Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Nur Feedback for Jury 2

* Provide a concrete analysis of symbolic meanings of the different characters
* Think abt the influential voice of truck art in propagating the blurred boundaries of Islamic Art and Modern Popular Culture
* I think the binary opposites of negative and positive seems interesting to feature in your work. What type of animation style will suit these narrative?
* Think abt the poetic extension of your medium – is it the sights sounds and motion that portrays the iconic style of truck arts?

Put together design briefs of what you hope to do next semester. Think of new approaches and value of project.

Jury for Semester 2

12th March:

My Jury for semester 2 went well. I was able to show my motivation for the project through my research. The animation was appreciated by my jurors. An important decision on the animation was also made. At first i was making one animation encompassing my research but now i am going to create two or more. The first which i am currently working on showing the symbolism involved in Truck Art, the second will show the two personalities of the truck; the front and the back presenting completely different profiles to the world.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Max Hattler - Collision

One of the animations that i distinctively remember is "collision" by Max Hattler. I saw this during the Kara Film Festival in Karachi, Pakistan. This animation communicates only through symbols and sound.

My animation will be in this particular style of communication. My aim is to create an animation that will enlighten the viewer not only about truck art but the meanings of the symbols used. Each symbol has its own purpose and location...

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

storyboard (initial)

This is my initial storyboard. There are changes being made in it considering the software limits. Also the changes that are being made are decisions depending on whether my animation is legible. This animation is still in progress. I will upload the first version on the 11th March.

Symbolism in Truck Art

Here are some of the symbols and what they represent in our culture. These concepts are what i have taken forward in my animation which is under process.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Animated Short Film ideas

Interactive animation?

During my research on how to introduce my audience to Truck art i had an idea of creating an interactive animation in which a viewer could learn about it by participating in decorating a truck.

This in fact would not be possible in the time period that is available to me. Another reason being what if the viewer decorates a truck without the knowledge of the truck art principles. This was indeed not a good way to create that positive awareness of Pakistan.

Feedback 2 - 12th Feb

In the feedback session 2 i prepared a storyboard for the proposed animation. I wanted this animation to be simple and easy to understand for anyone, even non designers. The basic concept of the animation was to show the two sides of the truck. The front being the serious and religious side to the world and the back being the opposite; funny, humorous and sarcastic). It started with a black and white scribbled female character going around showing a colorful paper to people who would not take notice of her picture of truck art. This was just a first draft animation idea..

Documentary on Truck Art

Here a documentary by Eckova Productions on Truck art from Pakistan.

All across Pakistan, from the Arabian Sea coast to the peaks of the Himalayas, the highways and roads are constantly busy with trucks carrying goods. Although this may be a common sight in any country, the difference here is the curious and unusual practice of creating works of art on trucks, unique to Pakistan and parts of the Indian subcontinent. These canvases on the move are an art-form in themselves and have an inimitable style.


Fashion inspired by Truck art - Karachi

This is a shop in Karachi selling designer clothing by renowned fashion designer Maheen from Karachi, Pakistan. Designer and founding member of Pakistan Fashion Design Council Maheen Khan's business acumen and impeccable fashion taste has allowed her to be relevant to Pakistani designing in the sixties when she first started out, and her Gulabo line is the trendiest collection inspired by the Art off the streets of Karachi (truck Art).

Week 10 - realization and questions

At this stage i had gathered a lot of information on truck art. I originally wanted to make a short film on truck art based on my research. But it was not possible to keep traveling back and forth between Pakistan and Singapore so to help me figure out what my next step was i referred to my four key questions:

1. How is Truck Art kept alive in the modern society of today?
2. Is there a progression?
3. What is the 4th generation of Truck Art from Pakistan?

Which society am i referring to? Where is the progression leading to? How is the society of Pakistan currently doing to push Truck art locally?

Questionairre tabulation

Some of my key questions at this stage w

Monday, March 5, 2007

Singapore Interviews

For research purposes i conducted some interviews of local people in Singapore on their knowledge of Pakistan. From these videos and my questionairres my notion of Pakistan being percieved in a negative way was confirmed. My research and project outcome will help to change that perception created by the media of today's world.

As you will see in the video, most people do not have any information about Pakistan, and some who do have a negative one; as one local said " Pakistan hates America" while on the other hand a local girl was aware of the handicrafts of Pakistan.

Principles of Truck Art

1. Ornate Metal Cowling
2. Framing
3. Plastic Applique (ornamental pieces sewn or stuck to form a pattern)
4. Mosaics
5. Motifs
a) Idealised elements from Life (landscapes/women)
b) Elements of Modern life (Tv, War, media inspired)
c) Talismanic and fetish objects (these represent good luck and fortune)
d) Religious Symbols such as fish, eyes, Buraq (half horse half woman)
6. Feminization of the Truck
7. Two personalities in one truck (the front and the Back showing different view points)

Week 9 - Jamal J Elias

For the past three years, Professor of Religion Jamal J. Elias has been conducting research on vehicular art in Pakistan as part of a larger academic project—and eventually a book—on the poetics of Islamic art. Last winter his research was funded by a grant from Amherst College.

"I would argue that religious images, even at their least denotative, or most abstract, are images nonetheless; they are perceived, and—to paraphrase Paul Ricoeur—perception gives rise to symbols, and symbols give rise to thought and response. Built into the symbol, as a perceptual metaphor, is the capacity to pattern responses concerning how the individual relates to the world or to the divine. Thus the symbols used in truck decoration in particular (and vehicle decoration in general), even when they are not consciously representative of a particular religious message, are still shaped by a notion of the religious place of the individual, by a religious worldview, and they still elicit responses that are framed within the parameters of that worldview. That these religious symbols are pictorial, and that the religious responses are elicited by pictorial representation, raises many questions about the nature and role of religious art in Pakistan, which views itself as resolutely lacking pictorial religious art."

His article and research is key for my project as this is more proof of my notion that theres a lot more to the "Truck art of Pakistan" than meets the eye. Each motif, pattern, scene represents a story or a belief.

I also received a reply from him:
Dear Ms. Omar:

I'm glad you liked that article. I have a couple of more serious articles on trucks and their symbolism, the most recent one in the journal Material Religion (volume 1). If you'd like to read it, I'd be happy to send you a pdf version. I also have a book on trucks coming out next year (I hope) from Oneworld Publications, Oxford, UK.

Generally, though, there isn't much on the symbolism.

Best wishes,

Jamal J. Elias

Week 8 Post-Feedback Session

After the feedback i was given in the presentation i realized what i needed to do next. At this point i wanted to make a documentary as my final outcome based on my research on Truck Art. Truck art is the Voice of the People of Pakistan. It is a way for the locals of Pakistan to communicate their hopes, dreams, jokes, desires and religious beliefs with the rest of the country.

"Truck Art is by the people for the People".

Below is one of the brainstorming sessions i tried to help me further my project. In which i also realized i could do audio based / telephonic interviews with the respective artists involved with this art if i am not able to go there myself.

Week 7 - Feedback Session 1

Here is a short film that i complied on the research i did in Karachi which i showed in the session.

First draft for Principle Aesthetics of Truck Art

At this point after all my weeks of analysis and research i was able to generate a first draft of the Principles of Truck Art form Pakistan. Basically what i derived was that Truck Art is created on the following principles;

1. Framing
2. Bright Contrasting Colors
3. Islamic Geometric Patterns
4. Flat perspective
5. Poetry
6. Motifs from Popular Culture

Reading for the Essay

“It would be a power like that of a whist player who remembers the cards played; or to go up a step, like that of a chess player who can visualize a great number of combinations and hold them in his memory.”
Henri Poinca`re
(B.Ghiselin, 1985, p.23)

Pop Art Vs Truck Art

I found a big similarity in Pop Art and Truck Art, mainly being that they are both inspired by 'Popular Culture'. According to wikipedia;

Pop art is one of the major art movements of the Twentieth Century. Characterized by themes and techniques drawn from popular mass culture, such as advertising and comic books, pop art is widely interpreted as either a reaction to the then-dominant ideas of abstract expressionism or an expansion upon them. Pop art, like pop music, aimed to employ images of popular as opposed to elitist culture in art, emphasizing the banal or kitschy elements of any given culture. Pop art at times targeted a broad audience, and often claimed to do so.

analysis of truck art via principles of design

After my Meeting with Nur i began to analyze truck art via the Principles of Composing an illustration. Namely Unity, Hierarchy, Scale, proportion, Contrast. I also began to explore how the tuck artists use this medium to paint portraits of controversial images like of Saddam Hussain and Osama Bin Laden as well as some scenes of the Americans raiding Afghanistan. In order to understand this propoganda creating side of truck art i also looked up famous artists who communicate through propoganda such as Banksy, Damien Hirst, Stefen Sagmeister etc.

Week 3 - 10th to 16th Dec

I had my weekly supervision with Nur in which we discussed my project and i shared with her my idea for creating a book of symbols of Truck Art. This book idea at this point was not only for the symbolism but also the history and comparative ananlysis of Truck art with other similar untutored art forms.

week 2 - 3rd Dec to 9th Dec

I spent most of time analyzing the ethnographic study i had conducted in Karachi. The process of painting the truck, the different stages. My interviews with the truck artists who were not very eager to be filmed thus i had to take down notes. But the shops that were selling the various truck art designs in sticker format were inspiring. These shops were filled with bright colors and all kinds of motifs. From Osama Bin Laden to PIA (Pakistan International Airways) airplanes to flowers, these shops were loaded with truck art goodies.

Meeting with Bill

On the 28th of November i had my meeting with Bill Gillham. I showed him my research from the Karachi Trip and was then advised to look at similar types of art forms. Such as Fairground art from the UK, which is another example of untutored art.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Week 1 - 26th dec to 2nd Dec

The first week after i returned to Singapore after my 2 weeks in Karachi was spent analyzing my fresher ethnographic study. During my visit to Karachi i was able to not only take more photographs of truck art but i also conducted interviews. I conducted interviews with Sharik Chapra (creative head of PLAY and AAJ Channels), as well as Shireen Syed (Teacher of Illustration at Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture). I was also able to goto an area titled 'garden'. This is where all the truck artists are found along with shops selling truck art designs and motifs.

'Garden'; this area is located at 1 and a half hours drive away from main Karachi. To get to it we had to drive through some very bad road conditions. Once we reached it i was bombarded with this completely different market. I was surrounded on both sides by little shops selling artwork for trucks. From stickers to metal cowling to painting, this market had it all. I then met with a couple of truck owners and sadly only 2 artists. But it was a worthwhile trip. I learned not only about the motifs used on these trucks but which part of Pakistan the truck belongs to. For Example: a truck owner told me; the shiny and glossy designs are from Karachi, whereas the more Matte coloring with metal cowling is from Punjab. The sides of the trucks are where the name of the owner/driver/painter/vehicle number and so on are shown.

This week i spent in organizing all my recorded data.