The Necessary Steps And Processes Cultural Studies Essay

This design journal is a log showing the necessary steps and processes that I undertook to complete and create my final product. In this journal I will cover research that I found helpful in providing me with direction and valuable historical background on traditional self-portraits and also more modern portraits. The journal will also provide a consist summary of each weeks readings from week one to week three, the importance of these readings and the summary is that they provided solid information that backed-up the in-class lectures and information gained within the classes.

A key aspect of this journal is to show the process that I undertook to help create my final product. Henceforth, majority of this journal will cover my design development, from early experimentation and idea generations to design development and refinement. To sum-up the journal there will be a design reflection and rational that will provide closure to the folio and also allow myself to give insight and my own personal thoughts on this module, what I learnt and my final thoughts on my project.

Project one for the subject Image Experimentation is to create a self-portrait of our selves using 5 different mediums/materials with at least one of these being an industrial material (examples being, metal, wood, newsprint, etc.). This portrait must best reflect and express our true selves. The only limitations for this project is there must be no recognisable facial features present, also this can’t be created using a computer.


It is important before I start creating my design and start experimenting with materials and mediums that I get some ideas and information about the historical and cultural context of….

Definition of…creates…

Serves more than a memento…the first ever marks made by humans were on cave walls in Lascaux France over thirty thousand years ago…handprints…desire to leave a mark…self-preservation…initially paintings were to in essence to be a simple record by the creator ‘that they were their’. This attitude to paintings has now changed, there is more than this superficial belief of leaving own mark to now sending a message through ones work…communication. Self-Portraits…

(Painting People pg7-9)

A portrait is a representation of a particular person…The first ever forms of portraits go back to at least to the ancient Egyptians. They were portraits flourished over 5000 years ago, much of their works can be seen in the interior of the pyramids…before the invention of photography portraits where created using a variety of mediums, choice of medium was based upon availability of the medium. Many of the rudimental forms of portraits where sculptors, which is evident in Greek and Italian culture, and paintings. Also drawings where another medium used in the very earliest forms of portraits.

Portraits have been more than just a record or something that is designed to stand the test of time. Most of the times they were created to represent something about that certain individual, some values/ideas being, wealth, beauty and/or importance, and the list go on.

A key example of an artist who creates portraits to express an idea/value is Pablo Picasso. Many of his paintings where women, supposedly his lovers, but in this paintings he was trying to express beauty and…

A shift in times has seen the use of modern technologies and materials to create self-portraits, examples being photography and videos…

(The TATE Guide to Modern Art Terms, By Simon Wilson and Jessica Lack, pg 167-168)


A self-portrait is an image or interpretation of its creator. A self-portrait is in the subcategory of portraiture. A self-portrait tend to be quiet insightful, they present issues, ideas and values that are central to the artist that they want to express to a wider audience. Much of this issues, ideas and values are expressed through the colours used, choice of mediums, composition and so on. In essence, the true meaning is expressed and multiple layers and levels, rather than on a superficial level, such as, more than the central image, which maybe of a person.

As I stated above, in my initial stages of research, shifts in times have brought about new forms of mediums and tools used to create portraits. This has also seen in methods and styles of self-portraits. Below I will cover two different forms of portraits, the first being the traditional and older forms of self-portraits, the other being modern approach’s to self-portraits.


Vincent Van Gogh – Self Portraits

Vincent Van Gogh love making a selfie. During his lifetime he was well-known for his…within these portraits he wanted express his emotions, recent experiences….he conveyed much of his meaning through his mediums than the actual picture of him. This is evident in the ‘Self-portrait with Palette’, prior to this painting he was struck by illness, quoting him, and he was "thin and pale as a ghost". His aim was to express this experience through his painting. His use of complementary colours, the violet-blue, and whitish face with yellow hair…the striking use of green certainly aids in the ailing appearance of the painter. The palette is not the key focus of the piece but the composition of the portrait still draws us into to wonder why. The palette I believe is symbolic of what art meant to him and how it kept him going through his illness.

After this portrait there was a successor, it was created in the same year and probably the same month and his previous s…

A very well-known self-portrait by Van Gogh is ‘Self-Portrait with the Bandaged Ear’. Again Van Gogh’s composition of the piece is what draws us in

Fredrick McCubbin – Self Portraits


Abstract ideology is post World War II…




From my research so far, I have now got a general idea of the significant historical and cultural importance of self-portraits. Their purpose and function. How the various artist created meaning and depth and also creation of perception, meaning the way the artist has forced the audience to perceive their work…..

Below is a mood board of images that I have found helpful in generating ideas for my work and helping me shape the final design.


Week 1 – The Process of Communication

Week 2 – Elements of Visual Communication

Week 3 – What is designing?




Continuous Line Drawings

In the first week of Image Experimentation, the main exercise we did in majority of the tasks was to use continuous line drawing. The two main tasks were continuous line drawing to express our feelings and the other was self-portrait continuous line drawing. To me, I found these exercises were very insightful as it showed to me how to convey emotions and certain moments beyond just words.

Emotional Mark Making

Personally, this exercise and this lesson was my favourite and definitely most insightful so far. This was because I felt personally I could express my feelings through this medium, and more importantly I found a technique, that to me, is very powerful in communicating what I feel and can truly express it on the canvas.

There is one particular sheet from that class I demonstrates this…

Anamorphic Map

Mixed Media

Last week’s lesson was comprised of us making a mixed medium composition. The main purpose was to get an idea of how certain materials and mediums worked, and what the final product would be. Again, another lesson where I gained a significant amount of information, and more importantly gave me a general direction of what my final design could look like.



After the week threes class, I felt like I had a direction of what I would like to create. That class also gave me some rough ideas of how certain mediums reacted and what their final product would look like. I found the splatters created from dried acrylic paint was an effect I wanted to create



The first phase that I have learnt through experience the hard way Is to experiment with ideas and also understand your mediums and how they react. Thus, this was the first thing I did before creating my final project. This experimentation process occurred over a couple of days.

I find a chaotic approach of having all my mediums on one canvas is something I can understand…