Making a visual journal was a very new experience for me. I wasn’t sure to approach it from a “academic” point of view or more towards the concept of what I thought a visual journal would be (though, they could totally be one and the same, personal and presented academically). I tried to do both, but having a tendency to think more in vibes/feelings, phrasing some of my thoughts out comes in the form of sparse/sporadic words. Looking at my classmates rather systematic and seemingly analytical journals made me wonder and worry that I was on the wrong side of the fence. However, in seeing my self-critique, my lecturer, Joy, suggested “letting go” (more on this later).
Prior to the assignment, we were asked to research on some artists. I chose Franz Kline as his artwork was the sort of Abstract art I grew up disliking cause I didn’t understand why it was so highly prized. For me, understanding the mindset and thoughts of the artist, helps me understand their artwork, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so.
Delving into his work, has really opened my eyes. I used to think that majority of abstract art (*koff koff* Jackson Pollock) was just a lot of faffing about but in learning about Franz Kline’s approach to his art, I’ve gained a whole new perspective of abstract art. He put a great deal of conceptualization into a piece before he put brush to canvas. I also learnt that the white sections were painted as well, helping shift the white spaces in to having as much importance as the black portions.
Similarly, I’ve felt the need for conceptualization before starting on my own abstract representations in this assignment. As to “letting go”, being overly picky of what I’ve drafted had the tendency to limit what comes out. In trying different methods, for example, the mind-map, suggested by Joy, helped me further conceptualize ideas by letting my mind roam about linked phrases or concepts.
“Letting go” was a way to stop being so heavy on the self-critique. It also helped me get into more free-form exploration in ways that I hadn’t tried before. I enjoyed the way ideas sprang from this approach. I did struggle at first though, with the technique feeling ‘out of my control’ at times, I sometimes felt like I hadn’t put enough effort into the final product and sometimes felt disconnected from the artwork. Thankfully, I think I managed to find a balance that felt natural to me and it carried on quite well from that point.
I felt that preface was necessary before looking into my visual journal as I’d hope it’ll help the viewer understand a bit of my mindset whilst doing this (like what I needed to understand abstract art), especially since my words are rather few and far between in there.