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Helen Capewell
OCA Learning Log
Student Number: 522802
Degree: Illustration
Current Level: 2

Visual Metaphor

The notes were pretty loose for this exercise. I don't often think of ideas that are political or topical in general so I didn't go in with much confidence. It's easy to stay out of it than express an opinion for something you might not know enough about, especially in a picture!

So of course, I dived right in to the biggest political story of our time, Brexit. I thought there must be SOMETHING I can illustrate from this mess. But how to cover the topic about economics? To be honest, I don't read every story on Brexit anymore, but I do read headlines (they're hard to avoid). The pound seems like it has had a rollercoaster of a ride during Brexit, which having just written that would probably have made a good picture! (I'm just going to draw that now..)

So to begin, I made a very rough spider diagram of the thoughts that came to mind, plus words I was stumbling on when researching. Not only was it on the topic, but I also noted what I could relate as a visual metaphor, for examples memes.

Brexit. The government is having a meltdown, Boris is shutting everything down, and on top of it all, the world is laughing. Whilst all is happening, high street shops are shutting down left right and centre, companies are moving overseas, and recession is high in predictions. No idea what is even happening in the health sector but that's a black hole for money! Government has gone mad, and now we see adverts every where to prepare us, "get ready for Brexit" - a joke I can only imagine.

Who best put this whole mess into perspective? Banksy. His painting which recently hit headlines for selling at record breaking price of £9.9m had never been so fitting for the current chaos in the House of Commons. "Devolved Parliament" painted in 2009, is an incredibly detailed painting of chimpanzees in the House of Commons, is this not a great example of a visual metaphor?

In fact, his whole portfolio is full of visual metaphors. Banksy is able to surprise everyone from all around the world with his artwork popping up on buildings, on topics that are less mainstream, and almost covered up or unspoken. Not only is it art on building walls that appears over night, it's sculpture and paintings. He's very good at being political, and to keep identity out of the limelight is an amazing marketing point as well. I love the rebellious and thought provoking work he creates, and even destroys to make a point! Hate it or love it, his work is every bit current, and the execution is perfect!

All Banksy praise aside, I also wanted to discover more about the political cartoonists that have regular publications in newspapers. The clever illustrations tell the news better than any written article. They're engaging, accurate in their exaggerations and on point.

I LOVED the humour in the pieces I was finding through a simple google search. The comical story that can be achieved in one illustration is really something I admire. I first checked out a few websites which recommended political cartoonists worth following.

Here are a few images I pulled off the google search:

I think my favourite artist had to be Peter Brookes. His cartoons are perfect! The style, colours, the caricatures and the satire is phenomenal. I also very much enjoyed his take on Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Trump!

The result after bits of research on this subject, was that I'd rather not get involved in it. And that's when a light bulb moment happened and I visioned an old man still working with news that retirement has been extended to 100 years old flashed up on a screen. I had to draw it! Change of topic, Reaching Retirement. But first, some scribbled notes to make sense of some points I'd like to consider.

I wanted the character be in a wheel chair, unable to walk. A zimmer frame would have also worked but I felt I wanted it be a little ridiculous the fact he could walk yet still forced to work.

The final illustration:

Here we have Albert, he's 90 years old and was out working his last day before retirement. He received a message to say check the news, it's been extended! Sad to hear, he switched one of his many screens over to the news, and rightly so, there it was in bold letters, "RETIREMENT EXTENDED - WORK TILL 100 YRS" He has another 10 years left at OAP Delivery.

In the illustration I also wanted to touch up on the topic of paying tax on your pension, and of course had to exaggerate this with a Dyson hoover collecting the coins, but the exhaust spitting more out behind him.

Tax rising, less pension, low wage, keep working! Oh it's a sad and vicious circle!

To show the struggle of age and retirement, I included a few hospital bags that would feed life and air in to him 24 7 to keep him alive, awake and well. This was a 24 hour business, OAP Delivery staff were not allowed to stop!

I could have executed the screens better, perhaps have clearer information on them and to emphasise on the future of technology. However, I'm pleased with the result and feel it gave enough information to indicate the message I was trying to portray.

So maybe I can touch on politics a little in my art. It's quite fun to exploit, or use satire in an art piece, and this could have easily been pushed further. I could have just been as bold as making it a coffin on wheels! But, I stuck with something a little closer to reality. I hope it was successful!




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