Monday, 29 March 2010

Hippo Brief

Really random brief that spawned from meeting Jane Earnshaw at the Armley Mills community, who organises the I Love West Leeds Festival.

West Leeds Hippos – March on the city

West Leeds Arts Festival (also known as I Love West Leeds) is a quirky
annual arts festival, now in its 6th year, that takes place annually
in July. A cross artform festival, it features a mix of professional
performances, exhibitions & events and large-scale community
participation projects.

This year our mass participation event will be based around hippos,
with five artists commissioned to create one-off items and with
hundreds of school pupils decorating smaller versions for display
during the festival.

To realise this project we need a prototype hippo creating and then a
series of moulds made in order to produce 500 hippos for decoration.
The final mass produced hippo need to be a simplistic design and
constructed out of a material that is both suitable for painting and
is also suitable to be used by primary school children i.e. non-toxic.
The hippo should be able to be decorated in a single lesson and so
needs to find of a size large enough to be painted by young children
who may not be the most dextrous of painters yet small enough to be
achievable in a single lesson. A suggestion would be that the hippo is
no larger than 30cm long and 20cm high.

The hippos need to be made and ready to go into schools by the week
beginning 14 June.

I've been down to the 3D workshop to talk to the guy about it, and as I feared it is completely unrealistic to suggest that I make all 500 hippos myself. He worked out how many hours it would take and I'm sure it's more than I plan on being alive for. Then there's the storage and transportation to consider also, I'd single handedly take up half the college - although it would look funny as fuck to completely fill the studio with an army of midget hippos simply on the basis of observing David's reaction, who seems to have an unthinkable comment for every occasion. Another important factor to consider - would I be marked any higher for making 500 than I would for making 5? 
After voicing these concerns with Jane on Monday we have ourselves a solution. I design the hippos, make as many moulds as I can (ideally 10 or more), make a few prototypes and then pass the moulds onto Jane who will locate some minions to do the laborious birthing of my precious herd. This is great, because it's such a fun little brief, it gives me chance to work on a one to one basis with a client, learn some new skills in mould making and plaster casting and my hippos will be part of a massive regional festival! 
I am slightly concerned that whilst this is a lovely, if a little strange, brief, is it really helping me progress as a practitioner? Or am I just imagining justifications to distract myself away from the fact that I have no real place on this course? I suspect the latter, but we'll save the self pity for another blog post.

1 comment:

Kirsty said...

aren't random briefs wonderful though? imagine a year ago, if someone said to you "in a year's time, you'll be pondering how to store 500 pygmy hippos"...well, you probably would believe them, but you'd have been scared!