Artist Christina Mackie talks at Falmouth

Falmouth School of Art’s Guest Speaker Programme brings significant practitioners to Falmouth to give talks to our students about their practice. Final year BA(Hons) Drawing student Megan Fatharly gives a personal response to a recent talk by Guest Speaker Christina Mackie:

‘Multi-faceted artist Christina Mackie spoke to Falmouth School of Art students about her visual language, the depth she goes to to explore materials, how they interact with each other what this can encourage within a viewer.

The themes that ultimately prevail within Mackie’s work are colour and perception; this is evident in the work she did with Tate in 2015, in which artists worked with nets dipped in semi-crystalised dye and suspended to create a stark installation piece. As part of her talk, Mackie showed generated videos and plans of how that exhibition was put together.

As well as discussing this installation, Mackie also spoke about other works: on paper, photographs and how she works with objects to manipulate their purpose and form. I found this conversation between the layers of her work really engaging. Artists who are not afraid to work within more than one avenue show how important it is to do so, because it encourages these dialogues to be had and shows younger artists it’s a thing to be embraced.’

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Visiting Professor Graham Rawle to give inaugural lecture at Falmouth

(c) Graham Rawle, from The Wizard of Oz

Author, artist and designer Graham Rawle will give his inaugural lecture as Falmouth School of Art’s Visiting Professor of Illustration on 22 March 2017.

Internationally admired, Rawle is one of the UK’s most interesting and original visual communicators, known by many for his long running ‘Lost Consonants’ strip, which appeared in the Guardian from 1990. A writer and collage artist whose visual work incorporates illustration, design, photography and installation, Rawle has a strong following for his eagerly-awaited published books, which include The Card (shortlisted for the 2013 Writer’s Guild Award), Graham Rawle’s Wonder Book of Fun and Diary of an Amateur Photographer. His collaged novel Woman’s World, created entirely from fragments of found text clipped from vintage women’s magazines won wide critical acclaim, described by The Times as ‘a work of genius…the most wildly original novel produced in this country in the past decade.’ His reinterpretation of The Wizard of Oz won Book of the Year and Best Illustrated Trade Book at the 2009 British Book Design and Production Awards. Alongside these works, Rawle has produced regular series for The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine and The Times.

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Graham Rawle. Photo credit: Jenny Lewis

Rawle’s flair and passion for education has been recognised through honorary appointments and awards. As a previous contributor to both Falmouth School of Art’s guest speaker programme and its Illustration Forum he already has a strong interest in Illustration here. Of his appointment in 2016, Rawle said, “It’s a great honour for me to have been made Visiting Professor of Illustration at Falmouth University. I have long admired the School of Art’s commitment to nurturing original and individual thinking in art and design. My own research in sequential design and visual narrative spans across illustration, literature and, more recently, film. I’m interested in how the principles of storytelling, particularly three-act structure, can be employed in the development of design strategies across a wide range of disciplines. I look forward to finding ways of making connections with students, staff and researchers at Falmouth”.

Rawle has established himself as a ground-breaking research-led writer, illustrator and designer, evidenced through the range and depth of key scholarly texts that cite and analyse his work. He teaches on the MA Sequential Design/Illustration and MA Arts and Design by Independent Project courses at Brighton and in 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate for Services to Design from Norwich University of the Arts.

Graham Rawle’s lecture at our Falmouth Campus is free, but registration is required, as seats are limited: Click here to register through our Eventbrite page.

Find out more about our BA(Hons) Illustration and MA Illustration: Authorial Practice.

 

A welcome return to Falmouth for author and illustrator Posy Simmonds

Posy Simmonds, pictured at the launch of the Big Draw Weekend on October 22, 2010 in London (AFP Photo PETER MACDIARMID)

Posy Simmonds, pictured at the launch of the Big Draw Weekend on October 22, 2010 in London (AFP Photo PETER MACDIARMID)

Posy Simmonds joins us at Falmouth School of Art on 1 March in the next of our Guest Speaker events. It’s a welcome return for Simmonds, an Honorary Fellow of Falmouth University, and the author and illustrator of books for adults and children, including Literary Life, Tamara Drewe, Lulu and the Flying Babies and Fred, the film of which was nominated for an Oscar.

Tamara Drewe, (c) Posy Simmonds

Tamara Drewe, (c) Posy Simmonds

Simmonds made her name with a series of weekly cartoon strips for the Guardian from 1977; her acclaimed graphic novels Gemma Bovery, and Tamara Drewe were both serialised in the paper before their publication as books, and both have since been adapted into successful feature films.

Fred, by Posy Simmonds

 

Simmonds’ style for adults gently satirises the English middle classes. Her books often feature a ‘doomed heroine’, much in the style of the 18th- and 19th-century gothic romantic novel, to which they often allude, but with an ironic, modernist slant.

Simmonds’ carreer as a children’s author began in 1987 with Fred, the tale of the death of a domestic tomcat who, to his owners, appeared to have done little more than eat and sleep all day, but who had in fact by night been pop superstar ‘Famous Fred’, adored by thousands of fans

Further reading / listening…

Listen to Posy Simmonds interviewed by Gil Roth in 2015

Posy Simmonds on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, from 2008

Read Tripwire interview with Posy Simmonds from 2008

Read an extensive Posy Simmonds profile from 2012

Posy Simmonds will be talking at Falmouth University on 1 March 2017, Lecture Theatre 1, Falmouth Campus, 5pm-6pm 

Click here to register (free, but required) through our Eventbrite page.

MA Illustration: Authorial Practice success at The Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets 2016

Atlantic Press, an independent press associated with the MA Illustration: Authorial Practice course at Falmouth has won the prestigious Michael Marks Illustration Award.  The book’s illustrator Mairead Dunne received the award for her illustrations to Luke Thompson’s book of poems, The Clearing, which was published last summer.  Mairead is a graduate of the Authorial Illustration Masters course (September 2016).

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The winners were announced at a special dinner with the shortlisted poets, publishers and illustrators at the British Library in December last year.  Mairead was presented the award along with a cheque for £1,000 by Lady Marina Marks, Chairman of the Michael Marks Charitable Trust.

The images are a contemplative series in photography, using experimental lenses and interventionist drawing. The work reflects and reveals the narrative, highlighting the sense of reader as voyeur, as well as developing the symbolism and ambience of the poetry.  Every copy of the clearing is unique, the cover birds having been individually hand-stamped by Mairead.

Steve Braund, Course Coordinator of MA Illustration: Authorial Practice and Director of Atlantic Press has written a piece about the work:

“The Clearing is one of a series of four ‘poet-illustrator’ collaborations we’ve published recently at Atlantic, the others being Stone by Em Strang and Mat Osmond, Pick Me Up by Anna Kiernan and Harriet Lee-Merion and On Ridgegrove Hill by Alyson Hallett and Phyllida Bluemel.

Attempting to illustrate poetry can be foolhardy as the ability of poems to picture subject matter so vividly make them powerful illustrations in themselves. So, we’ve tried to support collaborative conversations between the pairings of poets and illustrators where the images augment the words with a fair degree of ambiguity allowing open-ended readings. In addition, and of equal importance, is the attention to the design and typography: how the book feels in your hands, how the pages turn and the use of empty spaces. In The Clearing, as with the others in the series, the design was in the hands of the illustrator.

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Part of the underlying excitement in all our books is in that suspension of disbelief where the ‘unreal’, the fictional construction (or sometimes imaginative take on the real), captivates the audience, holding their attention, taking them on a journey of the imagination, the story. The best results occur when the creator/s (in this case the poet and illustrator in collaboration) inhabit their characters from within. The storytelling never works quite as well when the characters feel consciously contrived as if from a distance. If your character cuts their knee, you need to feel their pain. If you don’t, then don’t expect your audience to either.

The publication was supported by a grant from the Arthur Quiller Couch Memorial Fund (Q Fund) and through Crowd funding.”

The Award was judged by Sir Nicholas Penny, Director of the National Gallery, London from 2008 – 2015. The Illustration Award recognises outstanding illustration of a poetry pamphlet published between July 2015 and June 2016.  Sir Nicholas Penny considered illustration in any medium and was looking for a subtle and sustained relationship between image and text, as well as the overall quality of the images.

The Michael Marks Awards for Poetry Pamphlets are sponsored by The Wordsworth Trust, The British Library and the Michael Marks Charitable Trust in association with the TLS and the Harvard University Centre for Hellenic Studies.

Falmouth School of Art Guest Speakers announced for spring 2017

The Falmouth School of Art Guest Speaker Programme resumes in February with a series of events featuring acclaimed artists and illustrators…

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Artist Joey Holder starts the season with a talk on 8 February. Working with scientific and technical experts, Holder makes immersive, multi-media installations that explore the limits of the human and how we experience non-human, natural and technological forms. Mixing elements of biology, nanotechnology and natural history against computer programme interfaces, screen savers and measuring devices, she suggests the impermanence and inter-changeability of these apparently contrasting and oppositional worlds: ‘everything is a mutant and a hybrid’. For a recent exhibition – against the backdrop of the emergent field of computational biology and the Google Genomics project – Holder invented ‘Ophiux’, a speculative pharmaceutical company, imagining its use of genetic sequencing equipment and biological machines to collect data from humans and to sample data from other organisms. She explains: ‘It seems as if everything has become a branch of computer science, even our own bodies probed, imaged, modelled and mapped: re-drawn as digital information’.

On 15 February artist Chantal Joffe will be in conversation with Falmouth School of Art’s Director Dr. Ginny Button. Joffe’s figurative paintings usually depict women or girls, from catwalk models, porn actresses and literary heroines to mothers, children and loved ones. Her paintings question expectations of what a feminist art might be, often pointing to how appearances are constructed – whether in a fashion magazine or the family album – and to the choreography of display. Sometimes shown in groups but recently in iconic portraits, her images of women draw loosely on a range of sources such as photographs, magazines and even reflections in the mirror, using distortion to make her subjects seem more real. Her paintings achieve a psychological and emotional force, prompting reflection on ever-changing human relations and the endless complexity of looking.

1 March sees a return to Falmouth of Illustrator, author and Falmouth Honorary Fellow Posy Simmonds. Simmonds’ work includes many books for adults and children, including Literary LifeLulu and the Flying Babies and Fred, the film of which was nominated for an Oscar. Working across a range of formats and contexts, Simmonds is probably best-known for her series of weekly cartoon strips commissioned by the Guardian since 1977. Gemma Bovery, her reworking of Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary into a satirical tale of English expatriates in France appeared first in the Guardian before publication as a graphic novel in 1999. Acclaimed by the critics for its wit and wickedly sharp observation, it was made into a feature film in 2014. Her prize-winning graphic novel Tamara Drewe also became a very successful film, directed by Stephen Frears.

Falmouth School of Art’s new Visiting Professor of Illustration delivers his inaugural lecture on 22 March. Graham Rawle is an internationally admired writer and collage artist whose visual work incorporates illustration, design, photography and installation. He has produced regular series for The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph Magazine and The Times and among his published books are The Card, The Wonder Book of Fun, Lying Doggo, and Diary of an Amateur Photographer. His collaged novel Woman’s World, created entirely from fragments of found text clipped from vintage women’s magazines won wide critical acclaim, described by The Times as ‘a work of genius…the most wildly original novel produced in this country in the past decade.’ He is perhaps best known to some for his long running ‘Lost Consonants’ strip, which first appeared in the Guardian in 1990.

We finish the 2016-17 Guest Speaker Programme with a TateTalk at Falmouth by Fine Art alumna (2001) Jessica Warboys. Warboys works across painting, performance, film and sculpture. Her talk is in association with Tate St. Ives, which in March will present a major solo show of Warboys’ work. The show will feature films, sculptures, large scale paintings, and Sea Paintings commissioned for the show and created along the Cornish coast. In her Sea Paintings, Warboys explores the connection between painting and performance, submerging damp, folded canvas scattered with coloured pigments into the sea, and allowing the movement of the waves to ‘paint’ the canvas.  Her work is informed by personal or collective memories – hystorical, mythical or fictional. Warboys currently lives and works in Suffolk and Berlin and has enjoyed wide international exhibition success, including solo exhibitions. Her work was recently included in British Art Show 8.

Registration is required for these events, and is open now: http://falmouthschoolofart.eventbrite.co.uk

See all Falmouth University events on our website: www.falmouth.ac.uk/events

Writing as art practice; drawing pedagogy; illustrators and communities in crisis…

Senior Lecturers from Falmouth School of Art have been helping shape national debates and dialogues surrounding writing as art practice, drawing pedagogy and reportage illustration, through recent conferences presentations around the UK.

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Dr Neil Chapman, Senior Lecturer on BA(Hons) Fine Art was invited to present a paper and lead a workshop at the ‘Words of Art’ conference at Wimbledon College of Arts.

The conference formed part of a wider Words of Art project, seeking ‘to explore writing as art practice by considering tactile materiality, live spoken word or performative activity, site-specific writing practices and temporality’. Participants investigated ‘bridging gaps between the written form and object-oriented art practices, shifting the focus of writing from the computer screen to the studio, breaking down perceptions of barriers between writing on the one hand and art-making on the other’.

The conference gathered together invited practitioners who use written forms within their own practices and/or are involved in curating and publishing artists’ writing.

 

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2016-11-25-16-00-32Neil said, ‘It was good to be part of an event at which some students as well as staff had the opportunity to show their work. The conference was preceded by a week of writing workshops — an effective way of galvanising interest in the themes among students in the lead up to the conference.

The usual conventions of a conference were disrupted in a number of ways, with diverse forms of presentation including performance readings, sound-art and audiovisual presentation, live drawing of diagrams and presentations assembling fictional elements with historical research. The event made evident the diverse approaches to writing being practiced widely in art education and art research, adding weight to the argument that artists have something new and important to contribute to research culture in the humanities and beyond.

In forthcoming work, staff of Falmouth School of Art will develop the network of those concerned with the politics and practice of writing in art, working with colleagues at Linnaeus University in Sweden and with staff and students at UAL to develop new work and research on questions of writing and the image’.

 

Dr Joe Graham, who this year joined the BA(Hons) Drawing team at Falmouth as Lecturer, delivered a paper at the 2016 iJADE (International Journal of Art & Design Education) conference, this year themed ‘Drawing’ and held at the University of Chester. The iJADE journal is published by NSEAD (National Society for Education in Art & Design), and the conference was entirely geared around pedagogical discussion of drawing used by communities within Art & Design Education. Among the keynote speakers was Simon Betts, External Examiner to Falmouth.

ijade-thumb ijade-thumb-2016Papers spanned a wide variety of topics, demonstrating the value of Drawing to a range of disciplines far beyond art and design. Joe’s paper, titled Autonomic Drawing: Postphenomenological Drawing Research discussed his latest research from a pedagogical standpoint, describing the (phenomenological) method of variational practice as it is used within his work.

Joe demonstrated the application of the practice with the aid of nine A3 graph paper drawings, produced specifically to test this method, and explains, ‘The method of variational practice is used to seek invariant (essential) forms of understanding from within a variety of work presented for display. When used in combination with observational drawing, it renders the drawings sensible as ‘data’ i.e. results. This means the more fluid question of what drawing ‘records’ (re-presents) can be decided on an empirical basis. This outcome has useful pedagogical implications’.

 

Dr Catrin Morgan, Senior Lecturer on MA Illustration: Authorial Practice, delivered a paper at the International Illustration Symposium at Edinburgh College of Art. The conference was titled ‘Shaping the View: Understanding Landscape Through Illustration’.

Shaping the View: Understanding Landscape through Illustration

Shaping the View: Understanding Landscape through Illustration

Catrin’s paper, The Myth of Reportage Illustration, explored ideas of authenticity and mark making in reportage illustration. Her paper was grouped within the panel, ‘Landscape as metaphor’, and examined the way in which Illustrators are increasingly being hired to report on and represent communities in crisis (communities in Syria, people living in refugee camps and endangered or destabilised communities for example).

Catrin explains, ‘I am concerned with the ethical implications of aesthetic choice made by these illustrators and what it means as a creative practitioner to report back on the lives of other communities. What voice do we use to do this? How might we choose to foreground our own presence in the situation we are depicting? Are there a set of aesthetic conventions that are establishing themselves as the language of authenticity?

Being critical of and asking questions about how artists address challenges faced by communities is vital to ensuring that the role that illustrators (as creative practitioners) play in society is truly valuable and useful. I am concerned that all areas of illustrative practice are interrogated critically, particularly those that have the social and political relevance to vulnerable communities’.

Among examples Catrin discussed were Anna Cattermole, who works with communities in Cornwall, Gill Gibbon who draws at arms fairs and Olivier Kuglar and George Butler who have reported on various communities internationally.

MA Illustration host symposium on Friday 11 November as part of Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival

Falmouth University’s MA Illustration: Authorial Practice will be hosting a symposium next Friday 11 November as part of the Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival.  The event will take place at 3.00 – 5.00pm in Lecture 2 on the Falmouth campus.  The event is unticketed and free to both Falmouth University staff and students.  Please arrive early to secure your seat – doors will close once the seating is full.

The theme is ‘Creative collaboration between poets and illustrators’ and will be chaired by Dr Kym Martindale, Course Coordinator on Falmouth’s BA Creative Writing.  The symposium will feature poetry readings by Luke Thompson and Em Strang, and panel discussions with illustrators Mairead Dunne and Mat Osmond, with Steve Braund, Course Coordinator on Falmouth’s MA Illustration and Director of Atlantic Press.

Further information here: Cornwall Contemporary Poetry Festival

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