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'Jo Farnell'. Floral Sofa. Cyanotype. 5x7 inches

'Jo Farnell'. Floral Sofa. Cyanotype. 5x7 inches

# 70 [23 January 2013]

Ebay pictures


Photographically speaking, EBay images are 'pictures';-deliberate and staged, (unlike the 'snap shot' which captures a moment). They have the amateur, home spun quirky quality about them that appeals to me.


All EBay photos share the same purpose, they are taken for the same reason, to sell something. How amazing that millions of people worldwide are shooting 'things' in the same way, going through the same processes and modes of approach.


I found this photo of a floral sofa on EBay, with only 14 seconds of listing left. I saved the photo to my hard drive before it disappeared, there was a sense that it would be lost to me forever even though it was neither precious nor important. I've reproduced this image as a cyanotype. So now the floral sofa photo exists outside of the realm of EBay.

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Hi Jo, thanks for looking at my blog. The work is in situ until 31st March. Your work looks interesting. Love the mix of temporality and the everyday but with all the ideas about photography and the moment. Best wishes Chris

posted on 2013-02-11 by Chris Wright

I don't think it did sell in the end. That's a good point you've made about re-staging photos... and yes the cyanotype makes it look romantic! I happened to be working with this type of photography at the time, I wanted to take the photo out of the original context. You got me thinking.

posted on 2013-01-29 by Jo Farnell Brown

did it sell? I'm wondering if people take new shots to relist and re-stage the pictures in a better light? This floral sofa has a very romantic air in your cyanotype which I'm sure it lacks in real life!

posted on 2013-01-23 by Sophie Cullinan

Ebay-er:. put your table and chairs out in the snow for your Ebay photo

Ebay-er:. put your table and chairs out in the snow for your Ebay photo

# 69 [20 January 2013]

EBay heaven


The best EBay photos show a snippet of the seller's life; that bit in the background just behind the sofa for sale that they couldn't squeeze out of the frame; the bad carpet, dying plant, dirty window or someones reflection.


Despite this, used objects are photographed with care but they are most definitely portraits of 'things'.


EBay still offers a sense of discovery, a search will often harbour an irreverent or awkward object filed in a mis-matched category. Chancing upon such items is treasure hunting for those attracted to tat. (Me).


Whilst browsing, this got me thinking; how does the inherent qualities of an EBay photo change outside of EBay?



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Hi Elena, good to be back and great to see your blog is still going strong! About the 20 different photos; that's got me thinking that I should start searching for all these little quirks particular to Ebay that I didn't know about. Thanks!

posted on 2013-01-23 by Jo Farnell Brown

Hi Jo, nice to see you posting again! I like it when you search for something very specific on ebay, then get 20 photos of the exact same item in 20 different settings... fascinating!

posted on 2013-01-21 by Elena Thomas

# 68 [2 August 2012]

sky drawings


These drawings were made in response to the site. I'm asking myself why I have begun to draw the body, particularly in an unfinished, disembodied and floating state.


They are so simple and naive they remind me of Francis Alys work. Although the lines do not render the body in any anatomical way, instead they suggest the form, something I like.


I haven't begun printing yet, but on first inspection the black line is not visible to any degree until a closer look. So really they look like photos of clouds.

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Hi Jo, These work very well, an effective contrast between connected line and ephereal cloud.

posted on 2012-08-03 by Clare Maynard

# 67 [1 August 2012]

sky drawings

(site specific drawings on perspex, held up to the sky and photographed)


I've limited theses types of drawings to the sky and the ground, it seems that everything in between is not required...


These drawings are made in response to the place and time, for instance I drew the smiley face because there was a cloud in the same shape, but it's a shame it can't be seen in the photo.


I'm drawn to the ambiguity of the unfinished body shapes. Whatever is drawn and held against the sky has to compete with it's vista, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.


Each photo is taken pointing North and straight up (zenith?). I felt it needed some sort of grounding. The drawings only exist momentarily, much like the snippet of sky, it gets wiped away.


The drawings are about possessing the sky in some way, making a mark.



In the meantime I've been working on some other ideas as well;

reconstructed clouds:clouds are photographed, measured by eye, positioned and re-made as faithfully as possible with stuffing and then photographed in situ.

bruise catalogue: still at initial stages, Google images of people's bruises are re-drawn.



# 66 [2 July 2012]

grass drawings


I drew on a sheet of perspex then photographed it over the grass. Discovery: perspex is the most reflective surface in the world, I had to resort to holding a sheet of cardboard up to create some shade. It took alot of snaps to get a half decent image.


This first photo is the drawing held up against the sky. Would be great on a blue sky and fluffy cloud day, not many of those around. The drawing would really capture a time and place - depends on where you are in relation  as to how a cloud looks. It reminds me of lying in a field and watching the clouds go by; wanting to capture them somehow.


The grass drawing worked well, I had no choice but to include the weather (raindrops). By using the perspex, the drawing and photograph can be made simultaneously capturing site and moment at once.

# 65 [1 July 2012]

grass drawings


I'm exploring the idea of drawing through site specifity, inspired by the Mario Merz drawings  from post 59:



I take a photo of a patch of grass, approx 15cms parallel to the ground.

Print out the image.

Go back to the same patch of grass with the image and draw an automated, continuous line drawing on top of it.



These images were printed out onto yellow lined memo paper and graph paper. The bottom image is on glossy photo paper producing a clearer line. I've found that grass creates a background 'noise' leaving the drawn lines indecipherable.


Essentially I want to connect the drawing to the site. I have thought of another way to do this which is to replace the drawn image with a page of clear perspex - the perspex is held over the grass with the drawing and photographed, all in one, two birds with one stone.


Sometimes I think I have the answer before I start looking elsewhere but these decisions are so difficult to make!


# 64 [26 June 2012]



Another dead hat...


I have three 'undone' hats with before and after images. Is it enough just to have these photos? It's so difficult to edit your own work. You have to rely on your own judgement but at what point do you get to recognise if you're flogging a dead horse?


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sorry for commenting a bit late - have not had time to read blogs for a while. I see that you have moved onto other works but please don't give up on the hats - you really aren't 'flogging a dead horse' - I really like these double pictures and somehow the ideas and images of them stay with me. not sure why. There is something about a deconstructed hat - it wouldn't work in the same way with any other type of object or garment - a hat has so many connotations - and is something that people just don't wear like they used to - it's sort of show-offy or a statement or fulfilling a 'dress code' requirement. somehow deconstructed they are something else entirely. More please!

posted on 2012-08-07 by Sophie Cullinan

Oh that's Paddy my fiance, he puts up with alot but I need him because there's no one else around to model for me! He did this for me half time in the England match, that's why he looks tense.

posted on 2012-06-26 by Jo Farnell Brown

I unpick everything that can come apart so I'm left with every componant that makes the whole. Sure it does have alot of potential but my concern is that I end up doing something too much or unecessary, you know like when you overdo a drawing, the strength lies in knowing when to quit it.

posted on 2012-06-26 by Jo Farnell Brown

and who is this poor man you subject to such humiliation? haha!

posted on 2012-06-26 by Elena Thomas

Hi Jo! I'm curious to know your rules for stopping? Do you have rules? Do you just undo the seams then stop? or do you undo topstitching, or separate layers? Unpick overlocking round the edges? Undo the weaving? This could really go so much further.... interesting... the component parts are still identifiable as hatty. How far would you have to go until they are not at all hatty? Could you then make something different?

posted on 2012-06-26 by Elena Thomas

# 63 [21 June 2012]

tape drawings


I've found a way to engage with drawing that seems to make sense; to use objects as part of the drawing. They need to be part of it somehow.


I bought some second hand tape cassettes then took them to pieces, I was intrigued at all the parts that make the whole. Does anyone use cassettes anymore? Surely they will be antiques sometime soon? While I was taking them apart and drawing them I wondered if this was all they were good for now, documenting their existence.


Using the object as part of the drawing makes it a documentative process. Here is the physicality of the object, buttressed with a pen.


I traced around the parts, drew over the tape and these images are of some drawings made with one of the tiny reels.  


Similar to how you would use a Spirograph, I placed the reel onto the  paper and attempted to draw the inside of the reel but without any anchorage so the pen chased the reel all over the page. It was frustrating, pointless and futile. Good. There is only an implied restriction.


I'm using A4 yellow lined notepaper. I think it's memo paper. Maybe I use it because it's already marked, white cartridge seems too formal.


These are preliminaries: I fight the temptation to try this process with different paper or a larger size, - it is what it is, so it's best to continue as is.




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the idea of exploring drawing by taking things apart has really got me thinking - having just finished a fine art degree I now just want to draw! I wonder what I can find to take apart? I agree with Marion about the red hat drawing - love the grass photo drawings too

posted on 2012-06-26 by Rosie Kearton

I like how committed you are to explore drawing in all kinds of manifestations. The red-hat-drawing is exquisite, I can just imagine the kind of loose wrist spacious movements that would get these loops on paper if it weren't a hat...

posted on 2012-06-22 by Marion Michell

# 62 [20 June 2012]



"What a pretty hat!" said the old lady at the charity shop... yes I thought, I'm going to cut it up when I get home. 


I've made a conscious decision not to become too prescribed with this, just go with the flow, but I've had some new thoughts worth exploring.


I've been watching Grayson Perry's exploration of the classes, particularly intrigued about his view regarding contemporary art being a middle class pursuit. I'm working class but had the opportunity to study art at university.


Thank you Laura Alabaf for making me your choice blog! Last time someone wrote about my work it was at uni. It's fascinating to hear about your own work through someone else, it helps you see where you are going.



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pretty hat or not I prefer it cut up! I've just been doing a charity shop trawl to look for a book on dogs to cut up and also furry fabric (hoping not to have to resort to decapitating soft toys) and there is a horrible amount of guilt in buying these things from nice old ladies knowing what lies in store...

posted on 2012-06-21 by Sophie Cullinan

# 61 [13 June 2012]



I took the sombrero apart piece by piece, tearing away at each strip of plastic, undoing the thread. It came apart so easilly. I feel a bit sad for doing this!


When you take something apart you find out what it's really made of, how these bits make the whole.


This is the second photo, with the undone sombrero in the same position with the same sitter. I'm going to keep on and see what happens. I will decide what works as I go in an attempt not to be  too prescriptive.


I'll find some more hats tomorrow, it all depends on what the charity shops have on offer.


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Hi Jo Interesting how the upbeat sombrero has become something that imprisons the wearer and impedes their vision. I think you have hit on something here- I can see a gallery full of matching images....shall watch with interest.

posted on 2012-06-15 by Franny Swann

this is amazing! you have totally changed the personality of the hat! On first glance on the listing page I thought you had found an american football helmet which is pretty much as far from a sombrero as you can get. I wonder if there will be anything that resembles a sombrero when undone - you could get some strange un/done twins occurring. Watching with interest what will be next.... ps. Hoxton bonnet is just really an exotic bobble hat. Also go with the no rules definitely best to let the hats lead....

posted on 2012-06-14 by Sophie Cullinan

Hey Sophie, I've decided on no rules and to just go with the flow. I feel that sometimes I create too many rules for my work and it gets suffocated. I will google a hoxton bonnet. Though, I get most of my materials second hand, I will be in Farnham so odds on.

posted on 2012-06-13 by Jo Farnell Brown

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