Author Archives: Alessandro Magliani

City + Jungle progress

Adding elements to the city set. I added more topography and a beach to merge Hong Kong with Rio. Also I shifted the ace (with burj khalifa) to a new position after the king, so now it connects the ends of the set.

SHORT-VERSION LONG-VERSION

 

Also working on the King-Ace-two connection in the jungle set, where i’m currently redrawing the last cards (J-Q-K-A), to make them look more dense compared to the rest of the set.

This is just the scan, will upload the composed set later tonight. CANOPYPROGRESS

 

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City Set Update

 

 

adding parts to the city sequence.

Trailer Park  /  Phoenix  /  LA  /  London  /  …   /  Hong Kong

NU CITY BLOG

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City Sequence – In progress

long render tut

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City Set – Road density scheme

Currently working on the city set. It will have a density gradient that goes from a trailer park to Hong Kong. I just laid out the roads for now, now working on the buildings to fill in.City-Scheme

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Satellite View findings

I just found this on google maps, it’s somewhere in Australia. Isometric projection merged with a satellite view.

Screenshot 2017-02-15 15.28.22

Also found this Persian style carpet land art, which happens every year in Hormoz Island.   These are definitely going into the desert set!

Screenshot 2017-02-15 16.06.15

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Jungle Fever

Working on some jungle illustrations, in the process of putting them in a card sequence now. Updates on the city set coming soon too.

 

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Cards Structure + Tests

I decided to have an isometric view for my cardscape. There is a common way of structuring the content within the cards, shown in the diagram at the end.

I did some tests to create a various landscape, which combines more or less realistic terrain with graphic signs and letters, as well as characters and objects. The vectorial elements (aka golden river looking things and lines) are used to connect the cards and make them easier to tile together.

 

Ace of Openings:

Ace_openings

Two of Openings

2_Openings

Six of Columns

6_Columns

Seven of Columns

7_Columns

 

Card structure

 

 

More cards coming soon

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Card Landscape wip

 

 

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Working on some watercolors to use as a backdrop for some of the cards. Yet to see where it’s going, but might be interesting to collage it with other types of graphic material.

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Card Suits – Wip

Working on the design of single cards for my deck at the moment. I decided to create four suits: Columns, Doors, Shells and Stairs.

I would like every single card to have a different look, some would be renders or images, some line drawings, some hand drawings etc.

Despite the different ways of representation, the format of the cards will be the same for all, as for the back. The format I decided for now is 7×14 cm.

The PDFs (1,2) are just line drawings, which I’m going to render by hand with pencils/pens.

2 1

 

 

seven of doors

 

doors3

Two of Shells

shells3

Five of Shells

shells2

Ace of Shells

shells1

Five of Columns

column4

Four of Columns

column3

Two of Columns

column2

Five of Columns (2)

column1

Ace of Doors

doors2

Two of Doors

Doors1

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Jury Work

 

 

 

 

Just uploading the last drawings I did before the jury. Currently digesting all the jury comments and writing down notes.

crashweb  collage-webcampfinal-web campmix-web

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Project Contents

I’m now trying to write down the themes I’m working with in my project in the form of a short essay.

Here are the table of contents for now, and the first three parts of it.

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Table of Contents

1.Intro – World Visions

Singular and multiple perspectives on the surrounding environment.

Ideal City of Urbino vs Zaha Hadid’s The World (89 Degrees)

2.The Figure and the Ground

Figure and ground as separate entities able to influence each other. (Shifts in the ground influence the figures on it and figures influence how we read the ground in the first miniatures of clipper and cap)

Figure and ground as collapsed and flattened concepts.

3.The Body

Calvino’s Invisible Cities as a model to analyse urban environments as more than their form, but as a collection of desires and experiences of their inhabitants.

( New miniature with scene of a crash, introducing the human figure into the picture).

Contemporary obsession with the human figure within the image, and over saturation of images in our society ( Camp scene miniature ).

4.The Miniature

Miniature as an historic testing ground for the interaction of the elements just presented.

Introducing the further dimension of the object. ( Fold drawing + 3d model + new jewel miniature ­).

5. Conclusion

Miniature as an ideal medium for the representation of the world. Its miniaturised content gives the possibility to arrange complex relationships within a condensed format.

At the same time, the format itself is pushing the boundaries of the miniature into the world of objects, adding further layers of meaning to it.

 

For the first three parts: Stuck

 

 

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Rote Bete Salat

Rote Beete

 

This is a possible intro for the project (aka beetroot salad):

 

We live in an age of over-information, where we produce, consume and digest images in volumes higher than ever before.

In our society we are bombarded by images every day, that are able to reach us through disparate media and in every possible context. Through screens we can now access and see billions of photographs, illustrations and drawings through an extremely condensed interface.

Social media give us a contemporary version of the ancient scroll, offering an endless cycle of pictures that can be viewed at any time.

The advertisement industry has covered our cities in an array of leaflets, papers, billboards and signs, which get consumed day after day by millions of people.

This constant exposure has made us insensible towards the image, often leading us to overlook its specific qualities.

Each picture carries within itself layers and layers of information, which often, intentionally or not, don’t manage to reach the surface and get delivered to the viewer.

What is going on in one image? What is its history? Who is behind its composition? Why is it coloured in a particular way? What is the hierarchy of the elements within it?

The project is intended to unravel these hidden layers, by creating images that use the very concept of the image and its construction as a subject.

Due to the over abundance of visual material that we are confronted with in our daily lives, the project will treat single images as fragments, and use them to compose more images by juxtaposing them and blending them together, ultimately creating composite constructs.

These constructs are a composition of condensed fragments of different origins.

The fragments are collapsed into a single representation, which can be entered from several points, and can be freely navigated, as the different parts of the drawing seamlessly connect to one another.

Bits of personal memories, parts of cities, recent news stories, paintings and seminal architectural projects collide and coexist within the same space of the paper.

By means of its own flatness, the paper aims to shed an equal light on all of the fragments, annihilating any hierarchy of importance that might exist between them.

The compositions invite the viewer to get lost within the dense and detailed scenes, equally allowing zoom-ins and zoom-outs.

Using the zoom as an operative tool, one might discover hidden details within the drawings, which can reveal other scenes nested within each other. (This is referring to the format of the presentation for the jury. I want to try to use projections as a more spatial way of entering within the drawings and zooming inside them to find others).

Since images are often a way to convey narrative, the project starts with an analysis of ancient miniatures, used as an entrance point to the world of narrative illustrations.

A miniature is often a representation of a condensed story. Since Illustrations were made for entire chapters of text, the artists working on them needed to face the challenge of representing a whole story through a single image…..

…WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP WIP …

following this there will be a description of one of the miniatures, as a way to enter into the miniature worlds.

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Camp Scene

Camp-mixed

Series of elements that are gonna be part of a new miniature, centred around the theme of the camp. In historical examples, camp scenes regard mainly military contexts, and are generally quite dynamic and with a looser structure, due to the less fixed architectural elements (tents).

The contemporary version of this scene takes place in a festival setting/refugee camp. The two camps will be juxtaposed onto one another, making it hard to understand which one is which.

 

 

img009 img010 img011 img012 img013 img014 img015 img016

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Some thoughts on hierarchy

Following the meeting with Clive and Eddie the other day, I started thinking about the relevance of hierarchy in my project. I realised how miniatures and medieval paintings in general are potentially an example of deliberate use of visual and narrative hierarchy.

I also started thinking how the conflict of hierarchic vs a-hierarchic systems can be the narrative fuel that my project needs at the moment, because it can regard very visual aspects, while at the same time commenting on some contemporary topics.

In a way I think architecture is most fascinating when it is a direct expression of hierarchical systems.

Hierarchical institutions such as the catholic church, sovereign states and banks are often the clients for some of the most exciting pieces of architecture.

One can think of the triangle, the dome, the canopy, the number 3  as direct expressions of the power of the catholic church. In the same way the triumphal arch and the amphitheater are expressions of political/military power, and the tower and column are expressions of the banking institutions.

This is of course simplified to the max, but the idea is to find the formal expression of hierarchies and make it one of the protagonists of the narrative within my miniatures.

The other protagonist, or the opponent would be the a-hierarchic systems, which enter the compositions and start to challenge the previous formal schemes. The a-hierarchic forms would be something like the circle, the network, the fluid and so on. These are way less defined for now.

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following is an analysis of formal hierarchies in some medieval paintings, which can help to understand the arbitrary-ness of these in the pre-perspective world.

scriptorium-2

 

Miniatures and in general paintings and works of art that precede the invention of perspective are an example of deliberate use of visual hierarchies.

At the same time these works seem to defy hierarchical disposition of spaces and architectural frameworks, because of the presence of multiple instances of a story at the same time.

The stories represented by artists in the middle ages were usually well known by the observers, who only needed some elements as reminders of the narrative.

This is the reason why many paintings are a depiction of a collapsed story, where all the characters and elements of it are present at the same time, laid out next to each other. The temporal hierarchy of the story is therefore disregarded, and the compositions become a flat collection of figures and architectural elements, which the viewer connects by their own means.

bonaventura-berlinghieri-il-miracolo-della-bambini-dal-collo-torto-1235-pesciasan-francesco

This is the case for Berlinghieri’s representation of the miracle of the kid with the broken neck (1235), in which the mother and child are present twice, first begging st. Francis (who is dead in the wooden sarcophagus) for the miracle, and second happily leaving the church.

In this example the temporal collapsing of the story is reflected also in the a-hierarchic way spaces are depicted.
Before the invention of perspective, and therefore in most examples of medieval visual arts, there is a visual principle that was widespread across Europe, that is the equation

in front = inside.

Whoever occupies the foreground of the picture is inhabiting the interior space of any architecture depicted in the composition.

This is very clear in the previous example, where the church is represented by the artist from the outside in the background, while figures and other architectural elements, such as the canopy, are in the foreground. The viewer of course knows that this scene takes place inside the church even though the scene is represented in an arbitrary way.

The same goes for some later and more refined examples, such as Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, where he painted the scene of the marriage of Mary and Joseph.

2

The couple is getting married inside and outside of the church at the same time, and it is not clear wether the other characters in the scene are within or outside of the space.

Two hundred years later the scene is again painted by Raphael, who works in a completely different world, where perspective has been discovered and a more rational depiction of space is the habit. His sposalizio, however correct and proportioned it might seem at first, is still referring to the same concept of in front = inside, which was used hundreds of years before him.

2.-Raffaello-Sanzio-Lo-Sposalizio-della-Vergine-BRERA1

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TEXT on pattern

patternz

The qualities of text in Persian miniatures, as in many examples of ancient and medieval manuscripts, give it a substantial graphic touch.

It is this graphic quality that mostly attracts western observers, which admire the calligraphy, yet are rarely able to understand its meaning.

The rich ornamentation of the different cursive fonts, together with the compact appearance of text, transforms it into something that has the potential of bridging into the figurative side of the miniature.

This is particularly evident in Persian and Islamic miniatures, because of the distinctly pictorial quality of alphabet and font, however it is also notable in many western ancient manuscripts.

By looking at a folio, the closest graphic construct to the text can be identified with the pattern.

Turquoise_epigraphic_ornament_MBA_Lyon_A1969-333

Islamic sacred art and architecture specifically avoid figurative ornamentation for religious reasons, which require the complete absence of iconographic images. This led historically to the development of a wide variety of alternative modes of representation, such as the pattern, which enable the presence of the sacred in an alternative way.

When buildings are present in a miniature, they generally carry a heavy load of patterned surfaces and volumes, which often are capable to subtly blend together.

We can now observe how the real power of the pattern, at least in 2d representations, lies in its ability to visually connect seemingly disparate areas of the drawing.

Often one miniature contains different kinds of drawing constructions, from flat elevations to axonometric, to perspective.

The pervasive nature of the pattern, derived from its obsessive repetition, starts to blend these spaces together, helping to identify the miniature as a single construct, rather than a composite image or a collage.

Mir Sayyd Ali’s miniature serves as an example of this. This is perhaps one of his most architectural works, which depicts a palace scene, happening simultaneously in different rooms and terraces.

Mir_Sayyid_Ali_2

The most striking aspect of this miniature is the over-abundance of situations depicted on the same flat plane, animated by a series of figures and objects at different scales scattered throughout it.

The patterning, however, operates at a more subtle level and is ubiquitously present in the entire composition. Its connective power is perhaps clearest in the parts of the drawing that are similarly coloured. The light brown parts of the miniature, for example, extend across different scenes, and present a series of different patterns and hatches, which contribute at the same time to their differentiation and to their unification. Some patterns are more ornamental, while some others are purely depicting different kinds of brick or stone tiling.

These geometric shapes are used in different parts of the drawing alike: they can be observed on walls, ceilings, floors, windows and doors, and at the same time on textiles, clothes, animals and landscapes.

Besides connecting different parts of the drawing which are more or less architectural, the pattern also starts to blend in figures and objects into the composition.

Elaborate textiles are worn by all the figures in the drawing, sometimes flattening them onto the background in which they sit or stand.

It is clear from the analysis of miniatures that the function of the pattern transcends a purely ornamental one.

The repetition of shapes in miniatures and other forms of Persian and Islamic art is traditionally interpreted as suggestive of the infinite nature of reality.

It is also notable that patterns, together with textual annotations, are the only elements that transcend the frame, and start bleeding into the larger area of the folio

The patterns in miniatures are therefore used to suggest an essential unity between seemingly disparate elements. The hidden geometrical layers of nature – what we can now associate with molecules and atoms – are somehow being represented and emphasised by the endless repetition of the patterns.

Alongside visually tying together elements of architecture, objects and figures, we can now understand how the pattern is used as a tool to express their intrinsic unity.

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Work Updates

 

 

 

 

Video of the folding drawing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5fEDYqvZEM&feature=youtu.be

screenshot-2016-12-15-12-12-13 screenshot-2016-12-15-12-37-03

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Work in Progress

3d Print in the making: https://youtu.be/Fl9it5dJ5Es

Stencil Miniature painting: Started from the GOLD frame, adding 3 more layers of colour right now..

 

 

 

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Miniature Update + Views

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I kept working on the miniature, saturating more and more. I also started adding elements on the top, which begin to break out of the main frame.

 

4 3 2

The views are taken with a very closed angle, to intensify the feeling of saturation that happens within the miniature.

About the color issue, I talked to several print shops, and I might be able to screenprint, although timing is a bit of an issue if it has to be ready by the jury next week.

Another option I started considering is laser cutting stencils for screen printing on my own.

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Miniature view update

miniview2

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Miniature View

miniview

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3D Miniature

miniattt

 

Views from within the miniature coming soon :)

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New Miniature

Print

 

Working on a new Miniature based on what we discussed on the last tutorial. The drawing is based on the interplay between TEXT(URE) – FRAME – FIGURE. 

Figures are on their way.. For now the patterns/textures and frames sit in hierarchical order: The pattern is always subordinated to the frame, while at the same time contributing to the overall blending of spaces within the drawing. 

 

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Project Map

screenshot-2016-11-24-16-52-55

Ugly but Useful – Mindmap of my project.

Centered for now around the Miniature and its ramifications. Red is connections to my Diamonds. Green is more like a general area.

Currently working on a prettier version, as well as on a text to clarify ideas and intentions within the project (Maybe we can review tomorrow).Reading Susan Stewart’s book on the miniature was very useful to understand the miniature as a composite construct, where the role of descriptive text is emphasised.

I also started researching the Peck Shahnama a.k.a Persian Book of Kings. Looked into the process of creation of one miniature, which involved dozens of people at the same time. Started understanding more of the composition of Persian miniatures, where text and image have an interesting relationship. The text usually comes first and dictates the content of the image. Sometimes, since the painters and the writers are different people, there are several discrepancies between text and image. Also the figure of the Scribe is immensely more popular and venerated than the figure of the painter. I will bring the book tomorrow so maybe we can discuss some examples.

 

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Thresholds + New miniature construction

thresholds-preview screenshot-2016-11-21-18-31-20

 

Starting to create a catalog of thresholds (1) to be used in a new miniature (2). This time I decided that the objects should come into the miniature after the main structure is more or less defined. The focus is now shifted on the switching moments between different modes of representation and scales.

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Thresholds – Gif+References

http://gph.is/2flivvq

After the jury it becomes clear that the focus of the project needs to be shifted from the object to the miniature.

The key question is now in what way can the miniature wipe out the importance of the object?

One of the main aspects that I want to investigate is the idea of the threshold, which can become the apparatus through which I can maybe make the object irrelevant.

I started looking at more references from different cultures, to understand how space is organised within them and how it can affect the reading of the image and what is inside it.

The Samsara image (1) shows a clear hierarchy of elements, expressed through a centrality of the drawing, focused on the centre.

Other Persian miniatures, like the one depicting a camp scene (2), limit the spatial apparatus of walls/windows/doors to a bare minimum. The setting is a camp, therefore its architecture is made out of textiles, which have patterns on them and fade together with the figures and the ground.

I also started looking at annunciation paintings, where the threshold between the sacred and profane worlds is always spatialised. Classical representations almost always feature a strong element of separation between the two parts of the drawing (3). In Leonardo’s the threshold is changes from a column to a desk, symbolising a more direct relationship between the two worlds. The real threshold happens in the background of the painting, where a distant landscape gets cut by a middle ground element, the tree, which also cuts the foreground element of the house.

I also started looking at polyptychs, particularly how the thresholds between the different parts become solid objects, now transcending the painted matter itself.

I started to look back at my own drawings, trying to understand better the thresholds between the perspectives/worlds, and how they can be made better. I would like to focus and make drawings that address the threshold in a more direct way. The objects would still appear, but would be no longer important, because they don’t really define the way you can read the drawings.

The language of the object is used, but in a misleading way, which is no longer the key to read the drawings.

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obpicavxdfx

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annunciazione_beato_angelico_01

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annunciation_leonardo

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lamgods_open

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Eyedrop Cap Miniature

screenshot-2016-11-14-22-16-11

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Presentation Draft – 1

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View from within

room-view

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Miniature Edit + Coloring Tests

I’ve updated the clipper miniature and started to experiment with different color schemes. To be honest I’m not so happy with the results with colors, because they look too flat and confusing, so I’ve been thinking of leaving the miniature as a line drawing or texture it in black and white.

I’m also working on the views from within the drawing, will post more later.

Any comment/advice on colours would be very appreciated, thanks!

option4 3 2

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Clipper Miniature Update

capture palabrera3

 

I kept working on the same miniature, incorporating more and more details. Started applying the clipper to urban plans, to slowly turn them into patterns.

I also started to look at ambiguous objects in art history (The Egg in Piero della Francesca’s painting). Planning to incorporate parts of paintings into the composition of the miniature.

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Clipper Miniatures

I started looking at persian miniatures and the way different spaces are projected in them. Thought of using them as inspiration to do some drawings in which the objects and the clipper are disguised in different scales.This is to start defining a possible context for these objects, now situated within the drawing/paper space.

I’m working towards a line drawing in which many rooms are connected and feature the objects at different scales.

room-clipper-preview mir_sayyid_ali_2

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Closer

zoom6 zoom5 zoom4 zoom3 zoom2

 

 

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Clipper Adventures

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Clipper Adventures

clipper-adventures

 

Took my clipper model on a date around London… more clipper madness to come

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The Acquired Inability to Escape, Damien Hirst, 1991

The Acquired Inability to Escape 1991 by Damien Hirst born 1965

 

Installation featuring an office chair, a full ash tray, a pack of cigarettes and a white (clipper) lighter. The cigarette butts suggest the presence of an invisible and anonymous smoker.

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Architectural Fantasies by Chernikov

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Looking at Chernikov’s way of composing drawings using solid volumes and linear elements.

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Scale shift model

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Staged photographs of model construction.

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Ecstatic Alphabets / Heaps of Language

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