Studio 3: Tales of the Uncanny

Studio philosophy

This studio examines the notion of ‘the uncanny’, the feelings of uncertainty, the strangely questionable and the intellectual hesitancy in the unusual. The concept of the uncanny is the Freudian concept of an instance where something can be both familiar, yet unknown at the same time; the feeling of personal disturbance of what is normal, a crisis of the natural, touching upon everything that you might have thought was the normal reality of the world.

This Freudian principle is the leading governance behind (cautionary) tales, stories regarding supernatural events, horror, monsters, the unnatural, the curiously disturbing, the fear and ‘uprooting’ our own beliefs. Yet this principle isn’t just the experience of strangeness or hostility, it can consist in a sense of uprooted comfort, the feeling of uncertainty in the heart of what is usually consistent. It can be something that is strangely mesmerising, or eerily reminding us of something inwardly held or even repressed; like déjà vu. It can also be an internal emotion, an uncontrollable compulsion or desire to drive unrealistic fears.

Studio Structure

This studio is designed to enable you to freely explore your personal visual language, map connections and directions equally between the two subject areas of Graphics and Illustration, provide theoretical context to experimentation and original ideas.

Initiating dialogue through the use of illustrative techniques and graphical structuring, this studio encourages a breadth and depth of practice that compliments critical debate around the traditions as an illustrator and the creative boundaries within graphic design, and as a graphic designer exploring the eclectic visual language of illustration.

Within the studio, we will lightly touch-upon and navigate the basic values of the Freudian concepts of ‘the Uncanny”, Conscious and Unconscious, ‘The Ego and Id’, Oedipus complex, Psychosexual and Surrealism, dreams, mistakes, notion of ugliness, portents and monsters, etc.

Studio Projects

The Resurrectionist: the lost work of Dr Spencer Black' E.B. Hudspeth/ ‘The Book of Imaginary Beings’ J.L. Borges

People no longer believe in miracles, irregularity or the curious as everything should be explainable according to the laws in nature, objects cannot come to life, people and animals have different characteristics and evolved independently, etc…

...though historically the depiction of monsters never really disappeared but rather with the onset of medicine and the curiosity of science, the aberrations were relabelled as portents or natural anatomical events, though has biological science got it wrong….. do we still live in a time of mythical shifts in nature, are non-human individuals born as a sign of some allegorical message…

 ...using the book 'the Resurrectionist: the lost work of Dr Spencer Black' as a reference point you are expected to generate your own self-published book of fantastical, mythical, anatomical reinventions…illustration and graphical layouts that investigate the notion of the 'realism'(!!); a reinvented understanding of human creativity; a self-authored fictional narrative…

‘The Uncanny’ S. Freud must begin to construct your own visual catalogue of ‘your uncanny’,  the classification of repressed, found, generated and experienced emotions, capturing the duplicitous feelings of déjà vu, the grouping of visual signifiers that can evoke your personal uncanny, etc… this publication is self-authored, illustrated and graphically designed…

Studio Trips: Wellcome Foundation:  An Idiosyncratic A to Z of the Human Condition, The Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy, The Royal College of Surgeons


Course Graphic Design BA (Hons)
Illustration BA (Hons)
Tutor Adrian Beasley
Michelle Salamon
Where Studio 3, 6th Floor, Commercial Road
When Tuesdays, Fridays