Transcript - Jane Asher
Duration 9.29 min
JANE ASHER: I'm Jane Asher. I created Deceased Estate. And it's in the format of documented form. In year 11, one of the biggest things I did was I just took note of the trends in my bodies of work, and what I enjoyed most about them. So I think in a lot of the works I would make that I would really be the most proud of, they had this kind of moodier, darker element to them. And they had a bit of a dramatic flair to them as well.
So I guess, to put it simply, it was a dark elegance, you could say, which I think can see a lot in the Deceased Estate. It does, especially in the book, it has-- I mean, the whole thing is definitely very moody. But the book itself definitely has this theme of an elegance going through in the chandelier, and the flowers, and everything like that.
In still life, I guess you have a lot of time to put into your work. It's not like with a sitter. You have to consider how much time they have to be with you. You can sit with an object for hours. It's not going to complain. And if you have just a set with some objects, you have so much control to make whatever shot you want.
In my initial stages, it was a little bit of a mess. I remember I really liked the idea of, I guess, really immersing the audience into the body of work. And I really wanted to immerse them both through a little intimate form, and then a bigger form-- just so you can have that kind of dichotomy between being drawn in through something small and then being drawn in through something big. So I remember the book was something that I always wanted.
I remember at the beginning, though, I had this idea where I was going to project a photo of the room up on a big wall. And then that was going to be, I guess, what drew the audience in-- would be that they had to literally experience the place through this projection. We had this idea of doing like a Jeannie Baker Window-- which, oh my goodness, the stress that it gave me. I do not do crafts. I'm a photographer. I cannot do painting, crafts, or anything. So to see Jeannie Baker was just insane to me. I loved the idea of just that window, and really like transforming yourself, and transporting yourself to the house, and into that location-- which I think with the video is what we eventually accomplished, with the ASMR aspect of it and everything. Yeah.
Over time, we began to again realize that the strength of the house really lay within the walls of the house. It had such a rich history with my family, and just, I guess, everything still contained in the house. The thing that really I guess kicks people about the house is that it's so abandoned. Yet when you walk in, you notice all these like little objects left behind that really just tell you everything about the people that used to live there.
I think using a video, that worked off my strengths in photography because with cinematography, it's very, very similar to the art of photography and everything. So it wasn't like me doing a Jeannie Baker craft or anything. And then doing the ASMR aspect and audio of that video is, again, what really immerses the audience into the I guess experience of the video and the book, which is what I wanted to do with the projection. So I guess in the end, I really got everything I wanted, just in a different form.
What really helped me with my visual arts process diary is I used it, I guess, as a dumping ground for just my ideas and thoughts that would just come to me so randomly. And a lot of the times these I guess ideas, they weren't good at all. I didn't think they were great ideas. I thought they were quite naive sometimes, or quite underdeveloped. But the thing that made them so great was that I used them as stepping stones to, I guess, get to better ideas and better concepts. Then eventually, that is what created the whole body of work because these small silly ideas that had just kind of spiraled into greater concepts.
A lot of the times in my backward, I would Pinterest boards of the inspired artists. Like Uta Barth, I would make a whole page of just her photos. But I would analyze each and every single one of them like I was analyzing, I guess, a exam photo. So doing that, it helped me really discover what about each of these artists I liked, and what I could incorporate into my own body of work, which I feel like a lot of people-- they get their inspired artists, but they don't take anything from them. They just kind of see them, and they're like, I want it to look like that. But then they don't really take those steps to analyze it, and then discover how they can incorporate it into their body of work, which is what my backward helped me so much with, just having it.
I think one of the greatest challenges was the video itself. After we kind of came to the conclusion that we should make this second part of the body of work-- a video that in itself is a challenge. But doing the actual video itself because I had no experience with cinematography, directing, editing, or I guess even composing a video. I was really at a loss for how I could work with that. I had to research a lot of it all on my own. So I had to research how the cameras worked. How to make compositions. How to create dolly systems on your own. Because with cameras, a lot of times people don't realize, but you have these frames per second that if your camera can't have a high frame rate per second, then you have to create these big dolly systems just to keep the shots still from moving so much.
Because of I guess my affinity for photography, we always knew that we wanted to do something with photography. But I always knew that I wanted to do something that really immersed the audience, and really made it an experience for them, much like an installation. So I guess combining those two factors, it was very easy to land on documented forms.
At the forefront, I think Rob Dobi is probably one of the biggest inspirations to this body of work. I do love Uta Barth so much, but I feel like for the purposes of this work, Rob Dobi just played such an important role. Just in the way that he-- he also does like abandoned places and things like that. Just the way that he composes his images. He has a background I think in design somewhere, like commercial design. So he sets up his images very cleanly in such a, I guess dirty place, like an abandoned warehouse, or something like that. And he can just go to these places, find objects there, and create a whole narrative and meaning about them that reflects that place.
Additionally, Uta Barth was crazy inspiring to me. She has this ability to transform some of the most simplest mundane subjects into such incredible meaningful works. Lastly, Trent Park has this really creepy uncanny ability to make his images so eerie. He takes these really simple images of, say, a person on a street corner. And he just makes them so eerie. Even if they're in the middle of the day, he can just-- he makes-- I don't know. There's just something about his images that they really unsettle you when you look at them.
And I liked that quality just because the place of my grandparents' house. Because it's abandoned, at night, it becomes this really eerie creepy place. And I wanted to really capture that in the video just so it would be such a shock going from the dark elegance of the book to this really Trent Park-y eerie quality in the video, which is like just so empty.
First and foremost, I think the most useful thing that I ever learned in doing this whole experience was never to compare your process to that of others. Because I remember in the beginning of the year, I was going so slow just because we were trying to kind of figure out how we were going to exhibit it. We didn't really have that second element of the video fully envisioned yet. So on the artwork was very slow up until about term two. And then that's when everything started picking up. And so in doing that, and seeing I guess the success that I had even when comparing my experiences to that of my classmates-- you don't have to compare yourself to others.
Lastly, listen to your teachers. There are, of course, going to be moments that you have to kind of trust yourself and again, believe in yourself so you don't compare yourself to others. But your teachers, for the most part, know what they're doing. And they can see your work from a different angle that you really may lose sight of. And I remember throughout high school, I did find it really difficult to listen to my teachers. I would of course take them on board a lot of times. But there would be certain points that I would just be so stubborn, and I would fight them so hard on it.
And I remember at the end of year 11, I had my teachers and my mom, and so many people telling me your biggest problem is that you're not listening to teachers. And you really have to put so much more trust in them. So for year 12, that's like exactly what I did. And it paid off incredibly.