will explore its minerals, map the terrain and find out whether water and helium deposits exist. It will also give us a deeper understanding about the planet Earth itself or its origins, Earlier missions did not come out with a full understanding of the moon and that is the reason scientists are still interested.

This will lay the foundation for bigger missions and also open up new possibilities of international networking and support for planetary programmes."

Taken from the Chandrayaan-1 homepage (here)

In a recent issue of Discover magazine, unfortunately a solely American publication, there was the first detailed map produced by the LRO (Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter), which was attached and launched along with the LCROSS satellite but detached before the LCROSS crash, showing exactly where the water deposits are on the Moon's surface,

However, all this information is getting mixed signals, some say that it will now pave the way for future missions to the Moon in hopes of establishing a lunar base from which we can then launch other missions deeper into space, but others refer back to President Obama's inital plans to reduce NASA's budget and redirect funds from manned space exploration into education. The year 2020 seems to be the decider year, with at least 3 possibilities planned from returning to the Moon, heading to Mars again, or exploring Jupiter and it's Moons. The fourth option was to head to Titan, one of Saturn's Moons, as it appears to have an atmosphere of Oxygen too, but the decision was made to look to Jupiter and Europa. Either way, I'm really excited... in my opinion we can only really discover new things in 2 places now, the deepest depths of the sea and space... I know which I'm voting for...

next to come... Mars, Europa and Titan.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

SPACE... the NEXT frontier...

During this current project, a lot of peoples ideas have been turning towards disasters, how water has affected individuals, societies, countries and industry/business... but I wanted to look at something a bit more positive. During the initial briefing, the recent NASA mission to prove the existence of water on the moon was mentioned, and I figured I'd look into the future of water and if we could get fresh water supplies from space.

However, all I seem to have discovered so far is that, Yes there is water out in space, however we're only just at the point in history where NASA are exploring alternatives to sending water to the International Space Station and looking at mining or purifying water from the moon etc. With discussion about their budget, NASA will most likely be reigned in from their far distant exploration and focus more on missions to the moon in hopes of establishing a lunar base.

I'm a little lost at the moment with what information I am actually find out or prove, since I can't exactly head to space and conduct my own experiments, but I may end up looking more at how astronauts use their limited supplies of water and how this can be brought back to Earth and implemented into our every day lives.

As I mentioned a couple of posts earlier, I hoped to present my research in a more visual way than just file/folder of papers, but I'm not sure if I can come up with an idea for it based on my current research nor a reason to use screen printing. Posters, for years, were the best form of communicating to the general public and I thought I'd be able to produce some informative pieces on the future of water in space and how i believe we should invest money into exploring our solar system and beyond, but this isn't such a big deal for us here in England.

This is why my idea is changing, gradually... I've got more areas of research in which I need to delve but I'm worried I won't actually produce anything on a subject that I do enjoy!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

the last 4 weeks....

have culminated in this... :D

CPP Aardvark DoorStormers from pie face on Vimeo.

water initial stuff

Accidentally posted this on the illustration blog and was meant to be put on here.. but I'm thinking of tryin to do a piece of work based on facts about water etc...

a couple of years ago I did some work for AfSL and their fashion show 'SUST' which was to showcase sustainable clothes and make up products and that they arent drab tye dye hippy hemp threads. AfSL are a charity who hope to raise awareness on simple ways for us to start making a change and prolong our natural resources...

rather than aim to create a flat 2D piece like the isotypes of AWH, I'd LOVE to make something 3D that draws more attention or an installation that would involve some sort of participation from the viewer ...

I've already been looking at 'Tactile' again and I'll get my hands on 'Data Flow' which is knocking about round the studios


Monday, 23 November 2009

The new brief....

Hmm... a lot of people arent too sure how to take the new brief.. but from what I understand it is to get us all to imagine we have been given a REAL brief to produce a piece of work that would raise awareness to social and political issues surrounding water and the human races consumption, dependence, fear and understanding of water...

This project is to be more research based than most others, purely so we can produce a piece of work that is informed by facts and information specific to the theme but also to provoke us to delve deeper into ideas and research before we actually produce a final piece of work...

Going off some of the information presented to us today in the briefing lecture I remembered a few artists who have done something similar...

Modern Dog: After purchasing their 20 years of posters book for a previous project, I already knew they had created posters that were sold in order to raise money for the victims of hurricane Katrina, in New Orleans via

Michael Strassburger and Robynne Raye both produced satirical images that were also so bold and straight to the point, that Robynne's 'Fuck Bush' design was removed from the original exhibition but then later re-instated. They dont shy away from saying what they are thinking or putting thier views out there, as seen in each posters design, but rather than mocking the aim of the Hurricane poster project they are trying to draw attention to the lack of involvement and aid from President Bush...



In Strassburger's piece, I like how the lack of detail and colour means you focus purely on reading the text on the t-shirt. Although you read the outlines as a figure, giving the slogan a context as it appears on a survivors t-shirt, you dont immediately think of this one person.. you think of the thousands of people effected by it...

Always with Honour: ( )One particular idea suggested during the briefing was the use of Isotypes and I was immediately reminded of Always With Honour's 'Largest Bankruptcies' piece. The comical imagery of bankruptcy shown as sinking boats and ships draws the audiences attention more so than a standard graph or chart. Although the piece is easy to read, you immediately see and wonder what it is about... upon reading you understand the idea behind it... I personally feel oversaturated and desensitised to certain imagery and issues, for example, there are so many advertisments for Charities that you are often left wondering which one would/should you donate to and why are there so many that seem to be doing the same thing? If I am able to create a piece of work within this project that firstly draws the audience closer and then offers them information for their curiosity then i will be happy.

Isotypes seem to be a speciality of AWH and I think they are highly successful, even if I am purely attracted to them by their visual appeal at first... at least they have attracted me and theres a good chance I will read further into them... however I wonder if the lack of personal details in both Modern Dog and AWH's work means the audience dont connect fully to the issues expressed and merely dismiss it as " it's not happening to me"... ?

(originally found via )


Right... i have been busy doing lots of stuff this month and finally I think I'm about to crack... things have gone well and others not so well.. and its the not so well things that have more riding on them! :/

anyway.. I've have been knee deep into our last brief, the cross pathway project, in which I have been working as part of a group towards producing a piece of work based on a single theme... that was AMAZING! :) really had fun, but 4 weeks seems to be about the full limit of time people like to spend on one project...

so... my point is... I've been over at

the place where we decided to collate all our work from sketches to research... but I thought I might as well add some photos here :) and eventually the video... (when its uploaded!)

the idea/theme was...
"What would you imagine to be behind a closed door?"

we each interpreted the theme in our own styles whilst trying to show something about our own personalities and interests.... :)

these were my initial sketches on what I'd like to be behind the door....

a monster:
Designing characters ha now become a passion of mine :)

a room or sweets:
I bloody love sweets... oops just realised the image is upside down... :/

and... BoooooBS!:
Sophie Howard is quite beautiful, but it also gave me a chance to do more contour drawing :D

However, there were fears that I was being too literal, so I change this idea in favour of the slang joke featured on this scrap piece below...

Here are a few shots of me during the process... other photos can be seen via the blog address back up top...

the final video footage was projected onto the inside of this door and frame... we couldnt really decide on what to put on the door for the exhibition ... so.. we just drew it like a door! ;)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Cross Pathway Project

At the moment all four art and design courses in the 2nd year are working together in groups of 4, in most cases it works out at one person from each area of Graphic Design, Surface Design, Moving Image and the wonderful Illustration....

(all except ours... our 4th has apparently disappeared off the face of the earth... so we are the only Trio group).

We did something similar in the 1st year under the title of Chindogu, in which we were to design our own useless invention and shoot a commercial for them, but nearly everyone I know hated it... so a lot of people weren't looking forward to this CPP. However, I am happy to announce that almost everyone is enjoying it and is pleasantly surprised at how well the groups are working!

Within our own group, the only troubles we've had so far have been...

- narrowing down our thousands of ideas,
- we are all taking the managerial role, theres no one true leader as we are a group,
- technical trouble! resulting in our first bit of footage not being saved.. but not to worry :)

this is the bare bones of our work so far.. by the end of tonight all our ideas should be up and we can start narrowing down and producing our stuff this week :D

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

character stuff

Ok... so we're currently working on the cross pathway project which means personal stuff will once again be taking a bit of a back seat however.. after seeing the recent Sony phone advert and a banner on facebook I cant stop thinking of designing characters! :D

also with the recent brief induction by John Patterson into the 3D facilities I'm planning characters that I can cast and make a mold for and produce :D (hopefully I can make a tonne of them and give people on the course their own to design how they want.. nothing new and ground breaking but personal).

one of the many 3D tutorials I've dug out but this is by far the best in terms of clarity...

Friday, 23 October 2009

helping hand

Since I listed a link to a tutorial in the vain hope that someone may see it and benefit from it, i thought I might as well list the other places I "borrow" inspiration from...

I never claim to be great with programs such as Illustrator or After Effects (however I'm quite fluent in Photoshop ;P ahhaha) but I often find random tutorials and just play about to see what I can make with them whereas others may go out in an evening ;)

Computer Arts:
packed with tutorials in photoshop, illustrator, after effects and interviews/reviews

Digital Arts:


more focused on digital painting than general use of program tools

the .Tuts Network:

they also do some good interviews as well as tutorials for After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator

Monday, 19 October 2009

illustrator shapes/patterns

Found a great tutorial over at Computer Arts which is pretty much what I was doing in Illustrator.. but if anyone is interested... check it out as you'll be able to start making patterns similar to those in the last two posts I made...

polish paper print and pattern

alliteration done and dusted... I couldnt help feel there was something familiar about my carpet design. My mother is Polish born but she came to England when she was young and stayed with a friend of the family who I grew up with calling 'Grandma'. I always remember visiting her house and tracing the patterns over on all the fabrics with my finger.. following the loops, curves and petals of flowers. Through this blog ( ) I found reference to these Polish Paper Cutouts, creating circular patterns from repeated shapes and similar to 1970's fabric patterns. With fashions and trends coming round again and again, if the patterns above were made in Illustrator it probably wouldnt be long before they were on a shelf somewhere printed on a bag, diary, or skirt.

some 60's/70's patterns:

Via the GrainEdit blog I was made aware of a Brazillian illustrator, Fernando Volken Togni, who does use Illustrator to create retro patterns from simple shapes and muted/limited colour pallettes.

carpet diem

In a project inspired by Siggi Eggertsson ( ), we were asked to create a carpet design for the fashion brand Mulberry as if it was to be used in a flagship store and for various vinyls around the store. Below is Eggertsson's own design and that is pretty much all we were given to go on...

This was was really meant to be an introduction into using the program Illustrator, just like creating our animations was an exercise in getting to know After Effects (or iStop). Given Illustrators knack for drawing shapes and repeating them to form patterns I began experimenting overlapping shapes and altering the opacity/blend modes, nothing too fancy. Below are two outlined practice examples and the coloured version is what I decided to call it quits with...

colours sampled from the Mulberry website and products:

The main inspiration behind my coloured design (although it looks like a poncho) are these traditional Indian flower arrangements called Pookalam, created over 10 days in honour of their beloved King, Mahabali. On the first day, the design is sketched out onto the floor and over the following 9 a new tier of flowers/colour is added to the design until finished. The intricate patterns are to attract the attention of the spirit of their King, much like Los Dios De Muertos where homage is paid to the dead over a two day festival.

The only problem I found was, in my own designs the patterns lose their unique appeal. A 2D image on screen and crisp colours dont have the same affect as seeing these flower arrangements in 3D. I think in the next couple of briefs I need to remember to include my passion for interactivity and tangibility and produce something 3D whether its a toy or sculpture :)

These then reminded me of a piece of work an old tutor of mine created in Manchester ( ). Jo Vickers took thousands of flowers and arranged them on the ugly giant concrete walls in Picadilly Gardens as well as over the entire floor of Albert Square outside of the Town Hall.

Initially I was looking at traditional patterns and fabrics commonly associated with stately homes, then moving onto needlepoint floral patterns but they reminded me too much of all the filagree stock vectors which are readily available. Although my design above isn't anything fancy nor technical, patterns etc are something I havent tried creating before in Illustrator. We've recently purchased a new rug for the home which made me think less about carpet designs (which are often very dull) and instead about rugs like the B&Q ones below.