Announcing the Caroline Sassoon Emerging Artist Award

Falmouth School of Art is delighted to announce an award open to final year BA(Hons) Fine Art and BA(Hons) Drawing students, generously made by Nysha Concannon-Brook in memory of her Grandmother, Caroline Sassoon. The launch of the Caroline Sassoon Emerging Artist award coincides with what would have been the artist’s 100th birthday.

Caroline Sassoon was born Daphne Elsie Dawn Taylor on the 11th October 1918. Her discipline and drive were clear from an early age, when she won the regional ice-skating championship at just ten years old. She had lost both of her parents by the age of nineteen, their deaths falling within three years of each other. She trained to be a teacher, specialising in art. Her headmaster at Crewkern School in Somerset commented that, “she has revolutionised the conception of [art]… even those to whom this medium of expression is not natural have been stimulated by her method of approach.”

Sassoon was a fierce feminist from a young age and remained disappointed that she never lived to see women paid equally. On marrying Hamo Sassoon in 1948, she told him, in the crisp and clear way that she always communicated, she would not be spending all of her time cooking for him. If he wanted a chef, he could pay for one.

Hamo was an archaeologist which meant they lived in many different places, including colonial Africa – where in addition to their own three children, they adopted three cheetahs whose mother had been killed by hunters. During these years of travel, she illustrated the book Friends and Enemies by Naomi Mitchison, drew renditions of the local African life, and on arriving in Fort Jesus in Mombasa, she wrote and illustrated her own book called Chinese Porcelain in Fort Jesus.

Sassoon had an ever-expanding interest in all art, from cave paintings, through to David Hockney, and she was always open to modernisations within the industry. In her later years, from the age of seventy-one, she began painting coastal watercolours in Cornwall, near where she lived in Fowey. They were exhibited and sold in the Julia Gould art gallery in Cornwall.

Caroline Sassoon was someone who never saw age as a barrier, taking a course in genetics at the Open University at seventy-eight years old. She believed that you never stopped learning and that perseverance was the key to achieving clearly set goals. In her memory, the Caroline Sassoon Emerging Artist Award will make a monetary contribution to the successful student, with the intention of aiding their continuing practice as an artist following their degree studies. 

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Visiting Professor Hew Locke exhibiting in New York and returning to Falmouth

Ahead of his forthcoming lecture at Falmouth, multimedia artist Hew Locke, has a solo exhibition opening at the PPOW Gallery,  New York, 11 October to 10 November. Patriots is the gallery’s first exhibition with Hew; they also showed works by him at their stand at Frieze London this month.

An alumnus of Fine Art at Falmouth, Hew returns to Falmouth School of Art on 14 November for the final visit of his Visiting Professor tenure. He will deliver his lecture titled ‘Identity and Autobiography’ and will also work with BA(Hons) Fine Art students.

Registration for Hew’s lecture is free, but required: Register here.

Locke’s investigation of the display of power includes areas such as royal and swagger portraiture, coats-of-arms, public statuary, trophies, financial documents, weaponry and costume. Maritime imagery and symbolism has been a constant in his work, along with reflections on his upbringing in Guyana.

Born in Edinburgh, Locke spent his formative years in Georgetown, Guyana, before returning to the UK to study. He received his BA(Hons) Fine Art in 1988 from Falmouth, then an MA in Sculpture from the Royal College of Art, London in 1994.

Locke has work in the collections including Tate, the British Museum, the V&A, Brooklyn Museum and the Perez Art Museum Miami. He has had solo shows in public galleries in the UK and the USA, and has taken part in Biennials in Hangzhou, China; Kochi, India; Prospect3, Miami; Guangzhou, China; Valencia, Spain and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

StreetDraw24 Exhibition | Not One Place

NOT ONE PLACE | REPORTAGE DRAWING EXHIBITION

Students of Falmouth’s BA(Hons) Illustration have designed and organised an exhibition at The Poly, Falmouth, to share work created by students and staff during their 24-hour drawing event on the streets of Falmouth in August, #streetdraw24, an event which aimed to raise awareness of street homelessness.

The Poly have generously provided their upstairs gallery free of charge for the two week exhibition, in support of the #streetdraw24 team’s aim of raising funds for St. Petroc’s Society, which undertakes valuable work with the street homeless.

Alongside the drawings created, the exhibition will feature an eerie soundscape created by second year BA(Hons) Film student Aaron Mason. Also featured are quotes from those who know what it’s like to live on the street. The exhibition reminds us that many different lives are lived in one town and that the street becomes another place when you have no home to go to.

The exhibition will be fascinating for anyone interested in day-to-day life in Falmouth, in the arts or in the social challenges facing this county. It also raises the question – what can art and artists do to help make the world a better place?

During the exhibition there will be opportunities to learn about the work of  St Petroc’s Society, a Truro-based organisation providing accommodation, support, advice, training and resettlement services to single homeless people in Cornwall. Funds will be raised for St Petroc’s through Donate& Draw – donate what you can afford and enter a draw to win a signed drawing by one of the #StreetDraw24 artists.

Student Helen Trevaskis was among the organisers of StreetDraw24. So far, over £700 has been raised through donationsHelen shared the learning from the 24-hour drawing event in a blog post back in August, and you can hear her talking to SourceFM the day after the event (Helen is introduced at 12:50)

Not One Place opens at the Poly Tuesday 2nd October, with a Private View open to all from 5:15-7:15. 

The exhibition runs until Saturday 13 October, Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm.

Linda Scott: Illustration research and my teaching practice

Linda Scott, Senior Lecturer on BA(Hons) Illustration, has recently returned from Northern Portugal, where for the fourth year running she has had a paper accepted by CONFIA, an Illustration and Animation Conference hosted by the University IPCA. Here she talks about the importance of her continued research in Illustration to her teaching of Falmouth’s undergraduates.

‘CONFIA is unique in being one of the few conferences of its kind dedicated to the subject area of illustration. The range of themes within the broader subject, however, is eclectic, and researchers present topics that range from social, political and cultural themes to the more technical and methodological aspects of illustration and animation.

The research I have undertaken over recent years has been fundamental in deepening my appreciation of and understanding of the important role illustration has in the communication and dissemination of challenging themes. Participating in international conferences has exposed me to a range of perspectives and Illustration practices previously unconsidered and the knowledge acquired is invaluable within my teaching practice, which covers both studio based teaching and theoretical dissertation supervision. Sharing my evolving knowledge of the subject with students has lead to stimulating conversations and often reciprocal sharing of books about challenging themes, which currently is an area many students are reflecting upon.

My own research pathway is currently driven by political, ethical, environmental and philosophical analyses of illustration, from historical and current perspectives. In particular I have explored the role that illustration and arts activism might play within the field of bird conservation. My starting point for that was a trip I made to the hunting grounds of Malta with a group of artists, illustrators, musicians and film makers headed by documentary maker Ceri Levy; I had previously participated in a group exhibition collective known as ‘Ghosts Of Gone Birds‘, which showed its first exhibition in the Rochelle Gallery in London.

In recent years, I have been drawn time and again to uses of Illustration as a vehicle for powerfully communicating challenging themes. My presentations at CONFIA over the past four years have included themes embracing climate change, the use of illustrated picture books to teach philosophy and critical thinking skills to primary aged children and in July 2018, my presentation focused on the challenging themes of Colonialism and Imperialism within illustrated books, as viewed through a ‘post colonial‘ lens.

In November 2017 I travelled to Nancy, France to make a presentation at ‘Illustrating Identyties‘, a conference hosted by the University and conceived of with founding members of The Journal Of Illustration, an important peer reviewed publication. The theme of this presentation was about challenging themes within children’s picture books and included subjects such as death, domestic violence, feminism and environmentalism.

My own exploration of the importance of the role Illustration plays in illuminating challenging concepts, ensures I can encourage my students to continue to deepen their own relationship to the practice of illustration and the understanding that it can be a powerful tool for social , political and cultural change’.

 

Drawing staff and students present at Symposium

Artist, drawing researcher and lecturer in BA(Hons) Drawing Dr Joe Graham, and some of his Falmouth School of Art students and alumni,  presented papers and workshops at The Embodied Experience of Drawing event at The Drawing Symposium, Plymouth.

The event responded to the increasing proportion of artists in the South West working in performative drawing practice. It gathered contributors, to acknowledge and interrogate this movement and to discuss ideas around the future of drawing research, philosophy and practice.

Dr Joe Graham discussed his paper The Utility of Drawing: Drawn and Withdrawn.  “This paper sketches a nascent ontology of drawing, one that uses Heidegger to explore the idea that drawing is a fundamentally useful type of thing for those who draw. Within this understanding however, the utility of drawing appears withdrawn, so to speak. It requires being ‘drawn out’ (freed) when drawings are viewed for some purpose – as pictures, diagrams, maps, plans or other forms intended for use.”

Kayleigh Jayne Harris, a recent graduate from BA(Hons) Drawing at Falmouth University, primarily focused on the identity of line within contemporary drawing practices. Her paper  Drawing line through performance: does the drawing live as an immaterial trace, a material document, or both, through the experience of line? explored whether performative acts be identified as a form of drawing, through the acknowledgement and experience of the lines generated during and by gesture.

Bhuvaneshvari Pinto a current student of BA(Hons) Drawing and Ralph Nel (Alumni) presented a joint workshop Drawing as a Tool in Cultivating Awareness – A Workshop in Observational Drawing.  The workshop explored the idea that observational drawing nurtures mental stillness and sharpens our awareness of ourselves and our surroundings.

Video with kind permission of Stuart Bewsey

Falmouth School of Art Purchase Prize – Robin French

Artist Robin French, with a detail from his painting.

The Falmouth School of Art Purchase Prize is an occasional award made during our degree shows, whereby the School purchases an artwork from a graduating student in recognition of their achievement and the strength of their work, and in support of their continued practice. This year we are delighted to have awarded a Purchase Prize to Robin French, who has just graduated from BA(Hons) Fine Art, for his painting, Kitchen, early spring. We asked Robin if he’d like to tell us a little about the painting, and about his future plans…

Robin French – Kitchen, Early Spring, 112 x 152cm, oil on canvas

I’m very proud to have been awarded the Falmouth School of Art Purchase Prize. It is so encouraging to sell work from the show –  it has really spurred me on.

My painting, Kitchen, early spring, is important to me. I shouldn’t like to tie it down to a particular narrative but perhaps I can explain my own personal ideas behind it. The figure is my mother, crouched down to hug her dog. In the room there is a stove. The bowls and mugs are pottery she has made herself. The plants are from the garden she has carefully grown. it’s not so much a portrait of my mother. I wanted more to tap into the soul of the house she has made.

I like to use negative space, leaving large areas of the canvas unpainted. I don’t want the painting to feel suffocated in it’s meaning or appearance. If I’m successful, hopefully the viewer can share certain feelings or understandings that I’ve been working through. This could be very subtle and hard to put into words. I think successful figurative paintings have this unique ability. It’s my challenge to achieve this.

For the future, I’m trying to maximise the time I can spend painting. I’m planning a motorcycle trip where I hop between different artist residencies. At the same time, I’m hoping to find somewhere on the continent where I can rent a studio on a more long term basis.”

https://www.instagram.com/robinfrenchartist/

StreetDraw24: Raising awareness of homelessness in Cornwall.

For 24 hours starting at noon on 23 August, a small band of students and other locals will be drawing from the streets of Falmouth to raise awareness of Cornwall’s homelessness problem, as part of the first ever StreetDraw24. Here, one of the organisers, BA(Hons) Illustration student Helen Trevaskis, talks about the motivation and intention for the initiative… 

StreetDraw24: How can art be a force for good?

‘While beyond the Tamar, Cornwall may conjure up thoughts of pasties and clotted cream, happy childhood holidays and Poldark’s semi-clad antics on horseback along a never-ending coastline, anyone who spends proper time here knows that parts of the county face many and serious social problems. One of these is homelessness, with some reports highlighting an increase of 52% in rough sleeping in the county between 2009 and 2016. While the arts may not seem an obvious place to look to for ways to bring focus onto this problem, that’s exactly what StreetDraw24 wants to do.

How? Well, the idea is simple. Over a 24 hour period, ending at noon on the 24th of the month, draw from the streets of your town, post images to social media using the tag #streetdraw24 and share a link for donations to a relevant homelessness charity. After the event, use the best 24 images – one for each hour of the day – to promote the issue of homelessness and fundraise further. Then…learn, grow, repeat!

This will be the first ever StreetDraw24 and has been organised by first year students from Falmouth’s BA(Hons) Illustration keen to feel connected to and active in the community they now live in. With an emphasis on learning by doing on a small scale, they’ve been promoting the event on Facebook and raising funds for St Petroc’s Society – a Truro based charity supporting the single homeless. Along the way advice on location based drawing, ‘reportage’, has been shared from Falmouth students and tutors alongside information on Cornwall’s homelessness problem.

Some of those taking part in the event will draw from the streets for the whole 24 hours to bring attention to the sad reality that for some the streets are their home 24/7. So, if you see a damp cold looking person drawing from the streets of Falmouth at the end of next week go and talk to them – they’ll love to share what they’re doing! Or even better – take part by checking out the StreetDraw24 Facebook page, donating to St Petroc’s Society or offering ideas for how to make the impact of this initiative even bigger’.