Type Three Diabetes

Following my previous brain storm, it was necessary to narrow my concept into one research path. To do this I studied Women’s Health magazine April 2017 which proved a good source of up to date scientists research. Health magazines are full of headlines and advice on which food to consume, how to exercise and a general review on the well-being of the human body. The articles in April 2017 included information of subject such as; probiotics, wheat free diets, fitness bloggers and mindfulness. However, the most interesting article was titled ‘Future-Proof Your Brain’ with the summary of ‘Pioneering research linking Alzheimer’s with diabetes offers new hope that diet and lifestyle changes could provide protection. And the earlier you take action, the better.’ This instantly caught my attention because the article linked my interest in food intake/well-being to a widely discussed and feared disease. The article is explaining that some scientists are calling for the disease to be renamed as ‘Type Three Diabetes’ as much like type two diabetes, insulin can be rejected from the brain. Professor de la Monte studied rats that had insulin deprived brains and found that the animals became disorientated and not able to find their way through a maze. The rats suffered brain shrinkage which is a common defect caused from Alzheimer’s disease. After this discovery the scientists performed autopsies on human brains and found that those who had died from Alzheimer’s also had insulin deprived brains. The article further explains that ‘brain cells require double the glucose levels of normal cells, so if the brain becomes resistant to insulin it sparks a tsunami of neurodegeneration’ meaning the brain starves. Alzheimer’s can occur decades before the symptoms are recognisable, and a diet with a high sugar or processed food intake will accelerate the brain degeneration. The best foods to eat are ‘whole foods’ including fruits, vegetables and cereals- less red meat. Taking regular exercise, or allowing the brain to be challenged can also prevent the disease.

In particular, I found that the new medical term and links between brain shrinkage and lifestyle choices were subjects I could respond to through visual medias. Before creating a visual brainstorm, I also wanted to discover the difference between Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. In summary Dementia is a general term for memory loss and disorientation, although Alzheimer’s is the cause of 50%-70% of all dementia cases.


To begin the visual process, I highlighted playful words or descriptions within the article which I could reimagine. I began with using black Indian ink as it is a loose medium allowing for freedom of brush strokes, but also encourages a fast paced working style so all ideas can be recorded. I also added red ink to highlight certain sections of the drawing and to enter in sections of colour which could later be digitally changed. Some of my most visually successful sketches are those with a playful description of the scientific detail, for example the image with the brain in the washing machine explaining the shrinkage of the organ.



FMP Starting Points

After discussing my FMP concept with my tutor, I have decided to consider food and health headlines as my exploration. This is extending my first project of Coeliac disease further than a niche audience, and understanding how scares and strong media influences can affect the intake of an individual. At present I have a broad range of examples to play with, and the only way to find a more focussed discussion is by working visually and researching together. This will allow me to experiment with imagery and medium whilst discovering which issues need to addressed.

To start the process, I created a list of health headlines which have affected the way that I have approached food both negatively and positively. I have then visualised these concerns within a number of postcard sized drawings so as I can test the strength of the visuals.

At the moment my list consists of;

Blue rays from phones ruining your eyes

Burnt toast will give you cancer

Dairy makes you fat

Sausages will also give you cancer

Is it unethical to eat egg?

Green teas and black coffee will heal everything

The contraceptive pill will give you a stroke

Gum will stay in your system for 7 years if you swallow

Charcoal makes you teeth white

Sugar or sweeteners?

Skinny jeans, fur hoods and cross bags will hurt your back

Blue berries are brain food

Blueberries also help eliminate baby blues

Too many bananas= too much potassium

10 a day or 5 a day?

Rainbow food is good for you

Caffeine is evil

Red meats could be horse meat

If I eat meat will I harm the environment?

Tomatoes help fertility


It is impossible to keep up with all these diet changes, and therefore which media announcements can we trust? The next steps in my research will aim towards one subject which I can investigate thoroughly and will comfort concerns. I shall listen to health announcements on the news and breakfast shows such as ITV’s This Morning. I feel it may also be useful to watch documentaries such as ‘Food Unwrapped’ and to buy health magazines to get a good overview of the current situation. If I was to focus my studies on veganism, a good source of discussion would be the book eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, as he discusses the dangers of eating meats and processing.

This is only the start of my research and I am welcoming any interesting topics surrounding health, fitness of well-being. I shall look into these research avenues and find one smaller topic which I can then focus on and expand my knowledge.

Saatchi Gallery: Painter’s Painters

To gather inspiration for the upcoming Final Major Project, I took a research trip to the Saatchi Gallery as I find there is always a good overview of contemporary visual culture. The current exhibition is Painters’ Painters which is an exploration into the wide decline of painting as a medium and how young artists are now reviving traditional arts.

Unfortunately, the visit wasn’t particularly motivating as I couldn’t engage with many of the exhibits. However, I did connect with the work of David Salle whose striking compositions and pallet choices create large scale painted collages. Salle gains references from magazines, stock photographs and pornography to create sections of work within one border. The most successful aspect of his work is that the audience gains a new viewing experience when the angle of sight or distance is altered. When photographing Salle’s work, I saw new aspects through the screen of my phone which I didn’t recognise by the naked eye. It is also impressive that within each painting the audience can form their own opinions and narratives as the imagery is ambiguous. The artist doesn’t share too much information and blocks the audience from the reality. This in turn allows each abstracted and hidden detail to resonate in the mind as we try to place the content. Due to the layering present within the work, the artist’s process reminds me of my appliqued designs within the digital folklore outcome. Although the visual is painted as a while, it seems that there is physical layering of materials at some point within the experimentation and this could be something to consider within the experimentation stage of my project, as I could then layer up my Indian ink sketches to create the same disjointed effect.

IMG_6398IMG_6401IMG_6402 http://www.saatchigallery.com/artists/david_salle.htm?section_name=paint_artist

Final Critique Comments

This final critique was one of my most successful feedback from both my tutor and fellow students. The most exciting part of showing my outcome was the positivity and interaction between people and the creatures. When I was explaining students wanted to sit and cuddle the outcome, perhaps without realising I had created elements of comfort which brought happiness to individuals. The feedback included suggestions of adult toys and larger installation pieces which immerse the viewer in a new imaginary world. I was commended on my abilities with textiles and the colour pallets of each creature. This is something that I was struggling with at the beginning of the year and I have now broken through the laziness of using black and white to become a colourist. I was also pleased with the comments on quality and craftsmanship of the outcome as I did struggle with the stuffing stage of the process as I felt a pressure to get the filling perfect. Ironically the main concern of mine was the transport of the creatures would ruin the finish of the work, however the stuffing seemed to settle and with others hugging the creatures, the animals seemed to gain personality. I feel that both the digital folklore and zoo projects have been excellent stepping stones to progress my style ready for the Final Major Project.


I have begun to consider starting points for the FMP so as I can work on research over the Easter holidays. At the moment I am brainstorming concepts such as food confusion, health and fitness or cyber bullying. These are all subjects which I could thoroughly research and reflect upon. My aim is to problem solve and replicate the comforts which I have brought through in past projects.

My Tutor’s comments;

“My feeling is that your head leads you to difficult subjects, your heart to positive solutions and your hand to beautifully crafted designs” Leigh Clarke

Outcome Tutorial

As this is a two-week project, Tuesday’s tutorial was the last before our final critique so all attention turned to final outcomes. My textile experiments and samples of work were well received when presented. The only problem that we faced was what the purpose of the textiles were. Visually my soft sculptures were engaging to the group, however should they be marketed as soft toys or installation art sculptures? To allow the eyes to see the work in a new light I photocopied each creature in colour, black and white and negative. This created a flat image in which the creature could be observed more objectively. After consideration, we decided that my work should be installed and promoted in a simillar way to that of Anette Messager’s work. This will allow me to think about my work within a space and look as ways in which it can be interpreted.

An initial idea was to have each creature standing up within an exhibition space as my creatures have more impact when displayed collectively. The issue that I had with this idea was that the sculptures would be static and I wanted them to have a sense of movement. Therefore, my sculptures are now going to be arranged and hung from the ceiling, much like an adult mobile. I am aiming to bridge the gap between Alexander Calder’s work and the soft toy mobiles in the commercial children’s market. This is an interesting format as I want viewers to look upwards at my creatures and to consider colour and form as a whole rather than induvial pieces. This reflects the interaction of the visitor and animal at the zoo, as we very rarely look at an animal straight ahead, they are more likely to be hidden in different spaces in their habitat meaning that ‘we’ as the visitor need to work harder to gain information. I am looking to arrange the work in a circular shape so as the viewer will walk around the piece and see a movement and alteration in viewpoints of each element. This will further emphasise colour relationships as other sculptures can be viewed through negative spaces and curves.

I have already begun the making process of the outcome by planning a 2-metre-high creature to be the largest of my piece. This will then be accompanied by varying other sized creatures to show the difference of each specie at the zoo. I am aiming to complete three sculptures (more if possible within the time scale) all with improved detail and organic shapes than the experiments. Making on a larger scale means that I can return to my Indian ink drawings as guidance for the free flowing shapes and abstracted ideas. My colour schemes were guided by the availability of felt colours on this scale. I chose to use similar relationships of colours to that of my experiments, but to also place new colours so as to enhance my understanding of block colour. My thinking was to use black, white and dark purple as a constant throughout each sculpture so as they sit together as a series, and then vary the lighter tones. Furthermore, the designs which I have chosen are not replicates of my previous studies, but mixes of each successful section. The largest sculpture is created from my interpretation of an iguana’s head and a bird’s body in which the shapes are formatted from my original mark making. These shapes worked well in the experimentation and provided with a good quality outcome. Where quality is concerned the most important parts are to make sure the shapes are within the seam allowances, that there is minimal puckering and that if a pattern is carried onto the opposite side, the pattern matches up. Furthermore, I am looking to add wood in the necks of each sculpture so as to strengthen the join.