Before I start explaining what this post is about, I should give a definition of Flop Sculpting. To make a Flop Sculpture, one gathers a few different ideas, concepts, materials, pieces of work etc, flops them all together and sculpts them up into a developmental or finished piece. It is very abstract and the realms of possibilities are endless.
This particular Flop started as a three person group project with the aim of taking part in three different creative activities with three different outcomes, each inspired by our own creative practices. We had a photographer (me), a graphic designer (Chrissy), and a creative writer (Daniel).
We had a lot of difficulties at first. It is hard to move someone out of their comfort zone to try new activities working in mediums they are not familiar with, especially if they don’t really want to. Ideas were thrown around, then subsequently shot down, and it seemed that the first task became trying to get everyone onto the same page, with activities that everyone was comfortable with. This is how Flop Sculpting was born.
The first Flop was initially going to be my activity. I set a brief that I would like my fellow Floppers to take an image- a photograph they had taken or one found elsewhere (online, magazine cover…)- and alter it in some way by adding to it, drawing on it, etching or scratching into it etc. Since one member of our group wasn’t a visual practitioner, such a visual task didn’t translate particularly well. We sat down together and decided to gather some materials in the form of leaflets, and began to work from them. We drew on them, wrote a form of poem inspired by their titles directly onto the leaflet, and eventually developed Flop Theatre.
Very loosely, Flop Theatre is based on a group of students shown on the front of a University leaflet. We created character biographies, a relationship chart and a series of scenes containing each of the different characters. We then handed these scenes out to the groups and asked them to create a short performance based on the scenes. An activity which had interesting results, such as this oulipo inspired performance by Tom and John.
(There will one day be a video here, I promise! Once I get it to upload successfully…)
The second Flop grew out of the initial idea for the first one. Chrissy sent across a copy of one of her paintings and asked both myself and Daniel to respond to it and create our own versions. This then became Flop Graphic.
Since I am a visual artist, but not one that ever(!) uses painting or hand drawn mediums, I decided that since I was working with a painting, I would move out of my usual comfort zone and try drawing and painting. But in a style that I would usually adopt with my photography work. Chrissy’s painting sparked images of a dystopian Alice in Wonderland. The way the figure is sitting, reminded me of Alice growing whilst inside the house, her limbs manifesting themselves out of the windows. Luckily I had an photograph, taken in Gorky Park, Moscow, which would work well as a combination.
I started with a digital version, made in Photoshop, that I could use as a reference. Then Printed out Chrissy’s painting and Charcoal drew (mutilated??) it. Like I say, I’m not a drawer or a painter but it gives a typically Megan overlay (weird person/landscape mashup) effect.
Flop 3 – The Final Flop
FINALLY, after a very roundabout way, we get to the final flop. My activity. I stuck with the original general theme of using an image and adding to it, but changed it to have a more direct purpose. A lot of my work relates to heritage and family albums.
I asked my group to take a current photograph of themselves, and somehow add components of their younger selves to it. Since we had a non-visual person in the group who had no experience with editing software, I suggested making copies of the photos and gluing them together.
And there we have it. Flop Heritage.