• Sarah Jane

Photoshop Experiments...

During my last tutorial, I got the idea of designing my own patterns using imagery related to sexism, misogyny and even rape. We spoke about the idea of being subtle in my work, and forcing the viewer to have to look closer to see what is really going on in the work, rather than being really obvious like my other pieces. From this, I decided to go back on to photoshop and start to play around with symbols and images.


The first pattern I made was a good starting point but wasn't as effective as I'd hoped it would be. I used a basic symbol of a spanner and hammer from one of the presets in photoshop, resized it and repeated it over the canvas, I tried to create a floral shape with the symbol as I was repeating them, whilst trying to make it subtle and not too obvious. I don't think this worked as well as I had envisioned it to, and it looked too clunky and simplistic. I decided get a hammer head clip art icon from google images, cropped it, played around with it so that it resembled a floral shape and added some flora symbols from the presets, and made the background darker to allow the floral shapes to stand out. This design seemed to work out better, and looked more effective in terms of subtlety and blurring the lines between masculine and feminine, as well as the idea of pattern and symbols.

From this, I decided to experiment with different imagery. I moved onto using a fist as the centre of a flower to signify power, strength but also possible violence and the negative connotations to the fist. Again to blur the lines between feminine pattern and harsh imagery, from this, I decided to use a different fist shape and flower design, again to see if I could create this subtlety that I wanted. I think these pieces are interesting, but I don't think they work as well as I'd hoped in terms of hiding the symbols. I did combine the hammer pattern with the fist pattern which I think worked better in obscuring the pattern.


I then decided to use trump's face in one of my designs. I'm still interested in his politics and how he seems to be changing American politics. I made him the centre of a flower and repeated the design, again following this idea of repeated imagery as a pattern, similar to the fabrics that I had been using. I called the pattern 'Grab em by the f*****' in reference to the phrase he said on the MTV Bus all those years ago. I described it as making something beautiful from something so ugly, which also fits in with my cushions and other textile pieces. I might add text to this piece and possibly print in on some sort of fabric. I may also screen print this design onto fabric, and stitch into that. These ideas are what I will most likely explore in the second unit. I really want to explore materials, and the boundaries of material and fabric.

I experimented with overlapping some of the patterns and playing with opacity of the layers, having the patterns being visible in the background. These all look really interesting, and have given me the idea of possibly getting some patterned fabrics and creating my own patterns through collaging them, and experimenting with shapes, colour and textures. Overall, even thought these pieces didn't come out the way I had hoped, they have inspired me into developing them through different processes. I have also printed the hammer pattern onto fabric, so I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like. I chose fabric that was suitable for crafts and cushions, as I might use it for another cushion, but I might leave it as it is, and have it as a piece on it's own.

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