‘This is an Art School’ at Tate Exchange

I posted recently in advance of this event with Central Saint Martins, UAL.  It’s now happened and I just wanted to share the experience.

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It was a real honour to take part in such a high profile event whilst raising issues close to my heart.  I was actually quite surprised by how much I enjoyed it, especially engaging with people and very encouraged by how positive their reactions were.

There was lots of media coverage about our project – this Channel 4  link is worth looking at if you’re interested in the bigger picture – https://www.channel4.com/news/is-art-education-struggling-in-the-school-curriculum

My contribution:-

Revealing Creativity 

I believe that everyone is artistic and that creative subjects must be made compulsory at secondary school; we would be a richer, more contented and balanced society that would find better solutions to the big issues.

The global concerns of our time (resolving conflict, climate change, immigration and a tough economic environment, etc) require creative solutions BUT our education system is producing a generation who think within the ‘academic’ box.  Most people believe that they are not creative /can’t draw and are not encouraged to do so.  My workshop was designed to inspire and ignite creativity in all and was a call for change.

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‘Students’ were asked to produce a ‘doodle’ – without ‘thinking’.  They were encouraged not to be considered in their approach but to ‘play’.  However, for me doodles are drawings direct from the unconscious and reflect the creative impulse.

Lack of expectation/pressure to make an ‘amazing’ piece of art (everyone can doodle) encouraged participation.  By combining all doodles into a large abstract assemblage on an expansive wall; each ‘doodle’ became a small but vital contribution to this collective installation.

This project might not have felt like a big deal to those of us in the art world but for many other people who feel marginalised, even afraid of art, the opportunity for them to contribute to an installation at the ‘Tate’ presented a powerful message.

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I was surprised how rewarding and enjoyable it was for me to take part in this and was bowled over by the excitement and enthusiasm of the public – not one person declined contributing; even those who initially said that they couldn’t draw or even doodle… Also, everyone seemed supportive of the premise that creativity should be encouraged in all.

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A huge variety of people took part from a 2 year old, through art students from Goldsmiths and Medical Students – What fun we had!

 

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THIS IS AN ART SCHOOL – TATE EXCHANGE Art Programme

Open to the Public on 5th Floor Switch House Tate Modern as THIS IS AN ART SCHOOL part of Tate Exchange 

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‘This art school, created by students, staff and alumni of Central Saint Martins (I’m currently in the first year of my 2yr MA), explores what the future of arts education in the UK might look like.”

With students becoming teachers and galleries becoming studios, standard orthodoxies of the art school will be upturned. The school will be designed, built and run in public view with opportunities for visitors to engage through workshops, talks, events and studio making.

I’ll be there noon until 6pm on Tuesday 10th – Please come and say and contribute to my ‘Doodle of Doodles’ installation as part of my ‘Revealing Creativity’ workshop.

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The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined

Check out my blog post for University of Arts London and our recent postgraduate community visit to this amazing exhibition…

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http://blogs.arts.ac.uk/pgcommunity/2016/12/05/pop-up-common-room-the-vulgar-fashion-redefined/

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Central Saint Martins baby

CSMEver since graduating from the Art Academy, London in 2013 I’ve contemplated undertaking a Masters qualification and since then I’ve looked at a number of the better known art schools and visited shows and open days and so on – trying to get a feel for the establishments, what kind of artists go there and (the big question) would I fit?

Practising artists who I respect and who are progressing well with their careers have consistently mentioned how important an MA can be – I think that it comes down to a number of factors that a top art school can offer including increased visibility and connections.  From my perspective I am keen to investigate more fully the art context of which I am part but also to more fully define my own languages and intent – to dig deeper, make better work with a peer network that will elevate me to new heights.

The break through in my research came when I went to the Central Saint Martins (part of University of Arts London) Graduate Show.  I was totally blown away by it – the scale and ambition of much of the work, the fact that there was lots of sculpture and that it all felt very ‘now’, really exciting… (btw – I already had an affection for the place having done a short course on fabricating steel sculpture there – see earlier post).

At the show I noticed that CSM offered something I had not heard of before – an MA in Art and Science.  It was impossible to tell the work of these artists from the regular MA Fine Art ones but what really interested me were their lines of enquiry.  The ‘Science’ related artists had artists’ statements which resonated with me and areas of interest which being science related are more tangible.

My first degree was in Psychology and my art is often an exploration of the conflicts between the conscious and unconscious mind – it seems odd but I had never made the connection before, in anything other than a superfluous way.  Discovering this course was pretty much a ‘Eureka’ moment for me and as I began to join the dots, it became more and more compelling.  It represents a real opportunity to explore my art practice with scientific reference.

Reading the website descriptions, case studies and details just served to heighten my resolve.  The only issue was that  I had totally missed the deadline for applications(!)  I decided to contact the course leader, Nathan Cohen, directly and to arrange a meeting with him – to investigate my suitability and to discuss the possibility of joining next year…

http://www.arts.ac.uk/csm/courses/postgraduate/ma-art-and-science/

Much to my surprise Nathan was able to see me within a few days and at that meeting he offered to consider me for this year’s intake if I got my application in quickly!!  Suffice to say, that’s what I did and then following a formal interview, much to my relief and excitement I was offered a place.

The course is full time over two years (2016 to 2018) and I will keep you posted on my progress via my blog.  I certainly can’t wait to see where my journey will take me – it feels as if my life has come full circle, being able to dip back into the fascinating world of cognitive psychology.

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New Sculpture for St Ives, Cornwall

mayorIf you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may remember that in 2014 I had the honour of installing a Memorial sculpture ‘Free Spirit’ in the heart of St Ives, Cornwall.  It was unveiled with a flourish by the Mayor (I did a post on this at the time, if you are interested).

I was so delighted to be asked to undertake a second sculpture for the same development (St Nicholas Court, Porthmeor Road) as this was for me a massive endorsement of my work – after all the residents had lived with my first sculpture for a couple of years and were keen to get a second(!)

The idea this time was to reflect much of the same qualities as the first piece, particularly the sea and the feeling of the location between the bays in St Ives but not to overshadow the earlier memorial sculpture.  I worked up a number of sketch maquette ideas – many of which had similar lines to the original work but different in form – the new sculpture needed to sit happily alongside the original and not jar with it but complement it without being too similar…

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The piece that I developed through to the final work was inspired in large part by those lovely square sales you see on old fashioned Cornish fishing boat rigs – and by coincidence, much painted by Alfred Wallace who used to live yards away… It’s called ‘On the Wind’.

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Drawing at the English National Ballet

IMG_3761In my own studio I’ve been working with Georgie (btw it’s not her in the image above), a classically trained ‘en pointe’ ballerina for some time; mainly drawing form her in charcoal but also using wire for ‘3d sketching’.  Working with her is totally inspiring – ballerinas have such poise and grace, a way of moving and of being which transcends them above us mere mortals.

IMG_3870To build on this, I recently had a wonderful opportunity to go to Sadler’s Wells to see the English National Ballet in ‘company class’ – essentially a couple of hours of ballet exercises, half at the bar and half without.  (Little did I know that I was also to be totally honoured by the presence of one of the world’s greatest ballerinas, Tamara Rojo!)http://www.ballet.org.uk/

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My own work lays bare the emotions and the duality of life – the agony and ecstasy, strength and fragility, the sublime and the ugly… so I have always been drawn to ballet and ballet dancers who starkly represent these conflicting yet complimentary qualities in every way.  And these dancers really do ‘suffer’ for their art – an artistry I find totally compelling, spellbinding even.

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Strong lines have always been important in my work and I look for these when abstracting from the human figure. Being drawn to dancers now makes sense as I’ve learned that they too always look to the line – to extend their lines and to ‘sculpt’ in space, drawing arcs in the air.

 

 

All this is feeding and informing my vision for a new body of work – one for which my metalwork class at Central Saint Martins (see last blog post) is fundamentally important too.  It’s all beginning to come together nicely and I can’t wait to start pulling it together in the new work and to sharing the results with you…

 

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Metal & Sculpture at Central Saint Martins

Mad as the Mist and Snow 3In my practice, I tend to use plaster which I love, and the sculptures I make are then cast into bronze or bronze resin.

During the process of making I use wire to get the overall form in place and then plaster and scrim to make up the body of the work.  Many times I’ve noticed how the lines of the wire make beautiful forms in their own right and in many ways reflect quite closely what I want to portray.

IMG_3768Wire in itself would not be strong enough to make the work I have in mind so I was drawn to the idea of using steel.  My welding skills were fairly basic so I cast my eyes around for a course to brush them up to start realising my dream.

I found this amazing course under David Stewart http://davidstewartsculpture.co.uk/ at Central Saint Martins, London which was essentially a course on using metal for sculpture and as well as mig welding, we learnt to use bending and folding machines, a chop saw and plasma cutter amongst other things.

 

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I made a number of things as a way of practising my skills and have become confident enough to order up my own welder and some steel supplies for my own studio – how exciting, I can hardly wait to get going!

 

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This is one part in making my vision come to fruition – next stop English National Ballet at Sadler’s Wells – blog post to follow…

 

 

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