BA FINE ART. A studio based programme that encourages a high level of critical engagement with contemporary art practice, enabling students to explore a variety of media disciplines while developing conceptual and practical skills. Our studios are located at the internationally recognized Spike Island arts venue, allowing students opportunities to gain professional and practical experience and become part of a larger contemporary arts community.
In the space of one week, elation of our Degree show opening has officially turned into the oddness of taking work down and leaving the studios for the last time as students. The preview night was absolutely heaving with people, and supposedly was one of the biggest degree show turnouts our course has ever had. I spent most of the night howling around with my friends who arrived, and met some really interesting people while I was invigilating the next day. I thought it was a really good finale to all our hardwork.
Today was the day we uninstalled everything. We had a meeting with some of the tutors before the goodbyes started, prizes and awards were given out, one of which I am humbly able to admit I received. It’s a really great feeling to have some recognition for the work put in, and to know that there are people out there who really respond and engage with your work.
So the question on everyone’s mind: What next? I have an interview for something next week, and there are a few other opporunities we have been given a chance to apply for, so we’ll see what happens. I am heading off to America with my son, to visit my parents for about 3 weeks. I leave at the end of June, and to be honest I can’t WAIT. It’s in the middle of no where, but I think it will be exactly what I need right now. A chance to get away, unwind, re evaluate. I’ve got to say, I’m really looking forward to not using my brain.
It’s getting down to the wire now, assessments are next week, but there won’t be much time to do anything as we have to install our work on tuesday and wednesday before hand in. It means this weekend is going to be a madfest of loose papers.
After helping transform the studio space into gallery space and staying up late writing, I fear that I am starting to resemble a rank smelling, foot dragging zombie. Complete with gurgling noises. I think this weekend I’ll try the hunchback with bloodshot eyes look.
Somehow managed to make a few more stuffed fabric figures, and I even figured out how to stand them upright. They have bottoms! They have zips! They have bottoms with zips! Degree show here I come. Lets just hope there is enough space for everyone to be happy with where they end up. I’m afraid of what next week might become, 75 baboons fighting over one ripe banana. Maybe I can find a zookeepers outfit before then….
I can’t believe how insanely busy I have been the last two weeks. In the midst of all the chaos, I have been acting very unlike myself. Today I went to pay for something, and thought I had lost my card. I spent 5 panicked minutes searching through my wallet, only for the cashier to gently tell me I had already placed it in the machine. Yesterday, I somehow forgot to bring home my bag with my all important memory stick and my £300 bursury cheque. I realized about 4 hours later that I had a metaphorical missing limb, and had to scramble back across town to collect it. Luckily all was safe. And to top it all off, I decided to cut my own fringe last week, due to lack of money and time. Thanks to overconfidence in my creative hairdressing skills, I now officially look as though I have escaped from the looney bin. At least my outside now matches my inside. However, even with all the madness, I seem to be getting things done.
I had an exhibition crit at the end of last week, and it was incredibly helpful. I have a much clearer vision of what I am going to have in the degree show, and how I can best present it. It does mean, however, that in between all the various things I have to accomplish, I still have a few practical things to sort out. But I do think I am not doing too badly with time at the moment. Although I am sure I will feel differently by the end of next week.
I have been making lists. Lists of lists, and sublists of my lists of lists. Time schedules, reminder notes, illegibly written questions on inappropriate papers. Perhaps I should write a proposal to be sponsored by “post-its”, or something.
I think our UWE Fine Art / Art and Visual Culture degree show webpage is supposed to go live today:
My partner, son and I have been galavanting through parks and charity shops this last week. I managed to come home with another huge stack of history and war books. I always get funny looks when I take my choices to the till. I don’t know what is so strange about buying Dr. Seuss “There’s a wocket in my pocket” alongside “101 War Movies”, “Hidden Secrets: The Complete History of Espionage and the Technology Used to Support it” and “IBM and the Holocaust” . Although my partner is interested in these aspects of history as well, I think he has been severely put off by my obsession.
The last two weeks before our easter holiday, I felt fairly prolific with my studio work. I can not believe how many objects and things I’ve created. In my second year, for instance, I only had three finished pieces of work to show for myself. I was painting, and I found it difficult to just let go and make. Everything I did had to be meticulously planned and ordered before I started painting, and only within those constraints did I feel comfortable letting go and doing something spontaneous to my work. It was time consuming and mentally exhausting. This year I have somehow come out of that, and completely let go. Especially so in the last month. I feel that I have really found my preferred way of working, when I am in ‘the zone’ and it has all just clicked into place. Making objects rather than paintings has much to do with it, I think. I was too precious about my paintings, and I have discovered that when making objects I feel much more free. I am not worried about how they turn out, or whether they are successful, because they don’t necessarily have to serve a concrete purpose themselves. Most of the time the objects are not finished until grouped with others anyway, and I have found these new possibilities liberating.
After an academic year of self doubt and confusion, I am actually confidant about what I managed to accomplish before the easter holiday, and I am fairly sure there is a piece to select for the degree show, if I am not able to finish anything new before then. The trouble now is choosing. I managed to photograph 32 possibilities, with about 8 of them being stronger than the rest. My tutor group has a crit scheduled the first week back from holiday, so it will be incredibly useful to hear some critical feedback on what I’ve been doing. I do need to be much more focused in this crit though, as it might be the last real chance to try out my work before the degree show. I’ll need to flag any potential problems, such as hanging and display issues, before then, so I can focus on other aspects during the crit.
Something else of dire importance, titles! Titling my work has proved a difficult task for me in the past. So I have started a list of words, phrases, ideas, that could morph into possible titles for the new works I’ve just made. At the moment nothing I’ve come up with seems to really work, and it is slightly worrying. I think that bouncing ideas off others will prove to be incredibly important in this aspect.
I’m off to work more on my research folders now, while my son is still at preschool and I have the house to myself. Hopefully I’ll have a good chunk of it done by my next blog post. High Ho High Ho, it’s off to work I go…
Being a direct entry student has been very difficult, but immensly rewarding. For much of the first half of the year I felt as though I was playing catch up with the other students. I had to get used to a new campus, new facilities, technicians, tutors, all while having to create new work and engage with people who were not in the slightest familiar with what I had been making the year before. Of course, my work evolved anyway, and as I became more familiar with my surroundings, I realized that most of the other students who had been on the course the first two years felt just as lost as I did!
Last year I was mainly painting, so it was a shock when I started making more sculptural objects. Most of the work I made at the beginning of the academic year were not finished pieces, but became a process of thinking for me, as a way to help me understand my practice. It took me awhile to pin down what I was most interested in, especially after the shakeups of our first few tutorials and group crits.
It has been really interesting to see how far we have all come in our personal practices since the beginning of the year, and I am looking forward to the degree show. We are on our easter holiday at the moment, and I have been frantically trying to work on my research folders needed for assessment. I am confidant that I am not the only one maniacally typing while scouring a towering pile of books, and that does make me feel a little bit better, if only slightly.