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Artwork a Day: Day 2

I found this day a little more difficult – not knowing where to start. I finished reading ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ by Robert Louis Stevenson a few days ago, and had wanted to create an artwork to represent the split personalities in the story, yet depicted on a broader level portraying the varying personalities within all of us. After considering mediums, I decided to work in charcoal and soft pastels as I wanted the two personalities to merge into one, rather than be obscured by using other techniques such as painting.

I began by roughly sketching two overlayed portraits, one more conventional, and the other more distorted. I wasn’t too sure about the results of this work, so I experimented with adding some strokes of movement to further distort the figures, and then (in typical me-style) obliterated the original drawing with a circle spiral. I normally end up discarding works I’m not sure about or I think are unsuccessful, but I think it’s important to this process that I show the mistakes and force myself to work with them to see if I can make anything effective from the results.

When photographing the work, I decided to experiment further with a sense of movement in the photography, as I think this is a good physical representation of the transformation between the two personalities. I photographed the work in a slightly darkened room and with a long exposure, whilst moving the camera over the image to enhance the movement (finished photograph below). I’m really pleased with the result of this photograph, and I think the long exposure works effectively here. Despite most of the detail from my original sketches being obscured by the spiral motion I created over the sketch, somehow them hidden elements seem to jump out to the viewer with the movement of the photograph, almost like the the character is leaping out of the page, and multiple depictions of emotions, expressions and transformation somehow visible on the face, like an illusion. I still have a long way to go in improving my charcoal and sketching technique which has been out of practice for nearly a year, but I’m pleased with the eventual result of the photograph. Sometimes a mistake can be worthwhile.

“…why had he a mask upon his face?” #002AAD

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