Amy Dodd Illustration

The ceiling going up at Great Fulford! Very excited to see the finished thing, it was such a beautiful project to work on with Geoffrey Preston and team. 

With the use of a significant amount of 0.05 pens, a fine helping of UHU, a spattering of LED lights and a small cupboard for holding eggs I have made this Victorian toy theatre. It was largely folly on my part as an endeavour, I just love toy theatres. I find the shrinking down of something grand and expansive into something small but still perfectly formed particularly captivating. I also enjoyed every part of the (rather long, if I’m honest) making process. More than this, however, I found the notion of Miss Havisham being trapped not only in the confines of her bed chamber but scaling that down into a small, domestic cupboard a useful one. I am considering a series of women trapped in literature, those who in some way suffered a forced confinement, the secret wife in the attic in Jane Eyre, the protagonist in The Yellow Wallpaper and the other trapped shadows of women she sees creeping below the pattern, as just two examples. Trapped, misunderstood and vastly undervalued. Now, all I need is to find more tiny cupboards…

Working with Geoffrey Preston

Here are some rather wonderful images by Nick Carter Photography of the time I spent working with Geoffrey Preston down in sunny Exeter. Looking at the work I can’t quite believe I was involved in it and feel fortunate to have been so, who wouldn’t want to be part of this happy little team?

This is me looking like a real artist…

This is Geoffrey, being amazing and making it look like like this incredible work can be done casually and from the comfort of a chair…

This is the studio where we spent many a day covered in clay…

Things getting cosy around one of the panels, you may also enjoy those nicely arranged flowers on the table…

This is one of the panels just about finished…

The final work is for the ballroom ceiling at Great Fulford and I will definitely chatter more about it. 

This is a pop up Valentine’s card I made. The eagle eyed among you may notice that the wren in progress is different to that of the final card. This is because the first wren’s legs were too puny to withstand the pop up mechanism and broke. It was a sorry sight, a sad day for pop up. But it was my first venture into pop up and I will take that painful learning curve on the chin. Anyway, the final card was posted off with the line ‘wren will I see you again’ because surely pun is the most romantic form? I, of course, did not receive a valentine myself so will just be basking in my own pop up creativity and the warm glow from my solo bottle of cava. Happy Valentine’s day! 

One more day to vote for my postcard design! I’d love it if you did http://www.talenthouse.com/creativeinvites/preview/a5c048dab100c100ac7e9a368b3c3688/837 

One more day to vote for my postcard design! I’d love it if you did http://www.talenthouse.com/creativeinvites/preview/a5c048dab100c100ac7e9a368b3c3688/837 

Drowning in dark imagery this is my entry for the  Talenthouse competition with Curzon Cinema to design a postcard for the upcoming film Stoker featuring the talents of porcelain beauties Nicole Kidman and Mia Wasikowska. You can see some details above as well as some progress shots and a picture of my lovely new pen box supplied by a cobbler friend of mine Tom (the boxes are normally used for shoe shine).

A lot of the competition is dependant on public voting which starts on Monday 4th February and so with something akin to desperation in my heart and a wavering plea in my voice I ask you to cast your votes in my favour. If you could find it in yourself, please do VOTE HERE! Please?! Voting will be open between 4th Feb - 11th of Feb.

And so I have continued as I meant to go on, a little darkly, a little detailed and a lot of pens. The hankering in me for skull based optical illusions was, as I have previously mentioned, instilled during a visit to the Death Exhibition and the Wellcome Collection which features some lovely Nineteenth century postcards of a similar nature (if you haven’t been you have until 24th February, more than worth a visit).

This scene is of two women sat in a garden on a bench beneath a parasol, one deeply involved in a book, another deeply involved in her own reflection in the hand mirror that makes up half of the skull’s nose. There is a loose brains and beauty concept here, I don’t know how much I want to self indulgently witter on about my thought process so I will leave any further speculation to those who wish to bother I think. Equally so about the thicket behind them which makes me think of the imagined and densely overgrown driveway in Rebecca or the intensity of pattern in The Yellow Wallpaper, do feel free to make your own comparisons… or perhaps more favourably not. 

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As we are in a New Year I thought I would start as I mean to go on; a little darkly with a few pens in tow. There was a lot to love when I visited the Death Exhibition at the Wellcome Collection late last year but I had a terrible soft spot for the Victorian optical illusion postcards; images that morphed between depictions of skulls and scenes of lovers etc depending on you focus. So I thought I would dabble at my own interpretation (see above). This skull is made up of intertwined insects featuring maggots, flies, beetles, dragonflies, snails and lots and lots of moths, there was something especially useful about the shape and markings of the wings. The eye sockets for example are made of snails (a key ingredient in boys or so I’m led to believe)…

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And the gape of the nose a fly…

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Before this one I dabbled a little with the idea first…

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I think I may do a series of them. 

A collection of cakes I decorated for my friend Anthony’s 30th birthday, with a kind of village fete theme in mind. I confess not all of the baking was my own, the ladybirds and bees sit on Asda’s finest, the others are my bake. The grass is butter icing that I coloured and textured with a fork, the bees, ladybirds, teapots/ cups and rose discs I moulded from Royal Icing and hand painted with food colouring. Perhaps there’s a cake based career out there for me yet. 

A picture for my lovely friend Nicola’s wedding to her new husband Rob. They met in the Navy so this is my homage to that, I do of course appreciate that in reality that is not how Navy ships look and that they probably aren’t adorned with bunting. The pose was inspired by this iconic picture

If you go down to the woods today…

I am aware that whilst I have posted the odd bit of artwork from my animation, I have not posted on the finished product, and what better time than a lazy Sunday to wax lyrical about such things. I realise I am at great risk of sounding trite as I begin to talk about my inspiration being grim(m)ly dark fairy tales, but this is nonetheless true. I am desperately in love with the darkest illustrations by Gustav Doré that accompany Charles Perrault’s fairy tales, a more sinister visual interpretation of Tom Thumb (boggle eyed assailant wielding a knife above his sleeping daughters) I am confident you will never see. And so down the fairy tale trail I went, casting imagined breadcrumbs in my wake. With the project brief being centred around the theme of location, the woods seemed a natural choice for me, it is impossible to not find inspiration in the thickly tangled growths there; dark spaces, unknown inhabitants, growth, decay and a fleeting sensation of being watched. It is also the space of fairy tale activity, of gingerbread baking witches and cross dressing wolves thinly disguised as beloved grandmothers. The woods provide a space quite separate to that beyond the border of trees, a space of lawlessness where vengeance can be meted out with the blow of an axe and no one would blink an eye. And so with this in mind I constructed my animation complete with doe eyed heroine…

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Wandering through the woods…

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Suggestion of peril…

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And I wouldn’t like to ruin the rest but you can watch the whole thing here

(If you’re interested the animation was made using hand drawn pencil illustrations that were coloured in Photoshop and put together on planes and animated in Autodesk 3DS Max.)

Back to Business

A week ago (and I know this because today I should be taking down the installation instead of rambling on) it was the exhibition launch for my MA Illustration and Animation course. In an attempt to be vaguely corporate and business minded I felt I should print up some business cards, which I did, complete with circus font and Punch smiling up, I simply couldn’t bring myself to do something terribly formal looking, it would be a lie. I also couldn’t not add my own crafty touch so I hand painted some envelopes for them to go in and fixed a skinny red and gold trim ribbon to the cards, so they could be easily drawn from said envelopes…

       

      

Once happy with the cards I still felt a little more was needed, so I made what some might view as a slightly ostentatious business card holder…

     

Made using card, bells and BBQ skewers left over from my project, I cut, painted and glued this little treasure together, affixing a business card to the front, and adding as much glitter paint as I could. It was only right. And of course I couldn’t miss the opportunity to have my name in lights…

      

It was all rather self indulgent I realise that, but it’s awfully shiny and I love it. 

On Big Top of the World

      

I had intended to blog my final project as I went along, a progress report if you will on the various stages, and I still will but now it will be retrospective. I will start with the final product and work my way backwards. I feel my creative streak legitimises this approach, we’re a flighty and erratic breed, us creatives, don’t expect a neat journey. And so pictured above is my final installation, all lovingly stitched, painted, drawn and modelled by myself. People keep asking me if I’m relieved that I’ve finished the Masters now. In answer, no. No I’m not. No longer will my days be filled with obsessive crafting, accompanied by the warm smell of baking Fimo, covered in gold paint and glitter, and of that I am sad. So I will exist vicariously through these blog posts now. Here’s a close up…

       

I hope the circus/ fairground themes are self evident, else I feel I may have missed the mark slightly, but I was also looking at the role of fear in entertainment and the response we have to objects, in particular small objects, notions of toys and play and the way in which this can be challenged and subverted. But if you find that terribly dull just look at the shiny lights, because that is absolutely fine too…

     

I won’t labour on now about the finer details of it, some of the models deserve a little more attention so I will note them individually, but for now here’s just a few more snaps of the final thing…

      

     

     

      

      

All the fun of the fair, I hope. 

Hurrah!

Hurrah! I passed my MA! As noted here…

       

What a splendid start to the day! Now if only I would get that important call offering me my dream job my burgeoning anxiety about my overwhelming debt would, I have no doubt, begin to subside. Until then I shall revel in what I consider to be evidence that I may be harbouring some semblance of artistic talent after all, what joy!