"The distinctive atmosphere or pervading spirit of a place"
The aim of this illustration project was to produce something as if it were created and had lived within my 'chosen environment'. For this “environment” I chose the Winnall Moors nature reserve in Winchester, which I had visited a lot one summer to get away from everything. But this project was in February... and going back down the footpath I didn’t sense the warm relaxing feeling I got back in summer. Now everything was dying or already dead. Looking around, it was as if there had been some kind of natural battle to survive; Plants, trees and overgrowth were all entangled, climbing on top of one another to fight for the light. So I took this atmosphere and used it as the basis of my illustrations; I decided to create the images using as much detail as possible, and to just create a mass of sticks and branches that would then form the shape of the entire image.
The two final outcomes were of meditation and of a stags head. I was inspired by meditation, because, as I said, the reserve is used as a great place of relaxation during the summer, and the welcoming spirit of the Moors means all kinds of people in Winchester come to the reserve and wander through the marshes just to relax and forget about everything. The stags head was inspired by the large family of deer that actually thrive during the winter months in the reserve. The lack of visitors during the cold season means that they venture out further into the reserve without having to worry about human contact. Using a laser cutter, I worked with the precision of the equipment to create an image that was so delicate that just lifting it would cause parts of the image to break off. It is this delicacy, along with the use of twigs to form the designs, that I feel truly represents the vulnerable nature of the reserve during winter.
As an artist, I feel it has only been throughout the past year that I have finally found a style of drawing that I feel happy with and that I enjoy working with. Before all the hand-drawn black and white imagery I have been making, I was entirely focused on digital vector illustrations. At the time, I loved it. I loved using the software and I loved how easy it was to create something amazing. But after a horrid realisation that this kind of artwork is becoming quite worn out nowadays, I challenged myself to find another way of working. Which is where this new style came about. With this style, I feel I have alot more freedom with the areas of the art industry I can approach with my work. For example, although studying illustration, my dream is to actually have my own clothing brand. Designing t-shirt graphics, hoodies, accessories, homeware, and stationary. As the end of my degree approaches and my future career looms near, I find myself tending towards a commercial aspect in my works, where I realise that I must retain a salability within my art if I am to make a living in today's commoditised society.