4 Year BA(Hons) course
4 Year BA(Hons) course
Now I am no longer a student . . . but I am still blogging – here:
and my website here:
Its been a blast!
After the successes of the final year show and graduation, it has quickly become time to concentrate on the next projects on the horizon.
After having been short-listed for The Woon Foundation Painting and Sculpture Prize in January this year, it was now time to take the proposed work to Newcastle and install it in the Gallery North – which is part of Northumbria University, who are running the prize.
A great opportunity to be involved in an exhibition and prize like this, it has already been an experience which has given me a lot of insight and the chance to work with some great people.
The prize fund is very generous and would be a fantastic opportunity to make the most of the next step after graduating. Aside from that it is a great opportunity for my work to be showcased in a new place, in a different context.
I originally had intended and wanted to show two separate pieces for the show. However, it became clear that this wasn’t going to work, as the two pieces needed to be separated – originally they were together in one large scale installation, and I had intended that they would work as stand alone pieces. But, with space limitations and the necessity for the work to be in close proximity, it became clear that this wasn’t gong to work. I did try a variety of different combinations but finally decided to leave one of the pieces out. Although this was initially disappointing, I believe overall the piece will be stronger. I appreciate the complexities of curating a show like this – I imagine had it been just a show to showcase our work as a group of 10 people, it would perhaps be different, but on this instance, it is for a competition that is to be judged – it needs to be fair and equal for all. In the end, I think the piece is strong enough and I am happy with my contribution.
A week after installing, and having looked at the image again, I think although it represents quite well where I am at with my practice at the moment, there is a lot more under the surface. This can be difficult to show in just one piece – or is it?
All this aside, on Thursday we all return to Newcastle for the opening and prize-giving . . .
Two weeks have passed since the degree show finished, although it seems like a lot longer. There has so far not been so much time to reflect yet on the work as many other things, which had been put on hold for the show, had to be done.
The first obligation was the take down of the show. For most people this was a case of packing up paintings and driving off. However as I had a large scale installation to dismantle, it wasn’t so simple. . . for a change, instead of wondering what to do with everything it was easy to decide what to keep and what to put in the skip. As I have an exhibition next month for the Woon Painting and Sculpture Art Prize, some of the pieces are to be exhibited there. The rest got recycled or binned. It is a good feeling to do that, to be clearer for moving on to the next project. However, the things to be exhibited needed to be repaired and stored carefully before they will be transported to Newcastle. This took longer than anticipated, but with a bit of help that was done and the room was painted back to white, not leaving too much trace of what had been there before.
The whole process of creating the show, presenting and then dismantling was exhausting. Finally to get some distance from it has been good as I am quite eager to capitalise on the good energy created from the show to continue working on new projects and ideas already forming.
I was fortunate enough to sell a few pieces of work and get some commissions for more, so time has been spent completing these. It seems different completing work with a definite end in sight in contrast to completing it for different motives. I have quite enjoyed it although I am anxious to make sure the work is every bit as good as the previous pieces! I don´t suppose that will change with time…
Aside from that, applying for graduate and national competitions continues and graduation is just around the corner . . . the council tax bill has already arrived!
As can be imagined its been especially busy with the opening of the show and being there to invigilate. I was fortunate enough to get away between finishing the work and the opening, time spent on holiday for a bit in Spain and a quick visit to London to see friends and check out the degree show at Central Saint Martins.
At ECA we have two opening nights, a business preview and a friends and family night. This is good as it separates the two as they are quite distinct groups of people and events. The first was the business view – it was certainly with mixed feelings I came along to that – we had not been in the spaces for some time, so greeting the work with fresh eyes was the first thing to think about. Our grades had been released and certain prizes which are awarded had been announced.
Aside from all that, I did find the night a bit awkward, as it can be hard to see who might be a potential buyer and I do not feel I have had enough advice about being approached about sales of work. Perhaps this is something that comes with experience, and I hope I managed to handle these situations well. It is something that is really important to be comfortable with as, unless you have an agent or gallery representation, you are responsible for it.
The friends and family opening was a much more jolly event with proud parents galore and plenty of photos. Aside from the diversion of a fire alarm the night went well – it is important to remember we are here to celebrate something too, not just think about what is next or if we´ll sell something or not.
Since then, as the show is open everyday, it has been a case of being there to meet the public, answer questions and make possible contacts for the future. I have been incredibly lucky to have had my work featured in the press in a number of publications, which helps in terms of recognition. It has also been lovely to get reactions and have conversations on the work. Plenty of friends have come to support me and see the work, not just mine but the college as a whole – there is so much brilliant work to see. However, it is all too easy to become engaged in too much conversation!
There certainly is a buzz about the place and the work though – just today one of the tutors from the architecture/interior design school came to visit and we had a great chat about how seeing work like mine could benefit his students and vice-versa. It is great to have these dialogues and the time to spend on them.
But the real world continues outside and thoughts move to the next thing, finishing up the show and then…
After reaching the deadline on Friday, the very last thing to do to finish my degree was a short presentation of my work to the teaching staff before they begin the long task of marking everyone´s work. It felt almost like an afterthought, which I had almost forgotten about whilst solely focused on the end point of installing the final show´s work.
5 minutes is a short time, and although this presentation is not graded, it still felt important to try to give an idea of what is behind my practice, in a clear and concise way. However, it can be difficult to get across exactly what you want to say in these circumstances! I know that is something I must aim to get better at, as it is important to be able to talk about your work and give it the credit it is due.
It of course does feel strange having now finished, and without exact plans for the future, but it is a time to reflect on this project before what may come next. This last project/installation created has been different in terms of length of preparation and installation, which has naturally changed the outcome. I would like to spend time thinking about this and how that might influence future work.
For now though, it is back to the reality of everyday life outside degree show preparation….