Show: Untitled. Caitlin Totten.
Tell: “This piece of work is created for the exhibition The Unhealthy Obsession with Collectibles, for which I’ve focused on single items that are common to collect. The exhibition idea is to give our own interpretation of collectables and Sean (Gee – fellow illustrator) did a huge brainstorm together of any familiar collectable items. We then went away and put our own spin on each idea to create the final pieces for the show.
“When creating my nine pieces of single collectable items, I went by the things that people I asked collected. The camera ones are a favourite of mine because it’s more personal to me. I collect them myself. I also chose cameras because I wanted to try out making something with a bit more detail than I’ve done before.
“I chose the butterflies more for the aesthetics. I had in my head from the beginning a bug cabinet. I thought that doing a big group of small detailed pieces would look pretty impressive within the exhibition. I had originally chosen to do beetles but after a quick ask around for opinions the idea didn’t go down too well, but so far I am pleased with the result of that piece.
“Having our own show means we’re challenged to create a whole new range of work in about six weeks, enough to fill the room and create a successful exhibition. Being our first ever time doing this, it’s been a learning curve for our time management but luckily there hasn’t been any major slip ups.
“We won’t have this kind of printing equipment readily available at our disposal for future projects and we made that factor clear to ourselves from the beginning. By appreciating that, I think we are still working in a way that we can adapt for future projects when we don’t have access to such equipment. Although we are creating digital pieces we’re making sure that they can still be successful using other printing techniques.
“My smaller pieces of work, which are single imagery, were an extension of pieces I created in a previous project called Illustrating the 7 Chakras. I tend to work with single imagery because I use paper relief a lot, I like to keep the illustration to a minimum so the relief can be appreciated a bit more. This exhibition is a perfect opportunity to improve on a way of working that I really enjoy.
“The exhibition has also allowed me to go on to create more repeat patterns to expand my way of printing. I tend to try and add a new project/skill to learn to every project I go on to do, so none of the work gets too repetitive.”
Info: Caitlin Totten is an illustrator who lives and works in Sheffield, England. She and Sean Gee present The Unhealthy Obsession with Collectibles and the Sheffield Institute of Arts Gallery between Tuesday 23 August – Wednesday 7 September 2011.
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