In the 11 years trading as a freelance artist, workshop facilitator and visiting lecturer I have gained vital knowledge of running a business, experience diversifying and adapting my skills. I will be talking through my journey as an artist, juggling motherhood and projects. How my work helped me though emotionally difficult times and how this process informed my work.
During the AA2A I will be developing a new body of work reflecting on relationships, communication and the use of language both spoken and unspoken. I will talk though my development, inspiration and concepts for this work.
Between 27th January and 16th March 2016 National Glass Centre is offering a series of early evening talks given by professionals from the creative industries including visiting artists on the ‘Artists Access to Art Schools’ (AA2A) scheme and staff from the ‘Arts’ team at the University of Sunderland. These talks will provide a range of case studies of the careers of professionals in the art and design field. The talks are designed for students in Fine Art, Photography and Glass and Ceramics at the University of Sunderland but are also open to the public. This programme has been supported by the Institute for International Research in Glass (IIRG) and Ceramics Arts Research Centre at the University of Sunderland.
Please note these talks will take place at Lecture Theatre 007 of the Prospect Building on St Peter's Campus. 2 mins walk from National Glass Centre.
Last week I had to travel to London for a work meeting and rather than rush back home I decided to make the most of being in the capital by finding a random art exhibition to go to once the meeting was over. So I did a bit of googling the night before and came across an exhibition at Somerset House called Big Bang Data. I was intrgued - an exhibition of various artist and thinkers exploring the impact of data on our lives - that sounded right up my street!
It didn't disappoint. It was fabulous. I highly recommend it to anyone who is reading this finds themselves in London with two hours to spare. Somerset House is easy to find (on the South Bank). The exhibition cost £12.50 but it was worth every penny. It was hugely diverse with exhibitions (as opposed to 'artists') ranging from single artists to collectives to organisations.
It was a very visual exhibition and extremely thought-provoking. I won't give too many spoilers so I'll stick to talking about my favourite piece, which was 'I know where you cat lives' by Owen Mundy. This was a project that looked at how obsessed we are with our cats, and more specifically, how obsessed we are with photographing them and sharing them on social media. For this project, Mundy tracked instagram uploads of cat pictures in Hackney over a given period of time. Although the project itself caught my attention (as I love cats and I am guilty of uploading my cat a lot) but it shows how diverse the term 'art' has become in the 21st century. This project crosses over from data mapping into art. It is geeky, yet it is art too. Mundy is not an 'artist' as such. He is described as a researcher and technologist. So was this an art exhibition? Yes, it was 100% art, but also it was not at all art.
The exhibition runs until 20th March. Go check it out!
I have not begun to make any final works yet; I am still busy collecting material to incorporate into it. My aim is to combine text, image and mark making to create a visually interesting surface in three dimensions. The use of print and paint on Chinese paper will have a beautiful way of diffusing light and creating shadows, depending on where it is shown and how it is draped or hung. This will mirror the hoped for quality of the acrylic piece I am planning as part of the trio of free standing pillars. I am already thinking about other venues where the work could be shown but not approached anywhere as yet.
I put out a call last Friday to local people fighting fracking to provide me with a few sentences each about how they feel about it. I have had ten responses back already and am hopeful of a lot more; this community engagement aspect has grown out of my continued thinking process about the whole body of work.
I am also continuously surprised at the connections I am making with ideas within the project; I have already mentioned textile construction, its relation to "taking a line for a walk" in drawing and recently the ideas of darning to repair holes has become a metaphor that I have begun to speculate on. Recent research into chemicals used in the fracking process or those that are brought up to the surface of the earth as a result of fracking has startled me; the diagrams of the different chemical bonds looked very similar to crochet diagrams!
Attending the recent lecture by Alice Fox was interesting; her method of collecting, refining, thinking and producing, have certain parallels within my current work. Also; her absolutely beautiful artists' books (I have been lucky enough to own one for a few years now), constantly inspire me. Alice self publishes books as well; kind of catalogues of each body of work she produces; this is something I need to seriously think about too because, like her, I simply do not manage to sell many of my original pieces and as Alice pointed out, everyone can manage to buy one of those for a few pounds.
I may not be around campus very much during February; my daughter is due to have her first baby in about a week. I will however continue to collect material together and to make small drawings so that when I am able to be back, I can get going with producing the final works.
Rebecca Woodcock is one of four AA2A artists at Wolverhampton University and we (Rebecca Collins and I) went to see her at work in her studio to talk to her about her art practice.
Rebecca told us that she is finding the scheme a positive influence on her work as she enjoys working amongst other creative people. She also says she feels privileged to have access to such a comprehensive array of facilities particularly as her practice spans a variety of different mediums. She describes her art as ‘idiosyncratic’. She is clearly not afraid to try anything. Her prolific practice takes advantage of whatever materials are available to her including paint, textiles and ceramics however a constant thread that runs through her work is her inexhaustible drawing which she uses to record her constant flow of ideas and thoughts.
Rebecca sites amongst her many influences, Abstract Expressionism, Gainsborough, Henry Moore and Paula Rego, but she also said that she finds inspiration in ‘everything’. She is currently working on a project inspired by her experiences whilst camping in Pembrokeshire. The project is called ‘Pembrokeshire Promise’ and we found her in her studio working on the fourth sculpture in the project. Each sculpture is inspired by each of the passing seasons and local traditions and are all infused with her passionate interaction with her environment. Rebecca is an artist who truly lives for their art.
Rebecca is planning on giving a lecture about her work to students at the university and will also run a workshop.
Today we had a great talk by Russell Cobb at Solent below bar! as AA2A artist I can be a part of talks, workshops, tutorials, inductions etc. And it is pretty amazing ! Another part of screen printing tomorrow :) ----> image Russell Cobb drawings.
smile emoticoanother part of screen printing tomorrow smile emoticon
Having completed all inductions before Xmas break, since the beginning of spring term I've been cracking on with some actual work.
First task has been to prep some things for show at an informal interim 'exhibition' Teesside Uni AA2A placement people are having in the Fine Art dept at the moment (fellow AA2A artist Jim Poyner has posted some pix of the install here), and in this blog are images of two of the pieces I decided to include. Both were produced during an artist residency in France last October (Vélo Café, mentioned previous blog post): the zoetrope above was complete but a bit wobbly and needed some tweaking, while the mutascope below needed a lot more work - the frame was complete but the flipbook of images had to be book-bound, the drum this was then glued to had to be built and positioned, and the nasty shade of pink the original bicycle was covered in removed. Before the deinstall, sometime next week, I'll try to take some better photos (these are just phone snaps).
Otherwise... The weather over Xmas was not great, so I haven't yet test exposed the films I built a trimming machine for last term. Getting the above pieces ready for show was a great way to ease myself into using workshop facilities and getting exising work finished, but it has slightly distracted from properly beginning new AA2A work. I've now drawn up a work schedule for myself and started testing materials though. More TK.
We're delighted to be kicking off the first of this year's 'AA2A self-employment' presentations tomorrow at Plymouth Uni. Wendy will be myth-busting as well as presenting one of the first AA2A Self-employment Champions... (I'll keep that a secret till then)
It's been a busy week so far after we met with Arts Council England on Monday and we really couldn't be happier seeing all the recent activity on Dotbiz. Special thanks to everyone who's been active and in particular all the AA2A Plus artists who've given updates on their projects.
One of the strengths of my practise (I think) is my capacity to work with whats availalble. On reflection I can see that reproducing the nest verbatium as a fine art print may be a nice example of technique but will not really move the project forward, or express any of the concepts driving the drawing, So filmed drawing performance it is.
On Sunday I dragged my husband and three boys (persuaded, bribed) to Cheltenham to visit The Wilson which was hosting the Jewood Drawing Prize exhibition. This is a must-see exhibition for me. I've managed to go every year except one for the past four years. I only just managed to get to see it this year as we went on the last day before it moved to Falmouth, which is a little far away from Shrewsbury.
The Jerwood Drawing Competition showcases contemporary drawing. I love this exhibition because it stretches the definition of 'drawing' to all corners. This year was no exception with a huge variety of pieces and subject matter. My favourites included pieces by William Mackrell, Gabriela Schutz, Sue England and Daniel Crawshaw. I loved their work for their quirkiness and playfulness as well as intellegence.
I love drawing. I couldn't imagine not being able to draw. But I love the idea that drawing isn't just putting a pencil to paper. If you get the chance to see this exhibition then I urge you to go. It is only small but very much worth it. One day, I might even enter myself.