Previous AA2A Artist

David Henckel

Project summary:

I heard about the AA2A scheme through members of Artlab Contemporary Print, a group of print makers that meet at UCLAN one evening a week to use the facilities. A few of them were on the scheme and recommended I apply.

Prior to the scheme I was making paintings from drawings of characters with absurd and comic tendencies. I am interested in the personality of everyday objects and use a playful process of sampling and automatic drawing to make work and had briefly begun to explore these ideas in screenprinting. My aim was to combine hand drawn, photographic and computer generated images to make work that I found difficult to produce in painting.

One of the benefits has been the sense of a block of time in which to do anything you want. This is quite liberating and I started to see it as a chance to experiment. I developed an interest in the possibilities of halftone and produced a series of tonal experiments based upon four colour process techniques. I also started to use new and amusing materials, making sculptures from shaving foam, rice krispies, matchsticks and other ephemera, I used photographs of these as starting points for prints. I also found my ideas shifting away from character and object based work towards work concerning movement, areas of action and incidental marks.

I was looking forward to having access to the facilities and had a fairly clear idea of the expected benefits to my work. However the most surprising and enjoyable part of being at the University has been the regular contact with staff/students and the other AA2A artists. Its a welcoming place with a real sense of community and I've made some good friends here. The other AA2A artists have been great and throughout the scheme we have been able to support each other and discuss our ideas , I'm really looking forward to our group show in September. The technical staff have been fantastic, they are on hand whenever needed and have helped me with all aspects of my work. Informal tutorials with members of the teaching staff have allowed me to critically asses my practice, and contact with MA students has given me an insight into postgraduate study and led to me applying for an MA. I gave a talk to the second years who provided interesting and intelligent feedback and I've loved being part of the day to day activity in the studios.

Several exciting opportunities have arisen directly from contact with students and staff at UCLAN I had a solo show at The Continental in Preston in December and am currently co-curating a show of North West Graduates at the same venue. I'm involved in a group show with MA students in September which is part of the Liverpool Biennial and will be exhibiting in an International show of staff and students from institutions around the world. I was also invited to teach screenprinting at the Bluecoat in Liverpool.

Being on the AA2A scheme has given me the time and space to develop and experiment with my work, Led to exhibiting and teaching opportunities, and opened the door to further education. But most importantly its given me a sense of place within a community of dynamic artists. I can't recommend it enough. Do it!

'Ocular Looming''