Catching up with Katie Sims, Falmouth Fine Art alumna

Katie Sims graduated from BA(Hons) Fine Art at Falmouth in 2010. Since then she has pursued her art, enjoyed competition and exhibition success and had a spell teaching. She reflects on her time at Falmouth, and talks to us about her life as a professional artist…

Katie Sims

Describe your life since graduating back in 2010…

Things kicked off for me when I was selected for Saatchi’s New Sensations and the Midas Award, two competitions that afforded critical exposure and led to further opportunities to show and collaborate with curators and galleries. The Midas Award provided tremendous professional support during that daunting first year with the prize at that time including a solo exhibition, materials grant and yearlong mentorship programme through Falmouth University. None of this would have happened had I not entered those, proving it’s worth putting yourself forward for things.

Trinity After Ribera and Portal (Opening Gambit, Hoxton Art Gallery, London, 2010), Image courtesy of Hoxton Art Gallery

That led me to establish a working relationship with Hoxton Art Gallery (2011-13). At the time, Hoxton was a new venture and I made work for their launch show. We grew together; things went well and they asked me to be one of their represented artists. We were a good fit and shared a similar ethos so I accepted. The gallery acted as my agents, taking care of all sales, promoting my work, providing exhibiting opportunities and inclusion in key art fairs and events whilst I was able to concentrate solely on painting. For that privilege I promised exclusivity to them, and they would take a commission on all sales. One of the highlights was my solo show, Opening Gambit. I spent 9 months working toward this exhibition and to see the work in situ and how the public responded was moving. It completed the whole cycle for me.

One of the biggest challenges has been trying to create freely whilst feeling the pressure of deadlines and accountability.

I started teaching art to sixth form students in 2013 in order to have more social contact and a regular income alongside painting. Three years later, with a PGCE now done and a ton of experience and newfound knowledge about my work, and myself, I’m shifting the emphasis back to painting. My experience of teaching was brilliant, but I struggled to balance both careers with equal intensity. I still want to teach though; perhaps as an artist that delivers workshops in schools. I loved working with my students.

What are you working on now?

Fleeting Agony, oil on panel, 24x30cm (2010)

I’m working on a new body of paintings to exhibit. I’ve also been archiving my work and recently launched a new website – www.katiesims.co.uk. Revisiting ten years worth of work has been cathartic and essential, allowing me to notice which pictures resonate most with me now. For example, I made a painting whilst at Falmouth called Fleeting Agony, the first picture that was discovered through the process of painting. It remains a monument to what I’m trying to do now – taking on my historic influences, memories and experiences as they affect me now. Trying to fix the quiddity of that impression rather than objective reality.

Osmosis, oil on panel, 24x30cm (2017)

 

What is a typical day for you?

Studio, studio, studio. I need to be here and cut off from life outside in order to focus. Large parts of my day are spent thinking rather than physically painting. When I do pluck up the courage, I have a window of a few hours to get something down. It’s always been that way, even as a student. The process itself is full of risk and I’ve watched many paintings close down from overworking or overthinking them, but sometimes you have to sacrifice things in order to potentially realise something greater. I’m always learning and each painting proposes a new challenge, leading me on to the next. As I’ve matured I’ve learnt creative down time and play is as important as production, otherwise you burn out. You need to keep nourishing yourself as an artist to remain fresh and engaged. I love to walk and go off exploring new places. These trips feed my work and keep the days varied.

Trinity after Ribera, oil on panel, 30x24cm (2012) Image courtesy of Hoxton Art Gallery.

What’s next for you?

I’d like to kit out a van and create a portable studio to travel around Spain. I’ve returned to the country each year since winning The Ford Award in 2012 (a travel bursary to study at the Prado in Madrid) – it’s my second home.  As time goes on there is something about the landscape, the people, and the light that is of interest and speaks directly to me. I have a collection of drawings, some from life, some from memory which I intend to re-familiarise myself with and work into paintings too.

Why did you choose to study at Falmouth?

I needed a supportive environment where I could really focus on exploring my ideas with fewer distractions. Falmouth instantly felt right. As students we were spoilt – top facilities, resources and tutors available to us. Such accessibility and personal relationships with staff are rare to come by. It’s what makes it unique. I knew I would be a person here and not a statistic.

 

What is your favourite memory from studying at Falmouth?

There are so many, and the most precious for me seem to be in the everyday stuff. I remember walking the tree-lined passage to the Falmouth Campus at Woodlane from my home in Falmouth each day. The light present in my studio building, the buzz surrounding the campus, everyone doing something different – it was a remarkable, concentrated moment in my life. I look back with fondness. They all stay with me.

How did Falmouth influence your career?

Falmouth gave me the space required to find my own language. Its strength as a university is in encouraging each student to have the confidence to do this. I left with a definite sense of who I am and the type of work I want to make.

I also gained a remarkable set of friends, which continues to stand the test of time. Anyone that studies here is part of something bigger, akin to family. When you meet a former Falmouth student, regardless of age or course, you share an instant connection.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a new Falmouth student, what would it be?

Studying at Falmouth is a brilliant opportunity in a truly inspiring place, make every moment count and experience it to the fullest.

 

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Second year BA(Hons) Fine Art exhibitions at The Poly, Falmouth

2nd-year-show-poster-t

Second year BA(Hons) Fine Art students at Falmouth welcome fellow students, staff and all of Falmouth’s art lovers to The Poly, Falmouth this week and next for a two-part show.

The Poly, Church Street, Falmouth 

Show 1 of 2 – 7 – 10 March – https://www.facebook.com/events/30510636322587

Tuesday 7 March – Private View 4.30-7pm | Wednesday and Thursday 10am – 7pm | Friday 10am – 1pm

Show 2 of 2 – 14 – 17 March – https://www.facebook.com/events/1730759080569116/

Tuesday 14 March – Private View 4.30-7pm | Wednesday and Thursday 10am – 7pm | Friday 10am – 1pm

https://www.facebook.com/FFA2YS2017

 

The Big Draw at Falmouth – ‘Boatanicals’

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As part of The Big Draw, Falmouth Foundation students and staff have launched a series of workshops on the theme ‘Boatanicals’, producing some spectacular results so far.

The launch workshop took place at Falmouth’s Princess Pavilion, part of their ‘Make and Take’ series. Shapes were constructed drawing together flowers and nautical themes, from a range of colourful recycled goods.

Jane Chetwynd, Course Coordinator for the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design, said ‘We are so pleased with the results from the first workshop and delighted by the enthusiasm we have seen from people wishing to participate. It’s going to be quite a ‘Boatanical’ installation!’.

The project has involved Penryn College, Constantine Primary School, Marlborough School, Falmouth Primary School and Princess Pavilion. 104 Foundation students have been involved in the making so far, with around 15 of them helping with the workshops. A number of Falmouth’s postgraduate students are also involved.

The Foundation studios at Wellington Terrace, Falmouth, are open to anyone wishing to drop in and join in the making (free of charge) on Monday 6 March, 2-5pm, Tuesday 7 March 10am-1pm, Wednesday 8 March 2-5pm and Thursday 9 March 10am-1pm. A further ‘Make and Take’ session for the project will run at Princess Pavilion on Monday 6 March, 10am-12pm.

The resulting ‘Boatanicals’ will be ‘planted out’ at the Princess Pavilion on 16 March in time for the annual Falmouth Spring Flower Show, to be held at the venue 18-19 March.

A Facebook page has been set up for ‘Boatanicals’ which will include updates and more information about the project: https://www.facebook.com/The-Big-Draw-Falmouth-1871001206500975/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Maritime Mural Project – a collaboration with Falmouth, National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Spectrum, Exeter University and street artist Marc Craig

Our Foundation students here at Falmouth are involved in a community project ‘The Maritime Mural Project‘ between partners The National Maritime Museum Cornwall, Spectrum Autism Charity, University of Exeter, Falmouth University and street artist Marc Craig.

The project is about celebrating ‘difference’ and coincides with the opening of the Maritime Museum’s Captain Bligh and Tattoo exhibition. Members of the community are being asked to draw a doodle which celebrates their difference, under the title, ‘Everyone is Different, Who are You’?

The students have decorated 16 bespoke postboxes, which are displayed around the town and also in local libraries, galleries and schools; it is hoped these will inspire the community to doodle. The doodles, together with other images researched by the students, alongside daffodils which represent Falmouth’s Spring Festival, will contribute to a 100-foot long mural which will be created by and painted onto the wall of the Maritime Car Park on Bar Road by street artist Marc Craig.

Marc Craig is based in London, and works primarily with large scale murals, both on his own and as part of the street art collective Psychodoodlz. He is also an alumus of Falmouth, having graduated with a degree in Studio Ceramics in 2003, and an MA in Contemporary Visual Arts in 2004.

julies-box boxes

 

Alana has the Edge

Alana Bullock, one of our second year BA(Hons) Drawing students, has recently been awarded the Falmouth School of Art Edge Award for 2016/17 and will now be off to Paris in the summer to study Character Animation at GOBELINS.

alana-bullock-themovingdrawing

The Moving Drawing © Alana Bullock

The Falmouth School of Art Edge Award is an annual award designed to encourage students either to explore an area outside of their discipline, or to support the development of particular skills (practical or theoretical) that could enhance their practice. However, the hope is that future academic work – and future creative innovation – will be informed and enriched by the experience gained, giving the recipient of the award new, potentially innovative perspectives or ‘edge’. The Falmouth School of Art Edge Award 2016/17 was open to all enrolled Level 2 undergraduate students in the school.

alana-bullock

 

“Winning the Edge award has enabled me to do something that just would not have been thinkable otherwise.  Drawing is the cornerstone of animation, and the opportunity to attend The Gobelins School in Paris over the summer for their two week character animation course, will give me the fundamentals to prepare me for the third and final year of my course, to implement what I’ve learnt as we dedicate ourselves solely to our own projects.  I feel that my work and myself will be enhanced and stronger because of it.” Alana Bullock

 

Skeleton: New Sculpture from Old Boats

Skeleton 190x55x53 cm

Skeleton 190x55x53 cm

“A boat is but a shell.  Shells grow in increments, bit by bit, compartment by compartment.  So does a wooden boat hull.  Frame by frame.  Plank by plank.  The tiny increments of boat construction enable graceful curves to grow.  The result is a hull that will curve through water, smooth as silk.” (Rob Johnsey).

The exhibition ‘Skeleton: New Sculpture from Old Boats’ opens on 10 November and continues until 30 April 2017 at the National Maritime Museum Cornwall.  It features 8 wooden sculptures by artist Rob Johnsey, and is inspired by boats in the NMMC collection and Rob’s time as a boat building volunteer.

rob-johnsey

Rob Johnsey is an alumnus of Falmouth University, he studied BA(Hons) Fine Art and graduated in 2014.  Rob’s spent the past 18 months working on a sculpture exhibition for the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, and was the very first Artist in Residence at the NMMC for the period of the sculpture project.