At the start of the year I knew that I wanted to focus my dissertation on the Pop Art movement because it had always been an interest in mine and upon starting constellation in the first year with John Clarkson where we began to fully analyse the movement and artists from it. Not only did the movement interest me because of the commercial aspect but it also influenced me in my own practice. Much like a collage and mixed materials used in a ‘Peter Blake Toy Shop’. I wanted to explore how the combination of materials would look and how they interacted within the image. In Pop Art the work reflected the modern day America and in my practice I also wanted to be inspired by my current world around me. In my current project, in subject I explored and found objects in my local area and I want combine materials to create a collage of mixed media which reflected my surroundings.
Because the Pop Art movement was such a large topic I found it difficult to focus my study into one question and after a lot of research I only felt more lost. It only came clearer when Jayne Cunnick-Hall suggested I have a go at automatic writing which helped to open my sub-conscious and find the answer hidden under all my thoughts. The thought came to me in the idea of celebrity. I was interested in how Pop artists portrayed celebrities and wanted to focus specifically on Andy Warhol and his portrayal of Marilyn Monroe. I think I find Warhol interesting because he goes against the tradition painting and introduces a mechanized version of art whereas I am very different in my own practice. I still enjoy including myself in the process as much as possible and enjoy a very hands-on experience with art, where-as Warhol would try and rid himself and the makers mark. What also intrigues me about Warhol is that he rarely portrays his own emotions through his work, where-as I always do, I would like to take inspiration from him and try a more mechanized approach in my subject and see how that would alter my outcomes.
When it came to the draft hand-in I had only just started to understand myself where I wanted my question and research to go so it was very rushed and I felt more like a plan than an actual draft. I think if I had found out my focused subject earlier it may have been a bit clearer and vast. Upon receiving my results I was not surprised to get lower than what I would have liked but I knew this was down to having made my choice of topic at the last minute. But I was just relieved to have found my topic of choice. Next I needed to gather more information and research from the field. I started by gathering a few books and started watching documentaries of Warhol and Monroe. I found it easier to watch documentaries because I felt I could take in the information easier but it was also helpful to have visual references. I have always found it difficult to read, mainly because I lose concentration easily and I also tend to get the words muddles up. Throughout the Constellation subject I found it easier to read more academic texts so reading a normal book felt a bit less difficult. I have also found it easier to seek information because I will now use the index at the back of the book to find certain information, this takes less time than me flicking through the book or reading it all.
I have always found it hard to write an essay or a thesis because I struggle with my terminology and I also find it difficult to write academically. I would normally find it easier writing about something I feel quite passionately about like my dissertation which is Pop art because I am generally interested and this motivates me to discuss key arguments and debates. I understand my dissertation may feel a little too formal and I have struggled to make it sound more formal due to the topic. I feel the topic of celebrity is something which is informal and can be easily discussed. Success to me is being able to write a dissertation which you feel passionately about but to also get your views across. I feel like I have explored a new avenue in my thesis because upon research and reading there is rarely any papers/books that compare and contrast Monroe with Warhol.
I feel my dissertation has been a struggle because I have not written a thesis this long before, but I found it helpful to do 500 words a day as a basis to starting, because not only was this an achievable but it did not burn me out. By working on 500 words a day I managed to build my word count quickly and I found it helpful to work on certain chapters at a time because I tend to drift to and from sections. To have a thesis I was generally interested in also helped, because I felt more inspired to research up on the topic and explore other artists in this field. I think what would have benefited me more was if I started earlier. Writing the dissertation was a daunting task so I kept delaying it, but once I started I felt a bit of relief. I felt I made an achievement. The hardest task for me was actually starting to write it. If I had started earlier I would have been able to improve much more on my writing techniques. I think working with deadlines in both subject, field and constellation has improved my time keeping, it has helped me to keep procrastination levels down to a small amount and has inspired me to become more organised in all my subjects. Overall I feel that I have achieved the personal goals that I had set myself. In future I must work on my timing and organisation skills.