Sir Ken Robinson and an Education Reformation

I’ve recently been watching a lot of RSA and TED Talks which focus on a variety of important economical, educational, psychological and philosophical subjects and matters. One man who has inspired me and drawn my interest is Sir Ken Robinson – he focuses on education and the changes that need to be made to the current system we have. He argues that the ‘more creative’ subjects should be taught just as much as Maths, Science and English (not that they’re not creative subjects themselves) and after listening to a few of his talks it’s hard to see why these changes haven’t been made, although I think it’s because of ‘change’ itself. For some reason our government is stubborn to change, even with good reasoning which shows that current methods aren’t working. Children grow to dislike school at about the same rate they are forced out of their creative subjects, which is no coincidence; they get bored by “low-level clerical work” – as Robinson puts it – which is pretty normal and should be expected of children. I don’t want to regurgitate everything Robinson has said in a less convincing manner, so please watch some of his talks:

Bits and Bobs

Here is a collection of work I’ve yet to upload, some of this work was used in my final outcome:

 

Leigh Pearce

Leigh Pearce is an illustrator who has produced a variety of posters, record sleeves, an endless amount of characters and more as well as more dynamic works such as animations and the design of apps, working for companies like Vodafone, Virgin Media and more. As with a lot of the artists I’ve researched for this project I first found Pearce in an issue of Computer Arts, for which he supplied an “army of brightly coloured chirpy retards”, by which he means characters. I loved these characters as soon as I saw them, they’re all interesting and have character, they all slightly vary in style, but are still recognisable as Pearce’s work and they look like they could each have a story of their own. Pearce often gives his characters a back-story, such as ‘Bacon Ears’ who was featured in the CA article, he is a Vietnam vet whose ears were lost in combat, which were then replaced with streaky bacon by a short-sited surgeon. I find this level of storytelling within one character really intriguing and relative to my own work and I think that this depth in Pearce’s work makes it more valuable by giving it meaning and potential — I bet — if not Pearce himself — someone, somewhere could easily produce a short animation depicting Bacon Ear’s misfortune and other stories.

leigh Pearce

Another piece which show’s Pearce’s ability to portray narrative and relevance is the poster produced for hip-hop trio De La Soul, Pearce gives specification of  and relevance to the elements in the image, linking to parts of/songs of De La Soul’s. The piece itself gives a characterised and somewhat humorous portrayal of the three men in Pearce’s naive and charming style. Like many of his others, this poster uses a very limited colour palette to aid in its use to portray certain feelings, these dark reds and maroons give the impression of a tough and hardened group, which is contrasted by Pearce’s style, not to mention the group themselves, whose lyrics are often quirky and less tough than some ex-gang-banging peers. I think the poster works well by combining these elements and I feel that most people who find this poster will have heard of De La Soul, meaning that they will probably relate the charming style to the group more than the ‘meaner’ colours.

Print

Here‘s a link to Pearce’s blog, and here‘s his website.

I couldn’t miss this opportunity to tie in one of my favourite bands, so here’s Gorillaz with one of their latest collaborations with De La Soul:

SuperFuckers

SF Icon

One of Cartoon Hangover’s productions, James Kochalka’s cartoon ‘Superfuckers’ uses bright colours and a simple-yet-effective style of animation which is in direct contrast with the absurd and sometimes vulgar stories and dialogue. The cartoon has had a generally positive reception; however some people on YouTube don’t seem to like the profane nature of the show and think it is unnecessary and doesn’t add to the story. I think the vulgarity is part of the cartoon, the shock value wears off after one or two episodes (as illustrated by the ‘dislikes’ bar on each video), the cartoon creates an environment where everything is open for ridicule which aims it towards a more immature audience (i.e. me). I think this type of writing has influenced my work, although my writing is a lot more reserved – it has abstract elements and silly humour. Superfuckers also includes scenes set in ‘Dimension Zero’ which is similar to the portals on Dῡd; I think elements like this in a cartoon can be used as a scapegoat for any story that needs to finish quickly, or to conclude any other situation as the audience doesn’t know how these things work, giving the writer license to make it up as they go along, to an extent. Although in the few scenes it features, not much has much happened in dimension Zero – yet.

Here’s my favourite episode, mostly because of Shitstorm, the hardcore party-poo:

Rastamouse

Continuing with the different aspects of stereotypes in cartoons, I want to look at a show closer to home: Rastamouse. Hosted on Cbeebies, this stop-motion animated series follows Rastamouse – a Jamaican mouse – and his friends ‘Da Easy Crew’, and has been very popular since it’s release in early 2011, with a range of audiences. The show is somewhat smaller than Disney films collectively and I thought this may make a difference to the interaction between the press, public and themselves. The characters often help solve problems in the community and Rastamouse’s philosophy is “Makin’ a bad ting good!” and from the episodes I’ve watched it seems to work well for everyone. Unfortunately, as with most things, there are some cynics who criticise the show and try to twist some of the subjects to fit their theories, one being that cheese is a reference to cannabis and that the characters make smoking gestures whenever it’s mentioned, which may stem from the fact it has an older ‘accidental’ audience of late teens and 20-somethings. Producer Greg Boardman says that this is definitely not the case:

“We’re aware people have been reading things into it,” laughs Boardman, “but that’s the first I’ve heard about smoking gestures. I promise you, we never intentionally put in innuendo or anything that isn’t age-appropriate. We’re a family brand, we’re on CBeebies and we’re very careful. We can’t make it as cult viewing, even though it may later end up as cult viewing. So while we love that the fact that they’re watching, the students and messageboarders are barking up the wrong tree.”

Quoted from The Guardian’s article on the show: http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/tvandradioblog/2011/feb/15/rastamouse-cbeebies

I think for such a popular and mainstream show which comes under the relegation and standard of the BBC to make such a connection would be foolish and reckless, as the show could be pulled off the air if a theory like this was true. Another issue I found in The Guardian’s article was that “The BBC has received complaints from six viewers that it stereotypes black people. Another 95 have complained about the patois spoken by the animated characters.” I find this former of these statements ridiculous – the show stereotypes Jamaican people, yes, otherwise how would we know that the mice were Jamaican? This relates back to the foundation on which cartoons are built – typical characterisations that the viewer can identify. I feel that the latter statement quoted from the article has more solid ground to stand on, as children are always learning and may pick up bad linguistic habits from the show, however Boardman says it’s part of the whole package the show delivers: the music, colour, rhythm and rhyme of speech all help engage children. I’m sure that if they had varied sources of linguistic influences, children’s pronunciation and language skills would ‘level out’ to an understandable and correct accent.

Rastamouse is a good example of how a show can branch out into other areas – Rastamouse has a big following on Twitter with some celebrity fans, Da Easy Crew has a single out called ‘Ice Popp’, there are many plush toys on sale as well as activity sets, clothes and bags.

WÖNKY

I found WÖNKY in a Computer Arts magazine recently, it’s “an award-winning studio specialising in illustration and animation” based in Bristol. Their website states that they “work as a collective of creatives including illustrators, animators, musicians and writers to create content across a variety of media.”, their work focuses on character animation with an upbeat, humorous vibe, they have worked with a lot of major clients such as the BBC, Nokia, Adidas and more. The layout of the website emphasises the light and fun theme of the studio, and it’s visible that all of the team have the same ethos for their work — it’s bright, fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously, even when dealing with a serious subject and putting across an important message, as portrayed in this outdoor project for Bristol Council when highlighting the effects of ketamine. From what I’ve seen so far, my favourite work by WÖNKY is ‘Toofs’, a social media campaign for Nokia’s (then) new range of Bluetooth headsets. The set of characters are quirky and cute, like something you might find in the bottom of a Weetos box (back when they were worth buying) or in a Kinder egg. Some of the characters are representations of the alter egos of some influential teenage bloggers. The look of the characters and the format of the campaign, along with the representations of some of the characters tell me that Nokia wanted to target a younger audience, however I don’t know of many teenagers who use Bluetooth headsets, so I’m unsure as to whether this project would’ve been as successful as Nokia would have hoped. I like WONKY’s in-house stuff too, the characters they use on their ‘How We Work’ page are simple and pleasant, and the animation illustrating the process of working with them shows how easy it is to do so.

Here’s the animation from their ‘How We Work ‘

Bravest Warriors t-shirt Competition (Help!)

This is the first time I’ve ever asked anything of the internet community, it feels weird. But could you please give your favourite of my designs for this Bravest Warriors t-shirt design competition a sweet 5, or all of them if you’re that kind!
Click on one of the designs and vote, thanks.

And let all of your friends know, if they’re into cartoons, or t-shirts.

Ps. Please don’t get annoyed when you see this post again every few days!

Gas Powered Stick

Impossibug

Jellycatbear