Our new project brief requires us to start to take our practice into our own hands but choosing our own routes of study. The only constraint is that is has to link to our studio practice of this year in one way or another. This research will be presented in book form along with information on our blog and a final outcome. I feel this will be one of the hardest projects to date being that it is a lot more self directed.

After thinking long and hard about the subject I want to look into in further detail, I have come up with three route of study that I will present to the class in order to discover their views on which one I could continue.

Route 1: La Bête du Gevaudan 

My first route I am looking at exploring is the tale of the Bête du Gevaudan. This is the story of a unknown creature which became a talking point in France during the 18th Century. The regions that were effected were Auvergne and South Dordogne which are situated in South West France. Between the years 1764 and 1769 the beast killed over 100 people, many explanations to what the beast was have been put forward and range from a wolf to a hyena. People started to consider the creature an instrument of the devil due to the fact he had killed people on their way to mass. The king at the time Louis XV (Louis the Beloved) took interest in the case due to the running tensions and the potentiality for a revolution. During this time France were in conflict with Britain and Prussia with their allies Austria.

I found this story really interesting and I think there is a lot of explore in terms of this mystery and the events that occurred throughout this period. I love the fact this subject can bring across my theme of story telling but also encompasses a lot of imaginative thinking.

I have chosen this is my route because I would like to explore further my initial research on my memories of France that I reflected on in my Cut Up project and from there look at French culture. I was highly inspired from the artist talk from Xiao Yang Li earlier last week when she discussed how she had been influenced by the tale of the woman who danced herself to death in Germany. From this story she had created her own character who features in her artwork. This talk encouraged me to look into French tales and this one caught my eye due to the mystery aspect.

From this my research will centre around the relationship between man and beast and how it has differed in our society especially in times when mythology was a big part of day to day life, the idea of reality vs fantasy and also the link to storytelling and how it can influence us.


La bête du Gevaudan – Johanna öst


Source: http://www.betedugevaudan.com/blog/2013/11/22/lart-et-la-bete/


Artist’s conception of one of the Beasts of Gévaudan 18th-century engraving, A.F. of Alençon

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beast_of_Gévaudan


An 18th-century engraving, Antoine de Beauterne slaying the Wolf of Chazes

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beast_of_Gévaudan


Route 2: Paris 1900

In 2014 I was lucky enough to see the exhibition Paris 1900 at the Petit Palais in Paris. This exhibition was extremely interesting and helped me to discover more about French culture. On my project I looked at Art Nouveau in a very basic depth and I feel by focussing my interest to one particular era and capital, I can discover a lot more about an art movement that I really appreciate. This also permits me to experiment with a range of materials and mediums so that I can create an interesting and exciting piece with a well rounded research book.

“It was a time of cultural abundance, of arts, of science, of invention, of colonisation of parts of the world by France, Britain and Belgium. This exhibition is a celebration of that time and highlights the mythical nature of Paris and La Belle Époque.” – Christophe Leribault 

Paris in the 1900’s was a thriving time in terms of art and culture and a time when Paris was in ‘Belle époque’. At the beginning of the 1900’s The Universal Exhibition was held in the capital and was one of the only world fairs to make its profit. Having been recently constructed the Eiffel Tower designed by Gustave Eiffel was the centre piece and was painted in yellow for the occasion. Other locations included Trocadero, Champ-de-Mars and the Esplanade des Invalides. Many attractions were available to the public including those which encompasses new technologies and techniques. This was the start of the modern era for Paris.

In terms of politics at this time, the regime that was currently in place was the Third Republic.

Not only was the Universal Exhibition was in full form but also it was the birth of many artists of this era including Cézanne, Toulouse Lautrec and Monet. It was also the emergence of Art Nouveau, an ornamental style, based on floral patterns, asymmetric lines and female figures.

I feel this is only the start of my research for this project and I will aim to go a lot further.

This route will help me to discover more about Paris during the time when it flourished both creatively and socially. It will aide me in my further study of Art Nouveau and artists in this time period, This project would be very artistically and socially based helping me to explore to a greater extent the culture of France.


Plateforme mobile, station du pont des Invalides :Exposition universelle de 1900

Source: http://library.brown.edu/cds/paris/worldfairs.html#de1900



Moulin Rouge La Goulue- Henri deToulouse Lautrec

Source: http://www.toulouse-lautrec-foundation.org/Moulin-Rouge-La-Goulue.html



Motif de Grand Balcon- Hector Guimard (1906-1907)

Source: http://lecercleguimard.fr/fr/


Tournée du Chat Noir- Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1896)

Source: https://annadoherty.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/toulouse-lautrec-printed-posters/toulouse-lautrec-soon-the-black-cat-tour-by-rodolphe-salis_artwork_full-2/

Route 3: William Morris

William Morris is an artist I considered using in my Night Watch project for his visual links to the interior design of Vienna. I did a small amount of research on his work but his influence was not strong enough for me to continue my exploration.

My choice of William Morris and Textiles as my third route is primarily due to my downfall in using fabric on the Night Watch project and the fact that I was disappointed with what I produced in terms of textiles. I would therefore like to continue my research and textile work to show my capabilities as an artist but to also experiment with as many mediums as possible before the end of my year 2. I feel this would set me in good stead for my final year.

This project would be my discovery of the Arts and Crafts movement and the birth and creation of textiles in this period. It will enable me to look at a wide range of textile artists and patterns focussing on Victorian style.

I started off my research by looking at William Morris at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. I read a paper on their website that encompassed Morris’ artwork.

‘any decoration is futile … when it does not remind you of something beyond itself’.

Morris is primarily a wallpaper designer and although his success is portrayed as vast he was in fact disliked by many influential figures including Oscar Wilde. His wallpapers were handmade and expensive and he has difficulty finding a market beyond his fellow artists. However there is no doubt his designs have a continuous appeal, even today. Morris takes his inspirations from a range of sources and this is seen through his piece, Daisy, which took influences from late medieval “mille fleurs’ tapestries and early printed herbals. He also took a lot of his inspiration from nature and natural form which he observed during his walks and gardens, he also owned a copy of 16th and 17th century herbals from which he also drew his ideas.Every wallpaper he created employs plant form in one way or another. This ranged from luxuriant naturalism with from such as the Acanthus or the Jasmine but could be a flatter, formalised style such as the sunflowers. Morris was content on the fact that a wallpaper must take into account the character and the function of a room.

Morris did not in fact have any of his own wallpaper in his residence. He constantly regarded the idea of wallpaper as a makeshift decoration. His wallpapers were commonly used in artistic middle class homes and according to the Daily Telegraph University Dons were typical clientele.

In his lifetime Morris sold over 50 wallpapers.

Morris’ practice is situated in the Victorian Era when the Arts and Crafts movement was in full form. Originating in circa 1860 the Arts and Crafts movement was the reaction against the mass production and poor quality brought on by the Industrial Revolution. The aim of the movement was to re-establish the bond between work and the worker and bring back and honesty in design. Architecture, furniture and decorative arts were the areas mainly touched by this movement.


Trellis’ woodblock printed wallpaper- William Morris (England, 1864)


Daisy wallpaper- William Morris (1864)



Acanthus wallpaper – William Morris (1875)


Sunflower wallpaper- William Morris (1879)

Source all four images :http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/w/william-morris-and-wallpaper-design/














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