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Dr Joe Graham discussed his paper The Utility of Drawing: Drawn and Withdrawn.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 Within this understanding however, the utility of drawing appears withdrawn, so to speak.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

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’.

 

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”.

BA(Hons) Illustration Collaborative Project in Bristol

BA(Hons) Illustration Senior Lecturers Linda Scott and Natalie Hayes recently accompanied a group of second and third year students to Bristol, for a week-long trip focused on studio visits, professional practice talks and workshops, as well as an exhibition of work produced by them during their visit in response to a brief.

Dave Bain talking about his projects

Falmouth Alumni Dave Bain, who graduated in 2006, as established himself in Bristol as a lynchpin of the thriving Illustration scene. As well as being a successful Illustrator, Dave is responsible for setting up illustration studios in Hamilton House (in the Stokes Croft area of the city) and the Illustration Collective, ‘Drawn In Bristol‘.

A good number of Falmouth Illustration alumni have relocated to Bristol, as an alternative to London; many have studio space in Hamilton House, which Dave modeled on the Falmouth course’s studio set up. Our students were given a tour of Hamilton House, and also The Island, a converted police station on Nelson Street.

At Hamilton House, Illustrators Lara Hawthorne, Paula Bowles, Freya Hartas and others talked informally about their experiences as Illustrators since graduating; at The Island, collective Sad Ghost Club talked about collaboration, the merchandise they produce and what brought them together as a group.

Coordinating the visit for us, Dave Bain booked The Square Club as a meeting space for us, and as venue for speakers Lara Hawthorne, Joe Roberts and Laurie Stansfield, who are working together and have developed a mentoring scheme suitable for graduates who are unable to work in studio spaces and who might otherwise be subject to isolation. Joe and Laurie meet monthly to support one another with projects and business, holding one another accountable for developing projects and setting schedules. Dave talked about his experience setting up the studios and working collaboratively, and spoke about his role as a ‘connector’ of people, bringing them together to develop public realm projects which directly benefit the local community.

Before their trip, students had been given a brief, focusing on themes of Regeneration and Collaboration. The culmination of their research was the formulation of visual outputs for exhibition in the Space Gallery, in the Old Market area of Bristol. Student exhibits ranged from 3D objects to customised shirts, a video and a 3D mobile.

Limbic Cinema workshop

A private view of the exhibition followed a final day of workshops, from Tom Newell of Limbic Cinema. Tom digitised drawings from students’ sketchbooks and mapped and projected these onto plinths and walls; he taught students how to do the same, with the outcome being several visual collages projected onto 2D and 3D spaces.

We commend our students for their high level of engagement throughout this intensive professional practice study visit, and for their participation even when treacherous weather threatened to impact heavily their activities.

 

First look at this autumn’s Guest Speaker programme…

This autumn we welcome five outstanding Guest Speakers to deliver lectures to students of Falmouth School of Art. Speakers include return visits from our two Visiting Professors, and an exciting event in association with the Groundwork project. Places are available at each for members of the public, our arts partners across the region and our alumni.

Places limited, registration required. Click here for more details and links to registration.

FOMO – Introducing Falmouth’s first Art Publishing Fair

F O M O – the first ever Falmouth Art Publishing Fair – opens at 4pm on Friday 29 September for a weekend of talks, workshops, screenings, artists’ book works, performances, zines and comics and readings.   

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Organised by Falmouth School of Art’s Senior Lecturers Neil Chapman, Gillian Wylde and Carolyn Shapiro and Associate Lecturer Maria Christoforidou, F O M O will take place at Falmouth Art Gallery and the Library of the Municipal Buildings, The Moor, Falmouth, and brings together Falmouth School of Art staff and students with local participating institutions including: Falmouth Art Gallery, Falmouth Library, Tate St Ives, Stranger Collective, Urbanomic, Atlantic Press, Burning House Books, BLNT Collective, Keiken and Krowji. 

F O M O will include contributions from academic and research colleagues from: Royal  Holloway University, Cambridge University, West Dean College, Aarhus University, Plymouth University, Goldsmiths University of London, Research Center for Material Culture Netherlands and from across Departments at Falmouth University.

Generously supported by Falmouth Art Gallery, the event has grown out of discussion between colleagues across different departments at Falmouth University. From meetings as a Research Forum, finding common ground between their varied interests, the group started to consider joint research and how best to team up for that work. One of the organisers, Neil Chapman, reflects on the development of the event, and what we can look forward to over the weekend…

‘As a research group, we share a commitment to collective work. That’s both a pragmatic interest and a critical position too. Most often, when people work together it’s so that a workload can be shared. But collective work is unpredictable and inefficient too and these are values that might tend to be lost in the current climate. There is a lot of emphasis in the contemporary workplace on individuals’ success and the competition that results can be destructive. Our title for the event – Fear of Missing Out – is on some level an ironic allusion to these issues.

We are all of us, in different ways, committed to discursive work, to the climate of ideas that surrounds ‘making’ in our different disciplines. And that’s a foundation for the publication fair too, reflected in the many talks, screenings, readings and performances scheduled over the weekend. F O M O provides an opportunity for us to invite our colleagues and friends to Cornwall. It’s good for the cultures of creative practice here in Falmouth. F O M O will bring lots of people into contact who might not have met otherwise. We’re excited to imagine the new partnerships and the new work that might result.

The aim has been to inaugurate the kind of event that we would want to go to ourselves, also the kind of event that students would be excited about. Henrietta Boex, Director of Falmouth Art Gallery, has been extremely supportive. We’ve made all kinds of demands on her and she seems never to say no to anything; the Gallery’s Glyn Winchester has also been a great support. The independence of the project is a way of underscoring our own priorities, which are evident in all kinds of ways through the framing of the event: the name, the graphics, the publicity, the choice of which artists, writers and publishers to invite. There are many Art Publishing Fairs in the UK and abroad and we have had an eye on some of those. But in another sense this Fair has been invented from scratch. And for that reason it will work well as a foundation for bigger and more varied research initiatives to come. We’re talking about a future peer-reviewed journal, discursive gatherings – dream dinner date/fantasy football team type things with exciting living people—maybe some dead folk too, ghosts. No zombies. Digital Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida . . .

It’s particularly good to be working with current students and recent Falmouth University graduates. As part of FOMO, Graham Taylor who studied Fine Art and who graduated in 2015 is curating an exhibition entitled Practically Outside, involving a dozen or more Falmouth alumni. His contribution makes a direct engagement with the FOMO ethos, looking critically at what it means to be an ‘emerging artist’, engaging in the most thoughtful way with different platforms of exhibition and print publication.’

F O M O also includes contributions from writers, artists, poets, publishers, activists, hackers, Falmouth University alumni and musicians both national and international.

F O M O is an inaugural event, bringing a new art research collective into being, which, over forthcoming months will stage events in different forms and at different locations, connecting diverse networks.

https://falmouthartpublishingfair.wordpress.com/