Author: Julia

Stimulating the senses: smelling, tasting & hearing art

If we think of art only as visual – and not as something that can address all the senses – we miss fundamental parts of the way sensation in representation generates space and meaning. Multisensory, interactive experiences of art can create innovative imaginative environments, and artists, designers and researchers are increasingly looking for new ways to understand and explore the creative significance of the senses. So how are practitioners and galleries today making the most basic perceptions of sonic communication and scented air visible to the mind of their audience?

Happy 514th birthday Bronzino!

Some of Bronzino’s coldly classical canvases have not helped his reputation, and his famous Allegory of Venus and Cupid, with its over-the-top eroticism and cryptic symbolism, certainly isn’t everyone’s cup of tea (check out the bemused visitors in room 8 of the National Gallery where the work hangs!). But drawing is the best place to start with Bronzino. A quick look at his sketches, studies, modelli (demonstration drawings) and cartoons done in black and red chalk and brown ink will leave you hooked!

Delving into your digital toolkit

Are you using every tool in your digital toolkit? Are you ready to think about expanding your creative efforts by experimenting with different digital platforms? There is an exciting realm of digital content out there to help you think about and address important artistic questions. Navigating these tools can be daunting and confusing, so here is my quick beginner’s guide.

Study is a marathon, not a sprint

As you may have noticed, the 2016 Rio Olympics have got underway. Among those athletes going for gold, I would recommend keeping your eyes on the long distance runners – imitating some of their strategies will maximise your chances of successfully completing your studies.

Fun, challenging and relevant

As any student with experience of the OCA’s Creative Arts Today course will know, exploring how different creative disciplines interact and promote exciting points of discussion and debate is really important. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach to learning helps you to develop new (and more flexible) methods, new lines of questioning, new specialist and transferable skills, and new strategies for resolving some of the challenges that may face you in your practice.

Getting the most out of your learning log

One of the key components in developing your learning log or blog is visual analysis – looking at, selecting and recording the artists/photographers who you find interesting, challenging or useful in progressing your work. The more you document and reflect upon those creative practitioners who have had a ‘marmite effect’ on you, the more you will improve both your critical thinking and creative skills.

What can Art History do for you?

Art Historians are often asked: what is the use or relevance of studying Art History? Why does it matter? All those works of art and images! All those foreign-sounding names and terms! All that reading! Art History can seem unusually daunting but it’s really all about asking what you see, how you interpret it and equipping you with the skills you need to confidently analyse, critique and write about art.

Precious Possessions

Our relationship with our possessions, the objects we cherish and express our identities through, is an intriguing and often poignant one. In spite of our throwaway culture, certain objects are irreplaceable.

Greek Art: Scouting for beauty in marble and plaster

To many, it can seem as if different eyes are required to study Greek sculptures, so if you are going to admire the Greek body beautiful it helps to know a bit about the language of Ancient Greek art. For those short on time, my top tip would be to remember five key words – balance, rhythm, proportion, harmony and symmetry.

The Body Beautiful

Women’s social identity has long been conditioned by their culture’s perception of their bodies. The criteria, obsessions and preoccupations according to which women construct their appearance, vary over time, but as a trio of current exhibitions show, assumptions about beauty, body image, and fashion can be explored and challenged in surprising ways.

Plant portraiture comes of age

Botanical art may not be at the epicentre of contemporary ‘cool’ just yet, but it seems that after almost a century on the wane, ‘plant portraitists’ are now proving with characteristically elegant understatement, that portraying something natural does not mean you cannot be accepted as modern.