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Dr Joe Graham discussed his paper The Utility of Drawing: Drawn and Withdrawn.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 Within this understanding however, the utility of drawing appears withdrawn, so to speak.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

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#StreetDraw24: What can you do in 24 hours?

BA(Hons) Illustration student Helen Trevaskis was among the organisers of StreetDraw24, a drawing initiative to raise awareness and money for homeless charity St. Petroc’s. So far, over £500 has been raised through donations. You can hear Helen talking to SourceFM the day after the event (Helen is introduced at 12:50)

Following the pilot event, Helen shares 24 things that this reportage fundraiser taught her and her fellow drawers about life in Falmouth, about staying up drawing for 24 hours, and about trying to do something good in the world through art.

  1. A town is not one place. Using Falmouth as a reportage location across 24 hours showed us other sides of the town we live in…From the early morning workers busy while most of us are tucked up in bed, to the fitness fanatics using Jacob’s Ladder as their personal gym, to the late night car racers partying at Pendennis Point – the town has many sides.
  2. Not sleeping sends you a bit weird. During the 24 hours some drawers went from being intensely focused to barely able to speak – let alone draw – to practically hysterical with laughter at the smallest thing, or continually hungry. Fascinating what sleep deprivation does to you!
  3. Make it fun. Along the long walk from The Moor to Falmouth Cemetery via Pendennis, we played drawing games to get our energy up as midnight came and went. The results were not artistic masterpieces (or even a record of where we were, given we could barely see) but were one of the most memorable bits of the night.
  4. Stay safe. Even though we live in a safe town, we ensured no one drew alone at night, and we kept touch with each other via a Messenger group.
  5. Talk to people. During the 24 hours many interesting interactions occurred. One group, drawing on a housing estate, talked to an elderly couple who then fed them fruit. Another got #StreetDraw24 followed on Instagram by a creative agency in London after chatting to its founder. Many more revealed how many people are themselves artists in this town. Embrace such interactions – it’s one of the joys of location drawing.
  6. Start. Many of us were not sure what to draw when we first got out on the street despite lots of great advice from reportage supremo Anna Cattermole’s blog, written for us in the run up to #StreetDraw24 (sorry Anna!). While it can be good to have a plan perhaps what’s more important is getting going, because once you do, drawing tends to have its own momentum.
  7. Mix it up. Bringing variety into how you draw not just what you draw can help give you and your work energy, particularly as the hours tick by.
  8. Be respectful. There was a point at about 1am Friday where five of us were drawing a camper van parked at Gyllygvase Beach, and realised someone was probably asleep inside! As we quietly snuck off, we imagined how weird it would have been for the occupants to find us all there, reminding us it’s important to be respectful in choosing our locations.
  9. Keep repeating your message. #Streetdraw24 is designed to raise awareness about the problem of street homelessness in Cornwall, but it’s very easy for people to miss the point. So don’t be shy about repeating the why of what you’re doing, to get it across effectively, and then repeating it again.
  10. Make it social. While drawing in pairs or a group is not something illustrators and artists normally do, even the least extrovert among us got lots out of drawing on location together.
  11. Dogs are of the day cats of the night. This is just true.
  12. Keep going. Whether you’re on location for four hours or 12 or 24, you’re not going to be in the mood the whole time and not everything you produce will be great; but we definitely saw work evolve across the 24 hours, because we just kept going.
  13. Be shamelessly opportunist. Telling everyone you meet what you’re up to before, during and after an event like this is really valuable. Not just because they might want to get involved, but also because the story of what you’re doing is almost as important as the thing itself, and the more you tell it the better it will get.
  14. Drawing from observation matters. If you’re involved in the arts, you should draw, because drawing is less about drawings and more about looking at, engaging with and absorbing what’s around you – a core artistic skill.
  15. Collaboration is an important creative skill. This time around there were only a few people from beyond the BA Illustration course involved in StreetDraw24. It’s something we’ll shake up next time, because collaborating brings new ideas, perspectives and opportunities.
  16. Wet wipes are your friend. Whether you’re using messy charcoal, find there are no open public toilets near where you’re drawing, or you’ve taken food to eat and are worried about where your hands have been; you’re going to need wet wipes during an event like this.
  17. Be easy-going. This was a pilot, so for us it was important to have as few rules as possible, so people could invent what worked for them and we could learn.
  18. Most people are really nice. They are. So talk to them.
  19. Getting the money bit right is hard. #StreetDraw24 was designed as a fundraiser and fundraising is difficult but an event idea isn’t a good one if it doesn’t make money.
  20. “The more you look the more you see”. So true.
  21. Laughing helps warms you up. Also true but you still need a coat, thick socks and a hat if you’re out all night.
  22. There are lots of ways to take part. While a small band of drawers took to the streets last week, many other people sent messages of support, donated to St Petroc’s, and ‘liked’ or commented on the images we posted. To us they were all part of the #StreetDraw24 team.
  23. Feel lucky. There are many things those of us with homes to go to each night take for granted – like having a toilet when and where you want one. It’s important to remember this is not everyone’s reality and to remember how lucky we are.
  24. Be ambitious. Next up will be an exhibition of #StreetDraw24 work – exhibition space kindly donated by the Poly– in early October. But we’ve bigger plans, too, so watch this space…

You can donate to the StreetDraw24 fundraising page, in aid of St. Petroc’s, and you can see more of the resulting work, and hear about future initiatives via the StreetDraw24 Facebook page.

Falmouth Illustrators Create Mural for Penryn Primary Academy

Second year BA(Hons) Illustration students Elleanna Bird, Sophie Freestone and Amelia Brooks recently completed  work on a mural to transform some of the interior space at Penryn Primary Academy.

The project, carried out at the school over three weeks, was a voluntary commission, enthusiastically taken up by the three friends. Elleanna commented, “We were all very keen to get started and we had lots of ideas to share. Our ideas encouraged the Head Teacher, who seemed very pleased and excited about what we had planned”. Elleanna says she feels grateful to have been involved, describing an atmosphere of encouragement and motivation; she feels that their enthusiasm in creating the work was kept high by the positive reactions of members of the school community who popped in to see how the project was coming along.

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Sophie reflects on the process of creating the pieces: “The three of us were working together on one painting, which meant all of our bizarre and strange ideas were multiplied by three! The murals happened in quite an organic way; although we had developed plans to work from, a lot of the visual elements came to life in the moment when we were drawing and painting straight onto the boards”.

Elleanna, Sophie and Amelia with Penryn Primary Academy Head Teacher James Hitchens, at the unveiling of the mural panels.

The result is a feast for the eyes – a vibrant panorama depicting creatures of land and sea, as well as Cornish motifs and legends. Sophie says, “I really enjoyed this project because of the unlimited amounts of colour and creativity we were permitted to use. In the paintings, if you look hard enough, you can spot a sea monster, a sloth playing the drums, a pair of feet belonging to a giant and a couple of dinosaurs wearing high heels!”.

The murals received a fantastic response from pupils when unveiled by the artists at a school assembly. Of the experience, Sophie said, “We had a fantastic few weeks painting the murals, and I would recommend anyone who gets the opportunity to get involved in a project such as this – local or afar – to say yes!”.

BA(Hons) Illustration Course Coordinators Natalie Hayes and Keryn Bibby have since met with Head Teacher James Hitchens and Assistant Head Chris Lee, to discuss possible future projects. They were shown around the school and discussed opportunities to involve Illustration students; from the possibility of murals for the walls of the swimming pool, production of inspirational imagery to enliven library spaces, or Illustration students working with Penryn Primary pupils on a series of creative workshops. Natalie commented, “Developing the bonds between Falmouth’s Illustration course and Penryn Primary Academy will provide our students with further excellent professional practice opportunities, and we hope will enhance the school experience for the primary pupils”.

“Rock, Paper, Scissors – When microbes play games”

“Rock, Paper, Scissors – When microbes play games” is a graphic novel telling the toils and hardships of a cunning little virus triumphing over its enemies with the help of a valiant knight. It illustrates the intense struggles between viruses of bacteria and their bacterial hosts. The graphic novel is currently being developed under an intense collaboration between Andrei Serpe (recent graduate in BA(Hons)Fine Art , Falmouth University) and Mariann Landsberger (postdoctoral researcher, University of Exeter). It will be available in English, German and French.

Mariann says “The project received seed funding from the ESI Creative Exchange Programme in March 2018 (Environment and Sustainability Institute, Penryn Campus, University of Exeter), allowing us to establish our collaboration, create initial designs and a storyboard, and seek additional funding. The creation of the graphic novel is primarily financed by the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), who awarded us the European Outreach Initiative Fund at the beginning of May 2018 and the Microbiology Society, who supported the project since beginning June 2018 with the Education and Outreach Grant. The project also received the Public Engagement Grant from the Genetics Society, which contributes to the development and promotion of the graphic novel. We are actively looking for a publisher to distribute print versions of the graphic novel. The graphic novel is intended to appeal to both teenagers and adults and aims to spark a curiosity for microbiology and evolutionary biology in the reader.”

 

The following exhibitions feature the final graphic novel, character designs and concept art:

  • The Poly: Spring Gallery 9th – 14th July 2018 at The Poly, 24 Church Street, Falmouth TR11 3EG, UK
  • Falmouth Café Scientifique: Presentation of the graphic novel, creative process and the science behind the story: 11th July 2018 7.45 pm at The Poly
  • Hand Beer Bar: 1st – 30th September 2018 at Old Brewery Yd, High St, Falmouth TR11 2BY

Mariann’s experience

“I really enjoy collaborating with Andrei on “Rock, Paper, Scissors – when microbes play games”. It inspires and motivates my research and everyday life. Andrei is bright, full of energy and I could not have wished for a better collaborator for the project. Whilst I write the storyline, we jointly work on its interpretation into the format of a graphic novel. I highly appreciate our conjoined effort, which I imagine less probable to naturally occur when commissioning an established artist, who would have had more experience in illustrating projects independently. It is a genuine exchange of ideas and concepts on both sides.

I would like to thank the ESEB for their invaluable support and encouragement. The European Outreach Initiative Fund allows us to fully illustrate the graphic novel, display our work and gather the public’s opinion, which will be crucial to create the final print-ready version of the graphic novel.

The Creative Exchange programme at the Environment and Sustainability Institute (Penryn Campus) inspired and encouraged me to take the time and make the effort to conceptualise and develop this project. The programme motivates and supports researchers to seek out and work with local artists. The only reason I could even consider developing the project and applying to the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) for funding was due to the initial seed funding provided by the Creative Exchange Programme.”

Andrei’s experience

“Working on this project with Mariann has provided an amazing opportunity for me for which I am grateful. Over the past three years I have been and am still developing a series of narratives, making this chance to illustrate a novel as my gateway into the industry incredible.

The challenge of illustrating this story was that it was that was completely new to me, in a subject matter I have never studied. This helped me develop my researching skill in researching something that I have never encountered. I found that throughout this project I have been learning and understanding Mariann’s research in a much deeper sense than I previously could. Working with Mariann has given me an insight into the industry and the key to collaborative projects, compromise. It has given me the confidence to put myself out there and advertise myself in the industry to enter the world of freelance as a career.

Overall, this has been a rewarding experience and I intend to carry on exploring narrative comics for many years to come. I have plenty of plans for projects and other collaborations for the future.”

Please visit their blog for updates on the most recent developments, upcoming events and exhibitions, information about their supporters and contact details.  If you would like to display their project in your space, please contact them….they would love to exhibit in a range of venues to engage as many people as they can. Feel free to share the blog with your friends and family, comment and send them any questions you have regarding the project.

Fine Art students’ residency at CAST, Helston

BA(Hons) Fine Art students Ella Schlesinger and Nicholas Sanderson recently secured one of Falmouth School of Art’s studio residencies, at CAST, Helston, where they have been working together for the past month. The result is England your England, an installation comprising sculpture and video, to be shown to the public at an open studio event to mark the end of their residency.

Ella says, “The piece presents a search for a more democratic and honest space to create a conversation about Britain. We see a massive emphasis put on verbal and written language: in other words, the tyranny of the spoken and written word. With the cultural weight of the English language and its global historical context, it leaves us with a predefined and therefore limited platform to connect with and express our individual selves. We want to challenge this vacant gap these words leave and how, using the language of materials we can reown the identity to our country. Humans, as multi-sensory organisms, are constantly reacting against spaces and places, objects and feelings, so why do we settle on such a single faceted form of communication? And how can we create a more immersive and inclusive form of communication through art?

 

 

 

Falmouth School of Art Drawing Forum 2018

The Falmouth School of Art Drawing Forum 2018 posed the question ‘What Does Drawing Do?

It has been a long established assumption that drawing underpins most disciplines within the creative sector, but what drawing does, and how it functions for different practitioners, is probably an ever-changing and essential component.

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By asking a series of speakers to talk about what drawing does for them, this forum hoped to develop a better understanding of the possibilities and functions of drawing. As well as Falmouth-based researchers, the event welcomed guest speakers of national and international standing, including:

Storyboard Artist Jay Clarke worked on the Oscar-winning Wallace & Gromit & the Curse of the WereRabbit and other projects with Aardman and was lead storyboard artist for The Grand Budapest Hotel, which won Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and the Oscar for Best Production Design. He is currently storyboarding Universal’s The Voyage of Dr Dolittle and creating an illustrated children’s novel.

Multi-disciplinary artist Solveig Settemsdal lives and works in London and Bristol; she won the Jerwood Drawing Prize for her video work Singularity in 2016.

Ed Eva and George Baldwin formed the drawing research partnership eegb after graduating from Falmouth’s BA(Hons) Drawing in 2014. eegb’s practice lies at the intersection of drawing and technology; they build machines that draw, have been awarded a number of residencies and grants and have exhibited in the UK, Ireland, Germany and the USA.

This video shares sections of the eight short talks on how drawing is used in contemporary creative practice:

 

 

 

Keiken Collective – a productive finish to 2017…

Keiken at FOMO

Keiken, a collective of artists comprised of alumni from Falmouth School of Art, co-founded by Tanya Cruz, Hana Omori and Isabel Ramos, have enjoyed success since graduation and regularly provide opportunities for recent graduates and current students to collaborate with them. Autumn and winter 2017 saw Keiken engaged in projects around the UK…  

Keiken performance and installation at Clinic //2

Keiken performance and installation at Clinic //2

Keiken’s performance and installation piece, Silicone_Animism | The Birth of Mother Digital, was presented at Clinic //2 at the Oxo Tower, London, as part of a group show for the London Design Festival. The piece included the collective’s virtual reality film @MotherDigital (Tanya Cruz, Hana Omori, Jess Pemberton, Isabel Ramos, video design by Keiken’s George Stone and sound by Oak Matthias), alongside durational performance accompanied by live sound; a truly visceral atmosphere was created by 700ok (current Falmouth School of Art students Jasper Golding, Auguste Oldham and Zac Pomphrey) using generative code, in conjunction with sound artist Nati Cerutti.

Performers occupied the installation wearing costumes designed by recent graduate, Nine Derricott. Clad in silicone pregnancy bellies and PVC and reflective 3M garments, performers, in reference to the revolution of AI, explored innate feelings of connection usually associated with mother and child, in a world where the human is intertwined with the digital. Current BA(Hons) Fine Art student Alberta Shearing wrote the score and with another student Haruka Fukao performed extraordinarily alongside other performers, Nine Derricott, Kat Cashman, Sian Fan, Monty Fitzgerald, Si Garner, Sam Hall, Coral Knights, Beth Mellet and Julia Mallaby. In November, the film @MotherDigital was transmitted into space by Jon Pettigrew as part of Planet3artnews.

Keiken at Disturbed, Hacked, Reassembled

A group show curated by Drive-Thru at Lewisham Arthouse featured an adaptation of Silicone_Animism | The Birth of Mother Digital, as part of ‘Disturbed, Hacked, Reassembled’, an event which explored how artists are employing technology to stage, interrogate and celebrate the digital female body. Keiken’s interactive installation, again with sound designed by 700ok, used VR, video and sound to trace the birth of the digital; a giant networked space fused with human interaction and technology.

The installation, representative of an office environment, featured a pregnant woman working in Silicon Valley, who has

Agatha Gothe-Snape, Every Artist Remembered with Keiken, 7 October 2017, Frieze London, Regent’s Park, London. Photo: Sofia Freeman/The Commercial, Image courtesy The Commercial, Sydney

relationships with the office furniture in an allegory of Late Capitalism and animism (video design Keiken and George Stone, sound by Nati Cerutti). This adaptation was re-exhibited by Keiken as part of ‘Hervisions’ at Second Home, London.

In other recent projects, Keiken performed in Every Artist Remembered (2017) by Agatha Gothe-Snape at Frieze Art Fair, London; in November they led a performative workshop for Goldsmith University’s BSc Digital Arts Computing, and in a return to Falmouth, they performed at FOMO, the first Falmouth Art Publishing Fair.

In January 2018, Keiken will be hosting a workshop and event under keiken° mind u as part of Vorspiel transmediale, Berlin.