I wanted to bring back in what I had taken out of the book The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard and in particular the quote “Snails build a little house which they can carry about with them, so, they are always at home in whichever country they travel. ”(Bachelard, 1969, pg 121). After having associated this quote in a rather realistic sense by looking at how shells are a home and a protective layer, I wanted to mix this with what I have been discussing on roots and culture. I wanted to use a medium that I have not explored a lot previously but has always come up a lot in my research however I have never felt brave enough to use it. My idea is to paint my brother’s back in the shapes and tones of a snail shell and place him in various places close to my home in France and photograph him. I want this to symbolise that he has moved cultures and countries but he still carries his roots with him. Such as a snail carries his home, my brother carries his roots.
I have drawn some inspiration for my idea from the Pink Floyd wall paper which six ladies are sat on what appears to be the side of a swimming pool each with their backs painted with a Pink Floyd album cover. Although there is a possibility that these could have been photo shopped in, it interests me the way in which the real identities of the woman is hidden and the focus has been put on their shapes and the pictures on their back. In my design, I want the focus to be on both the colours mixed into the shell and also the surroundings in which we find ourselves. It’s for this reason that I want both my brother and the surroundings to be in focus when I take the photo, not just one or other.
Following my thought process on the forms and shapes, I decided to study in further detail snails. I started off by taking a series of photos of snail shells in order to inform my idea. I wanted to discover closer up the patterns of these creatures and try and get the most realistic effect possible for my shell.
Just like my frog picture, I took the pictures of the snails in their natural habitat. I feel this is a big part of my project, capturing the subject, even if they are not conscious to this notion, in their natural environment. To continue my study of the snail I would like to use some different mediums to fully understand the shapes and form of their shell, in order that I can replicate it effectively and to a high standard.
I started off by taking the colours of the snail and coping them on to a canvas. I felt this was a simple exercise but I knew it would help me when I would come to explore the colour palette I would use in my body painting. I found out the shell incorporated lots of ochres but also greys and browns. I think if I had not done a canvas like this, it will be a lot harder to complete my idea. I needed to know what base colours I would use and wanted to use in order to be confident in my brush strokes and colours.
Alongside this I wanted to continue experimenting with the colours and forms so I copied one of the snail shells that I took a photograph of to improve my overall painting technique and to get a better idea of shape.
Lastly I had a bit of fun copying the snail shells on top of a snail shell tonal scale. Afterwards, I drew in the bodies in the snails and painting them grey to give them a pop of colour! This was just a interesting experiment focusing on enhancing my tones ready for doing my snail shell.
In order to successfully complete a body art piece, I knew I would have to practice on skin before using it as my blank canvas. I conducted a range of experiments on my brothers arm to find out which sponges, paintbrushes and lines would work the best.