Harbour – Rachel Larkins

Harbour evolved as my chosen theme whilst studying for a Masters in Sequential Design/ Illustration at The University of Brighton. I was interested in the dual connotations of the term as both a physical place of temporary respite and a notion or feeling. I was also intrigued by the anomaly that a natural harbour can provide shelter and protection but can also be created by the same weather elements from which it’s user may seek protection.

During my first year, I wrote a short fictional narrative which I subsequently re-wrote and edited several times. The setting of the story is a pub, a place often central to coastal folklore through smuggling and wrecking, which relates to the meaning of the verb ‘ Harbour’: to maintain secretly. Traditional drinking pubs are in sharp decline, a reason for placing the building of the story on an isolated cliff edge, just beyond the safety of a physical harbour. This offered the opportunity to develop conflict within the storyline through the characters who inhabit the pub, as each is unable to accept that the building can only offer shelter for a restricted period. The sea is intended to represent an unstoppable force for change whilst the characters represent how differently people may respond to impermanence and uncertainty, each harbouring their own private intentions.

I have taken a multi disciplinary approach to my subject matter, so my main project in many respects developed into a series of ‘mini’ interwoven projects based upon the short story. Each of these has been a way of connecting different processes I have employed prior to, and during, the course. In essence: making, drawing and writing.

The work chosen for exhibition shows a variety of practical experiments, which explore ways of communicating the story in written and visual form for an intended audience of adults and older children. In producing these, I have edited the text in several ways for different outcomes; when making the characters and props in three dimensions, for a book, and also a short animated trailer. Each of these three areas is interdependent; the characters made feature in both the book and animation, as do processes such as drawing and Photoshop. Meanwhile text has featured to varying degrees: in tiny amounts on the 3D characters and set, and as a way of navigating the viewer in the animation trailer. In book form, text exists (alongside image) as the principal means of telling the story in its entirety.

Rachel Larkins