Sketchbook and Research and Concept Development Narrative Artefact

Initial Research was undertaken watching documents on Contemporary art, Still life and Baroque art.  Listing the documentaries and notes from these in my black book.  Further to this, I researched in books on Renaissance art, Still Life, Symbols and Allegories, making notes, which are above  and in my sketch book and the symbolic meanings.

I discovered that in the middle ages later still life depicted luxury goods, which depicted objects symbolising property and wealth.  They were displaced to arouse the viewers cravings and to fulfil the sensual needs.  In contemporary life, high-end fashion magazines such as Vogue and Harpers Bazaar depict objects of desire to seduce the reader to buy objects that have no objectionable value.  In the middle ages Vanitas art depicted societies false hopes.  I have used element of Vanitas art in contemporary illustrations over the fashion magazines cut outs to depict the fragility of life excitences and that consumerism has no real value.


Whilst making notes for my research form the books I chose, I also started to save mixed media ideas on a mood board.  Reviewing the fashion magazines on what images and how  I could change the narrative.

The research notes I started to shorten the symbolic and allegory meanings, so I could visually see how these were going to work with my art work.  I put the notes on the wall.

Analysing the images against the symbolic meaning on the wall, I then tore out what I thought I could rework into a new narrative structure.  I cut out the images and pinned them up on the wall alongside the symbolic meanings to visually see how these could work.  I move around the images and combined images to get a visual concept.  Taking note of pattern designs and references to still life and middle ages art concepts throughout the photography of the advertisements.  Researching designing patterns from the book in the image below and fashion illustrations from fashion illustration books, thinking about how I can illustrated my patterns.


Whilst researching the fashion magazines I paid close attention to the form and elements of the illustration to understand how fashion ‘model’ illustrations posed and the graphic elements that made up the form.  I sketched out some designs of my own fashion model illustrations.  Further to this, I created illustration to add to the fashion magazine cut outs.  These illustrations depicted Vanitas art and also objects of desire in the contemporary lifestyle.


My first design A5, entitled ‘Love Doesn’t Last forever’ – the original image has a fairytale narrative.  I changed the narrative from a princess fairytale, I added lipstick on the mirror smudged with the words ‘Jill loves Jack 2016’.  This is to depict her love fading.  The twilight depicts the immense of death, the clock represents time is drawing to a close as the skull gazes at her, whilst the swan symbolises her love for Jack away away.  I have explained other elements to this design in my sketch book.



The original quote was taken from Vogue ‘I am Happy with who I am’, I reworked the narrative to depict the allusion of happiness through consumerism to fulfil happiness.



The original image is from a Prada advert, I worked the narrative to depict the immense of death and that no objects of desire have any objectionable value as they only fulfil happiness for a short time.  I added latin words taken from middle ages art.  Nihau Omne ‘all is nothing’.



The image is from a perfume advert, her pose and form offered me to change her into a hybrid creature symbolic for confusion..  A centauriod, half man/half horse, is know from lust and blindness.  Female centauroid’s in the Philippines are known as Aggitay, they are attracted to gemstones and jewels.



The original image has the column in solid form.  In Reinassance art a broken column represents the explosion from Eden and the inevitability of death.  To change the narrative I cut out the part of the column to depict the immense of death and inserted the clock to depict time is running out.  The models are now depicted as holding up the column in hope.



The model is depicted as an part of the elite world, with birds having symbolic meanings.  The world is depicted upside down and balanced on one finger to represent false values in society from the instability of life.  Balancing on the finger represents the powers that rule the world.



The models are depicted holding onto their love for materialistic values event to the point of death.  The poppies are sleep inducing symbols of death.



I was influenced by Vince Fraser’s Hugo Boss ad, which is featured in the Fashion Illustrator by Bethan Morris.  The headless model is set in the city, her thoughts and desires make up to her what only matters to her, she is a selfish sort.  She likes to get spoilt by lavish goods and is spoon-fed, ‘so to speak’ as she only dines out at restaurants.  She doesn’t have a sense of the world around, only wants on the high street.  She is the true city slicker.


For my final design, which is the poster design, I continue to follow the theme from my research on still life discovering that in the still life elements of the early paintings displayed luxury good to arouse the viewers cravings and therefore set off the urge to delight his/her desires and to fulfil their own sensual needs and to keep increasing the need for more.

Woman were depicted naked or half naked to emphasise an element of eroticism.   The mixture of consumerism and eroticism was particularly strong in paintings.  Paintings depicted precious objects (mirrors, musical instruments, flowers and fruits) amongst the aristocracy.  These object promote vice.

Examples I have shown in my sketch book are Jan Saenram The Five Sense 1565-1607 and Samualvan Hoogstraten Trompe l’oeil (Pinboard) 1666-1678 (?)

The five senses are Hearing, Vision, Smell, Taste and Touch.  Even in today’s advertising strategies at least one of the five is featured in the imaginary to connect with the viewers attention to allude the sense(s).

Later still life, which the five sense are represent in forms of objects has similar messages to that of the above paintings.  Objects are allegories of property and wealth as seen as vain.  This is signs of Vanitas art, which has detrimental effect to the persons spiritual well-being.  In contemporary life it would be viewed as selfish and ignorant, which many people in today’s society fit into this category ‘All is Vain’.

For my design I wanted to create a poster on the reserve of my zine to depict the five sense and objects from a woman’s contemporary lifestyle.  Again, using cutouts from the fashion magazines.

I started with layout out my cut out objects on my A2 template, having already cut out the heads of the Chanel and Gucci models and illustrated their bodies replaced from the photograph to create mixed media.


There are many allegories and symbols in this design.  The composition is laid out on a pinboard to depict a woman’s life in the contemporary western world.  The five sense make up her sense on her actions.  Full description is laid out below and in my sketchbook.


Completed video of concept design

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