Assignment Three

My task in this Assignment is to identify an example of visual re appropriation within visual communication and analyse it in comparison to its original.

Following Tutor Feedback I redrafted this essay to contain a lot of the vital points which I had completely missed! These were; my reasons for choosing the Banksy, a lack of quotes to support my arguments, unqualified statements and the arguments for and against graffiti.

I have kept the original essay to make it easier for assessors to see where I have made changes, it is below this edited version and the references.

Redrafted Essay

When approaching this assignment and researching re-appropriated images I found lots of great ideas on ‘ P. (2019). Postmodernism and appropriation: Part two. [online] Emilybethphillips.blogspot.com. Available at: http://emilybethphillips.blogspot.com/2017/03/postmodernism-and-appropriation-part-two.html [Accessed 27 Aug. 2019]’

I chose to use a piece called ‘Show me the Monet’ by Banksy which I think will be a good fit for this exercise. I chose it because of the clear way in which Banksy has re appropriated a classic work to give a distinct message about consumerism, to my mind it meets the brief perfectly. In addition, I like both artists work so that didn’t hurt either! I think Monets green colour palette is very positive and calming whilst Banksys joyful approach to communicating his message always makes me laugh. It is the humour of his approach and the incredible skill levels of his work which I adore.

It is interesting that whilst most graffiti artists work is frowned upon and painted over, Banksys are sought after and can sell for millions. As with any artist there are those that hate his work and destroy it on sight, whilst others seek to protect it and give it recognition.

In my opinion, graffiti art needs more recognition. Within this genre though I would make a clear distinction between those who are actually making art and those who are just spraying their name on a wall. There are lots of excellent artists but what I believe sets Banksy apart are his political messages on current events. The humorous take on serious events combined with his excellent craft puts him in a league of his own.

Show Me the Monet (2005)
BBC News. (2019). Best of Banksy exhibition. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-44777797 [Accessed 27 Aug. 2019].

This Banksy piece is based on an original called Bridge Over A Pond Of Water Lilies by Claude Monet which he painted in 1899.

The zoom and download functions are not active for this image.
Metmuseum.org. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/437127 [Accessed 27 Aug. 2019].

Looking at the denotation of Monets original, I see a bridge suspended over a pond. The pond contains a variety of water lilies and is framed on the right by rushes and at the back by green trees. The suspended bridge acts as a top framing element to further focus the viewers eye on the lilies below.

When I consider the connotation of this image I keep returning to these lilies. I think this image is a celebration of the pond and its plants, I can not spot a deeper meaning to the image than this.

On researching a little I discovered that Monet was a passionate horticulturalist who brought some land near his house with the intention of building something ‘for the pleasure of the eye and for motifs to paint’. He first noticed the land when he was travelling through the village of Giverny on the train. He created his water lilies garden importing the plants from Egypt and South America despite the demands of the local council that he destroy them. In 1899 he began a series of paintings of it from different angles. Of the 18 paintings this is the one which I have seen most often displayed. (..I think…a lot of them are quite similar!)

He spent the last 30 years of his life painting his water garden even when he started to lose his sight to cataracts in 1912. After his death in 1926 the Lilies series remained in his Givency studio. It was 1955 before the Museum of Modern Art purchased their first image of the Lilies and it soon became their most well known attraction.

There are conflicting opinions on whether Monets series of lily paintings did or did not attract good press. According to Mentalfloss.com critics at the time argued that the impressionist style paintings were messy and blurred, however the webpage does not give further information on who these critics were. It was implied that this was because of the artists failing eyesight than a reflection of his painting style. Looking at an article from The Telegraph by Alastair Sooke in contrast it refers to Monet as the ‘prince of the Impressionists’ and a ‘figure of national importance’. These are not words I would associate with an artist who was being spurned.

Monets series of paintings is on display at various museums around the world. The painting ‘Bridge Over A Pond of Water Lilies’ is on display in The Met, Fith Avenue, New York City. I personally accessed it online and have never seen it in person. The nearest I have come to seeing a physical version of it is in Primary School when a teacher showed us a poster of a portion of one of the images of lilies. The invention of the Internet and its adoption by most people has opened up the world massively. I would never be so drawn to go and see Monets work that I would save for the years it would take to accumulate enough for the airfare to go and visit The Met in person. If the collection were to go on tour I doubt I would be able to get the correct day off work to go and see the exhibition when it reached the UK. But thanks to the Internet I can satisfy my curiosity and have a good look from the comfort of my own home. Because of the accessibility of art through the Internet, works can be seen and enjoyed by more people and therefore referenced in pop culture (as Banksy has done) to make a point which is understood.

The Banksy re-interpretation ‘Show Me The Monet’ shows the same scene of a bridge suspended over a pond full of water lilies. In this case though, the pond also features two discarded shopping trolleys and a traffic cone.

The images title ‘Show me the Monet’ can be interpreted in different ways. Banksy is a street artist known for creating art in public spaces where it can be widely viewed. He has frequently illicitly inserted his own versions of artwork into galleries but remains a prominently outdoor artist. In this sense, the title could be a reference to the fact that famous works are brought and kept by individual institutions. The additions of the trolleys and their symbolic reference to consumerism could be a more literal reference to money, an available play on words for Monet. Whichever it is, the more I look at different works by Banksy the more I notice that under his showman style of presentation he is a very intelligent artist with some very good points.

The shopping trolleys represent consumerism and the damage it is doing to nature. People are so obsessed with material gain that they disregard the fact they are killing the planet. I could not find reference to the initial showing of Show Me The Monet however I know that several of Banksys reimaginings of classical art were subversively planted in real gallerys such as the Louvre. I hope that this was one of them! I think this message that he wants to give with the art is fairly obvious.

Banksys work doesn’t just reference Monets original, it highlights its beauty in a whole new way. There are many images of beautiful landscapes but very few in which we can so directly see the negative effects that humans and our consumer society have on the planet. By using the same scene with the same component parts Banksys trolleys enhance the beauty of Monets waterscape with their sheer ugliness.

When Monet was alive and painting, people would produce paintings to raise awareness of beautiful things, to celebrate and document them. Banksys art is usually a social or political comment on a current situation. Where Monet would want to share the beauty of a particular scene, Banks wants us to realise how we are destroying them. Monets work is sought after and presented in galleries, Banksy sneaks into galleries and inserts his work (framed) for us to stumble across. Both artists are trying to make us aware of the same thing, beautiful places. It is just such a shame that people seem as determined to ignore it and not take action now in 2019 as they were back in 1899.

I think that using the same medium and style as Monet makes Banksys message even more striking. Famed for stencil art he could have easily made a stencil representation of this scene to illustrate the same message. In my opinion this would not have been so effective. By using the traditional painting of the original and incorporating the modern elements there is an added emphasis on the juxtaposed content.

There are several messages about consumerism here. There is the obvious message about peoples consumption without consideration, there is the irony of making that point by re appropriating an image that sells for $43M, and the further irony that anything Banksy touches also sells for vast sums. There are the further thoughts that it costs money to clean up our natural environment, and to do it voluntarily people need an incentive, often financial. The common message running through all these themes can be summed up wonderfully with Banksys title, to so many different people on so many levels ‘Show me the Monet!’.

Word count : 1,120

Riding, A. (2019). Paris’s Jewel-like Orangerie, Home to Monet’s Waterlilies, Reopens, Polished and Renovated. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/16/arts/design/16oran.html [Accessed 27 Aug. 2019].

Mentalfloss.com. (2019). 15 Facts About Monet’s <em>Water Lilies</em>. [online] Available at: http://mentalfloss.com/article/63929/15-things-you-might-not-know-about-monets-water-lilies [Accessed 27 Aug. 2019].

Clemenceau, G. (2019). Critique of the Critics. [online] Iopn.library.illinois.edu. Available at: https://iopn.library.illinois.edu/pressbooks/clemenceaumonet/chapter/critique-of-the-critics/ [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Hughes, K. (2019). Mad Enchantment by Ross King review – the truth about Monet’s lily pond. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/sep/03/mad-enchantment-claude-monet-water-lilies-review [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

King, R. (2019). The struggle that preceded Claude Monet’s water lily paintings at Giverny. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/art-and-design/claude-monet-20160920-grk00i.html [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Visual-arts-cork.com. (2019). Water Lilies Paintings at Giverny, Claude Monet: Analysis. [online] Available at: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/paintings-analysis/water-lilies-monet.htm [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Sooke, A. (2019). Claude Monet exhibition: First impressions – at long last. [online] Telegraph.co.uk. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/8015094/Claude-Monet-exhibition-First-impressions-at-long-last.html [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

BBC News. (2019). Monet water lilies sells for $43m. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-20223211 [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Original Essay

When approaching this assignment and researching re-appropriated images I found lots of great ideas on ‘ P. (2019). Postmodernism and appropriation: Part two. [online] Emilybethphillips.blogspot.com. Available at: http://emilybethphillips.blogspot.com/2017/03/postmodernism-and-appropriation-part-two.html [Accessed 27 Aug. 2019]’

I chose to use a piece called ‘Show me the Monet’ by Banksy.

Show Me the Monet (2005)
BBC News. (2019). Best of Banksy exhibition. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-44777797 [Accessed 27 Aug. 2019].

This Banksy piece is based on an original called Bridge Over A Pond Of Water Lilies by Claude Monet which he painted in 1899.

The zoom and download functions are not active for this image.
Metmuseum.org. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/437127 [Accessed 27 Aug. 2019].

Looking at the denotation of Monets original, I see a bridge suspended over a pond. The pond contains a variety of water lilies and is framed on the right by rushes and at the back by green trees. The suspended bridge acts as a top framing element to further focus the viewers eye on the lilies below.

When I consider the connotation of this image I keep returning to these lilies. I think this image is a celebration of the pond and its plants, I can not spot a deeper meaning to the image than this.

On researching a little I discovered that Monet was a passionate horticulturalist who brought some land near his house with the intention of building something ‘for the pleasure of the eye and for motifs to paint’. He first noticed the land when he was travelling through the village of Giverny on the train. He created his water lilies garden importing the plants from Egypt and South America despite the demands of the local council that he destroy them. In 1899 he began a series of paintings of it from different angles. Of the 18 paintings this is the one which I have seen most often displayed. (..I think…a lot of them are quite similar!)

He spent the last 30 years of his life painting his water garden even when he started to lose his sight to cataracts in 1912. After his death in 1926 the Lilies series remained in his Givency studio. It was 1955 before the Museum of Modern Art purchased their first image of the Lilies and it soon became their most well known attraction.

Originally Monets series of lily paintings did not attract good press. Critics at the time argued that the impressionist style paintings were messy and blurred. It was implied that this was because of the artists failing eyesight than a reflection of his painting style.

Monets series of paintings is on display at various museums around the world. The painting ‘Bridge Over A Pond of Water Lilies’ is on display in The Met, Fith Avenue, New York City. I personally accessed it online and have never seen it in person. The nearest I have come to seeing a physical version of it is in Primary School when a teacher showed us a poster of a portion of one of the images of lilies. The invention of the Internet and its adoption by most people has opened up the world massively. I would never be so drawn to go and see Monets work that I would save for the years it would take to accumulate enough for the airfare to go and visit The Met in person. If the collection were to go on tour I doubt I would be able to get the correct day off work to go and see the exhibition when it reached the UK. But thanks to the Internet I can satisfy my curiosity and have a good look from the comfort of my own home. Because of the accessibility of art through the Internet, works can be seen and enjoyed by more people and therefore referenced in pop culture (as Banksy has done) to make a point which is understood.

The Banksy re-interpretation ‘Show Me The Monet’ shows the same scene of a bridge suspended over a pond full of water lilies. In this case though, the pond also features two discarded shopping trolleys and a traffic cone.

The images title ‘Show me the Monet’ can be interpreted in different ways. Banksy is a street artist known for creating art in public spaces where it can be widely viewed. He has frequently illicitly inserted his own versions of artwork into galleries but remains a prominently outdoor artist. In this sense, the title could be a reference to the fact that famous works are brought and kept by individual institutions. The additions of the trolleys and their symbolic reference to consumerism could be a more literal reference to money, an available play on words for Monet. Whichever it is, the more I look at different works by Banksy the more I notice that under his showman style of presentation he is a very intelligent artist with some very good points.

The shopping trolleys represent consumerism and the damage it is doing to nature. People are so obsessed with material gain that they disregard the fact they are killing the planet. I could not find reference to the initial showing of Show Me The Monet however I know that several of Banksys reimaginings of classical art were subversively planted in real gallerys such as the Louvre. I hope that this was one of them! I think this message that he wants to give with the art is fairly obvious.

Banksys work doesn’t just reference Monets original, it highlights its beauty in a whole new way. There are many images of beautiful landscapes but very few in which we can so directly see the negative effects that humans and our consumer society have on the planet. By using the same scene with the same component parts Banksys trolleys enhance the beauty of Monets waterscape with their sheer ugliness.

When Monet was alive and painting, people would produce paintings to raise awareness of beautiful things, to celebrate and document them. Banksys art is usually a social or political comment on a current situation. Where Monet would want to share the beauty of a particular scene, Banks wants us to realise how we are destroying them. Monets work is sought after and presented in galleries, Banksy sneaks into galleries and inserts his work (framed) for us to stumble across. Both artists are trying to make us aware of the same thing, beautiful places. It is just such a shame that people seem as determined to ignore it and not take action now in 2019 as they were back in 1899.

I think that using the same medium and style as Monet makes Banksys message even more striking. Famed for stencil art he could have easily made a stencil representation of this scene to illustrate the same message. In my opinion this would not have been so effective. By using the traditional painting of the original and incorporating the modern elements there is an added emphasis on the juxtaposed content.



500 Word Commentary about Part Three

My main stoppers during this part of the course have been the trials and tribulations of my day job. During Part Three I’ve had to move to a new part of the country, rip out a kitchen and learn a new role so my study time has been even more disjointed than usual!

In terms of Part Three itself, the projects which most engaged my interest were Re-contextualizing Images, Mixed Messages and the Assignment itself. Im interested in the Graphic Design behind film and TV, so anything to do with fonts and typography I find interesting. I have always been interested in Photography (and Adobe Photoshop) so rearranging images in the Re-Contextualising Images exercise was a pleasure, especially with Boris Johnson as my main character, he is just so expressive! The Assignment was the most enjoyable of the lot. I always enjoy looking at Banksys work but too my surprise the more I looked into the work of Monets water lily project the more interested I became! This was due to the character of the artist and how his rebellious nature was described. I tend to imagine classic artists as being law abiding left wingers, not illegal plant smuggling border line obsessives! I was quite entertained! I’ve also started to gain a lot more interest in the original works of these art world Greats. Following tutor feedback I returned to this essay and looked at a lot more sources, some of Monets work really was breathtaking. One which particularly caught my eye was this View of Vetheuil. I like it because when displayed small on my browser window it looked almost photographic, then when I enlarged it, the full Impressionist approach revealed itself…I might even get a copy for my wall….

Image result for monet landscape
Metmuseum.org. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.metmuseum.org/toah/images/hb/hb_56.135.1.jpg [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

The exercise which I enjoyed the least was the very first one, ‘Identifying Visual Communications’. I fully understand and appreciate why it is required. It forces us to really get an understanding for the different types of visual communication and how it is everywhere. What grates on me is the length of if time-wise and having to prove every step with the image sourcing and referencing and then attempting to write notes on each image. This is consistently identified as one of my weaknesses and I fully concur. I know why I have to do it…I’m only bringing up this negative point because the course manual is asking me!

The manual also asks me if I am inspired to do further visual communications courses, I absolutely am. I continue to wish to complete this degree with Illustration and Graphic Design because I feel that they complement each other well. My ongoing overall inspiration are the Graphic Designers Eduardo Lima and Miraphora Mina who are the creative team behind the art of the Harry Potter/Fantastic Beasts franchises.