DEFINITION AND MEANING
There are many different definitions of the word 'Restoration' but to many it is simply the act of restoring; renewal, revival, or reestablishment.
To me the meaning of 'Restoration' is any attempt to conserve and repair architecture, paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and objects of the decorative arts that have been adversely affected by negligence, willful damage, or, more usually, the inevitable decay caused by the effects of time and human use on the materials of which they are made.
FOCUS AND PERSONAL FOCUS
The focus of my art is the decaying of the body. Decaying is to 'rot or decompose through the action of bacteria and fungi'. The interest and aesthetic and symbolic qualities of decaying and decomposing matter has persisted throughout the history of art.
After researching about Decay I finally came across the outbreak of Radioactive Decay and Nuclear Decay in Fukushima, Japan. From this I was able to determine my main focus and research. One article that I came across was 'The Radioactive Man Who Returned To Fukushima To Feed The Animals That Everyone Else Left Behind'.
The untold human suffering and property damage left in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan has been well-documented, but there’s another population that suffered greatly that few have discussed. The animals, many left behind in the radioactive exclusion zone. One man, however, hasn’t forgotten – 55-year-old Naoto Matsumura, a former construction worker who lives in the zone to care for its four-legged survivors.
He is known as the ‘guardian of Fukushima’s animals’ because of the work he does to feed the animals left behind by people in their rush to evacuate the government’s 12.5-mile exclusion zone. He is aware of the radiation he is subject to on a daily basis, but says that he “refuses to worry about it.” He does take steps, however, by only eating food imported into the zone.
"Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay or radioactivity) is the process by which the nucleus of an unstable atom loses energy by emitting radiation, including alpha particles, beta particles, gamma rays and conversion electrons. A material that spontaneously emits such radiation is considered radioactive."
Another article I researched was 'Inside the Fukushima nuclear power plant, five years after the disaster was triggered by an earthquake and tsunami'. The article states that fives years on, the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster is an eerie ghost town. It goes on to say that dangerous radioactive water and waste remains, and locals are still unable to return to their abandoned homes. Many of them have moved on, but others are living in temporary housing just outside of the exclusion zone.
The disaster occurred after a 9.0 magnitude earthquake triggered a 10-metre high tsunami that crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station in 2011, causing multiple meltdowns. This year marked the fifth anniversary of the natural disaster that claimed about 18,500 lives, flattened coastal communities, and set off the worst atomic crisis in a generation.
The disaster meant a 160,000 people were forced to flee their homes — possibly forever — in wake of the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986. The radiation at the Fukushima plant is still so powerful it is impossible to extract and remove deadly melted fuel rods.
SPECIFIC RESEARCH ON FOCUS
After doing a vast amount of research on the radioactive and nuclear decay of Fukushima, Japan, I started to research about my main focus 'decay'.
"(of organic matter) rot or decompose through the action of bacteria and fungi."
Artists' interest in the aesthetic and symbolic qualities of decaying and decomposing matter has persisted throughout the history of art. Images of ruins as symbols of natural devastation, the transience of the built environment, and human mortality first emerged in Renaissance paintings.
“Ideas decompose into stones of unknowing, and conceptual crystallizations break apart into deposits of gritty reason.” —Robert Smithson
Representations of deterioration and decay continued through the Romantic period, exemplified by Hubert Robert’s etchings of statuary fragments, and into the 20th century; Nicholas Nixon’s portraits of AIDS victims in the 1980s captured with grotesque realism the physical deterioration of the human body, while Aaron Siskind’s close-up images of weathered and rusted wall reliefs and filmmaker Tacita Dean’s extended shots of fading carpets and rotting fruits explore a fascination with the material qualities of decay.
The world around us continues to decay before our eyes, with many of us doing nothing about it and expecting it to restore itself. There is consequences to our actions. Decaying may never be restored, unless we change.
The melting faces reflects the emotions felt by people effected by the disaster of Fukushima. The melting faces shows the effects of Radioactive decay on the body and what could happen. The use of other drawings related to the incident such as the Nuclear symbol, a skull and Japanese characters help to emphasize what the focus of the image is.
My context is decaying of the body, my art revolves around the effects of decaying and I have drawn and edited pictures relating to this context. By using images related to the Fukushima Disaster and drawing faces melting in a grime manner it shows my context.
Art that has influenced me towards what I will be creating is Low Brow Art. Lowbrow art describes an underground visual art movement that arose in the Los Angeles, California, area in the late 1970s. It is a populist art movement with its cultural roots in underground comix, punk music, and hot-rod cultures of the street. It is also often known by the name pop surrealism.
A Low Brow Artist who has influenced me is Robert Williams, he is an American painter, cartoonist, and founder of Juxtapoz Art & Culture Magazine. Williams was one of the group of artists who produced Zap Comix, along with other underground cartoonists, such as Robert Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, and Gilbert Shelton. His mix of California car culture, cinematic apocalyptic-ism, and film noir helped to create a new genre of psychedelic imagery.
His work helped me begin my process of drawing, his techniques or drawing and small details in each drawing are what influenced me the most.
Another artist who influenced me is Richie Velasquez, a.k.a. Dela Deso. His art symbolizes the marriage of radioactive ideas—and often materials—with classic mediums like sculpture and film with. The result is a face-melting acid green Mona Lisa. With disasters like Fukushima still fresh in the collective conscious, many artists grapple with how to feel about nuclear energy and the consequences thereof. Velasquez's illustration thus captures this clash between old mediums and new ideas.
Radioactive materials are an everyday part of life, powering cities all over the world, summoning fear of cancer or hope for super powers (depending on how many comic books you've read) in pop culture. Artists like Trevor Paglen, Chim Pom, and Phillip Stearns have harnessed these emotions in works ranging from sculptures made from radioactive material, to a visual remix of a Geiger counter. How we decide to deal with nuclear energy (and waste) will affect future generations for 10,000 years, and these works inform that process.
Stage one started off by experimenting with Dela-Deso type of art. By drawing on Baking Paper and transfering my drawing onto photos. Through the use of Adobe Capture i was able to do so.
Although I had completed it, i wasn't happy with the result, it just didn't come out the way i wanted it to. After spending hours using other programs to get it right I still wasn't satisfied.
In the end I decided to start drawing instead, creating my first piece which relates to Dela Deso's work but is drawn instead of manipulated on the computer.
Is the technique successful and help interpret meaning in my artwork?
The technique incorporated into my work is referred to as Grime Art, I do believe that this technique successfully helps interpret the meaning of my artwork, which is decaying is taking over the world and affects everyone personally.