N.C.A.D. Certificate in Drawing & Visual Investigation

Project 3


See below for outline and research for this project

See HERE for some of my drawings from this project




Below is the project brief that we were given:

You will be commencing work on a new project which will take you through to the end of the year.  From your experience of having done short projects you will have a concept of best practice for engaging in this one.

Over the next 2 weeks you will develop ideas for this project.  You may have several options/possibilities and you will have tutorial and group help in this period.

After your first 2 weeks of development, you will then submit a one page synopsis of your project proposal and show what source material / notebook / drawing work you have done at this stage.  The one page synopsis is a focus for organizing your ideas and can take the form of a page of writing.  It should communicate clearly your proposed project and work plan.  Make copies of this so that each person in the class has a copy.  This gives everyone the possibility to keep abreast of what everyone else is doing and is often useful as you may come across material that you think is relevant for each other.

After another 3 weeks following on from your project proposal, there will be a review of the work to date with brief five minute presentation and the opportunity to view each others work and offer critical support and response.

Planning: Define area of interest and have a starting point



For example, this could be:

  • a theme

  • a conceptual structure

  • a framework within which you work eg. a game structure, process structure, diary/time based structure

  • an exploration course of process / materials



It is important to maintain continuous attendance - both tutorial contact and interactive contact within the group is vital to the successful development of your project.  In regards to assessment, it is important that you are aware that an eighty percent attendance is necessary to pass the course as is the case with all NUI certificates.


Structure / Schedule:



You should consider:

  • Periods of time you will use for drawing research.

  • How and where you will go about it.

  • How you will use class time by planning this 3 hour work period.  Library time should be separate from this.

  • Have questions for tutorials as well as waiting for comments/feedback.

  • Don’t plan the end product, engage openly in your subject matter, explore it, generate work and reflect on work done.  Proceed to evaluate and develop the form and content as you go.








Definition Of Rhythm:

movement or procedure with uniform or patterned recurrence of a beat, accent, or the like"  ie. it is the variation of the length and accentuation of a series of sounds or other events




I decided to return to one of my favourite drawings from earlier in the year - that of the spiderweb from project 1 - and develop upon the inspirations that I found while working on this piece. Connections, the rhythm of patterns / vibrations and the feeling of suffocation were some of the key subjects that I was drawn to while working on this drawing.

I considered how patterns can be found in such a variety of areas such as science (eg spiderwebs and other fractal patterns in nature), music (eg sound waves) and in the design and architecture of city buildings.  Patterns can also be observed in the cyclical flow of life where we are constantly living within a repetitive rhythm (eg day/night, breathe in/breathe out, work/home).

Many artists have experimented with maps in their work, such as Karen O'Leary and Nikki Rosato, and this interested me greatly as I was inspired by how maps can create an image to the flow and rhythm of a city.  Manhattan is a great example of how its mapping creates an effective pattern of repetitive gridline streets which connect the people of the city together.

1. Patterns/Rhythm in Science


I first started by sketching and studying some scientific inspired drawings.  Here I focused on the intermingling and connection of lines and dots.  Some of these scientific influences can be seen in my drawing work created for this project (see here for final drawings).

Visual Diary

Visual Diary




James Siena:  Sienas ​speciality is that of creating drawings which are thought of as visual algorithms.

Fractal Arts:  This website shows some great examples of the beauty found in geometric patterns

2. Patterns/Rhythm in Music



Moving away from a purely scientific view of rhythm, I started to focus on the rhythm found in music.  My starting point (due to its scientific nature) was the study of sound waves.  Some of the greats, such as Pythagoras, Aristotle and Newton, all looked at principles and relationships in pitch and tones in music.


I was excited to learn about how some artists have used the idea of acting as a tansmmitter while listening to music.  Morgan O'Hara, Live Transmissions is a great example of an artist who uses this method.  Below is my first attempt at drawing while listening to music.

Visual Diary

Visual Diary





I discovered synesthesia while studying the affects of music rhythms and patterns.  Synesthesia is an act by which one sense or part of the body stimulates another sense or part of the body - eg hearing music in colors.  Many artists have been inspired by this  Children who paint and draw classical music tend to develop a better understanding of - and better at analyzing - music structures later in life.  Painting to music is an approved method in Russia and West European music education.

Reference: Synesthesia

Artist: George Sanen creates vibrant and intricate synesthetic art work.

Music: There have been many psychedelic rock bands inspired by synesthesia: eg Pink Floyd, Velvet Underground, Grateful Dead (using overhead projectors, liquid slides, films, strobe lights, backlights on stage).

Book: The Hidden Sense – Synesthesia in Art & Science

Website: www.musanim.com  is an interesting website whereby a music animation machine creates measures in color to music.

Writers: William Faulkner, James Joyce, Dylan Thomas.

This brought me to the half way stage of the project which was when we had to prepare a 5 minute presentation on our work to day.  It was a good chance to critique others work and gain feedback from both the other students in the class and from the tutors.

3. Rhythm/Suffocation/Anxiety/Panic in the City


When creating the below black and white drawing, 'Spiderweb Building', I was again strongly influenced by the spiderweb picture from project 1.   Not only did I hope to capture the patterns and rhythm found in spiderwebs but it also reminded me of the patterns that can be found in buildings; such as skyscrapers.  It was my aim to use these subjects as a symbol of suffocation and to consider the parallel found in how one may feel claustrophobic and suffocated within a building/office and also the suffocation that occurs when a spiders prey is caught within its web.


This again led me to the idea of the rhythm and pace of a city.  Several of the drawings that I created for this project (see here) were centred around this theme of feeling as though the city is closing in around you and that you are thus becoming suffocated within the quick paced rhythm of the city.  Anxiety, panic and suffocation were strong themes throughout this project.  These are subjects that I return to again and again as themes for my art work and they featured as some of the main themes for my final project during the Diploma in Art & Design.

Spiderweb Building

Spiderweb Building

Visual Diary

Visual Diary

4. Rhythm of Life




My final work for this project was the creation of a booklet called 'Rhythm of Life'.  This booklet was composed of work that I created in order to illustrate a sense of claustrophobia and a feeling of life smothering you up.  When someone is feeling this sense of claustrophobia they can feel as if they are living in a constant haze as they attempt to move forward through this fast paced rhythm.  I used my own wording which I had written in rhyme in order to assist with a sense of pace and rhythm within the city.  The drawings were inspired by the words.  See here for some of the pictures used within the booklet.



Visual Diary

Visual Diary

See below for some examples of the wording used within the booklet:


"Sleep walked my way here and now I’m living with this constant fear."


"Living in shadows, living in someone else's dreams,

Living in reflections of a me I never wanted to be."



In my later studies, I would again return several times to the idea of suffocation within the fast pace of city life (for example, in my film making project for the Diploma in Art & Design course).


Although Kara Walker deals with a completely different subject matter, her beautiful silhouettes strongly inspired me for parts of this project.