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Multidisciplinary Project – Leisure. Thinking Part 1

As the second part of our Visual Art Award (follow up to Printmaking) we have been set a multidisciplinary project. This means that we can choose to use a range of disciplines from the ‘art’ family: Textiles, Graphic Design, Illustration, Photography, 3D, Painting, Collage…. I can’t think of anymore? haha

The theme is Leisure which means, that like last time, it could be anything: Travelling, Cooking, Gardening, Collecting…. you name it, someone in the world enjoys doing it for leisure purposes!

So to try and narrow things down from everything, I made a list of everything I considered to be Leisure – like 70 things(and I am sure there are a lot more).

I left this project for a little while after that to work on other things because I was finding it hard to come up with ideas… and it was when I wasn’t working on this project I came up with some ideas (typical, right?)!

I went to see Alice In Wonderland in 3D with my darling boyfriend in Norwich, and I don’t need to explain the story do I, because everyone knows it… but I have mentioned before about my love for Playing Cards, and AIW has the playing card guards and everything… they are really cool, and I had listed Gambling on my ‘List of Leisure’ so thought that could be a possibility.

I tried to think about Gambling… why people like it (adrenaline), why people get addicted(greed), what is involved?, what type of people gamble? etc etc and I decided that it is actually quite an interesting subject and I could deffinitely produce some work based on Gambling!

Next came the hard part: thinking of actual things to do! In actual fact it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be… I happened to have a notebook handy when some ideas spurted into my mind:

So that is what my notebook looks like – pretty rough but good enough!

Left page – Top scribble – Photograph – A man in a really minging house filled with rubbish(beer cans, fag packets etc) and hasn’t seen a duster for years! This bloke lives on his own, and is addicted to gambling, alcohol and smoking – the only things that matter in his life. The room is hazy because it is filled with smoke and he is sitting on the edge of his seat, with a betting ticket in his hand, watching the TV. Everything is in black and white, apart from the TV picture, of which has a horse coming out of the TV and into his living room…. – not sure why the horse is coming out but it was an idea to make it interesting?

Left Page – Bottom scribble – ??? Animation maybe??? – A chart to show how someone’s heart races as they are filled with adrenaline from betting. There is a steady increase at first, but rapidly increases until there is a big drop to symbolise the heart stopping. This is because gambling is potentially lethal in ending someones life; either by shock, loss of money or loved ones.

Right Page – Top left scribble – Drawing/Printmaking – A large playing card. Playing cards are usually mirror images, but this one would have one side perfect and then I would put matching colour inks at the half way point and use a squeegie to spread them downwards, creating a smudge. This would symbolise the way that a gambler can’t recognise when they have gone too far…

Right Page – Top right scribble – 3D – An Alice In Wonderland style Mad Hatter’s Hat made from money, complete with the odds card/ betting ticket.

Right Page – Middle scribble – Painting – Pop Art style Playing Cards…. with maybe some kind of element of collage? I was thinking of using some modern celebrities as the basis of characters: King of Hearts – a male heart throb, Queen of Diamonds – diamonds are a girl’s best friend, Ace of spades – rocker??, Jack of clubs – Jack the lad… of night clubs.

Right Page – Bottom scribble – 3D – A hand of cards box… not sure what this was about!

As a developement of the Hat idea… I thought about horse racing and looking into Royal Ascot hats – you know, the crazy hats?


Ones like these… weird shapes and themes…


… they remind me of Lady Gaga (I know, I know, I compared the bottles to Lady Gaga’s dress in Feb Packaging Special but not everything ever reminds me of her- I do have other influences, I promise!) and her crazy hats….


… which lead me on to look at Philip Treacy, who is responsible for a lot of the crazy Ascot hats! So I’m thinking that this is a better option than the cliche mad hatter’s hat…. right?

So I think this is one of my 3 pieces – a Royal Ascot/Gaga/Treacy inspired Gambling themed hat!

Then, today whilst my Grandad came round to deliver Easter Eggs (Thorton’s this year btw!) an episode of the BBC Coast programme was on TV in the background. This particular episode featured some British Seaside resorts, with fairground rides, amusements and arcade machines – which got me thinking about gambling in a different way.

At first I had  thought of gambling to be poker games, casino chips and betting shops, but now I remembered the ‘innocent’ gambling fun of the seaside! I had thought about doing my theme as the seaside because it is literally Leisure, but gave some seaside ideas to a classmate so tried to avoid doing the same work as everyone else. BUT, I think I could include the seaside gambling in my project somehow?
I have spent the afternoon on Flickr searching for ‘Great British Seaside’, ‘Arcade Amusements’ and ‘Vintage Seaside Arcade’ images and have found a few good ones… but I’m not sure what to do with them yet!

I did think about looking at how the seaside’s have changed because of the modern amusement arcade takeovers…. Par example –

Blackpool 1895 (BBC image)

Blackpool 2008 (my image)

BUT I’m not too sure on this idea. I like the idea of showing the changing face of Seaside gambling, but not sure on how I could use it in my project…?

Whilst looking into seaside amusement arcades, I did some research into Piers, Souvenirs and Postcards so I might use these for ideas?

I have already come across Michael Hughes, who uses Souvenirs next to the real ‘attractions’ for some great Photography, and through seaside research today I found Paula MacArthur’s ‘The Death of the British Seaside’ work which includes Candy Floss and Fruit Machine prints. I am sure there are other artists out there whose work is inspired by the seaside gambling scene?

Any recommendations?

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© Natasha Nuttall | January 2022

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