200 Word Profile

My final project was firstly initiated through a key reading from my Research and Practice 2 writing, “A History of Everyday Things in England” by Marjorie and C.H.B Quennell. These are four volumes of books from 1918 to 1934 which each illustrate and comment upon the social histories of England including the environments, artefacts and everyday lives of people from different eras for children’s education.

This key reading led me into the idea of exploring British culture and illustrating ‘everyday British things’ in the 21st century, which directed me to look into British culture existing outside of Britain and how Englishness has adapted itself in the sunny location of Benidorm in Spain. I chose to explore Benidorm as a terrain for my project as it is well-known for being an attractive holiday destination for British people to visit without feeling too alienated from their own familiarities and culture. In response to my research, I created a publication which features photographs and brightly coloured illustrations drawn in a faux-naïve style to reflect the personality of Benidorm and it’s general attitude.

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Project Outcomes // English Influx

My final project was firstly initiated through a key reading from my dissertation, “A History of Everyday Things in England” by Marjorie and C.H.B Quennell. These are four volumes of books from 1918 to 1934 which each illustrate and comment upon the social histories of England including the environments, artefacts and everyday lives of people from different eras for children’s education.

This key reading led me into the idea of exploring British culture and illustrating ‘everyday British things’ in the 21st century, which directed me to look into British culture existing outside of Britain and how Englishness has adapted itself in the sunny location of Benidorm in Spain. I chose to explore Benidorm as a terrain for my project as it is well-known for being an attractive holiday destination for British people to visit without feeling too alienated from their own familiarities and culture.

I travelled to Benidorm for 4 days in June to collect research and visuals to initiate a starting point for my project. I had taken four 35mm disposable cameras with me and I used one camera for each day. Using the film cameras granted me with the unmistakable lack of control alongside achieving photographs which felt dated and appropriate for the subject of holidays and travelling abroad. Together with the photographs, I used drawing as a tool to translate the ‘everyday British things’ I had discovered in Spain.

Illustration allows me to apply humour and absurdity by exaggerating the truth. As I draw in the style of faux-naïve, the childlike use of typography suggests to the reader a level of low-intelligence, as the handwriting is crude and unsophisticated, which has a relationship with the environment it is talking about. The use of bright colours in the illustrations reflect the personality of the sunny environment as the streets are covered with bright artefacts and signage and vividly dressed people.

The book begins with illustrations relating to travelling and documents used while travelling, such as the passport and boarding pass. I made the passport and boarding pass to be physical, tangible things which live outside of the book as they are physical objects we would carry about while being at the airport because we constantly need them again once we’ve put them back into our bags, I wanted to play on this idea of identity and travelling and I felt that creating a physical British passport could explore this question.

The stamps inside of the passport are in relation to the bakery in Benidorm, which is named “Benidorm’s Answer to Gregg’s”. Throughout this project I am investigating what is familiar to the British public and exaggerating it using illustration as a means to do this. Usually we can acquire stamps in our passports from the places we travel to – the Gregg’s stamps play with the idea of travelling over 1000 miles to a different country for cruisine which resembles an English bakery chain.

There is a British gazette I have taken articles and advertisements from. The gazette, named “Benidorm One: Formerly the British Gazette” is published for British people living or visiting Benidorm, so there are articles and advertisements aimed to them. I have taken out texts which support photographs and issues I found humorous and controversial. While researching into the subject of British people living in Spain, I found a conversation between two British “ex-pats” about voting in the referendum, where one claims to have voted for Brexit despite living in Spain for a number of years. Strangely he states that the UK has no control of its borders and that is why he voted for Brexit, yet he has no intention of returning to the UK as he is quite happy to be living in Spain. There is the inevitable issue of Brexit throughout the subject of British residents in Spain and highlighting the hypocrisy by illustrating their conversations and remarks upon the subject.

The objects we acquire from travelling and in relation to the subject are usually physical items, such as passports, travel brochures, flight safety information, tickets, postcards, newspapers, magazines… so creating a physical publication of my research and drawings seemed most appropriate as opposed to an online presence of images and text. Also by creating a publication it has allowed me to form a loose narrative responding to my initial question and terrain.

The project has been titled as “English Influx”, as the terrain has been exploring the question of British culture outside of Britain, particularly focusing on the Englishness as I am an English person and it is the culture and identity I relate to.

Development // Final Illustrations

Here are the selection of illustrations I will be putting into my final piece of work. The publication will be a loose narrative reflecting my journey to Benidorm in June, the objects illustrated are from real life and have been drawn with a faux-naive style to imitate the personality and strange charm of Benidorm. The unsophisticated and crude use of handwritten typography suggests to the reader a level of low-intelligence which has a relationship with the environment it is talking about.

Development // Publication Draft

Starting to place my research into the format of a publication which is quite difficult and challenging for me as I have a lot of research and I am unsure of how to start. Through talking in a group seminar, I realised what I needed to do was to start placing my findings as a book/publication which will allow me to group research and hopefully ignite my thought process. I must admit that making the draft publication did really help and I have been feeling anxious of time as there isn’t a lot of it left! I am also looking to see whether it would be stronger to use full colour photographs or to use a duo tone as my illustrations will be bright and colourful, so I need to experiment with that to see what be a stronger outcome.

Development / Research // Quotes

There is the inevitable issue of Brexit throughout the subject of British residents and even holidaymakers in Europe. As I am focusing on Spain, I researched into British “ex-pats” that reside in different areas of Spain. There is quite a fair amount of hypocrisy from the people I had found through video interviews online which are remarkable.

One resident who is English but resides in Spain admitted to voting for Brexit, which is bizarre as he lives in another European country. He states that his reason for voting for Brexit is that the UK has no control of its borders. As my research is filtering British culture in Benidorm, I wanted to include the opinions of British residents in Spain using illustration to draw their conversations in a naive and unsophisticated style to reflect the personality of the people.

This video from the Guardian talks to British “ex-pats”, there are quotes I drew from this video and will be placing into my publication to sit next to the findings of British culture found in Benidorm.

Research // Benidorm Gazette

The Benidorm Gazette is a fantastic little find from one night in Benidorm at an Indian restaurant. I seen it on the table and asked the waiter if it was okay to take it, he said yes of course it’s a free newspaper. I immediately thought this could be a great source for visuals and information as it is made for British tourists and residents in Benidorm, Spain. There are some amazing advertisements inside of here, such as the Trotters International Trading Bar review. The article about the “speed demons” caught my immediate attention as it’s an issue that would only exist in Benidorm, there seems to be a fashion for renting mobility scooters there and it’s got to the point where they are now becoming a menace which is so bizarrely humorous.