• Olly Jordan

Chapter 6 - The Pet and the Stray - Art Foundation 2015

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

The Pet and the Stray

Starting my Art Foundation was hard to be honest, it was the first time of being with a whole new set of people since primary school I guess, and new teachers that just didn't get me, as well as going through some personal life stuff, this year was a pretty bleak time in my life. I spent alot of my time alone during this course and just didn't get along with the teachers I had, and this just proved to me how much I value good relationships and how that affects my work ethic.

While studying, there was the choice of being separated into different specialisms: sculpture, textiles, graphic design or fine art. I went with graphic design as painting was something that I could always return to, but graphic design and working with poster contexts, magazine spreads and book illustration was something that I had not explored at school or during A Levels.

The final project of my foundation year was a book that wrote and illustrated. This book is essentially a result of me just tackling the life events that were happening to me in my own way, without caring about grades or the course itself, the book was a way for me to escape and also get clarity on what was going on in my life. It is a story based on, looking back on it, a toxic friendship. However, at the time, despite being told this by my real friends, I kept that toxic friendship going anyway. Within the book I tried to incorporate small anecdotes true to the friendship, but obviously gave a soft and creative twist so it would appeal to children. I would describe the story to be a lot like Disney's The Fox and the Hound, or Bolt, in the way that the story is about two characters who are not supposed to be friends. It was a 22 page fully illustrated book with vignettes, half bleed pages, as well as the text for the story. I would say that the story telling kind of came to me as more important and the artwork second, which wasn't best for the course I was on, but as I said, the course really didn't matter to me at that point, my main focus was just trying to tackle these life events.

'A book about a pet dog, Toby, who has always been loyal and kind to his owner, who becomes best friends with a flea-riddled stray cat, Sly.

Toby and Sly's unlikely friendship grows by running around and playing games, having fun chats, getting food together and causing mischief.

Toby later starts having to make choices, leave the cat to keep his family happy? Or keep his friendship with that cat, but risk becoming a stray himself!'

Book blurb

Back to the book and its artwork however..

As you can tell, the style of the book is unlike anything else before this stage of my art career, it is fully digital and not painterly qualities whatsoever. I can't remember how exactly I got to that stage, my Art Foundation is kind of a blur to be honest. I think it was a style and a phase that suited what I needed in that time period, but wasn't necessarily speaking true to the artist that I would want to be.

Toby and Sly

In terms of what I got from the Art Foundation, I would say that it helped me realise that illustration is definitely an avenue I would like to explore, just like my A Level teacher suggested, yes I went on a random style experiment at this time period, but the art of storytelling and how that can be told through images was something that was interested in continuing to explore. So naturally, I applied to study illustration at university.

When it came to the interviews at the universities I wanted to go to studying illustration, I decided to go against my teachers advice, and I brought my old large scale paintings from my A Levels. The teachers I had on my Art Foundation said that the artwork is 'old and irrelevant', although they had no idea that painting is my true passion because I didn't have a relationship with them.

In the uni interviews I had a good balance of the paintings from A Levels that have been posted on the blog, and my current work I had been doing at the time on my foundation before this Pet and the Stray project. The tutors who interviewed me didn't even get the chance to talk about my Foundation work, we spoke the whole time about the paintings and the processes there. It was such a positive experience talking about my paintings in that way again and getting a good reaction from it, unlike from my course teachers on my foundation. I took a risk by going against my current Foundation teachers advice, but I think it just helped prove to me that I need to return to painting as that is where I am obviously more comfortable and trust my instincts. So, to conclude, F you foundation course!



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