Saturday, 12 November 2011

Sleep 9th - 14th Nov

Sleep is the final instalment for "Art Camel's" vote collecting for this brief we all produced a response to the word sleep. It was a very open brief and we could respond in any media. I responded with a bed made from wood that I then smashed. This was to portray how a feel about sleep, that i find it to be a waste of time and would like to smash up my bed and never sleep again.

Again with this brief James Ackerley decided he would name all the work and what media it had been made in, he stated my work to be "Morning Wood" "found wood" this again was not discussed with me and I only found this out when I looked at my work and found its label. I don't think I would have had an issue with this at all if I had been told about it and it had been explained to me why he was producing such labels for all our work. It seems that certain decisions are made by James Ackerley or by James and a few group members, why these items are not discussed I do not know.

Human form 7th - 9th Nov

Human form was a mixed media response. We would all be responding in a different media to see if this would give us some insight to a "successful media". I would be responding in wood and had formulated to plan to display a wooden armature I had been working on for my personal practice. My reason for this was to see if I could collect the most votes as I had spent many many hours producing the armature and I felt this was apparent in the pieces aesthetics. However when I saw Hannah's man carved from potato's I had a strong feeling I would not be collecting the most votes!

Paint 2nd - 4th Nov

For this display we would all produce a painting on identical A4 paper using only black and white acrylic paint. This was a good chance to keep the materials identical and restricted and hopefully collect results based on the quality of the artwork.

Soap 31st Oct - 2nd Nov

Whilst the clay pieces were still being voted on Hannah Davies manages to source a large block of soap for each group member. We decided that we would all produce a piece using this soap and it would be displayed and voted on Monday the 31st Oct but we would only display it until the Wednesday when we would change the display so we could collect more results in the time we had left before our deadline.

I drilled a hole in my soap and used hot water to erode the hole further other group members carved, baked, shaved, microwaved and washed there soap blocks. The results looked really good and each piece looked remarkably different which we felt was good for collecting votes. James Ackerley also wrote a small paragraph on each art piece. This was something that I had not discussed with him and I don't know if other members of the group had it just seemed like something he wanted to do which wasn't really an issue It would have just been nice to have known this was something he had planned.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Art Camel!

When I returned to the studio on monday I was taken back by how far the group work had come. The group had created a series of clay art pieces that were displayed on a long plinth with numbers and a voting system. The project had a complete remodel "Art Camel" had been James Ackerley's brain child. He explained to me that he had read somewhere "a horse designed by committee is a camel" meaning if everyone has a say and is accommodated for the result is "a whole other animal". I like James' idea of art camel, it works well and gives every group member the same opportunity to produce work.

At this point in the project I was happy that we had finally found a direction and we had a fairly good idea of what we would be doing and how it would fit into the period before our deadline. I was glad the group had found its feet but thought it was unfortunate that it had happened in the two days I had not been in as I would have liked to have more input rather than turning up and being basically told this is the idea this is what we are doing till the deadline.

The clay pieces the group had made were displayed and voted on for the week Oct 24th - 28th over this week we discussed other ways of collecting data using different media and styles.

Facebook post 20th Oct - James Ackerly

"Today Me, Hannah, Tom and James had a pseudo meeting of sorts and have managed to secure a wall space in the foyer of the link gallery for next week (mon 24th to fri 28th). Our intention for this beta exhibition is to see how the voting system would work, the logistics of audience interaction, promotion etc.

After which we can arrange a meeting in the studio to collate what we've learned. This mini display will be used as a kind of microcosm for our eventual intention of having an alternating set of votable-onable responses to pre-set briefs on display in the link gallery from now until the project deadline, by which time we should have a solid body of statistics and data that we can extrapolate and, hopefully drawn something tangible from.

If you're interested in this project and working in our group please come to the studio tomorrow around midday and we can give you a more comprehensive explanation of where we're coming from, and begin to make initial preparations for our wall space; painting, sanding etc. If you can't make it tomorrow please let us know on here and we can accommodate your situation. Remember that the exhibition next week is only a beta so don't worry if you can't make it, because it doesn't mean you can't display the week after."


Unfortunately I had missed the meeting although it was my own fault and I could not make it in the next day due to prior engagements, when I got back on Sunday the 23rd Oct I posted on our Facebook page that I had lost touch (Due to myself) and need someone to give me a quick catchup I was told just come in tomorrow (Mon 24 Oct) and all will be explained. 

Response to an apple Tuesday 18th October

On tuesday we were expected to bring in a response to an apple and a photograph in the style of a photographic artist. The idea being that we could get votes for the apple responses and find the most successful and we could put the photographs up with the artists piece and see how the votes work and if the artist photograph would succeed with the most votes.

Everyone brought there things in for voting and I suggested we get a response from the rest of our peers in the second year by displaying our things and collecting votes in our Tuesday meeting. The rest of the group did not like this idea as the felt we were not prepared enough so we agreed after the meeting the work would be put out in the studio whilst I went to my lecture. I was disappointed when I found out the work had not been displayed and no votes had been collected for some reason as I felt like I had wasted my time producing the work.

Facebook group post - James Ackerley 14th Oct

Firstly we have cancelled the film project. We’re going to start working on project 6 in the projects doc. After a short tutorial with John we have decided to start making something physical. 

‘Homework’ is to respond creatively to an apple in anyway you want e.g. painting/sculpture/something more conceptual? Please bring in response on Tuesday and we can see where we go from there.

Also by Tuesday could everyone make a response to a photographic work? your response should not be an exact reproduction, just something carries the same kind of atmosphere as the starting photo.

The idea is to allow people to vote on which work they think is the most successful.

Working from the list

After our first meeting we decided that we would go away with our list of ideas and produce some starting points on our own. This turned out to be a difficult process for me as some of our ideas were quite conceptual or long running like the Fund Raiser idea or the Fame idea.

I started to produce components for my kinetic sculpture idea as I was still hung up on it and it was still a possibility. The group project had become a little cloudy for me and seemed off the boil so to speak.

On the 11th Oct a post on our Face Book page was made by James Hasker thankfully offering some direction it stated that on Friday the 14th Oct we would all come in and try to recreate a successful film scene an idea discussed by James Ackerley.

We all met up in the studio with filming equipment to hand and scrips to a scene in Pulp Fiction and the DVD to digest. as we got into the process and tried to make the idea happen it fell apart as we realised that it was not properly formulated and was a much bigger task than we had first thought we also discussed where the idea would be going and decided to cut it.

Following this we drafted an emergency tutorial with Jon Biddulph our second year tutor as we were getting worried that time was passing and we were not producing anything. In this tutorial we discussed our list of ideas and explained that the group talks are going really well everyone is having input and being listened to however we are lacking a direction after talks break down.

From this tutorial we further developed the Art Competition idea and decided it should not be a competition it should be a display in which we each create an artwork that will then be voted on from this we can understand what art is deemed successful.

Group meeting

We all got together for our first group meeting (6th Oct) I fell this meeting went very well. We decided to made a list of around ten ideas that we could use as starting points and do some tests with to find a direction in which to take the project, the ideas are as followed.

Fund Raiser - Our research suggest that there are strong links between the idea of success and money this idea would have us trying to raise an amount of money over eight weeks and then we would possibly spend the money on a final piece to display.

Chain reaction/Kinetic sculpture - Engineering success in a very literal form this idea incorporates lots of points of failure.

Fame - Research also suggests links between success and fame. For this idea we would attempt to make someone famous. (Since found out this is being done by another group)

Machine - The idea of a contraption that all group members would control if one person fails everyone does. One person could be the eyes, one the steering, one the brakes etc.

Artist Persona - What makes a piece of art successful and can it be emulated.

Art Competition - Art students pit against each other to see who is the most successful

Infiltration (Undercover success) - Can we successfully infiltrated business meeting by looking smart and successful or a building site with a hard had and florescent jacket.

Video Piece Success - A video of very unlikely successes for example a backwards basket ball shot from very far away or a golf hole in one etc.

The Ideas I am responsible for are Chain reaction/Kinetic sculpture, Machine, Infiltration and Video Piece Success

The Face Book group for our art group was also created on the 6th of October.

The Question

After the brief had been explained the whole of second year Interactive Arts with the help of Tutor Dave Griffiths formulated around eight questions related to success I chose the question "can success be engineered?" along with my peers Tom Ferguson, Hannah Davies, James Ackerley, James Hasker and Samie Ahmed.

At this early stage I was fixated on creating a kinetic sculpture in the form of a chain reaction. The reason for this is that I have a bad habit of going straight into "final piece mode" and I felt if the six of us worked for eight weeks building a sculpture of this sort the size and technical process would be sensational.

This formulated idea had to be left to one side because it was a final piece that no development had been involved in.

Above - Honda advertisement kinetic sculpture.

8 week group project

Background: During September 2012 Abandon Normal Devices (AND), a major media and art festival, will stage its final leg in Manchester. AND is jointly produced by FACT Liverpool and Cornerhouse Manchester in partnership with cultural venues and artist-run groups in the region. AND is funded by WE PLAY, the Northwest cultural legacy program for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Concept: What is success? How is the contemporary world shaped and measured by notations of success? How are dominant ideas of success propagated in our culture, environment and society? Can the ideology of success be challenged, and alternative models of success be defined?


Monday, 2 May 2011

Stop Motion Walk Cycle

This is a walk cycle i found on youtube. I found it very helpful when trying to perfect the walk cycle in my animation.

candle clock designed by Nathalie Dewez

I love this candle clock I found on the internet. It helped me develop ideas whilst working on a kinetic sculpture and shares a lot of the same concepts.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Flight Images

Aeroplane Structure

Balsa Sheet


Flight Project Conclusion

For most of the year I have been working on a project based around flight. The project outcome resulted in a trip to Glossop where myself and other students travelled to fly kites and other flying contraptions. I started my project with some research. First I went to the Museum of Science and Industry and looked around the Air and Space hall following this I took various books from the library and started to learn about aerofoils, wing structures, and building techniques. I also looked at a lot of model aircraft and paper aeroplane information on the internet and found some interesting photographs of a balsa wood wing structure. It was this image of the wing structure that would shape rest of my project as I found it to be intriguing and revelling of its process, this was useful because I could only find limited information on building a balsa wood aeroplane or glider.

The next step in my project was to build a miniature from the image of a wing structure I had sourced. I made this on a small scale from thicker watercolour paper. I then developed this idea further and added a small propeller and a counter weight to make a kinetic sculpture.

My work is mostly hands on and I love building models working with wood and metal I think this is part of the reason I ran with this project for so long and was slightly obsessed with making a balsa wood glider. I made my final aeroplane using a few materials as possible and keeping it as light as possible. For a while it was my plan to include two motors with propellers and a battery pack but after some deliberation I had to remove these to save on weight and give my glider the best chance it had to fly. I have never attempted to make any sort of aeroplane before and had to compromise learn and make a few things up as i went along this is possibly what let me down on the day of the test flight.

The materials I used for my glider were around six sheets of balsa wood, four tubes of glue and some muslin material and cellulose dope and thinners. I had originally planned to use wet strength tissue paper to cover the glider but decided on muslin as i could not find any tissue paper and whist researching found the the Wright brothers first flying machine was skinned with muslin.

Disappointingly on the day of the test flights my balsa wood glider did not fly. I think the reason for this is my lack of knowledge in the field of aeronautics. My glider was not properly balanced so the tail was dropping and dragging the glider down, however I think technically my creation had many aspects of a successful glider and i feel after starting the project with no knowledge of aeronautics at all my glider would fall somewhere in the middle between a complete failure and successful design. The only consolation upon traveling home was an definition I had once heard of what is art? "Art is something without a function." Could it be in my search to engineer a glider I had managed to create some art?             


Test Animation

This is a short animation I made at home using the iphoto feature on my imac. I started by doing a short and simple recording of me entering the room and sitting in front of the camera. After this split the video into sections and used print screen to collect a series of images of frames. Finally I added an effect to the images to make them look like a hand drawn animation and imported the image sequence into Flash. I think the test animation works quite well but it does feel a bit unnecessary to change the video in this way. I think its more ascetically pleasing however not much has changed from the original video. I also made it slightly more difficult for myself in the technique in which i created the animation as I could have used software to cut my video and a preset in Photoshop to change all my images into the hand drawn style I discussed.


Animation Techniques

Three Dimensional Animation

There are some exciting possibilities available to you when you start to think about doing animation in three dimensions. And the first place you could start is with clay or play-doh. If you don’t have any of these materials you can easily make some out of flour, salt and water. Another very simply yet very expressive technique is to use wire. You can easily shape it into figures and objects. It holds its shape well yet is easy to manipulate into simulations of motion. Wire is so effective that it is often the frame over which many modern figures are made. This technique is called using a wire armature.

Action figures and dolls make great animation subjects as long as they have movable joints and body parts so you can articulate them. But you don’t have to stick with that. Just about any three-dimensional object can be used in interesting ways. You can draw small eyes, noses, and mouths then attach them to any object and come up with an interesting anthropomorphic little project. You can even carve potatoes or apples and get some great videos. And just moving objects around can be the source of some interesting videos. Watching furniture move around a room can be a good idea or watching items move around a desk can also be interesting.

Animating yourself and the real world is also a fun way to approach the hobby. If you stand at attention and take a picture then move forward six inches, stand at attention and take another picture you can come up with a great series of pictures that show you magically sliding around without moving your feet. You can also do the same thing by jumping into the air and snapping a picture of yourself. Move forward six inches, jump, and snap another picture. With this technique you can create an animation that shows you floating around.

Some final tips

Don’t forget the camera. If you really want to make your animations special you should move the camera as you take your series of pictures. You can do this by either zooming in or out or panning from side to side. This moving of the camera is the single best way to make your animations stand out.

While the medium you use for your animation is very important and can turn a plain animation into something special to look at you should put some time and thought into the story of the animation. This is what can turn it into something truly remarkable. Surprise your viewers and keep them guessing as to what will happen next.

Just about anything in your every day world can be transformed into something extraordinary with a little bit of animation magic and a little bit of creativity. Just look around your house and you will discover lots of great ideas.

Animation Research

Stop motion is an animation method used to make objects appear to move. The object is photographed and then moved repeatedly building a series of frames finally the photographs are played in order and the object appears to move. One of the most popular forms of stop motion is clay animation or clay-mation a good example of this is Nick Park’s Wallace and Gromit. The history of stop motion animation an be dated back to a 1898 animation called The Humpty Dumpty Circus created by Albert E. Smith and J. Stuart Blackton in which a toy circus comes to life. Over the years stop motion techniques have developed and its popularity has grown.

Nick Park was born December 6th 1958 he is a contemporary English filmmaker of stop motion animation and is possibly known best for his Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep creations. Park has been nominated 6 times for and Academy Award and won four with Creature Comforts (1989), The Wrong Trousers (1993), A Close Shave (1995) and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005).

As a child I grew up watching Wallace and Gromit amongst other animations but until recently never understood the strenuous repetition and technical excellence involved in creating such pieces. I have always found Park’s work to be delightful and charming due to quirky animations and humorous context. I think my favorite of parks creations is Creature Comforts. For this series Park interviewed and recorded members of the public and reproduced the speech in animated animals. I think Creature Comforts works particularly well because of its innocent nature and comical interviews.

Artist Research - Fiona Banner

Fiona Banner is a contemporary English artist who was short-listed for the Turner Prize in 2002. Banner’s work primarily consists of airplanes this is why I have chosen to research her practice further as I am working on a project about flight.

Fiona Banner: Peace on Earth 2007

Since 1988 Tate Britain has commissioned a leading contemporary artist to design its Christmas tree every year. In 2007 banner was chosen to decorate the 30-foot tree. At the time it was the largest tree to be installed at Tate Britain. Banner decorated the tree with 123 handmade kit models of all the world’s fighter planes that were currently in service, anywhere in the world. This collection of diminutive models forms an ‘A to Z’ of military airplanes, yet bears no markings of nationality.

Information from video Tate Shorts New Work: Fiona Banner

The piece was originally called parade. Banner first started making model aircraft at goldsmiths in London over 20 years ago. She started by compiling a list of all the fighter planes that were currently in service anywhere in the world. It took her a long time to create the list because the list changes all the time. Banner discusses the idea of the Christmas tree being somewhat warped as we celebrate nature by cutting down a virile tree and bringing it indoors to slowly watch it die in conjunction with this she stated it occurred to her that in many ways the planes belong to nature they have nicknames that are of nature for instance the Sea Harrier, Black Hawk, Raven and Eagle and also that in many ways they are incredibly delicate. Finally banner explains from a distance the tree looks very pretty but as you get closer you see it isn’t pretty at all its about this complicated violent stuff, is it a celebration or is it something much darker.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Stopmotion - Collaboration (Blu and David Ellis)

After i watch the MUTO animation by Blu i wanted to look at other pieces of his animated work and i came across this collaboration with David Ellis (artist). This is very similar to MUTO in style but in this one you can see the two artists within the animation again establishing that it is all hand rendered. I think it is important  for the audience to acknowledge the fact the work is done by hand to gain a greater appreciation to see the effort that has gone into the work. Another thing i thought worked well was the use of the environment they are in, they use the materials, windows, walls and floors in the space and involve them by drawing round, on and in them rather than ignoring them.

Stopmotion Animation on a larger scale (BLU)

This was done by painting on to a wall similar to that of graffiti. They have used a black out line with white to fill the character/object and then used white paint to cover the previous movement. I really like this piece as you can see the trail of movements behind the object, it looks authentic and not at all computer generated. I also like the different compositions of the animation for example in some shots you can see members of the public walk by as the animation is still moving. Another reason i like this is because i prefer hand rendered animation to computer generate because i believe it is more personal to the artist/animator and you can see the length of work they have gone to to create the piece.
This particular piece was created by an italian artist who uses the name BLU to cover his real identity, there isn't much information about the artist however it is mention he is a street artist (graffiti) who's work can be seen all over the world similar to that of Banksy. His work can be seen in places such as Lima, London, Peru, Berlin,  Warsaw and Madrid. Not all of his work is animated the majority of it is still graffiti.

An example of some of Blu's Graffiti work. The piece below was commissioned by the Tate Modern in London.

Stopmotion Animation - Hand Drawn

I found this style on youtube it is done on a white board with dry wipe pens. I think the use of dry wipe pens is a good way of creating stopmotion animation as it allows you to draw then rub out without leaving a mark behind it.

Stopmotion Animation - Using Models

I had a look at different styles of stopmotion animation and i completely forgot about some of the most famous and british stopmotion programmes such as Noddy, The clangers, Charlie Chalk and Postman Pat. I think these styles mostly relate to my work as they use models in the animation rather that drawings.


A flip book is simply a series of images on separate pages and when 'flipped' shows movement. It is similar to that of a zoetrope there has to be some sort of movement to allow the images to appear in motion. I like the flip book technique it is amazingly simple and yet so effective however like most types of animation very time consuming. I love the simplicity of the drawings and the fluent movements if done successfully.  


A zoetrope is a device that produces an illusion of action from a rapid succession of static pictures.
It consists of a cylinder with slits cut vertically in the sides. Beneath the slits on the inner surface of the cylinder is a band which has either individual frames from a video/film or images from a set of sequenced drawings or photographs. As the cylinder spins the user looks through the slits at the pictures on the opposite side of the cylinder's interior. The scanning of the slits keeps the pictures from simply blurring together so that the user sees a rapid succession of images producing the illusion of motion, the equivalent of a motion picture.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Trainspotting Clip

I have recently helped some film students from Salford University recreate a scene from the film Trainspotting. My roll was quite small I played an extra in a club. I thought it was a good experience working with other students.

Untitled from Charlotte Simpson on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

My Kinetic Sculpture

This is a kinetic sculpture I have made. I started by making a wing structure and developed the idea by adding a motor, propeller and battery. After some consideration and research i decided to make the wing and propeller into a kinetic sculpture by adding a wire frame and a counter weight. Finally i attached the sculpture to some thread and balanced it taking inspiration from mobiles.

BMW Kinetic Sculpture

BMW Sculpture made from metal balls suspended from the ceiling giving the effect of floating.

Poster for project outline

Air Tunnel

This research continues from the Air Jet System research. I started to think about the process of the floating a ping pong ball on an airflow and how it could be used on a larger scale. This led me to Air Tunnels, which are used by skydivers to practice control while moving through the air. I discovered there is a place not far from my home where the public can use a wind tunnel. There are two forces at work, Gravity pulling the boy down and the airflow pushing him up. When the boy is stable the forces are balanced. It was good to research this method of floating first hand as it was something i have not seen before.  

Air Jet System makes objects float