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The significance of apples.

Project Three, Exercise 1.

As I sit, listening out for my iPhone to vibrate, I type this learning log on my MacBook with my digital sketchbook, aka iPad and iPencil, lying next to me. I glance at the apple logo on my tech and realise my reaction to ‘apple’ will firstly be the technology I use. The significance to me is the continuity of creativity and documentation across computer products with iCloud. Not only does it help with my creativity, but also my disabilities. I do not know where I’ll be from one hour to the next, and having the flexibility of platforms without losing quality means I don’t have to worry whether I’m sat at my desk, or bed-bound.
To the world in general Apple signifies innovation, hardworking and designed for the creative. The company has worked hard on their brand image, and the consistency across their products.

This advertisement is a great example of apple linking into their core demographic of young creatives.

Following on with another video, here we have an apple making an appearance at the end of a Fixodent advert. Fixodent uses the apple to signify the quality of their product and freedom for the denture user to eat whatever they desire.

Then we have the ‘apple a day keeps the doctor at bay” proverb. Although there is some controversy behind where the saying originates from, it has made the apple synonymous with health. From councils using it to advertise a new lifestyle and fitness service, though to NHS pages on obesity, they all use the apple to symbolise health and fitness.

In the sixteenth century, before public school education, poor families would pay the teacher with fruit and vegetables, and as each school year started in September this would have been mostly apples in Europe (Wockenfuss, 2019).

What would have originally been a form of payment, became a way of getting into a teacher’s good books. This was further embedded in the modern psyche by Disney in 1940’s, with Pinocchio being given an apple by Geppetto, ‘for your teacher’. Today’s apples ‘for the teachers’ come in the form of a range of thank you products from greetings cards through to apple shaped gifts and treats. Now given at the end of the school year, it still shows that apples symbolise teacher’s worth or value, whether as payment, or thanks.

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), Adam and Eve, 1526, The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

In art history there are several signifiers of an apple. In religious paintings it stands for temptation, sin and satan. Although there is no mention of an actual apple in the bible, ‘apple’ at the time meant any fruit that wasn’t a berry (Harper, 2019). However as language developed the apple remained as the Eve’s fruit. The apple proliferates through religious paintings as a reminder of the original sin (Hall, p9, 2007).
On the right is Adam and Eve (1526) by Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553), The Courtauld Gallery, London .

In Still life paintings they allowed the signifier to experiment with different styles and new painting techniques. Considered the least valuable of paintings, still life paintings were used by painters, such as Cézanne, to explore new colours and techniques for their art (Harris & Zucker, accessed 2019).

“So outmoded was the iconography (symbolic forms and references) in still life that this rather hopeless subject was freed of virtually all convention”
Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker

The range of meanings of an apple in visual communication has a long and varied history, some changes have happened due to changes in language and its meaning, whereas other signs are still embedded into our lives due to a continuity of use.


The Road, exercise two.

So I made notes in OneNote. Hope you can read my crappy writing. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

He pushed the cart and both he and the boy carried knapsacks. In the knapsacks were essential things in case they had to abandon the cart and make a run for it. Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that he used to watch the road behind them. He shifted the pack higher on his shoulders and looked out over the wasted country. The road was empty. Below in the little valley the still grey serpentine of a river. Motionless and precise. Along the shore a burden of dead reeds. Are you okay? He said. The boy nodded. They set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.


Pulp Fiction, an exercise in identifying the ‘bad guys’.

It’s strange watching an iconic film with a task in hand. The course asks who are the good guys in pulp fiction, who are the bad? Is it even possible in a postmodern work of filmic art?  Ultimately I believe there is good and bad in everyone. A balance in the universe. We ultimately have choice, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

Armed robbers Pumpkin & Honey bunny: robbing café that Jules and Vincent have breakfast in. In the conventional sense they are armed robbers and would be considered the bad guy. Are they though? I still think they are. There’s nothing in the film which suggests that they couldn’t choose to do something other than cause distress. 

Jules (Jackson): Super polite, but short tempered, direct, religious, collector for Marcellus, shoots dealers, wants to leave Marcellus employ, “tyranny of evil men”. i like Jules, I think we’re supposed to. He has ways to deal with the acts he does which shows that maybe this isn’t his choice. He certainly doesn’t want to do it forever.

Vincent Vega (Travolta): aloof, amenable, druggie, set up to fail with wife? Trying to be loyal to his boss when wife-sitting, Jules partner, shoots dealers, kills someone because he forgot to put safety back on. Vincent certainly comes across as someone who fell into the work, rather than sought it out. I think he enjoys it to a certain degree, but is constantly out of his depth.

Butch (Willis): boxer, killed a man accidentally during a fight, trying to retire, supposed to lose fight, back for his father’s watch, kills Vincent, runs over Marcellus, punches and tries to kill Marcellus. Saves Marcellus from shopkeeper and Zed! Steals bike. He kills a man, and that’s certainly an avenue into ‘bad guy’ territory. However he’s a boxer and I presume that’s inherent in the sport. 

Marcellus: drug lord. Unhappy, loss money on Butch’s fight, shoots bystanders helping butch after car incident, gets raped by shopkeeper and Zed. The typical ‘bad guy’ drug lord.

Mia: Marcellus’ wife, thinks Vincent’s heroin is cocaine and snorts it, nearly dies. The age old question of is the wife involved? Does she know he’s a drug lord, is she a willing wife?

Shopkeeper & police officer Zed: catches Butch and Marcellus. These characters are the typical ‘good guys’ a cop and a shopkeeper, until you discover their predeliction for rape.

Jimmy, Jules mate they clean the car at. (Also Quentin Tarantino) The innocent bystander brought into a crime.

The Wolf, Winston: the cleaner The guy who loves his job of being the crime lords go to man for solving problems.

…maybe it means you’re the evil man and I’m the righteous man, and mr 9mm here, he’s the shepherd protecting my arse in the valley of death, or it could mean that you’re the righteous man and I’m the shepherd and it’s the world that is Evil and selfish.” 2h21m Pulp Fiction Jules.

Part Two – Creative Reading

Oh my goodness, I honestly didn’t think I was ever going to make it into the next part. I’ve had an awful 2 years, and I feel like I’m just finding my feet again. The awful hyper-vigilance and night terrors have finally gone (thank you SSRI Sertraline).

Now I get to settle back into my studies, hope the OCA will give me a 6 month extension so I don’t have to cram 4 assignments into 1 1/2 months, and expand my art world.

Blue wings on a yellow sky, acrylic paint on paper.

Spreading my wings and moving forward.

Finding out more – Part 1

So as part of Exercise 5 we have to practice our sketching skills with fish still life. I’m a bit out of practice with my sketching, so probably just as well!

Salvador Dali – Eucharist Still Life – 1952

imagePeter Claesz – Fish Still Life – 1637

What is art? 

So exercise one is my response to Duchamp’s Fountain: The first time I saw Fountain I wondered what all the fuss was about, it’s just a urinal, people seem to be getting really upset about it. Now I think it’s Clever. It antagonises people into considering their concept of Art. I love the way he was challenging perception.

So I found exercise two really difficult to answer. I believe it’s art because someone has designed a concept or representation. I also think it’s the artist who decides what is art, or even at what point the piece is finished. We know it’s art usually because someone has told us it is, or because it’s labelled to help us understand the concept or artist. I don’t think it has to be in a gallery, there are some great examples of outdoor art from sculptures on roundabouts to woollen covered trees.

“to put art back in the service of the mind”

I think Duchamp meant that art needs to be more than pretty, it should provoke a reaction from the viewer, whether emotionally or intellectually.

Do I think technical skill is important? I think it depends on the intent of the artist and the art. If you’re trying to create a photorealistic image, then yes, technical skill is going to be important. I used to think it was the most important skill, but now I have seen more contemporary art maybe the message it is portraying is just as important. If we only created beautiful pieces how would we encourage discussion and debate? As an artist I feel I have responsibility towards challenging and educating as much as perfecting the latest technique in photography or oil painting. I’m starting to question whether creating art for the sake of it is actually diluting the industry, rather than using it as a platform to engage and contribute.

Stopping the attack.

So after letting the brain fog clear after reading through the Introduction to further education course, I started to feel the rising panic that I’d signed up to too much. I’ve mindmapped the course and started my first sketchbook.

That’s certainly stopped me feeling overwhelmed. It’s a lot, but I think, now I can see it, at least I can start planning my year! I’ve also done a mind map of the first unit, Contemporary Art to help me visualise that too. It certainly seems to make it easier to focus on one subject. Massive tick to the OCA for the pre-course course!