Visual Communication

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Month: October, 2013

Illustrated Essay Ideas & More Research

Primary research

I decided to carry out a survey online to find out why people agree and disagree with the Graffiti culture, the pros and cons of the movement. Here are some of the answers I got.


Graffiti can show messages.
Graffiti can be art. 
A way for people to share their feelings and ideas freely.
It can help to improve the look of an area.
Kids are having fun and they’re not causing any other trouble on the streets.
Before graffiti artists, streets were grey, dull, boring and bland places to be.
The town looks a lot more attractive because of the graffiti.
Museums and art galleries are now considering graffiti as art and placing it in their own buildings. 
Graffiti attracts locals and tourists from around the world.
Spray cans are cheaper than using paints on canvas.
We paint on walls so that we don’t waste paper. Our art means that we are  ‘green’ and don’t harm our planet.


Waste of money cleaning up.
Waste of important police time cleaning it up.
We could be spending council money on more important projects.
Affects shop owners who have to clean their properties.
Money to clean it up comes out of our pockets.
More graffiti means fewer customers in shops or to an area. Fewer customers mean less income/salary/wage.
Has ruined walls, play equipment and trees in the park so children are too scared to go. 
The streets are fine the way they are- we don’t need any colour to brighten them up.
We want to keep the streets clean and green and free of mess.
Graffiti is pollution (visual). The sprays also give off toxic fumes (gas).
Why should it be up to teenagers and kids to decide what our streets look like?
Bad influence on children, who may pick up a bad habit or see something inappropriate.
Graffiti has destroyed road signs and made it confusing for road users to follow.

I discovered that more people had points disagreeing with Graffiti which I was not surprised about, I think it will be a long time before Graffiti has a complete positive outlook.

Images I took of ‘Graffiti’ around Hyde Park: Is Graffiti vandalism or valuable art?

IMG_6276IMG_6287 IMG_6278 IMG_6275




Secondary research

After discovering a debate online I was surprised to see that the poll had been equally divided with 50/50 on votes for and against graffiti, some of the comments being made on the subject compelled me and helped me to understand the publics views on graffiti.

Here is some of the comments:

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I was interested in how some of the people who believed graffiti is art, still agreed with some of the points the former participants made such as; graffiti is illegal and classed as a crime for defacing someones property. The comments show a good variety of views on the art form and I believe it is a good interpretation of what the public feel about graffiti.



Examples of Hand Stitches

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List of Hand Stitches

  • Back Stitch – Sturdy hand stitch used for seams and decoration.
  • Basting Stitch (or tacking) – For reinforcement.
  • Blanket Stitch – To finish an unhemmed blanket.
  • Blind Stitch (or hemstitch) – Type of slip stitch used for inconspicuous hems.
  • Buttonhole Stitch – For reinforcing buttonholes and preventing cut fabric from raveling.
  • Chain Stitch – Hand or machine stitch for seams or decoration.
  • Cross Stitch – Usually used for decoration, but may also be used for seams.
  • Darning Stitch – Repairing holes or worn areas in fabric or knitting.
  • Embroidery Stitch – 1 or more stitches forming a figure of recognisable look.
  • Pad Stitch – Secures 2 or more layers of fabric together and provide firmness.
  • Running Stitch – Hand Stitch for seams and gathering.
  • Slip Stitch – Hand stitch for fastening 2 pieces of fabric together from right without showing thread.
  • Tent Stitch – Diagonal embroidery stitch at a 45 degree angle.
  • Topstitch –  Used on garment edges such as necklines and hems, helps facings stay in place and gives a crisp edge.
  • Whipstitch – For protecting edges.

List of Machine stiches

  • Chain Stitch –  Made with 1 thread.
  • Lock Stitch – Made with 2 threads in any of these geometries.
    – Straight Stitch
    – Zigzag Stitch (including blind stitch)
    -Stretch Stitch
  • Overlock – Made with 1 to 4 threads.
  • Cover Stitch – Made with 2 or 4 threads.


To do list:

  • 20 different stitches
  • 10 different stitching yarns
  • Explore materials – use found materials
  • Look at Francisco de Pajaro – makes sculptures from found rubbish
  • Play with skills and techniques rather than making pieces
  • Explore mixed media, be diverse as possible

Useful blogs; Inspiration


Louise O’Hara

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“My four favourite words are; trace, absence, imperfection and serendipity.”

I love stumbling across unknown artist that are home based and work out of there own make shift studio creating what they enjoy and Laura O’Hara does exactly this. She has pieced together these beautiful tactile images from all sort of found materials.
She has inspired me to go out and collect unknown materials and to try and capture the feel of a place within my work.

Artist Block.

Currently struggling with what path to take.
I am undecided as to whether to carry on with producing more stitched portraits to see where and how I can improve them or to move onto another technique within textiles. A slight push of motivation is needed, I feel as though I have ran out of inspiration and this is not a good sign with the amount of time I have left to complete this project.
Inspiration needed. 

Experimenting with Portraiture

Stitched Portraits

After researching other textiles artists and their techniques, I decided it was time to start experimenting and produce some of my own work.

From studying Martin Schoeller’s portrait photography I picked out a handful of images I liked and would like to use to explore different techniques, I started with an image of Heath Ledger.

I found that hand stitching took up quite a bit of my time, therefor I found by stitching only part of the image worked better. I am happy with the end results although I would like to try the same effect with a sewing machine to see if I can get quicker results.

Scan Scan 1

Currently getting use to using a machine to stitch, in early stages but I am improving. Once I feel more confident with the machine I would like to transfer these images onto material and created the whole image out of stitch.

Illustrated Essay Artist Research

Some of the most influential Street Artists

  • Banksy
  • Shepard Fairey
  • Keith Haring
  • Mr. Brainwash
  • Inkie
  • Cekis
  • Roa
  • Stinkfish
  • INTI
  • JR
  • Miss Van
  • Ron English
  • Swoon


banksy-dumbo-0510       banksy-new-works-2


Shepard Fairey

AndreTheGiantSticker          obama-change












Background on the history of Graffiti

Graffiti, if we define it as any type of writing on the wall goes back to ancient Rome, and if drawn images count, then we could point to the first graf artists. But the style of urban graffiti that most people have seen and know about, the kind that uses spraycans, came from New York City in the late 1960s, and was born on the subway trains. Taki 183, who lived on 183rd street in Washington Heights, worked as a messenger who traveled all throughout the city. While he did so, he would use a marker and write his name wherever he went, at subway stations and also the insides and outsides of subway cars. Eventually, he became known all throughout the city as this mysterious figure. In 1971, he was interviewed for an article by the New York Times. Kids all over New York, realizing the fame and notoriety that could be gained from “tagging” their names on subway cars (that traveled all over the city, naturally) began to emulate Taki 183. The goal was to “get up” (using the slang of the day), to have one’s name in as many places as possible, and as kids competed against each other to get famous, the amount of graffiti on trains exploded.

For tagging on the insides of trains, permanent markers worked, but using spraycans of paint quickly became popular as well, especially for tagging on the outside of trains. Graffiti became so much more than simple tagging, however. Graffiti writers, in addition to getting their name around as much as possible, would try to outdo each other in terms of style. At first, writers would try to make their tags (or signatures) more stylish than anyone else’s. Later on, they would add more colors, special effects, and they’d make their name bigger. Spraycans allowed large pieces of graffiti to be created fairly quickly which was important because writers didn’t want to get caught by the police or people working for the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority). As you will see in the Graffiti Styles section of this wesite, graffiti really evolved into a complex artform with its own techniques and vocabulary. From simple tags on the insides of trains to throwups to masterpieces that spanned multiple subway cars, the art and science of graffiti grew in leaps and bounds.

The “style wars” in the 1970s between graffiti artists trying to get famous and creating bigger and better pieces resulted in the emergence of an entire subculture surrounding graffiti. Graf writers would gather at what they called “writer’s benches” at subway stations to look at each other’s sketchbooks, to plan “bombing” runs, and to watch as trains passed by so they could discuss the latest pieces they or other writers had recently produced. Older writers would take younger writers on as apprentices and assistants to help on larger pieces. Whole writing “crews” would form to collaborate on pieces, to help each other “rack up” paint (by any means necessary), and to watch out for authorities. Some crews would travel together to avoid gang troubles, but they were rarely violent. A common misconception is that graffiti is all gang-related. Most graffiti is not gang-related. Gang-related graffiti is most often used to mark territory, and not as much time or effort is spent in its creation.

NYC subway graffiti became world famous, and its style and sensibilities were transplanted to other parts of the country and the world, mixing with local traditions and styles in new ways. The 70s were the golden age of subway graffiti, but for the MTA, it was a problem that had long gone out of control. Graf writers did not just battle each other in their quest to be the “King of all Lines” and all the other titles they bestowed upon themselves. They had to deal with police patrolling the trains and the yards where they worked, their masterpieces being washed off of cars, barbed wire fences, and guard dogs, not to mention concerned parents who sometimes did not understand.



Change in Subject Matter

After having a group tutorial I found that I was spending to much time trying to come up with a suitable subject matter when at this part of the brief, it is not important. I was wasting time rattling my brain trying to think up of an idea that was too complicated, therefor it was preventing me from getting on with making artwork.
It was suggested that I tried to work around something more easier and open that I could produce multiple pieces of art from.
The artists that inspired me tended to work around portraiture and life drawing so I decided to do the same.

I came across Martin Schoeller’s work and found that his portraits would make a good starting point to produce my work around.

Experimenting with stitch

Basic Embroidery

I found that the quickest way for me to pick up a new skill is to learn from watching online tutorials, therefor I took it up amongst myself to research youtube for craft videos suitable to what I wanted to learn. I came across a basic embroidery stitch’s tutorial and began to try out the stitches I had learnt on different materials to see what the outcome would be. I documented how the stitches looked from both sides of the materials for future reference.

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