top of page
  • Writer's pictureHannah Balogun

Before the Exhibition: Found in Translation

Updated: Mar 19, 2019

Ever thought what it would be like to set up an exhibition?  Think no further - Summary word: stress. Now this will be a very extensive blog post, definitely think I'm having sketchbook withdrawals, thus why I've added a whole lot of details you probably don't need to know - but I shall share them anyways. I got a message a few weeks ago from 2 friends on the UAL Chelsea Fine Art course, asking me if I wanted to be part of their self initiated exhibition, along with our other friend - she also studies Graphic Design, but is studying at the Chelsea campus with the other girls. Of course I said yes, who can turn down a cheeky bit of collaboration? Especially because it's not a very common thing I get to do on my course!

Writing this blog entry, I realise that I've had over a month to come up with something, but me being me, I only started getting into it a week prior to the exhibition. To be fair, I'm still working a 9-5 job, have a few other things and projects outside work, and am binge watcing Friends. Its been a busy few months okay...

Tuesday 12th February 2019

The Introduction 

***** So below is the artwork that one of the girls made to sum up the exhibition.

I was actually really excited for this project, working a full time job means I haven't really had the chance to work on an artsy type of brief for a while, so I was keen on going through the process of idea generation, experimenting, and producing something!

Thursday 21st February 2019

The Restaurant 

***** When we came together to talk about ideas, we suggested that me and my friend who's doing GMD should use our previous work, since graphics is based on the idea of communication and text anyway. However, I've always been fussy about my work so I really wanted to use this as a chance to develop some of my previous works and create something I'm proud of, but as usual, time is always against me.

Below are some scans of the way I approached the project, I also wrote my own brief - definitely missing Uni.

Monday 25th February 2019

The Park Session 

***** We met in the park to begin developing work. We all brought in things we'd done previously, things we'd made for the exhibition, along with random materials to help the ideas flow. It was interesting to see the way the Fine Artists work - I feel like Graphic Designer, my process is mind maps/initial ideas > research > then experimentation. Maybe they did all that before they got to the park, but whilst I sat there for a good 10 minutes staring at all the work on the Grass, they were making, doing, experimenting, collaborating.

Monday 4th March 2019

The Experiment

***** I looked through a few old projects and found a typeface I developed called 'Cropped'. The rationale behind it, is that I basically a chopped up the Helvetica Alphabet which creates a distorted typeface that forms interesting shapes as you build words and sentences. I really like the concept of it, however I've not come up with the right context to put it in yet. Below I've basically tried using all the words I found whilst looking for definitions and synynoms in the beginning of the researching process as context for my cropped typeface. My intention was to use 3 times as many words, so essentially it would have been a long list of words, but there are only so many relevant words...

After I finished arranging all the words, letter by letter, I printed it out and wasn't as impressed as I thought I would be. I love the intricacy of it, but not so much the aesthetic, however I did print it out at 7.00pm at work, and it was time for me to leave for gym session so oh wells.  (Side note: I really do want to turn this typeface into something I love, but I never have time, I don't think printing on paper has ever been the route for this typeface, but I'll definitely be considering somethiNg like printmaking, or maybe even introducing textiles, something more handmade)

Wednesday 6th March 2019 - Part 1

The Set Up

***** So we met up at the location, to be precise, my friends shed - sounds dodgy but her shed is lovely. So is her house! Our game plan was to check out the space, decide what work was ready to go into it,  and what else we could add to bring all our work together.

Once again, I watched everyone work as I observed for a while, until one of my friends told me off and encouraged me to actually do something... I was going through my Camera roll filled of process pictures from Uni projects the day before, and came across images of when I was cutting up typefaces to make an album cover. I decided to make use of the old Letterpress prints on newsprint I brought along, and began cutting words in half, horizontally. There were suprisngly no rulers, and I can't cut straight for anything, so I decided to fold the letters in half and tear them. Now this wasn't the smartest idea, especially when your an hour and a half away from home and have limited resources, but tearing the paper actually made it a lot more interesting to work with - the tears weren't always straight, but this meant distorting the type created compositions that were more intresting.

After a while went back into the shed, we began thinking about curation and started temporarily sticking things up. The girls who lives at the house we were holding the exhibition had already made a start on setting up - she's been working with the repetition of letters to create imagery, and on the multiple carpet squares she arranged on the floor to make one big comfy carpet, she used a hot glue gun to make some art directly on the rugs which was really cool! Can I also just say that we had to take our shoes off and my feet were so happy - the patterns from the hot glue gunned letters gave the carpet a nice texture. She also added some cut logs in the center because there were no more carpets, but this was also a really lovely detail because it linked back the nature outside the shed, and was also an interesting contrast between the carpet. In addition, we added some LED lights and stuck them to the ceilings/sides of the shed sin it would be dark outside during the exhibition. This was definitely a good decision, the lights reflected off the work really well.

Wednesday 6th March 2019 - Part 2

The Idea


After relaxing on the long journey home, I was motivated, but not that I had a choice, I had to get my work done by morning so I could give it the other girls to set up in time for Friday's exhibition. We decided that my work would look good as a set of 5, so I was hoping and thinking of other ways I could distort and position the type so they didn't look reptetive. Below are some quick pictures from the process - mind you I was doing this late into the evening, so these were all experiments, that would be my final work... great...

Thursday 7th March 2019

The Rush

***** This day was in particular was very... eventful. I could explain it, but I'm just doing to give you a rough time-time log of how the day went - because this blog clearly isn't long enough already.

9.30 am GP Appointment, no bad news, good health, doctor happy, I'm happy.

10.30 am Arrives at LCC and smiles at the thought of being there since I'm never here anymore. Buy card to stick my work on, yay. Photocopy prints, don't look good... Scans prints, they look good, yay.

12.00 pm Cheeky hair consultation about dying my hair because I'm tired and need a change (spoiler alert: my hair most likely won't change)

1.00 pm Arrives at work and realises there's a lot more to do than I thought there would be.

6.00 pm

Coworkers begin to leave work and wish me luck as I'm still working on things that need to send off by the end to the day - urgent work - usually love it, but not when you have an exhibition the next day and haven't done assembled your final pieces.

7.30 pm Finally finished with work-work, and quickly moves onto exhibition work.

7.45 pm  Notices that I'm the only one in the office left, but it's fine because someone left Janet Jackson on in the background - I don't mind. 

8.00 pm  Finish printing, not the best results but it will have to do. I cut my paper to size, attempt to glue the printer paper to the card board, it doesn't go well. The paper wrinkles, flashbacks from college sketchbooks come back, I'm sad.

8.05 pm Calls mum with panick.

8.15 pm Leaves work before to avoid breaking down.

8.20 pm  Quick Google search and another phone call to mum.

8.45 pm Arrives at ABC printing 

9.10 pm Stands around waiting for others to finish and slowly begins to breakdown like the biggest baby ever as the realisation sets in that I won't be able to print and meet my friend to pass on the work for the exhibition.

9.20 pm Leaves in annoyance that my time has been wasted and continues to breakdown on the train, luckily I skipped the mascara that morning.

12.30 pm Debates with parents about whether I should use the rubbish print outs or the original collages. They agree with either because that's their job.

1.00 am Sticks the original collages down with double sided sticky tape this time - I don't like it but continue with the process because something is better than nothing? So I kept telling myself...

1.30 am

Cut's out prints with guillotine with a frown on my face.

1.45 am Sorts out the double denim outfit I'm  wearing for the exhibition (we all decided to match - we cute x)

2.00 am B e d t i m e .

Friday 8th March 2019

The Show


If you've made it this far, thank you for reading through my stress, hopefully you felt the stress too. Click here to see pictures and details about the final show. I promise it not as long as this!

Here's a sneak peak though - the other girls made some contact cards and 2 booklets showcasing who we are as artists whilst presenting some of our previous work, as someone who's made many last minute research documents for uni, I was very proud of what they did in under 24 hours!

What I learnt I'm not a perfectionist... But at the same time I don't like producing work I'm not proud of or don't think is strong. I hate my time being wasted. If i'm not intentionally wasting my time by binge watching shows or looking though Youtube, then I'm not happy.

Note to self:

Please Hannah, if you don't want grey hairs at the age of 21 - stop leaving everything last minute and just get your work done on time. Gosh - this blog post could have been way shorter.

11 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page