FAD, FMP – Research 7 (Artists/Designers Inspired By The Everyday)

Michael Craig Martin:

‘Take his headphones image, for example. Sony may have updated them since the release of the original Walkman, but the Craig-Martin image stays the same. When used, the image is merely scaled up and/or layered over other drawn objects. Originally executed in tape applied directly to the wall, these images have also been done in neon, aluminum, painted steel, household paint, as well as the more traditional practice of acrylic on canvas.’

This interests me because of the way the images have been worked through different mediums. I am working with wood, print making, drawing, painting and potentially copper, and each give the imagery a different quality of mark which i find works to give different perspectives of the subject matters, resulting in unique artworks.


‘The perceptual tension between object, representation, and language has been his central concern over the past four decades.’

My understanding of this quote is that his main concern has been using his visual language to convey his interpretation of the objects and is interested by the unique, varying interpretations of the objects by viewers. It stood out to me because i have been thinking about the way viewers might interpret my subject matter differently to the way i do. I think this is similar for most pieces of artwork i create, thinking about how the viewer interprets is as well as how i do. But has interested me more recently because of the way my subject matter now is very ordinary and relatable in different ways to most viewers. I think some of my subject matter, especially the objects, convey an isolated viewpoint, because of how ordinary and singled out the objects are. To me, this conveys a sense of the everyday recently during lockdowns, seeing the same objects/scenery daily with the restrictions of not being able to travel far. In contrast, although it reminds me of lockdown, the subject matter for me brings a more positive interpretation rather than negative, as its a sense of comfort and home.

‘he uses composition to explore spatial relationships by juxtaposing and layering color.’

I’m currently working from pieces I’ve recently done, developing my creative process and enjoying seeing my work become more abstract and finding a balance between what would be too abstract for what i want my outcome to be but also still transforming the ordinary into creative and new compositions of colour and shape.

‘The exhibition entitled “Eye of the Storm,” will include both works on canvas and an installation painted directly onto the gallery walls. The mural illustrates everyday objects that seem to be held motionless just for a few moments before being swirled around the gallery by the storm and onto the canvas.’

I like this idea that the mural captures the business of the objects and makes me think about the sounds they would make all being used at the same time. I think it explores the concept of collecting from the everyday and taking inspiration from what’s around you. This is something I’ve discovered during this brief. When starting my everyday drawings i was slightly picky about what i wanted to draw and take photos of, for example if things looked messy. But whilst exploring this have realised the more I’m looking at these elements of the everyday that i wouldn’t think of initially, the more I’ll get out of the topic. I think this happened over Easter holidays, giving me the time to start exploring this and become more open to varied subject matter and capturing random moments either through drawing or photography. For example, i decided not to edit my images to convey that they are just quick moments during the day where something interested me or taking note of the ordinary things.

‘My installations question the nature of picture making. Instead of looking at a painting, it feels like you are stepping inside it. All the images are sucked in onto the canvas and then exhaled on the wall opposite.’

I think this quote describes the experience of looking at his work well. When i present my work i want it to come across as if you are surrounded by the everyday with the different aspects of it shown through the artwork

Claude Monet:


‘Claude Monet was a key figure in the Impressionist movement that transformed French painting in the second half of the nineteenth century. Throughout his long career, Monet consistently depicted the landscape and leisure activities of Paris and its environs as well as the Normandy coast. He led the way to twentieth-century modernism by developing a unique style that strove to capture on canvas the very act of perceiving nature.’

I think the way Monet captured light and colour well, showing reflections and a strong understanding on complimentary colours. I think this enables you to feel a sense of calm when looking at his paintings of nature because they fully convey the elements of that moment in time that made the scenery relaxing. I have begun to develop an abstract style of work as I’ve gone along, working between mediums and following a creative process where I’m taking from the previous artworks and furthering my exploration of how i can transform the images of the everyday. Although these don’t focus specifically on nature, i have been aiming for my more abstract conceptual pieces to convey the relatable sense of the ordinary from the colours and shape each taken from the everyday and now beginning to be transformed into more abstract compositions.

‘Monet found subjects in his immediate surroundings, as he painted the people and places he knew best. His first wife, Camille (2002.62.1), and his second wife, Alice, frequently served as models. His landscapes chart journeys around the north of France (31.67.11) and to London, where he escaped the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. Returning to France, Monet moved first to Argenteuil, just fifteen minutes from Paris by train, then west to Vétheuil, Poissy, and finally to the more rural Giverny in 1883. His homes and gardens became gathering places for friends, including Manetand Renoir, who often painted alongside their host (1976.201.14). Yet Monet’s paintings cast a surprisingly objective eye on these scenes, which include few signs of domestic relations.’

Here its interesting to read how artists turn to the everyday sometimes as starting points to discovering potential in another interest from the ordinary. I think this kind of practise of observational drawings was important for me to be able to investigate varying aspects of the everyday. I find it relatable how his paintings talked about here are described as objective because of how to begin with i think i was pretty literal with my approach to the topic, whereas in further exploration my work became/is becoming more conceptual and coming away from that object viewpoint and now i think is more subjective, portraying a sense of the everyday rather than a day-to-day depiction.

Something it also makes me think about is how my view on what is a ‘real’ / ‘accurate’ / ‘clear’ depiction of something has changed. I think before this course i would have used the word ‘clear’ or ‘real’ to explain how some of my images show the subject matter as you would see it initially. Whereas now i think abstract still has a just as ‘clear’ or ‘real’ depiction of subject matter, it’s just that it can further visually explain a feeling or emotional perception of it as well as showing what it is. On the other hand, i think artwork can show the subject matter as is without an abstract style and still through colour and mark, covey the stillness, movement or mood of the subject matter in that moment.

Documents of Contemporary Art – Sound:

‘In recent decades artists have progressively expanded the boundaries of art as they have sought to engage with an increasingly pluralistic environment. Teaching, curating and understanding of art and visual culture are likewise no Ionger grounded traditional aesthetics but centred on significant ideas, topics and themes ranging from the everyday to the uncanny. the psychoanalytical to the political.’

This part stood out to me just finding relevance in the way artists have looked at sound from the everyday. I think it’s not something initially thought of, or at least for me it came after thinking about the visual elements of my topic and then through thinking about text, something which can be more literal, came thoughts about how we see words/sounds.

‘to create sound as a raw concept, finding particles of information through listening, whether it’s the sound of the wind as it whilstes through a crack in an automobile window or the white noise of subway chatter. just close your eyes in a bus station and listen, just listen’ – Just Listen, Doug Aitken, from conversation with Amanda Sharp, 2001

I enjoyed reading this as it instantly made me feel calm and relaxed from thinking about sitting there and listening to sounds passing. Personally, when focusing on sound/what i hear can sometimes clarify senses by focusing my mind on something other than what i see. For example, i find it easier to relax whilst listening to something or reading rather than watching something, because when watching something it’s giving my visuals for my mind start thinking about and picturing, whereas when listening i’m just focusing on what the sounds are or if it’s talking i’m listening to it also keeps my focus.

‘We usually think of the camera as an eye and the microphone as an ear, but all the sense exist simultaneously in our bodies’ – Bill Viola, Statement, 1985

Following on from text above, it interests me how looking at sound waves for me can also be relaxing, even though i’m using my sight rather than just hearing. I think this is because i’m still thinking about sounds following the description from the peaks in the sound waves. this quote stood out to me because of how it talks about experiencing sound and sight at the same time, which makes me think about how we mostly see artwork rather than hear it, so artists experimenting with the two together can then makes the experience of viewing the artwork even more powerful. This makes me consider more playing the everyday sounds in the background whilst my work is displayed. However, i wonder whether this takes away from the *** or whether it just enhances it by showing how i’ve put something with hear into a visual outcome, swapping around the senses.

‘In a different art space, 33 Wm (2006) by Phil Dadson is constructed from numerous CD sized discs shaped into a large, three metre-high circle. On each disc are rubbings taken from the surfaces of volcanic rocks.The sonic component of this work is the imagined explosion of the massive volcanoes that spewed out these rocks as molten lava many years ago. Amidst the silence of the work we find imagined noise.’

This quote caught my attention because i think it is describing work similar to mine in the way i’ve worked. for example, Dadson is showing a visual representation of the sounds, taking from something we hear (the volcano rubbings) and putting it in large scale visually, swapping around the senses. I like the part of the sentence ‘we find imagined noise’. I think it relates to my sound wave images because without playing sounds in the background, the viewer imagines what the noises could be by following the peaks of the waves. This makes me further think about whether or not to play sounds in the background because i wonder if it would take away the freedom to imagine fo the viewer and for myself the sounds going on in the images, or whether it would bring clarification to it. Then again, does it need clarification? Also keeping in mind i will be displaying imagery of additional subject matter including scenery, Tenby, Home, Objects, Walks, other locations. I’m considering whether these would add any clarification needed, as well as the more abstract pieces providing a sense of those subject matters and hints of the ordinary subject matter with the colours beginning to emerge. Something i want to think about more is abstract painting. I still keep looking back at Helen Frankenthaler’s work as well, which is very much abstract, but still keeps a strong sense/feeling of the subject matter she paints within her work which is conveyed strongly. I think maybe if i have this as well as the sound wave images i’m expressing a wider range of everyday experiences.


‘Mistral was centered on the attention to audition. The project focused on sound produced by sound making devices that are not amplified – no speakers, no PA and no traditional instruments: activating listening into a concentrated act.’


‘Philip Dadson is a sound and intermedia artist with an interdisciplinary practice including solo performances and exhibitions, building experimental instruments and sonic objects, video/sound installation, music composition, graphic scores and improvisations on invented instruments. He is the founder of the sound-performance group, From Scratch, (1974-2002), known widely for it’s rhythmic and distinctive performances on original instruments. ‘


‘Rock Records are mute records of cathartic geophysical events; 33RPM, a specific historic and catastrophic sonic event close to the heart of Auckland city. The impressions, taken direct from sun exposed scoria surfaces record the eruptive results of a volcano that spewed out these rocks of molten lava some six hundred years ago. The noise has long sice vanished but we can see what remains.” Phil Dadson, July 2014’

I think this is an interesting and unique way of recording sound, by putting it into a visual language and communicating the loudness of it through the rough, chaotic marks from the rocks. I can relate to the idea of this through my own exploration from swapping around the sense and putting something that’s heard into a visual process.

Luigi Russolo

The Art of Noises//1913

‘[Jln antiquity,life was nothing but silence. Noise was really not born before the nineteenth century, with the advent of machinery. Today noise reigns supreme over human sensibility. For several centuries, life went on silently or mutedly.noises were neitherintense nor prolonged nor varied.In fact, nature is normally silent, except for storms, hurricanes, avalanches, cascades and some exceptional telluric movements. Thisis why man was thoroughly amazed by the first sounds he obtained out of a hole in reeds or a stretched string. […]’

I found this interesting because it made me think about how sound, as well as visible things have developed through time. At the start of this brief i had thought about artwork that expresses the everyday changing through time and recording history, something that’s visible. However, sound is also a large part of the everyday.

Luigi Russolo, extracts from I:Arte dei rumori (1913); trans. Robert FiJliou, The Art of Noise. A Great Bear Pamphlet (New York: Something Else Press, 1967) 4; 5-6. [Later translations have estabhshed the literal plura] Noises in the title.]

Documents of Contempoary Art – The Everyday:

‘use everything’

‘The sound of the trousers which cordouroy trousers, like these, make when one moves.’

I like these quotes because they express taking from what you have around you as inspiration.

Jonathan Watkins Every Day//1998

‘a growing interest amongst contemporary artists, worldwide, in quotidian phenomena and the power of relatively simple gestures.’

‘extraordinarily ordinary work or work that is inspired by ordinariness and the everyday I enjoyed our long conversations about what ordinariness was and was extraordinary ordinariness desirable or were we aspiring to the condition of ordinary ordinariness it was an idea of finding some revelation or inspiration or some kind of epiphany in everyday experience’ – youtube video^

I found this interesting because i think it’s something i’ve come across during my exploration. When focusing on t he ordinary and working from it, for me, i have naturally developed a more abstract style as i’ve gone along, using the ordinary for what it is. But i think sometimes theres a temptation to want to make the ordinary something more which can end up showing it as something it’s not. I’ve tried to focus on making the most out of the everyday, because i feel there’s no need to distort it and make it into something it isn’t. For me it has been more about finding the art/inspiration within the elements of the everyday i’ve been exploring. Although my work has gradually become more abstract, i’m not trying to change those elements of the everyday, instead highlight it and use it to inform my creative process and developing visual language.

‘small work that was in the Serpentine show the Sony Lumia reon verby the light is is refracted through the the pattern on the plastic carbon you see this sort of wonderful rainbow effects on the world is a bit lost in this slide but it’s the idea that anything could inspire you and transport you and it doesn’t have to be an artistic and artistic gesture or a work of art ‘ – youtube video^

This quote also caught my attention for a similar reason. I have tried to look at the everyday from different visual perspectives, using it to transform my artistic style. I wanted to create fun, bright imagery from it, by embracing the everyday shape. My more recent work that i am beginning to refine have used the shapes from photos of the everyday as they are, but have been made more abstract as i have introduced other mediums such as inks and acrylic paint.

Robert Therrien:


‘ Robert Therrien shows us everyday objects in a new light.’

A literal take on this as well as conceptual with the use of light.

‘He reveals their hidden narratives and drama, and explores the physical and emotional connection we have with the things that help us to live our lives.’

I think it’s interesting the way he has presented objects to show the connections we have to them over time. I haven’t mainly focused on objects as i’ve looked at other subject matter as well, but i think in some of my pieces where the objects are isolated it presents a type of connection to the object from showing it in that way and also connection that others could potentially relate to.

‘These ordinary objects, as recreated by Therrien, trigger memories and a sense of nostalgia, as well as humour and magic. Although familiar, they can also appear mysterious and unsettling.’

At first glance the red room is slightly unsettling to me, i think this is due to the colour red usually associated with danger, alertness or anger. But looking more closely i find the objects such as the shoes towards the front of the room more familiar and relatable. I also think there is something slightly homely about the areas of stacked plates/jars/cups and the business of cupboards. Then towards the back for me it becomes more mysterious and ominous.

‘Although the collection of objects at first seems random, if we look closer we can see that each object has been carefully chosen and positioned. Many of the objects are significant to Therrien. They either relate to his own past, to his friends and family, or to his art- making. He places the things that are personal to him, such as his brother’s summer-camp sweatshirt, alongside more generic things. This blend of the personal with the general, and the everyday with the unreal suggests an underlying story.’

This interested me because of the way it talks about his perception of his piece, which shares some elements of the way i interpreted it but more personal to him. It’s useful for me to see both ways of interpreting it because it shows me how others may have different views of my work to me as for me it’s more personal/nostalgic/comforting. Something i’ve tried to do with my wood pieces so far is think about the way they are displayed. For example i want to hang them up so they are connected, showing a connection of the images. I think this provides a narrative impression i wanted to express to convey the time passing of the everyday over the last couple weeks and prior to this course in the first lockdown. this narrative is significant to me, but also may be relatable to others from experiencing lockdown or just in general, seeing everyday scenes/objects. Like Therrien’s work, i think my wood engraved pieces and future outcomes, i think it suggests an underlying story even though it’s taken from the oridinary/everyday.

‘Robert Therrien’s use of everyday objects and existing images relates back to artist Marcel Duchamp at the beginning of the twentieth century. Duchamp used manufactured objects as his artworks, calling them ‘readymades‘. Therrien’s interest in the subject matter of normal, American life and household objects such as a coffee pot and a scrubbing brush, also makes us think of pop art. In the 1950s and 1960s pop artists made art about ordinary life and the things that people bight into their homes.’

  • Marcel Duchamp
  • Roy Litchenstien

Marcel Duchamp:


 ‘His early figure paintings were influenced by Matisse and Fauvism, but in 1911 he created a personal brand of Cubism combining earthy colours, mechanical and visceral forms, and a depiction of movement which owes as much to Futurism as to Cubism. ‘

Cubism interested me at one point as a way of distorting the everyday, as seeing ho artists such as Picasso transformed subject matter of the everyday into the geometric, angular shapes. Since then my work as gone in a different direction natural when following my creative process. However, although i haven’t tried cubism, i think my work is gradually developing an abstract style where it does distort and transform he ordinary into a different, creative perspective.


‘The term readymade was first used by French artist Marcel Duchamp to describe the works of art he made from manufactured objects. It has since often been applied more generally to artworks by other artists made in this way’

I like this because it is very ordinary but showing a creative twist on it by taking it in his own direction.

For his readymades Duchamp deliberately chose ordinary, functional – and rather dull – objects. His choice was:

‘…based on a reaction of visual indifference, with at the same time a total absence of good or bad taste…’
Duchamp as quoted in The Art of Assemblage: A Symposium, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, October 19, 1961

The theory behind the readymade was explained in an anonymous editorial published in the May 1917 issue of avant-garde magazine The Blind Man run by Duchamp and two friends:

Roy Litchenstien:


‘His paintings managed to be simultaneously satirical and celebratory, using references from familiar objects and the media around him to comment cleverly on an interesting period in US cultural history. For me, this totally represents that period; a very accurate documentation of something quite banal, yet still quite humorous.’

I find this perspective of using the everyday as inspiration interesting because he has used it to communicate his thoughts/opinions on a point in time. I think in a way my work does this by using relatable subject matter. Currently with lockdown, from looking at everyday objects and scenes i think it communicates the restricted travel and lockdown from being at home more.




I came across his abstract pieces. The colour and mark instantly stand out to me and makes me start to think about how much of the mark i use in my final piece i want to communicate the everyday subject matter or if i want to let the subject matter as it is naturally develop through use of different mediums.

Jack Bush:



“I don’t look for anything. It comes to me. I may be walking along a road and I see a mark on the road; it looks interesting, so I try it out as a painting. Or looking at some flowers in the garden – how can I get the feel of those colours, of the flower colours, the nice smell and everything? … I’m not painting flowers. I’m painting the essence, the feeling to me only, not how somebody else feels about those flowers, only me. Then I forget the flowers and make a good painting of it if I can.”

I like this quote because again, it links with taking inspiration from the everyday by just being more open to subject matter as you come across it and what about it you want to take from it.

His work is based on an abstract record of his perceptions. He did not expect the viewer to see the flower or hear the music that inspired his work, but only to share in the feeling through his painting.‘ – Jack Bush, 1977

This quote got me thinking about the quote from Johnathon Watkins, because it talks about the way he expressed the everyday through colour and shape. Although abstract, so not a literal interpretation of the subject matter, it expresses the everyday for what it is, just from his own point of view. So, not making it something it’s not, but showing his own interpretation of it.

Diane Arbus:


‘She photographed her subjects in familiar settings: their homes, on the street, in the workplace, in the park—celebrating imagery that seem to reflect our deepest fears and most private wish.’

‘Arthur Lubow states, “She was fascinated by people who were visibly creating their own identities—cross-dressers, nudists, sideshow performers, tattooed men, the nouveau riche, the movie-star fans—and by those who were trapped in a uniform that no longer provided any security or comfort.”‘

I don’t have as much of a connection between her focus on the everyday and my own, but i thought it was an interesting way of using ordinary/everyday settings ( ‘photographed her subjects in familiar settings: their homes, on the street‘ ) to show her subjects from an honest perspective, embracing them. It partly links with the way i’ve focused on the everyday, by not editing my everyday photos or distorting the proportions of the everyday subject matters, instead embracing the shape as it is by working with it across different mediums.

Woldgang Tillmans – presentation


I wanted to include this in my research because i like the ordinary way Tillmans presented his work. It reminds. me of scrapbooking photos by the way they appear randomly placed, although this was considered to enhance the honest, everyday perspective of his photography, showing the artwork as it is as well as the subject matter.

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