Thursday’s explorations

May 20, 2010


Delusional Expressionism

May 19, 2010

Delusional disorder is a psychiatric diagnosis denoting a psychotic mental disorder that is characterized by holding one or more non-bizzare delusions in the absence of any other significant psychopathology. Non bizarre delusions are fixed beliefs that are certainly and definitely false, but that could possibly be plausible, for example, someone who thinks he or she is under police surveillance. In order for the diagnosis to be made auditory and visual hallucinations cannot be prominent. Although olfactory or tactile hallucinations related to the content may be present.

To be diagnosed with delusional disorder the delusions cannot be due to the effects of a drug, medication, or general medical condition, and delusional disorder cannot be diagnosed in an individual diagnosed with schizophrenia. A person with delusional disorder may be high functioning in daily life and may not exhibit off or bizarre behavior aside from these delusions.

-American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, (4th ed., text revision). Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

‘Expressionism’ was a cultural movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the start of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world under an utterly subjective perspective, violently distorting it to obtain an emotional effect and vividly transmit personal mood and ideas. Expressionist artists sought to express the meaning of “being alive” and emotional experience rather than physical reality.

Expressionism is exhibited in many art forms, including painting, literature, theatre, dance, film architecture and music. The term often implies emotional angst. In a general sense, painters such as Matthias Grunewald and El Greco can be called expressionist, though in practice, the term is applied mainly to 20th century works. The expressionist stress on the individual perspective was also a reaction to positivism and other artistic movements such as naturalism and impressionism.


My first colony concept is based around aspects of expressionism and delusional disorder. I find the mental abnormality has common links to this cultural movement. For the creation of this tribe, I will assume that ideals of expressionism (abstraction used to convey strong emotion) has in fact lead to illusions amongst inhabitants (or vice versa.) As German expressionism peaked in the 1920s, I will attempt to adapt fashions of this period into my design. In the character below, he is seen wearing suit trousers. Unfortunately, in my brief research, it seems the common suit is one of the only choices available to men of the 1920s. Thus I have incorporated unrelated armour into the design. He wears a veil over the majority of his face to emphasize his infatuation with whatever illusions he is in his mind. A ‘dream catcher’ is attached to his back enforcing the characters belief that he is indeed in touch with abstract spirits. Here is the starting point for a more specific direction with my project.

Tuesday Morning

May 18, 2010

ArtOrder: Discover a muse challenge

May 15, 2010

Model: Veronika Kotlajic

Photographer: Scott Caywood



Rorschach, alchemy and silhouettes.

May 14, 2010

‘The Rorschach is a performance-based test of personality functioning based on interpreting a person’s responses to 10 bilaterally symmetrical inkblots. The overall goal of the technique is to assess the structure of personality, with particular emphasis on how individuals construct their experience and the meanings assigned to their perceptual experiences.

The interpretations on Rorschach data can provide information on variables such as motivations, response tendencies, cognitive operations, affectivity, and personal and interpersonal perceptions.

Central assumption of the Rorschach is that stimuli from the environment are organized by a person’s specific needs, motives, and conflicts and by certain perceptual “sets.” This need for organization becomes more exaggerated, extensive, and conspicuous when subjects are confronted with ambiguous stimuli, such as inkblots. Thus, they must draw on their personal internal images, ideas, and relationships to create a response. This process requires that persons organize these perceptions as well as associate them with experiences and impressions.  The central thesis on which Rorschach interpretation is based is this: The process by which persons organize their responses to the Rorschach is representative of how they confront other ambiguous situations requiring organization and judgement. Once the responses have been made and recorded, they are scored according to three general categories: (a) the location, or the area of the inkblot on which they focused; (b) determinants, or specific properties of the blot they used in making their responses (color, shape, and so on); and ( c) the content, or general class of objects to which the responses belongs (human, architecture, anatomy, etc.)”

– Groth-Marnat, G. (2009). Handbook of Psychological Assessment. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons.

Perhaps I can use the three categories that make up a Rorschach plate to create my own emblems that embody a mental disorder? A great piece of sketching software is Alchemy. It’s free and allows you to create shapes that inspire the ground work for finished work. It has some pretty genius ideas attached to it, so if your feeling you are just recycling the same shapes over and over (like me!) check it out. I intend to use it for silhouette design as well as exploring its potential as a Rorschach plate creator. I will attempt to mesh these two activities together to see if it communicates an intended mental disorder. For now I have just done a single silhouette and tried a few (mostly hideous) loose design ideas.

Also, a quick painting exploring mood and colour and composition.

Speedy Cliff

May 13, 2010

Trying to use a cool colour palette for a change.

Informative poster

May 12, 2010

This poster is a general summary of where I am at so far with my project. It also includes where I am heading next. Much thanks to the lovely Carly Hitchcock who designed the typographic layout.

A new discovery

May 9, 2010

Waiting for the dentist.

May 7, 2010

Because I don’t feel like writing.

May 5, 2010