Blog Post #28 – Reflections & Priorities

Architecture School, Education, Life in General

It’s been a while since I’ve put pen to paper and written something for this blog and it feels like an old friend greeting me as I start to do it again. During the summer lockdown of 2020, I found great joy in writing weekly and getting content out there. I think it did me a great deal of good, firstly alleviating some of the boredom I was experiencing and secondly it lead me to realise that putting yourself out there is not as bad as first expected and people seemed to like what I was writing, or at least I think so!


2021 is looking like a brighter year and I am looking forward to what it will bring, however, I will always be thankful for 2020 and despite the negatives, good really did come out of it for me. The end of 2020 saw me start my journey to become an architect and I now have my first semester under my belt. It was a truly inspiring experience and reinforced my love for architecture. The long nights and hard did not seem like a chore as I was creatively stimulated and genuinely interested throughout. It did however consume me slightly which led to me tailing off in my alternative creative outlets such as this blog and the podcast (Discussed It).


However, over the Christmas break, I was able to look back on that first semester and reflect. Time management and planning is crucial and I want to try and balance my life a little better and bring together all the things I love to do to allow for a far more holistic and sustainable university experience, one of those things being sleep!


This is just me looking back and looking forward, writing and podcast episodes will now sit at the forefront of my mind from now on and you can look forward to me rambling on in the written form fortnightly with a new blog post every other Monday. The other Monday’s a new episode of the Discussed It podcast will be released where Hayden Day and I discuss all there is and invite guests on for insightful and interesting conversations!


I hope everyone has a good start to 2021 so far and I hope it pans out the way you hope it to, we all deserve it!

It’s good to be back!

Blog Post #019 – Photography Explained #2

Art, Education, Photography

Welcome back to Photography Explained with the second instalment in the series. In these posts, I hope to make some sense of some of the photography that I have taken and offer information on the decision making processes behind them. 

In this particular edition, I will be discussing a collection of photographs named Accidental Art. These images are the remnants of an art class discarded into a sink. These often go unnoticed and regarded as waste but the mix of colour and pattern when you’re least expecting is what interested me. This led to an extensive process of seeking out these obscure pieces of beauty. Whenever I was lucky to find these discarded remnants I made sure to take a photograph and over time built up a portfolio of similar images but always different in terms of colours and patterns present. 


Below is a selection of the photographs for this particular collection:  


After researching into the world-famous Leonardo da Vinci further reinforced my thinking behind this particular exercise. A theory coined by da Vinci suggests that art can be found at any moment. The advice was directed towards those that were experiencing a creative block. This passage is taken from Leonardo da Vinci’s words: ‘If you look upon an old wall covered with dirt, or the odd appearance of some streaked stones, you may discover several things like landscapes, battles, clouds, uncommon attitudes, humorous faces, draperies, etc. Out of this confused mass of objects, the mind will be furnished with an abundance of designs and subjects perfectly new.’ The overarching reasoning is that an artist should try and find meaning in chaos.

This was exactly what I was attempting to do when carrying out a simple exercise but with a greater meaning behind it. The quote devised by Yotam Ottolenghi, ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ sums this experience up rather nicely and I implore you to do just this, find beauty where it is least expected, in my case a classroom sink. 

Till next week, all the best. 

Blog Post #017 – My First Art Exhibition

Art, Life in General

This blog post brings together the artwork selected for my final exhibition that has been completed over the last 2 years for my International Baccalaureate Art course. The exhibition took place in The Pie Factory, an art gallery in Margate, Kent. The exhibition was open to the public and saw north of 250 people coming in to have a look around. The entire experience was a first for myself and I feel far more confident in articulating the reasoning behind my work to strangers, I feel this is a worthwhile skill to work upon.  


To begin I have my exhibition description which hopes to explain my thinking that underpins my overall exhibition and brings together each of the individual pieces together into a harmonious art installation. Alongside the images of each piece sits a section of text that allows for greater clarification and understanding of the work that I have completed by offering further information. 

Exhibition Description: 

With an untrained eye, one may see a singular beautiful thing. A trained eye, however, will see a hundred beautiful things. It is not what you are looking at, it’show you look at it. A simple building may appear to be rather plain and unappealing, but upon closer observation, one can see the interesting placement of windows, the patterned carpet and the ornate doorknobs. Only those that consciously seek out the finer details begin to deeper appreciate their surroundings, only then you can say you are fully immersed within a space.

My thesis statement for this exhibition is simply: Stop, look and listen. This serves as a constant reminder to step back and consider the finer details in the world around us. This is something that I have found myself having to consider as I found myself wrapped in my school life and was losing perspective and clarity within my mind leading to a deeper, personal connection with my work.


Une petite cathédrale

The upcycling of used, defunct sporting equipment that utilises the general form of flying buttresses found in cathedrals creating a useful and exciting lighting piece. 


Staple City 

A group of young children were asked to respond to the task, ‘draw a city skyline’. The responses were very similar, with simple shapes drawn. Taking these simplified forms, I tried to reflect this ideology in my sculpture. The sculpture is focused on stripping back the confusion of our cities and focusing on what is beneath the surface. A group of young children were asked to respond to the task, ‘draw a city skyline’. The responses were very similar, with simple shapes drawn. Taking these simplified forms, I tried to reflect this ideology in my sculpture. The sculpture is focused on stripping back the confusion of our cities and focusing on what is beneath the surface. 


The Wheel of Colour

An inspired piece from my great-great-grandfathers sketchbook showed also. This is a presentation of my exploration into colour via the creation of a colour wheel with the design being made up of interior designs that have piqued my interest. This construction expresses a metaphor, the blurred colour when the wheel is spinning represents normal, fast-paced life. When halted by the hand it signifies the clarity that arises when time is taken to ‘Stop Look Listen.’


The Search for Obscure Beauty 

A collection of carefully selected photographs that seek to explore the finer details within the surroundings of my ‘town’. The aim was to try and find beauty in places where they are least expected and are missed by many that choose not to look. 


Inside/Outside – 50% 

An exploration into the manipulation of the pencil to depict a dissected shell. The shell has been cut in half to expose the inner beauty that is hidden to those that never look. The halved shell is present for observation.


The 16 Hour Clock 

An inspired piece from a finer detail that piqued my interest which I observed in the British Museum in London. The intricate patterning of the observed window was divided into 16 sections which led to the aptly named ‘16 Hour Clock’. 


The Johnson Table

A resting place for my collection of my ‘City That Never…’ pieces but remains relevant as the legs hark back to Frank Lloyd Wright’s design of the ‘Johnson Wax Headquarters’


Jet Black Tub Chair 

Adding to this collection of soft furnishings this tub chair takes inspiration from the circular forms and ‘faux’ trees found in Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘Johnson Wax Headquarters’ in Wisconsin. 


The City That Never Sleeps 

Through the exploration of these simplified forms and shapes, I created a design that takes a simplified skyline and I have stitched it onto a self-made soft furnishing which adds further context to the ‘Jet Black Tub Chair’. 


The City That Never Reads

The utilisation of a book signifies how important it is for us to maintain a habit of reading. In today’s age, social media has infatuated our minds of sometimes useless information and we must make a conscious decision to take back control and read more. The simple skyline represents a stripped-back reality, and this simplified attitude to life is something to consider. 


The City That Never Drinks

An exploration of an alternative artistic technique whilst maintaining this design of a simplified skyline on a mug as explored in various of my other pieces. 


‘Thesis’ 

These words formulate my thesis statement, tying together all of my exploration pieces and consolidating them to this idea that we as people must slow down at times and take time to ‘STOP and LOOK’ for those finer details that go missing in our everyday lives.


Mankind’s arches 

A simplified replication of an arch found in Canterbury Cathedral allowed me to bring a large scale construction, capturing the shapes and forms observed by myself, inside the Pie Factory. The ivy, however, reminds us that these human forms are derived from nature. 


All together these individual pieces came together to make up my exhibition, I was very pleased in the way that it all came together and I am proud of the hard work that I have put in over the last 2 years. I have enjoyed the exhibition experience and look forward to immersing myself into similar situations in the future. I think I will have access to similar situations in architecture school which I am looking forward to. 

I see this exhibition as an example to myself the necessity of long hours and hard work to see successful results. 

To many more long hours before the end.

Blog Post #009 – My First Architectural Internship

Architecture School, Life in General

Information gathering allows for informed decision making

Architecture is a big decision. It is said that it does not become just a vocation but a way of life. It is seemingly impossible to separate the two, work and life, and for some that will be something that they can deal with, even crave. But for others, this may be too much and can cause them to burn out and lose their love for architecture. 

Before taking a small step into the world of architecture by applying to study at a school of architecture, I decided to scope out the field first. To do this, I decided to find myself some work experience in an architecture firm and using the information I yearned from this experience, I will be able to make a far more informed decision, rather than just looking at the pages of a prospectus. 

This is something that I recommend to anyone who is thinking of studying architecture at university or through an apprenticeship. Trying to secure a work placement at any architectural firm will offer yourself an insight into what it is like to be an architect. I have found it very hard to gain a sense of what this felt like through reading a blog post, reading a book or watching a YouTube video. This initial step will save surprises further down the line when you are more committed to the cause. 

Good networking is key in today’s highly competitive world.  

This initial step is of course sometimes the hardest thing when trying to seek out a work placement. It can be daunting trying to open a conversation with people you don’t know but it is important to know that every architectural professional you speak to was in your position at one time and will be able to relate to what you are going through. Of course, you may be rejected, but do not take this personally. It is more likely to be because they are unable to facilitate you at that time or they have too much work on. But you will never know if you do not ask, there is no harm in making that initial correspondence. These conversations that you begin to have all start your network that is so important going forward in the profession. Good networking and the maintenance of relationships can pay dividends in the future; this could be in the form of a job interview or collaborative purposes. 

My personal experiences

I thought I would mention some of my initial experiences in the architectural world so that you can understand what can be possible.

I first approached a local firm in Ramsgate, Kent called del Renzio & del Renzio. After coming in for an initial conversation with the firm partner I was lucky to be invited in for one day every other week for a year as well as working during some school holidays. During this time I experienced how a small scale architectural firm worked and learnt physical model making skills, as well as being introduced to certain software packages. This particular experience was pivotal to my decision to apply to study architecture at university. The professionals within the firm also gave me support in my portfolio creation as well as offering advice on a whole host of subjects. 

One thing that did cause me stress during the first few weeks working here was the tea order. Trying to remember 6-8 different tea orders and what mug matched up with what person, whilst I was still mixing up people’s names, was a recipe for disaster. After a few embarrassing mistakes, I adopted a post-it note method where I would jot down the tea order and stick it onto the mug. Problem solved! It does get easier over time so don’t worry too much.

I also secured a week-long work placement at a large scale architectural firm in London, HTA Design. This was invaluable as I was able to see how a larger firm differed from a smaller firm. During this week I worked with a host of individuals on a social housing project and was able to understand some of the processes required to push a project along. Within this time I worked with 3D printing and modelling software to create a scale model for the project as well as receiving useful advice and experience. It also gave me a sense of what it was like to work in the city. 

These two experiences provided with the information needed to make an informed decision that architecture was the route for me. This allowed me to look forward towards my studies free of any doubt that can creep in when choices are made.


I have gone through my experiences and hopefully, you can see how this should be something to think about when working out whether architecture is a route to take. Good luck and all the best in your journey. 

Cheers,

Blog Post #007 – Photography Explained #1

Photography

Welcome to the first of a series of blog posts titled Photography Explained. In these blog posts, I will take the time to expand on collections of photographs taken by myself. These photographs may be present in my portfolio and these further explanations will allow for a greater understanding for the reasons behind each of those photos. 

In this first edition of Photography Explained, I will be exploring images that were geared towards displaying in my final year art exhibition. This particular exhibition contained artwork that has been completed over my two years in sixth form and was held in an art gallery in Margate, Kent and was opened to the public for viewing. This was an enriching and worthwhile experience for me. 


Throughout my exhibition ran this overarching idea that oneself must avoid being bogged down in everyday life and take time to notice the ‘finer details’ in their surroundings. When one decides to seek these details out, only then will hidden beauty reveal itself. I felt that a way to express this ideology to the audience of my artwork would be to portray my own experience of this exercise. 

To achieve this I set aside some time and explored a local town near me and looked deeper than I normally would to discover the beauty that has eluded me. Below are the 6 images that I chose from a host of additional photographs taken across different trips. 

The 6 chosen images above were photographs that I felt were examples of the ‘finer details’ that I had set out to find. The arrangement above is how this particular photography collection was displayed in my exhibition. The organisation decisions were in my view very important as it allowed the collection of photographs to rest easy on the eyes. I grouped the photographs depending on specific elements found in each of the photos. For example, the two images to the left both contain bold, straight lines, the middle two images have a focus on symmetry and the two images on the right accommodate sweeping curves. This allowed for a subtle structure to the arrangement which in turn elevated the piece. 

I enjoyed the exercise of seeking out the ‘finer details’ in our surroundings and I feel that the 6 photographs above showcase my thinking nicely. I hope that the deeper dive on my thought processes behind some of my photography allowed for some further clarity. I think that the idea of taking time to slow down and reflect has been forced to the forefront in recent times in the most surreal of circumstances. However, I believe that we can use this time as an opportunity to do just this and that we, as a planet, will reach a new level of appreciation for our surroundings and the people in them.

I look forward to writing my next edition of Photography Explained. 

See you next Monday for another blog post. 

Cheers, 

Blog Post #006 – Breaking News: Exams Are Cancelled

Life in General

All across the world educational examinations have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, including my own exams. This is the first time that exams have been cancelled since their introduction in 1888, even continuing through two world wars. These must be unprecedented times if this is the course of action that must be taken.

This has now left so many students across the world in such a strange situation, in a matter of days going from huge pressure from teachers and schools to achieve in the summer exams to being told that they are in fact cancelled. It has stirred strange emotions within myself as I am having to react to the news and process the ramifications of these decisions.

On one hand, I feel released from the huge pressure and stresses that are associated with the exam season which is a positive thing. But on the other hand, I feel that I have lost all control of my destiny almost and it is now up to the judgement of my teachers and the examination bodies. This is a feeling that I am struggling to deal with as I much prefer being able to work at something to ensure the best possible result rather than leaving it to fate almost. I am sure many other students are feeling like this as well and I know that I need to maintain trust in those making the decisions to make the correct ones. This is a unique situation that we are all in and we must remember that every other person is in the same boat as us. 

Like I have mentioned in an earlier blog post, try to control the controllables rather than the uncontrollables. Of course, this is always easier said than done, it will just take time to wrap our heads around this forever evolving situation.

Stay well, everyone. 

Blog Post #004 – Lockdown Boredom: Top 100 Films Of All Time

Life in General

Now that everyone has settled into this rather strange, new way of living thanks to the lockdown restrictions that have been placed upon us, people are starting to look towards certain activities to pass the time. It is so unusual to be given this period of time which allows us to take a moment to slow down and reflect upon our own lives. It has given some the time to start projects that have fallen by the wayside due to in most cases a lack of time. This could be writing a book, learning to paint or taking up yoga.

I thought that it’d be fun to share one of the projects amongst others that I have undertaken in these strange times. I decided to compile a definitive ‘Top 100 films of all time’ and work my way through the films during this difficult period. I felt that this would be an opportunity to experience a whole range of films differing in age and genre. Some of the films on the list are said to be extremely impactful and hold great significance. 

I turned to IMDB, an online database of information related to films and television programmes. From their website, I selected their ‘Top 100 films of all time’. 

I have included this particular list below: 

  1. The Shawshank Redemption
  2. The Godfather 
  3. The Dark Knight 
  4. The Godfather: Part 2 
  5. Pulp Fiction 
  6. Schindler’s List 
  7. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King 
  8. 12 Angry Men 
  9. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly 
  10. Forrest Gump 
  11. Inception 
  12. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring 
  13. Fight Club 
  14. Dangai 
  15. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back 
  16. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
  17. The Matrix 
  18. Goodfellas 
  19. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest 
  20. City of God 
  21. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers 
  22. Seven Samurai 
  23. Interstellar 
  24. Your Name. 
  25. The Silence of the Lambs 
  26. Leon 
  27. Seven 
  28. Saving Private Ryan 
  29. The Usual Suspects 
  30. Spirited Away 
  31. Life is Beautiful 
  32. Untouchable 
  33. One Upon a Time in the West 
  34. It’s a Wonderful Life 
  35. City Lights 
  36. My Father and My Son 
  37. Alien 
  38. The Prestige 
  39. Gladiator 
  40. The Dark Knight Rises 
  41. Whiplash 
  42. Memento 
  43. The Green Mile 
  44. Apocalypse Now 
  45. Psycho 
  46. Raiders of the Lost Ark 
  47. Terminator 2: Judgement Day 
  48. The Pianist 
  49. The Lives of Others 
  50. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb 
  51. American History X 
  52. Back to the Future 
  53. Casino 
  54. Die Hard 
  55. The Elephant Man 
  56. Finding Nemo 
  57. Gran Torino 
  58. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone 
  59. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom 
  60. Jurassic Park 
  61. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 
  62. Logan 
  63. Monsters, Inc. 
  64. Night of the Living Dead 
  65. Ocean’s Eleven 
  66. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 
  67. Quantum of Solace 
  68. Rocky 
  69. Shrek 
  70. Taken 
  71. Up 
  72. V for Vendetta 
  73. WALL.E 
  74. X-MEN 
  75. Young Frankenstein 
  76. Zulu 
  77. Casablanca 
  78. Rear Window 
  79. Sunset Blvd. 
  80. Grave of the Fireflies 
  81. Cinema Paradiso 
  82. The Great Dictator 
  83. Modern Times 
  84. Paths of Glory 
  85. Like Stars on Earth 
  86. Aliens 
  87. Django Unchained 
  88. American Beauty 
  89. The Shining 
  90. Requiem for a Dream 
  91. Braveheart 
  92. Oldboy 
  93. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi 
  94. North by Northwest
  95. Amélie 
  96. Once Upon a Time in America 
  97. 3 Idiots 
  98. Princess Mononoke 
  99. Vertigo
  100. Citizen Kane 

Some of the films listed above I have already watched but I shall be rewatching them as part of this challenge that I have set myself. I will also write a short response to each film to reflect upon the film and offer my opinion. At the time of writing, I have watched 5 out of the 100 films, so I have a long way to go yet but I am looking forward to it. 

This was one of the challenges that I have set myself over this unusual time but it doesn’t necessarily have to become one of yours. Just take some time to think about if there is anything that you want to do but have been putting off, a new skill to be learnt perhaps. Use this newfound time as an opportunity for self-improvement and evolution and avoid remaining stagnant during this period. You’ll see it as a missed opportunity and regret it in time to come. 

Strive to improve and have fun. Stay well, everyone. 

Blog Post #001 – A Warm Welcome

Life in General

Hello and welcome to my first ever blog post on my new website. I want to offer complete transparency and admit that at this moment I am unsure of what direction this blog will take. I am a pending architectural student hoping to study architecture at a UK university come the autumn of 2020 so I feel that I will have an architectural theme running through my blogging activity. I wish to share my experiences of attending university and of course studying architecture. I have heard lots of good things about studying architecture but these have been coupled with the warnings of constant all-nighters and extreme sleep deprivation, dreaded crits where the work you have slaved over is ripped up and the non-existence of any kind of social life. 

I have no idea to what extent these warnings hold any truth however, I will let you know in 6 months when I get stuck into my first year of architecture school. I severely hope that this will not be the case and I will enjoy my university years. 

I have utilised the website that this blog resides within as an outlet to display the work that I have completed in the form of a portfolio and I hope to expand upon the finished elements that will be seen in that portfolio. This might be in the form of talking about how and why certain things that I constructed came to fruition. A blog post may be a collection of images from a specific trip that I have made, perhaps to a particular city renowned for its architecture and art and open a dialogue of my experiences whilst visiting. Another kind of post may have a slightly more personal touch with a discussion on my experiences around certain things going in my life such as current events, education, social life etc. 

I hope that you will join me on this journey into the architecture world as well as the big, wide world. 

Let’s see how it goes!