My creative project took on the form of a mural art canvas that was specifically designed for a youth program that helps school aged aboriginal girls learn life skills and social awareness. The canvas’ purpose is to be used as a backdrop at the youth center and to be something the girls take pride in as they helped create it.
How is mural art classed as an aspect of environmental and spatial design?
Environmental & spatial design deals with the design of interior and exterior environments and spaces, applying sustainable practices to the design of products and environments that promote usability. Design is a collaborative discipline where individuals work in teams and alone to find and solve design problems.
This Murals purpose is to alter the environment where a youth program takes place, it promotes the usability of the space as the mural is bright, colourful, it captures what the program is about and is something all the girls are part of.
As a designer unless you are your audience you rarely get to design without the constrains of what the customer/audiences wants and requires, as well as time constrains, budget etc. In this case i was given a 3m x 3m canvas which i had to work together with the young girls aged 6-11, printing their feet and hands in a desired way and then come up with agreed ideas that they wanted on the canvas. The process was quite messy and time consuming but very enjoyable, we got paint everywhere and came up with some great ideas for the design.
often in creative projects a creative team collaborates to bring together each individuals abilities and unique ideas, rather than a single person approaching the task it can be more creatively productive to have more individuals. In the case of the mural painting by working together with the girls and the organisation we came up with a design that pleased the girls, represented the organisation and with my artistic abilities looks really effective and eye catching.
After the girls had printed their hands and feet we sat down as a collaborative team and came up with ideas for the canvas. They had many great ideas (boomerang, didgeridoo) and the head of the program had some ideas for me also. They particularly wanted an aboriginal influence to the canvas as the program is for girls of such culture and they also wanted sports equipment and games featured. With many ideas and requirements i went home with a 2 week deadline, which i worked with to design something amazing for these awesome little girls.
When coming up with ideas for a project the designer first takes into account those constraints that are in place and work around them or with them. The most creative designers will use constrains to their advantage, for example an interior designer may choose to only use recycled and refurbished materials that would intern shape the style of the outcome.
The constraints i worked with for this project shaped the subject matter and the style used in the mural. I had to have an aboriginal influence or theme, include aboriginal subject matter (boomerang), had to feature sports and games, have aboriginal colours and yet be colourful, fun and appealing to children.
“A stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity.” (F, 2014).
“It can come from anywhere, but the classic depiction of the artist waiting for inspiration to strike like a lightning bolt is a myth. It’s not something you wait for. Inspiration is found by those who seek it out and place themselves in its path. Sometimes it comes from external sources, but often it comes from within the design process itself, when you’re engaged with the thing that you’re making.” (Dolan,T. 2014)
My first steps from the collaboration were to get inspired and come up with a great design including all the discussed ideas and must haves. I researched about aboriginal art, looking at many paintings and how often they would tell a story; in their art they use symbols that represent things like animals, fauna, landscape and peoples activity. I looked at a lot of other aboriginal artists works and noted how they used shapes and colour, i learned many of the symbols they use and realized every little detail means something.
The particular symbols i incorporated were water holes which you can view through the center of the canvas, I really liked the use of continuous rings around rings, i found it eye catching and a good way to bring more colour to the canvas. I also included animal prints like possums and emus and used the u symbol to represent people. The children knew a lot about animal foot prints when we spoke so i knew they would connect with them in the piece. i placed the people in a way that represents a group dancing and i place their camp site close by. I felt that dancing was something fun and child like rather than people hunting or engaging in a ritual. In aboriginal painting you see many repetitive dots and often you would assume they are just decorative but they actually represent a path taken or foot prints of the people. In the mural i symbolized journeys with camp grounds in between and foot prints over landscaped (which also looked effective), brought more patterns and colour and again represented the aboriginal people.
The organisation leaders also asked that i include sports and games that the girls have been involved in as they are a particular activity used to teach the girls cooperation, fair play, manners etc. It felt difficult to include such a juxtaposition of subjects but it worked out due to my placements and the colours that worked in with everything else on the mural.
Unit set information (2014). Retrieved from the ECU Handbook: http://www.handbook.ecu.edu.au
Word definition (2014). Retrieved from The free dictionary: http://www.thefreedictionary.com
Dolan, T. (2014). “Inspiration and its place in the design process”. Retrieved from Whiteboard: http://whiteboard.is/inspiration-and-its-place-in-the-creative-process