Each year, humanity is progressing / making developments to a better way of life. They are creating cures for terrible diseases, new technological developments…All this innovation making our life more interesting and easier than it was 1000000 years ago. But not always what we are creating is helping us to live a safe and happy life. As example, we can take weapons. All life humans are making weapons to protect themselves, to conquer the lands, to get power and money. Century by century they are developing weapons. From sledgehammer, they improved in to guns and other technologies for war. All this previously was created to protect people but not against theme like it is happening now. Someone will say that it is “Modern World” but I will call it “21st Century Revolution”.
21st century revolution- this project is about how modern innovations and greed of people are killing the world. For example, to take conflict in Ukraine which actually was an inspiration for this project. On this moment, there is happening political and civil war. A lot of people died and still keeping die but for what? For freedom? Or because they don’t know what to do?
Before to begin this project, I needed to do a lot of research and reading about politics, conflicts and artists. It turns out that not everyone can remain indefinite to tragedies such as war. There are a lot of artists who is inspired and making drawings/ paintings on this subject so far. During artist research, I found quite interesting blog post about: “Nine 21st Century flower power artists“. Those artists (Richard Mosse; Blick; Bansky; Sonia Renstch; Imran QureshiPaul Harflee; Yoko Ono; Ana Tzarev; Alberto Baraya) have used flowers or plants in a call for peace, to counteract images of violence or to highlight social injustice. They are combining beauty with pain and lose as the result of wars.
Blick’s collages substitute weapons with flowers and foliage look like an innocent art work if not to think about true story about that photos. That soldiers were fighting to give us a safe life. They were giving their life to be just a memory in our life. He defuses images of violence and war with something altogether more palatable, peaceful and fun.
From “Creative/Funny works” I changed my direction to Steve Mumford who was embedded as an artist with US military troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. 15 years later, Mumford discusses continuing the tradition of war artists in 21st century combat zones.
After looking at Steve Mumford I created art works using different media (soft pastels, watercolour pencils, acrylics and fine liner) of soldiers during their patrol. But my works wasn’t that successful as Mumford’s. His art works are so emotional and realistic so I came to conclusion that it is not my level of art, but I not gave up. I started explore different media, different scenarios. Studies gave to me an opportunity to improve my skills in using different techniques and two of this development works are; Watercolour drawing of soldiers on a tank and acrylic painting of the soldiers in the forest. Both of this art works are quite similar to Mumford’s view on the war. I can say that I am proud of this drawing. There is story of brave Ukraine soldiers who are fighting for freedom of the civilians.
By using black paper, colour getting brighter and saturated. It makes work look more sensitive. If you will look at the faces of the soldiers you can see the pain. Yes, you can’t properly see the faces of the soldiers, you can see a “Face of the War”. My plan was to get the same feeling of “Normal day of soldier’s life” and I did it. In my opinion, to get the same result like Mumford,
you have to see everything in a real life: that soldiers, how they are fighting, how they live…
By my previous project “Grid” I was inspired to use the same technique “Pointillism” for the painting. This Art work turned in a different way. If in the beginning it had to be cloudy, grumpy painting of soldiers who are patrolling the forest so it became as a one sunny, simple working day.
What I have learned from this work that, colour can’t transfer all the pain and the fear of the war. It makes it look more in positive way than in negative.
If to talk about technique, I came to conclusion that pointillism is more for natural form like “Apples” which I did in previous project. But at the same time this technique makes a feeling of something very warm and nice. This soldiers are still alive, they can breathe and enjoy this sunny day. Looking at all my “Mistakes” I can say that if something is going out of your plant it doesn’t mean that it is bad, it can become more than just a good art piece.
Despite on all my artist research, the most successful artists was: Boris Kustodiev; Guy Denning and I Sir Muirhead Bone. Their art works are pushing you to create your own story/feelings about war of your century. Just because of my trips to London, Peterborough and Manchester galleries, I found those artists.
The most successful trip was to Royal Academy of Arts in London. There was Russian revolution exhibition where I have learned a lot of new about Russian Art and history. It was very interesting to join two hours of walk around “Soviet Union “. If to look at the past, Soviet Union reminds me of Ukraine conflict, even now Russia is taking part of Ukraine civil war to help civilians to survive in their country. After all what I have seen at the Russian revolution exhibition, it pushed me to create my own interpretation of the past and future of Russia. On red paper, I did a screen-print of Lenin and Putin (Russian presidents). For me this work represents a strength of the past and power of future.
This particular exhibition changed my direction of the project. If the beginning the idea of this project was to show soldier life so slightly it was changed to portraits of people during war. Just from people faces you can read all the pain and struggle of living “War Life”.
People are the main reason of war and also they are some victims of their foolishness. But the most tragic is that in this conflict taking part not just adult, children too. From young age, they see the death and pain.
Before I started to do any sketches, I decided to do some photos of children. “Children of the war” was my neighbours. Two little boys posed for me in a big hundis with dirty faces which I painted by using pastels and Russian soldier’s uniform.
During my progress, I faced with few problems: knowledge at how to draw portraits-no idea at all and skills… Even if to take all the drawings which I have done, so it is easy to see where is early works and where developed. If in the beginning I have struggled to even think about portraits so now I feel a little bit confident to draw it. Just because of this project I pushed myself to not give up on keep study the structure of the face. I very enjoyed to use pencils. Crossing lines makes face look so sharp and so emotionally-old. Young child but have seen so much of pain.
My main goal of this project was to show as many emotions as I can: pain,lose,loneliness…of children who are joining the war. They are victims of time, will never have some bright memories of happy childhood, just pain and death.
In my opinion, I have done a good job during this project. Now I feel like I stepped on a new level. By the end f this project I have a new knowledge, new skills but the main goal which I reach are “Emotions” about war, how I see it, how I feel it. This is what means for me “21st century revolution”.
It was quite hard to find technique for my final outcome because before I have chosen fine liner, I have used pencils. Two different techniques and both are very good. Just because of the tiredness of using pencil I decided to make a portrait by fine liner and I found more interesting then pencil. Dot by dot I was creating portrait of child and after 24 hours of hard work my masterpiece was ready. I am very proud of what I have done but only one thing which I think I have to develop is face. Doesn’t matter how long I spent on studies, still have a lot of small mistakes like: form of face and some proportions. It looks not naturally. But the eyes done very well. So tensed, it is catching your eye. Very deep look so it seems like you are falling in a dark hole and there is no end of this fall. Curly, flying on the different sides hair gives a feeling of weightlessness like is allusion or someone’s memory of the past.
I was impressed by the amount of comments about my final outcome. My family and my friends was shocked in a good way. Only one comment which was repeated by every person was: “How beautiful and sad at the same time!”.
I have an amazing opportunity to know more opinions of people about my art piece.My class will present work at the “Nexus” café and I already have a plan how it will look like. I want to make a small “Place of Memories” where I will put some pencil portraits, some military attributes and photograms in frames. Also, I want to put a journal where people can leave their feelings, thoughts or some memories of the past looking at my art works.
In conclusion, I can say one thing , it was very hard project for me, emotionally and physically. Many times I was not confident at what I am doing, that I couldn’t create something very good but I was wrong. This project helped me to not give up and finish all my ideas. Just after this project I though to star study structure of human body. I was always scared to draw it and now I have some knowledge to develop it.