Physical Appearance and Identity

People express their identity in many ways. One of the biggest ways is through their physical appearance.

There are many ways in which ones physical appearance can be altered, some of the most common include: make-up, tattoos, accessories, clothing, hairstyles and piercings.

There are also more extreme methods of modifying appearance to reflect identity, such as surgery, including plastic and transition surgery.

In addition to changes to appearance brought about by choice, there are those that occur in other ways, such as scars, disabilities or weight change.

There are many reasons people may change their physical appearance. These include; cultural (for example, neck rings); fashion reasons which may also be due to wanting to fit in with the crowd, opposing this the changes may take place due to a want to be seen as individual, or even simply because someone is unhappy with part of or all of their appearance.

As our physical appearance is what people see and use to judge us, our identities are shown through what we wear and how we choose to alter our appearance to best represent how we see ourselves in terms of identity and how we wish to be seen.

identity mind map.jpg


11th October – Pre-Industrial Revolution life

Pre-Industrial Revolution 18th C:

Homes had no running water or electricity, meaning water was carried from wells to be used, and lighting and heat came from fires, candles or oil lamps. As oil was expensive, the people lived lives that were more conforming to daylight hours as little could be done in the evenings.

Depending on the class you lived in, you may have had to live in a single room where everything would have been located (e.g. kitchen, bedroom etc) and everyone would have lived together. In the 18th C, entertainment for children may have come from hand made toys, exploring / walking, sowing, reading or even theater trips / sports.

Shopping would be acquired from individual shops or people, rather than from supermarkets. e.g. bread from a bakers, furniture from a carpenters, clothes either handmade or from a tailor. Also, communication would have been done by letters, messengers or occasionally pigeons. This means communication was delayed rather than the instantaneous communication we are used to today with technology. In terms of travel, people would have either gone by foot, on horseback or by horse and carriage

My knowledge of what life may have been like in this time period mostly comes from books, films, history lessons in school and TV shows about modern day people attempting to live as though in the 18th C.

Rick Riordan – author



Being someone who both loves mythology and reading fiction books, Rick Riordan is easily my favourite author. He writes in a way that is both factual and fictional, telling you all about the myths and the creatures or characters within them but in a fictional way, from the point of view of someone as new to the world as many readers may be, making his books a great place to start getting into mythology as you can learn alongside the main character Percy Jackson.

One of the most intriguing things about his writing style is that whilst telling the story the characters are interacting with the audience by speaking directly to them during the story telling by asking rhetorical questions: “Am I a troubled kid?Yeah. You could say that.” or explaining: “A word about my Mother before you meet her…” which makes you feel part of the story world and as though you know the characters on a personal level. Often I find books that try to directly interact with the audience can ruin the experience of feeling immersed in the story, but I don’t think this is the case with Rick Riordan’s stories as he writes them well and in a way that both interacts and allows the reader to sit and enjoy story immersion.


(reference taken from Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, pages 1 and 29)

(photo from: )

Interactive illustrations



For this current project I’m working on, I’ve focused a lot on interactivity. I’ve explored various methods of engaging the viewer with my work, those have included flaps to lift, movable pieces, pop-up illustrations and several other interactive features. By far the hardest piece to do was the sliding image (pictured above) but this is also one of my favourites. It works by drawing two separate images and dividing them into alternating strips which are then placed on the same piece of paper with a tab attached to pull. Viewing strips are then cut into a new piece of paper with the illustrations placed underneath so the illustrations show through the viewing strips. As the tab is pulled or pushed, the illustration changes.

I’ve never done anything like this before and I faced a lot of problems with ensuring the strips were all exactly the same size and shape. This piece was part of a larger interactive piece of artwork but was easily one of the favourites for those who looked at it and often received reactions of surprise. I feel this type of interactivity is the traditional variation of digital slideshows.

Martin Tomsky – artist


Martin Tomsky is an illustrator from the UK who works in the medium of laser cutting and wood.

His art appeals to me as it is similar to, although more advanced than, 3D papercuts I have done in the past.

Tomsky currently mostly works with wood of varying shades but does have some work which is in colour. I prefer his uncoloured illustrations as it is clearer thatbthey are 3D which I feel is the most intriguing aspect of the work.

The most common theme I found in his art is nature which, whether intentionally or unintentionally, works really well in collaboration with the wooden material used which reinforces the theme.


(image from: )


Mark Anstee – artist talk


During a talk I attended by Mark Anstee I learnt a lot about his style of art and method of creation as well as some other interesting things about art.

Mark does a lot of work outside on location, one of his projects which he told us about that I found particularly inspiring was when he spent a year drawing around Stonehenge, each day drawing from a different angle to gather a 360 detailed understanding of the monument. Following this he used the reference images he’d created to make a larger drawing. His dedication to the topic caught my attention most as, whilst this is a task that could have quickly become tedious, he followed through with it and completed it as planned.

A common theme I saw in his work was deterioration, creation and destruction. As well as following the same themes, he likes to roleplay when working on projects as a way to feel more engaged with the piece he’s working on and encourage himself to consider and understand it in a more in depth and personal way.

Something interesting he mentioned was colour allegiance, and that everyone subconciously supports a colour, the most obvious example is from his work when he used blue and red figures to symbolise an army and prove that everyone supports a colour. I found this interesting as I often focus on or consider colour and its connotations when creating art myself and consider how people may relate to or view a character or images depending on the colours used.


(image from:

Clay Wolves

imageSome model wolves I made out of air drying clay, they’re painted with acrylic paint. These were made as a way of experimenting with the medium of clay which I haven’t used much before and am using in my current project for some small models. In future I need to make sure the bodies are not too heavy for the legs as the legs in the standing pose got a little crushed from the body weight. I could do this by making hollow models in future which would reduce the weight considerably.

Interactivity in art

The sub theme of my project is interactivity which has led me to consider whether interactivity is important in art or not.

When you think of a piece of art, most people think of a painting in a gallery which is generally there to be viewed. But with modern day advances in technology more and more people want to interact with the things around them, ofrench known as being a prosumer – a combination of being a consumer (viewer of the product) and a producer (maker of the product) – and I think interactivity in art allows people to be prosumers and gives more enjoyment as it promotes active participation rather than passive viewing.

personally I feel that art being interactive creates more enjoyment and engagement as there is more participation with the piece and therefore it’s more likely to be both enjoyed and remembered which works well for both the viewer and the creator of the art piece.


Interactivity in books

For my current project I’ve been looking into interactivity and books is an area of this that really caught my attention when I did some research. Here’s what I found out:

There are lots of different forms of book interactivity, most often found in children’s books as a way of getting them to engage better with the activity of reading to encourage interest.

Some of the main forms of interaction in books are: pop-up, lift the flap, touch and feel, hide and seek and sound books where a button corresponds to an image and the child pushes the button to make the sound when they see the image.

Another type of interactive book I’ve come across a few times involves a child sticking pieces (often made of felt or magnets) into the correct place on the book, or on a playmat to act out the story being read to them. This, I think, is one of the best forms of book interaction for children who struggle to sit still listening to a story, as it allows them to both read and play at the same time.

Pop-up books, whilst mostly aimed at younger children, can be interesting to people of all ages because of the 3D appearance they give and, as shown with the major interest in 3D films and 3D technology, this is something that appeals to a lot of different people.

From the point of view of an art student, I find these books the most inspiring as they show creativity and have been carefully thought out, illustrated and crafted to form books that, no matter what age the story is aimed at, appeal to people of all kinds.

A thought on mythology

my current art project is themed around mythology so I’ve done a lot of research on a few different mythologies. One of the things I noticed most was that in each mythology the same character types pop up (e.g. Trickster), and generally there are three deities who appear as the main three and who the myths are often about.

There are similar themes in the various myths too (most commonly creation, love, betrayal and war) and in many places ideas cross over even though the myths come from different parts of the world and therefore different cultures. For example, a common idea is that they sun was drawn across the sky by a chariot usually steered by a God / Goddess and pulled by an animal sacred to the culture (e.g. Norse mythology = goats).

This made me think that maybe the myths originated from the same story and are, rather than being completely seperate stories, are different interpretations of the same story.