When I started sketching ideas for the studio project, I had a range of ideas in mind. We also had a small assignment in class about writing a list of various methods in which we could do our previous project again. And so finally, I chose one from every list and came up with an idea of doing a Renaissance mask in a geometrical design using materials I had never worked with before such as Plexi glass, metal, and plastic. However, it was in the following studio class where I discussed my ideas with the professor that I realized that what I was working on wasn’t defamiliarizing the viewer in an efficient way. The idea I finally came up with was something that didn’t quite relate to my seminar paper, but with the trip that we made to the Brooklyn Museum in class to a mask exhibit, I was inspired by a quote by Alan Moore that says, “You wear a mask for so long, you forget who you were beneath it.” I chose to show a person stretching their face with their two hands in an attempt to get rid of the mask they created for themselves, but with a black and empty mask at the back of it to denote that they didn’t have an identity they once had before they chose to recreate theirs.
My key influences for the design as well as the structure was Alan Moore, Zaha Hadid, and the Brooklyn Museum mask exhibit Disguise: Masks and Global African Art.
I was mostly happy with the way the materials I used to keep a sturdy mask was so effective. I could mold it into any shape, and size, which was an important thing that had to work for this project. I also liked the way where I molded the pieces to form the exterior of the face that is being stretched. Although it was hard to get in place and size concerning height, the experimenting was beneficial because I learned a new technique that I could maybe use later on someday. I was also happy about the feedback I received for my idea from the group critiques we had and from the professor, which gave me more of an insight into what other people perceived about my topic, as well as some criticism on things that could be changed, and that were maybe overlooked.
My next iteration could be of somebody removing the mask with one hand, and using different materials again that no one has ever seen or heard of. I would like to continue this with a series of the same concept of masks and persona, and maybe dive into the social media realm about it.
I had a couple of ideas before the final topic I went with for the essay. I began with three different main ideas, which branched into the political and cultural sphere. As I got further into each seminar and studio class particularly with visiting various galleries and museums, I eventually came up with the idea of sticking to the one that linked the most regarding the works of art I had seen. And it was on materials and defamiliarization. I particularly liked the work of art I saw at the Brooklyn Museum called Disguise: Masks and Global African Art. What got me diving deeper into the realm of writing this essay was an insightful scholarly source that I came across by author Viktor Shklovsky. His analysis on the correlation between defamiliarization and art was so useful and inspiring. It is something I would recommend people to read if they were interested or in the art field. I was extremely happy about a particular part of the essay that talks about the significance of deviating from the use of stereotypical materials in art, and from the views a professional artist himself. It reassured me on the judgment I had before selecting the present topic that was about how the use of materials that are unknown to a viewer has a high correlation with defamiliarization.
A work of art makes you observe its technique, be it a painting or a sculpture, and the means of material used for its depiction. The use of material plays a great role in making a work of art seem uncommon, and ultimately defamiliarized. Shklovsky writes in his essay, “we find everywhere the artistic trademark – that is, we find material obviously created to remove the automatism or perception; the author’s purpose is to create the vision which results from that deautomatized perception.”
I chose this excerpt from my essay because I feel that I wanted to introduce my topic of materials somewhere after I wrote about defamiliarization initially. And so, coming up with a topic sentence for it was quite strenuous, but in the end, I was happy with what I came up for it, and it quotes from Schkolvsky’s visionary essay again. I found that whatever preconceived notions I had about this topic somehow got translated into better terms of understanding by Shklovsky, which was I was thrilled about.
If I had to take this draft further, I would probably include some first-hand insight into my essay through interviews just to see if what I assumed was something people were doing too. I would also take whatever examples I found from each gallery and the works of art I wrote about, and research the choice of materials made by the artists and why.
My studio and seminar project have related in only one familiar aspect, and that is materials. My seminar project talks about the various uses of materials and the relationship of it with defamiliarization, and the studio project is on masks and hidden personas. I use a range of different materials that I never have before in my studio project, which I sort of talk extensively about in my essay, and that helped realize the importance of the use of experimenting with materials in a way that could help the viewer find it stimulating to try and analyze the final work of art as much as it was for the artist themselves to create it.