Jasmine Baker was one of three Student Creatives in the academic year 2021 / 2022. The aim of the initiative was to offer all students at the AUB an opportunity to create work inspired by the MoDiP collection. This could be in any discipline with any creative outcome from physical art work to film or acting production. The MoDiP collection and / or the museum's practices had to be at the heart of the project and the work needed to be displayed either physically or digitally after a period of 20 weeks. A small bursary was provided to assist with material costs during the project and the remainder was paid on completion.
The resident was expected to keep the MoDiP team updated with progress reports on a regular basis either through email or face-to-face. They were also expected to write three blog posts during the process which follow below. The project not only helped MoDiP work closely with an AUB student, it gave the student a live brief and an opportunity to demonstrate their professional practice beyond their academic requirements.
Jasmine's first blog post
I’m a current student of BA illustration in my final year at AUB and I’m fortunate enough to be one of MoDiP’s student creatives of 2021/2022.
I’m really passionate about picture books. Why? Simply because there is something joyously magical, and entirely whimsical in illustrations for children. Creating spaces for them to explore, learn and test their imagination, all with the bonus of being able to tell stories! – and needless to say, I’m also really passionate about telling stories.
I’m also wholly enamoured with the quote that “Pictures say a thousand words”.
So it would make sense that my proposed project with MoDiP would be a wordless picture book! – One that concerns itself with how we perceive plastic.
I also set myself three main questions to help me get started :
- What would a child’s perception of plastic be?
- What would they think it’s purpose serves?
- To a child, is plastic inherently positive or negative?
My first idea for a concept, was ‘Treasures’, a tale of a child who upcycles the plastic they find upon the beach (Possibly after an encounter with an upset mermaid, because I love folklore & mythology) which leads to the shoreline becoming a little bit cleaner, and the town, a little bit brighter with their creations.
Which was in part, inspired by MoDiP’s recent exhibition, ‘Beside the sea’.
Here are a few of the sketches:
But I wanted to scout out multiple different approaches, so I decided to utilise MoDiP’s wonderful collection of objects more consciously for inspiration, because how better to understand plastic, than a whole museum dedicated to it?
Specifically, I searched for objects children might encounter, and these were some of my favourites!
What stood out to me about this collection of objects, aside from a desperate desire to play with them, were their qualities of vivid colours and versatility. Which ended up sparking the inspiration for some pattern-based designs.
I found the simple shapes and colours super fun to experiment with, as they held a deconstructed reminiscence to some of the toys I had discovered.
So my second, and most current idea for a concept, is to explore the world of children’s toys - still within the context of a wordless picture book. With a reminder to myself that this project doesn’t need to be at all conventional. It could be understated and mundane, or ambiguous and surreal and even controversial. It’s an exciting opportunity to explore lots of different possibilities!
Looking forward to the next update, I’ll see you then!
Jasmine's second blog post
We’re about halfway there with the project, and I’ve been busy conjuring lots of colourful things in the last few weeks, which I’m super excited to share with you!
To begin with, I visited the MoDiP Museum to view some of the wonders I’d found peering through the online gallery and spent a sunny afternoon creating sketches and illustrations to fuel inspiration for my picture book.
Whether or not my primary motivation to visit was driven by a desire to play with the objects in question, well, we won’t talk about that..
But here’s a photograph of some of the wonderful objects I had free rein over for a few hours!
In my first post, I set myself three questions to help spark some ideas, and you may be curious as to the answers I found myself with. Well, here they are!
- What would a child’s perception of plastic be? Bright, colourful, fun
- What would they think it’s purpose serves? The imagination
- To a child, is plastic inherently positive or negative? Positive
At surface value, I decided that children would be likely to find plastic; positive, bright, colourful & fun, with its purpose being to serve their imagination. As some of their initial, first encounters with plastic would be toys.
I should know, I have an adorable 12-month-old niece and it’s an understatement to say that she spends half her life atop a mountain of toys, when she isn’t busy launching them across the room in her own rendition of ‘fetch’, of course.
So, naturally, the themes I decided to tinker with are toys, colour, and the imagination, and to see where this would lead me. I started creating all sorts of doodles and let my own imagination roam wild. Here are some of my favourites!
Anyone feeling a tad nostalgic yet? Because I now wholeheartedly miss my Etch-A-Sketch and Tamagotchi. But like most retro toys, it is now upsettingly expensive to relive your childhood.
Anyway, next was to create some story boards, in order to organise the creative chaos - Here are a couple of outlines of what the narrative could look like, but things are still subject to change and take shape in new ways over the following weeks!
Both of the narrative concepts I’ve conjured, ‘Treasures’ and ‘Daydreamer’, are about the adventures that children have, fuelled by their favourite toys. The concept for ‘Daydreamer’ makes me particularly excited because it plays with the border between pages, as the gutter of the page acts as a barrier between reality and the imagination. It’s also my idea to purposefully use colour to distinguish between the different worlds, with reality being black and white, and the dream world being filled to the brim with bright saturated colours.
That’s all I have for now. I will see you for the final update and conclusion to my MoDiP project next time!
Jasmine's final blog post
Welcome to the third and final blog post and conclusion to my time with MoDiP as one of the ‘Student creatives’ for 2021-2022. In the last 21 weeks, I have had the chance to orchestrate my own project, one that reflects both my own practice as an illustrator as well as MoDiP’s expansive collection of objects.
I chose to create a wordless picture book, one that was based within the theme of ‘Children’s toys’, which led me down a pathway full of bright bold colours, nostalgia, and the concept of imagination. Children are some of the most naturally fluent daydreamers, and toys often act as a catalyst to spark their imagination, they can create stories, ideas, and whole worlds from a single object. This is what I decided I would represent within my picture book, the world of the daydreamer!
So, without further ado, here are a selection of pages from my finished project! You can see the whole book on display now, in the cases outside the museum, until 23rd May 2022.
I am so pleased to have had the chance to create this project. I was able to experiment with the physicality of the book itself by exploring how the page boarder could be used as an additional story-telling element. I kept the illustrations as close to the original sketches as possible to keep things feeling that little bit more alive and child-like, and I used the most vibrant of colours to create a distinction between the dream world and the real world. I am so happy with how it looks, and to finally hold the physical printed book feels surreal after months viewing it on the screen of my iPad.
This project also offered me the space to be able to create something that is outside of how I usually work, and because of that it has been invaluable in teaching me that it is okay to make something that is not perfectly refined, detailed, and conclusive. It was so much fun to have the time to play, explore, experiment, and simply enjoy the process!
To summarise, it has simply been a really wonderful experience.
Thank you so much to the amazing team at MoDiP who work tirelessly to collect, conserve and curate a myriad of so many compelling objects, and who believed in both me and my project enough to select me as one of the student creatives this year. I hope everyone else found following along with this project over the past few months as much fun as I had creating it!
Thank you for reading,
Farewell for now!