Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Project Conclusions

If I'd been doing this project in term time I would have liked to include collaboration with other students, courses and tutors to make it more of an inclusive and diverse representation of Music From the Art School. I would have interviewed other students about songs that either remind them of their time at the Art School or if they could suggest any Manchester produced music which could have a particular relevance to the project.
I would have also liked to have been able to use the print workshops to produce printed tote bags to either package the records in or to service as a complimentary part of a series of music based products. I would have used the same design for these bags as is on the album artwork. I would also have produced flyers to put around the Art School advertising firstly for collaboration an submissions and then to advertise its sale. I may have also actually produced many more physical copies of the compilation and tried to sell them on a stall in Holden Gallery / Cafe.

I also would have liked to expand on the project by experimenting with different uses of the compilation. Particularly, a more interactive approach. For example, I could give new first years headphones and a map of the Art School and they could investigate the site whilst listening to the compilation.

I also would have liked to include more reasoning behind my choice of each track in the booklet / liner notes. And also have included an artists profile for each of the bands / musicians stating their links to the Art School, to Manchester or the importance of the track, for example describing a particular time of year.

Artists Statement

I am an illustrator who is interested in all aspects of DIY culture and art outside the gallery space. I am also interested in gender and sexuality issues and identify strongly as feminist. I have worked to commission for a number of clients, including record labels, clubnight and gig promoters, illustration websites producing illustrated products and visual artwork. I have also produced some of my own printed products featuring my own illustrations. I have recently been experimenting with a return to costume design.

Final back cover design

Including the final tracklisting which features mostly ex-students from Manchester School of Art

Final booklet concertina design

Includes a map of the Art School with a key of areas talked about in the liner notes. 

Final cover design

More front / back cover drawings

Fineliner drawing of Manchester School of Art tutors in 1890. I have made the grouping of people more circular in an attempt to compliment the roundness of the CD / record it will be housing.

Different options for the record booklet / liner notes

I also want to push myself in terms of producing the booklet for the compilation that is packaged together with the CD / record. I originally considered producing a standard CD-booklet type mini zine but I'm now thinking of different ways I could fold the booklet to make the booklet more visually interesting and innovative.

I have taken inspiration from this NoBrow booklet

also their highly successful series of 'Leporellos', large concertina books which advance a narrative as the reader progresses through the folds. It can also be pulled out to be transformed into a poster.

I also really like Chris Ware's innovative use of booklets and different folding techniques in his recent release, Building Stories. Chris Ware is a comic creator and graphic novelist, Building Stories is a coherent graphic novel packaged in a box containing many seperate comics and sheets of drawings which the reader must pick out a narrative from themselves.

Contents of the Building Stories box

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Cover design beginnings

Experimenting with different media to use for the titles on the cover of the compilation.

Drawing with fineliners and brush pens

hand printing

oil pastels


Experimenting with typefaces

Pitching my product

I've pitched my product to a number of other students and Manchester-based music promoters to gage their opinions and ideas for possible changes to the project. I have asked for both general feedback and feedback specifically concerning how they think this product would perform whilst on sale.

I've asked the co-founder and promoter of Party Hard, a Manchester based alternative clubnight, what his opinions of the project are. Party Hard have booked Manchester based bands several times since they started their night in 2011. He had this to say:

"I like the idea but maybe with further research you could find out some more bands who are students right now or bands that formed while at MMU. You could so some recordings of the music in the Holden Gallery that you mentioned."

I also asked one of the co-founders of the feminist clubnight, Typical Girls, to give me some feedback.

"I think we could sell something like this at our clubnight, we usually have a stall. Have you considered doing something similar for other venues around Manchester?"

Playlist Development

Thought of changing / adding some songs so that they are by Manchester bands. Really don't want the compilation to end up being an homage to the likes of The Stones Roses / Happy Mondays etc so I'm going to stick with more contemporary / current bands mixed with the more esoteric side of Manchester's musical history.

This version includes all Manchester-based bands and also some other Manchester School of Art alumni. Some of these include bands such as PINS, LoneLady and Linder Sterling aka Ludus.

The tracklisting for this version is:

LoneLady - Nerve Up
A Certain Ratio - Knife Slits Water
PINS - Say To Me
Ludus - Mutilate
The Freshies - Children of the World
Blue Orchids - Agents of Change
Shield Patterns - Good Care
Magazine - Definitive Gaze

Monday, 19 August 2013

First Version of Compilation

Here's the first version of the compilation. It's general theme is both the progression from first year to third and the progression from the beginning to the end of one year. It also includes tracks by notable musical alumni John McGeoch (Spellbound) and former Head of Art, Professor John Hyatt (The Three Johns).

The tracklisting goes like this:

Flying Lotus - Nose Art
John Maus - Keep Pushing On
Chromatics - In the City
The Three Johns - Death of the European
Siouxsie & the Banshees - Spellbound
Sonny and the Sunsets - Too Young to Burn
Aloe Blacc - I Need a Dollar
Gold Panda - We Work Nights
The Animals - Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood
The Zombies - This Will Be Our Year

The website I've used automatically shuffles the tracklisting but the tracklist above is in the intended order.

Further Ideas for Compilation

I'm really keen on progressing with the compilation record idea.

My idea for it now would be to base each track on the compilation to different areas, rooms or events within the art school. An example of this would be:

Holden Gallery
Holden Cafe
Interactive Arts Studio
All Saints Park
Print Workshop
Link Gallery
New Building
In The Lifts


First Year
Link Gallery
Mid Year Breakdown
Degree Show

In the liner notes for the album would be a map of the Art School either as a floor plan or a more mind map type of drawing, depending on which route I decide to go with regarding the theme of the tracklisting.

The notes would also include a short paragraph on each track talking about the location / reasoning behind why each track was chosen to represent each place / event / etc.

I would also like to incude collaboraytions with other students, art courses and tutors, maybe getting submission for artwork to go along with the notes or for song submissions / reasonings.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Compilation Ideas and Development

From researching notable musical alumni, I found a few bands / musicians I could use in the project. These included John McGeoch (influential lead guitarist of Magazine, Siouxsie & the Banshees, PiL), Three Johns, Gruff Rhys (of Super Furry Animals), Linder Sterling / Ludus, John Mayall, Peter Saville (graphic designer, co-founder of Factory Records), and Mick Hucknall!

Peter Saville

John McGeoch

I am also considering producing a compilation of music which reminds me of certain areas of the Art School, eg. a track that reminds me of the Holden Gallery, a track that reminds me of the printing workshops. Acompanying this I would produce a short piece of writing explaining my choices. I could also ask for input from other current students

I could have a song based on the excitement around putting up an exhibition, frustration of trying to find a spare printing press,

could produce a booklet with a map of the art school with a key showing where each track is linked to and a short paragraph about the song and why it was chosen.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Sounds from the Manchester School of Art

From looking at notable alumni of the art school I came up with the idea to base my MMU Oriinals product on music; either popular / groundbreaking sounds from different eras during the Art Schools existence (1838 - present), or notable musical alumni of the School.

I researched notable musical alumni, amongst which is Linder Sterling, one of my favourite artists and also one of my favourite musicians due to her fronting of the post-punk band Ludus.

Linder Sterling

Monday, 22 July 2013

Product ideas so far

I have thought about linking this project with my existing practice of illustration and producing a line of illustrated products such as cards and tote bags. I would be particularly keen to pursue wearable items such as cloth bags. However, I want to push myself with this project and produce a range of products that I have not dealt with before. I would also like to take a step away from my usual style of illustration as a challenge to myself.

I have also been thinking about possibly doing something based around music, as Manchester is such a famously musical city, I am very passionate about music and I believe it would be a popular choice with the target market of the MMU Originals shop. I absolutely love making playlists and compilations so I feel like it would be interesting to utilise this skill within the context of a professional artist based environment. I run a clubnight in Manchester with three friends and I am in charge of making all of the playlists, booking bands and playing music on the night. However I have never really brought this love of music into my practice as an artist.

Recent illustration I did for the clubnight, Typical Girls

Thursday, 11 July 2013

MMU Originals Products

For this project I will have to tailor my existing practice to a more specific market, matching that of the MMU Originals shop in order for it to be a viable idea.

Having looked at the MMU Originals online shop I can pick out an existing aesthetic that crosses the whole catalogue. I would describe this aesthetic as: modern, solid, bold but subtly muted colours. It also seems to have an emphasis on 3D design, including metalwork and jewellery design

I can also see that there is no existing music related products so I feel that I can continue with my compilation idea.  To fit with the aesthetic of the shop I will ensure that the design of the cover, innersleevs and notes is bold and modern, possibly experimenting with collage or graphics instead of my usual scribbly style of illustration.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

History of the Art School: Research Beginnings

The aim of Unit X College Four i to produce a range of products suitable for inclusion within the MMU Originals online shop, using the history of the Art School as a starting point for product design and development. This will involve undertaking both visual and written research into the Art School, its students and surroundings.

Students and tutors at Manchester School of Art in 1905. Including LS Lowry and Adolphe Valette
Manchester Art School tutors in 1890.

At this early stage in the project I am thinking of thinking of focussing on the past and present students of the Art School and also what attracted myself personally to the Art School and how I could translate this into my practice and final product outcomes.