I decided to move away from studying landscape after studying it in first term. Before going to Morocco, out of my own interest, I was studying ways to convey the human form which is what lead me to this quote.
I have been looking at the similarities between late Picasso and Basquiat because of their child-like drawing styles, while also comparing them to my own childhood drawings. I think children’s drawings have an honesty to them as they are an instinctive way of representing the world.
While studying this I came across how Basquiat reflects diverse and complex culture in his paintings. One way he accomplishes this is by the use of words, he uses a written language and reflects it as a visual language. I decided to develop my child like drawing style and also think about how words can be used with images to reflect a sense of culture.
Developing my child-like drawing style has allowed me to break conventional ideologies of form and perspective and express myself. I decided I was going to use what I had learned in order to be able to capture the busy lifestyle of Marrakech and to reflect more than a photo can.
When in Morocco I focused on things that appealed to me and things I knew I could use in my art. I wanted to focus on anything that is current rather than the history, so I personally found little inspiration in the visits to the palaces. I found inspiration for my art in the people of Morocco.
I found inspiration for my art in the symbols I came across such as Berber symbols, arrows, Arabic letters and Graffiti done by the locals. Found little inspiration in the complex patterns because I found them to be amazing just as they were and I wouldn’t be achieving anything from trying to replicate them.
I found the messages that were left by tourists interesting as they reflect my personal experience of what I came across rather than just focusing of the the generic things. It reminded me that Morocco is a tourist destination and something current that I could focus on.
I was attracted to the Moroccan rugs because of the bright colors and the symbols. Using bright colors in my work is new to me. These rugs are iconic of Morocco and reminded me of the people that sell them.
I found that the way people get around was interesting as its very different from here. There seemed to be no rules but surprisingly the traffic ran more smoothly than here. They had some unusual means of transport like horse and cart and dated yellow taxis. There was a sense of danger.
I felt stuck on what to draw so I began with copying Arabic letters from a Fanta can and I started to see figures that reminded me of prehistoric cave paintings and Egyptian art which I already have an interest in because of the similarities they share with child-like drawings.
I wanted to paint with colors that would reflect Morocco so I bought some Moroccan pigments. They were quite hard to use so instead of painting with them I used them to learn from.
Here I’ve reflected my personal experience of the roads in Marrakech. It shows the busy chaotic lifestyle and danger of crossing the roads. Here I began to develop how I could use words with images. ‘Quick chiri’ is something I saw written in the palace and it reminded me of crossing the roads.
In order to reflect the culture and my personal experiences of Morocco I have been using words with images. I developed my characters and added words with my images to reflect my own personal experiences and to show things I’ve seen written and things I’ve heard.
Other than my own experiences I focused on current issues and what all tourists would have experienced such as the poverty and the begging and the desperation of some of the Moroccan people and also having to constantly reject them.
I’ve used this painting technique to reflect how I felt arriving in Morocco, being bombarded with color. I’ve painted a daunting figure because the cultural change was daunting for me. This was because of the fact that I didn’t know what to expect around every corner and I was never sure of anyone’s intentions and constantly being pestered to buy stuff.
As I began to adapt to the culture I began to appreciate the good side of Morocco. I’ve painted late night Moroccan performers to reflect this. I’ve used bright exaggerated colors and an energetic way of painting. The people almost look like a Moroccan rug. The bare feet show the issue of poverty.
I want to carry on developing this painting style and use of colour to achieve a unique visual language in my art. This project has been a lot to do with developing myself as an artist and one day I hope that people will be able to identify my work without having to look at the signature.
Going to Morocco has made me want to carry on gaining new experiences to influence my work. I want to carry on developing a more diverse cultural understanding and base my art on my interaction with other cultures. I want be be more active and involved rather than sitting back and studying things from a distance.