The research artist/movement I did up was on Hannah Hoch and the Constructivism art movement. Before I further present my findings and elaborate on how the two researches are going to aid in my project, I would like to tell you my choice of rhyme.
The one I chose, was ‘Row row row your boat”. It has many versions from all over the world as it is a very classical nursery rhyme. Also, I love the Chinese rhyme ‘3 little tigers’.
In my work, I combined the ideas together. I also changed the tigers into pigs in the poem, as to make things cuter (pigs are generally more stupid and blur and cuter to the kids)
Since there are many different versions out there, there is essentially no right or wrong one. So I edited and came out with one myself.
The idea is pretty similarly to the concept in project one. My rhyme would have a distinct beginning middle and end. And the idea was that, the 3 little pigs went through a journey with an obvious happy ending (my target audience are children)
Here is the original rhyme that I came out with.
Three Timid Pigs Rowing down the stream
(Sing to the rhythm of “row row row your boat”)
Three timid little pigs,
Meeting by the river,
Happily happily happily happily,
Got a boat and paddle!
Row row row the boat,
Gently down the stream,
Merrily merrily merrily merrily,
Life is but a dream!
Three piggy row the boat,
Gently down the stream,
When they saw a crocodile,
Piggy starts to scream!
Crocodile is angry,
Feeling very hungry,
Sneakily sneakily sneakily sneakily,
Quickly ate a pig!
Row row row the boat,
Slowly down the stream,
Carefully carefully carefully carefully,
Not to wake the beasts!
Two piggy row the boat,
Very very slowly,
Swinging swinging swinging swinging,
Here comes Mr. Monkey!
Monkey feeling naughty,
Threw some banana skin,
Piggy stepped and tripped and slipped,
right into the stream!
One pig rows the boat,
Fearfully down the stream,
Hopefully hopefully hopefully hopefully
He will reach home safely
Last piggy row the boat,
Sadly down the stream,
Suddenly suddenly suddenly suddenly
Met a little fairy!
Fairy so felt sorry,
Grant the pig a wish
Piggy wished his friends were here,
Rowing boat with him
Fairy tell the piggy,
no need to worry,
Magically magically magically magically
Brought back all the pigs!
Three happy timid pigs.
Rowing down the stream,
Joyfully joyfully joyfully joyfully
What a scary stream!
Luckily luckily luckily luckily,
That was just a dream!
This is the first draft, I might or might not change the story or lyrics along the way depending on how the exploration stage goes!
Next, what attracted, or rather, grabbed my attention and interests from the artist Reference were Hannah Hoch and also the Constructivism movement. The research results were interesting and sparked some ideas off me. Firstly, this artist Hannah Hoch’s style gave me some ideas of how I wanted to go on with my work and the selected nursery rhyme of my choice.
Hannah Hoch was an artist who use original pictures, images, texts, or graphics from various platform of the mainstream media to criticize on the downfall of the German government.
Her style of artwork involves using the acquired groups of graphics and images, combined and rearranged them together to form a collage type art work. Her working style is more of abstract, and she definitely prefers the use of metaphorical images rather then literal text based ideas.
At first glance, one may even think of her collage as nonsensical and meaningless. However, the message she was trying to bring across often hides inside and one must truly study and understand her work to discover its truest beauty.
Here are some samples of her artwork. If you look carefully, it is basically layers of images and graphics she acquired from the mass media. The images are layered in such a way as If one were to paste the images one on top of another using glue if this was real paper.
As you can see, her artwork and collages were mainly abstracts and non literal. The usage of metaphorical image representation could be one idea which I want to work on for the nursery rhyme which I chose.
Also, this technique of layering many odd abstract images could be rather useful when it comes to telling a certain message from your images in a more indirect and subtle way.
This artist reference helped me in the conceptualization of my project two in a sense that I would also like to follow this style to a certain extent. Because my rhyme revolves around three pigs and their journey of rowing a boat down a dangerous river, I could layer different objects and animals which appeared throughout the rhyme to tell the story visually to the intended audience in a fun and unique way.
After studying these ideas and style from Hannah Hoch, I will experiment with not just using the entire half-tone images to create multiple layers in my final composition, but also to cut only small parts of the images that I need to bring the message and story across, which is very similar to what she is doing to her collage now.
The final results of the image could be something that makes no sense at first glance due to the mixed of different images and graphics, but once one study close-up they will be able to read in between the lines for a deeper meaning inside the picture. Of course, while being abstract, I would not want to make my composition ‘dark’ themed as the way I edited the nursery rhyme was meant to be a journey or rather, a short story for the reader to go through with the 3 main characters in the song. The mood is happy, fun, and kiddy, as compared to being dark.
Hannah Hoch’s work could be used as an idea generating reference and inspirational kickoff but I would definitely not fully utilize her style into my project, but rather, to alter her style to a certain extent to tailor-made it to suit the concept and key themes of my project.
Next, I’m rather attracted and intrigued by the constructivism movement. At the beginning, I honestly have no idea what this movement is all about and how it came about. After some research, I managed to have a slight grasp of the understanding of this movement.
Constructivism, or Construction Art, is not only an art movement, but architectural movement as well. Constructivism is an acceptance of modernity. The results of the movement were meant to create social changes or to create social impact with a certain purpose in mind. Graphic design in this movement was totally abstract and emphasized a lot on geometrical and mechanical shapes and designs. Such designs were produced on logos, book covers, posters, or even advertisements as propaganda tools.
Being very similarly to the style of the previously mentioned Hannah Hoch, I would say the difference is that this style uses help of vibrant colours to bring messages across more effectively to the society. Below are some of the examples of Constructivism art and these are the few selected ones that first enticed me as I was doing my research online.
Strong, direct, and powerful messages were brought across to the society through this movement, and this tobacco poster was my favorite amongst the ones I came across.
Back to relating the idea and characteristics of this movement into my project. I would, to a certain extent combine this idea with that of Hannah Hoch’s work. Although in some sense this movement might contradict with Hannah Hoch’s work (Like how nonsensical graphics were used to create layers of images, compared to construction art which uses more ‘logical’ images which people can understand at first glance, eg. The cigarette above).
It would be fun to explore two types of work pattern with similarities and differences between them, to play around with the contrasts between the two styles. Based on this movement, I would like to experiment with my composition during the brainstorming process to see how I am able to choose from over 200 half tone images from my classmates and incorporating them into the nursery rhyme of my choice to make things abstract, yet a the same time, direct and clear to the audience.
One idea I have in mind now is, instead of using the Crocodile image for part of my composition, could I find maybe a halftone image of a pair of sharp paws or Jaws from my classmate instead and use it to subtly tell my audience about the danger of this creature and the threats the 3 pigs are facing?
Overall it has been quite fruitful research. Obtaining the thoughts and ideology from these two styles, probably I could come out with interesting graphics and contemporary designs that will bear the key elements of the two styles and get the best of both world.