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Summary for the Current Debates Unit, 2015
For this year’s essay we have been encouraged to choose our own topic which related to the practice we are interested in evolving in our future major project and possibly other future projects as well. I have been interested in psychology for a quite a long time and decided to search for something that would relate to the illustration studies. This is when I learned about the famous psychoanalyst Carl Gustav Jung who was a self-taught illustrator as well. Jung was famous for creating the theories of the Collective Unconscious and dreams. He has spent his whole life researching this topic as he himself had a possibility to both research himself and other clients later on. Jung has been the student of Sigmund Freud however their paths have separated when Jung understood that their theories do not match as Freud saw everything related to the human ego and sex.
I have started learning about C. G. Jung, reading the books that he has written or what others have written about him but what gained the most interest in was the ‘’Collective Unconscious’’ and the ‘’Red Book’’. Collective Unconscious has given me a lot of information on dreams such as that our memories from childhood could be encouraging certain imagery we see in our dreams as adults and similar. I got the most interest after learning that dreams can tell about ourselves and if read the right way can help to heal our inner selves. I started to research what art path has been inspired by the Jungian theories and learned that it was the Abstract Expressionists who have followed the ideas of the Jungian theory and some artist have even been the clients of the Jung himself such as – Jackson Pollock. My research expanded after reading books and articles about Jackson Pollock’s life and learning that Jung has encouraged Pollock to draw his dreams which they later on used as reference to read from. Pollock has used the automatic drawing while in belief that it helps to paint with your inner self, as it is too quick for the mind to send already prepared images from your head and draw something which is impossible to draw while doing it in a more slow and concentrated state.
C. G. Jung has created a list of archetypes that can fully express the unconscious state of a person. Archetypes has been one of the most important image expression ways as they have an inner strength and any person would read the image correctly without even having the knowledge of what that archetype means as this reflects to something that our subconscious can understand. As I got highly interested in this topic I decided to investigate how archetypes have changed or not changed during the years during and after the Abstract Expressionism.
The other book written by Jung which I was highly interested was the ‘’Red Book’’. It contains Jung’s Mandala illustrations which help express his ideas of the archetypes. I believed this will be highly helpful for my Final Major Project.
When it came to the time of working on my Final Major Project I decided to put myself in the position of an artist who will use dreams in order to learn about myself. After writing the dreams down I noticed that an archetype of a cat symbol has been majorly repeated in my dreams. I had to do more research and this is when I learned that Jung believed that a person’s unconscious can take a different form of an animal in our dreams, which meant that the cat I was seeing was the inner self. This is when I decided to continue my final major project on learning about the cat archetype as well as learning about myself.
The other strand that I saw from the dreams that I have written down were the places I saw in my dreams. I recognised them and most of them have been highly related to something I saw when I was a kid. But it was all mixed up and made from different places I have seen and remember or do not remember. I decided to recreate the places using a layering or a collage method. This was the second idea I had for the Final Major Project.
When it came to choosing the techniques for my project pieces I have chosen alternative photography – which helped me to recreate the idea of capturing the second of the image seen (for example me using photograms and capturing the right amount of light to the photo paper or using cyanotype technique and capturing the amount of sunlight to capture the image); digital collages – helped me to layer different photos in order to recreate places I saw in my dreams, then used textures to recreate the ones I saw in the dreams and recreating the surrealism of the places I saw; automatic drawing – helped me to create images of cats that I saw in the dreams; Mandalas – to express the ideas or feelings when using shapes or lines.

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