I chose to base my project on the
topic to euthanasia due to my personal interest in the very controversial area.
I also felt that this topic would allow
me to collect in-depth research which would allow me to create a final product
that related well to this topic.
I collected my research by creating
various different questions which would help me gain different answers. I found
the answers to the questions from many different sources, such as websites,
books and online essays created by other people. My first question was “what is
the definition of euthanasia?” From research, I found many different
definitions. I decided to write down the definition that I thought would be
most reliable, which was the ‘NHS’s definition. My other questions ranged from
“in what countries is euthanasia legal?” to “what rights does the suicide law
breach?” I also wanted to investigate some
case studies of people who were fighting for euthanasia to become legalised.
Through my research, I found a
campaign group (named ‘dignity in dying’) who are campaigning to have
euthanasia legalised. I also researched reasons why euthanasia should be legal
and why it should not. I gain this information from many different sources, all
of which are included in my resource table. Some reasons that is shouldn’t be legal are:
that it undermines medical research, it gives doctors too much power, and it
could lead to the decline in the level of care provided to terminally ill
people. Some reasons it should be legal are: that a civilised society should
allow people to die in dignity and without pain, suicide is not a crime so why
should euthanasia be, and if a patient cannot tolerate the agony and pain, and
much rather die, they should be able to. I also joined a debate chat room so
that I could find out a two sided argument that may help me in making my final
decision. This also put these arguments into a real life perspective and people
from all over the country were giving their opinions so I could see how being
in a certain part of the country may effect what view a person has on
legalising euthanasia in the UK.
When researching some case studies,
I found both cases of Noel Conway and Charlie Gard. Noel Conway was a 67 year
old man. In 2014 he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease. At this time he was
not expected to live for more than12 months. He, and his lawyers, fought for
the right for him to die in dignity and without pain, providing he met a strict
criteria. After is diagnosis, Conway deteriorated to the point where he needed
a wheelchair and frequently used a ventilator to help him breathe. In 2015, MPs rejected his plea for allowing
him to have a doctor assist him in suicide. This was the first vote on the
issue in 20 years. However, supporters
say that this ruling is to protect thee weak and vulnerable from being
exploited by unprofessional staff. Charlie Gard was a new-born born with a very
complex condition. Doctors at Great Ormond Street had said that he should be
able to die in dignity and so applied to have his ventilator turned off.
However, his parent fought for him to have a chance at treatment. They would
have to travel to the USA for a chance to save their son’s life. A charity
spokesman said: “the Charlie Gard case is about making decisions in the best
interests of a seriously ill child. However, Charlie tragically passed away in
July, after his parents lost their legal battle.
I had researched different ways in
which I could make a simple, yet effective art piece to present all of my
research. Before starting my artefact, I researched different artists to find
inspiration for my piece. One artist work I looked at was Emilie Leger. In her
work she has a watercolour effect of many different colours morphing together.
She uses bright, vibrant colours, whereas I have decided to use dark colours to
represent my topic. I first did a draft artefact. This helped me to know what I
liked and disliked about my plan. The draft took about 3 weeks to complete. I
decided that it was necessary to use this much time on the draft because I
wanted to know what I would need to change before starting the final artefact.
I also looked at Alexa Meade’s artwork to inspire my work. However after
looking closely at her work I decided that her work would not influence my own.
I used this piece of Legers work as
inspiration for my own work. I decided I
would use newspaper articles as my background. The articles were about
euthanasia and how it affected different people. To complete my artefact, I
first, did a draft. From this draft I could see which aspects I liked, and
would keep in my final artefact, and which aspects I disliked, and therefore
would change. After my draft, I found that the background looked plain, and I
decided that I would add something into the background. I spoke to my
supervisor and she suggested that I add something to make it look as if someone
was looking over her, for example a past self.
From this advice I decided I would add eyes in the background to make it
look like they were looking at what she had become. I also considered putting
multiple people into the foreground to show the process she had come through,
however after sketching this out, I decided that it would take the focus away
from the main aspect, and so I disregarded the idea. I also put a shadow of a human in the
background to show that she isn’t alone in making the decision, and that other
people are helping to decide her fate.
To create my draft I used random
newspaper articles, and collaged them into a background for my piece. I then
drew my design over the top in a light pencil. I used watercolour paints to
colour the background. I used darker colours than what Emilie Leger usually
uses, as I wanted to portray a darker time in the woman’s life. I then used pen
and water to finalise my piece by completing the woman.
However after consideration, I
decided I would not use the image 1, but I did like the effect that image 2
would have on my piece. When it came to
producing my drafts, I researched different techniques on collaging effectively
and found an artist name Hannah Hoch. She uses collaging to produce manipulated
images of people, however I focused on how she used collage in the background
of her pieces.
I used this piece as inspiration as
she used pieces of paper that were relevant to what she wanted to portray. I
decided that I would use newspaper articles of euthanasia stories to collage
and create an effective background. I also researched effective ways to collage
and found that to effectively produce a collage I would need to vary the size
and orientation of the articles that I was using. She also ripped the paper
rather than neatly cutting it to give it a rougher look. I also used this
effect in my artefact.
With my final piece, I decided to
do it on an A3 piece of paper rather than card, which I prepared my draft on,
as the card was too thick and didn’t give me the effect I wanted. I then stuck
down the newspaper with PVA glue and watered down white paint to blend the
articles together. This helped to make the background readable but not the first
thing your eye is drawn to. I used
different coloured paints, watered down, on the background. I watered it down
so that you could see the colour but still be able to see the articles
underneath. To create my main focus (the woman) I used charcoal. I used this
because I could blend it and still work with it over a number of days as they
don’t dry, I can continue to work with them until I am done. I first drew out a
rough guide as to what she would look like and then darkened up the areas that
needed to be darker. I found it difficult to draw up close with the charcoal as
I kept getting distracted by the articles so I had to step back and look from a
distance, which was more time consuming. I used a rubber to rub out certain
areas to create highlight and give her more definition on her nose, cheekbones
and on her forehead.