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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Beatrice Brown – THE N0THING SERIES – 23 March–23 April 2017

Falmouth BA(Hons) Fine Art alumna Beatrice Brown is about to open her first solo exhibition in London. ‘THE N0THING SERIES’ is curated by James Birch and opens at Gallery 46 in Whitechapel on March 23, 2017 until 23 April. 


The works in this exhibition bear witness to inner visions that Brown has had from as early as six years old, when she transposed her inner turmoil and confusion onto seeing the ‘Fire Child’, a character that spoke to her from within the flames of a hearth. The sheer compressed power of the sculptural work is analogous to the potency of material transformation in alchemy, of the Jungian Nigredo, the black beginning – The Nothing Series.

Beatrice graduated from Fine Art in Falmouth in 2013, and was shortlisted for the Midas Award in that year, exhibiting that autumn at Millennium Gallery, St. Ives (now Anima-Mundi). Her solo exhibition features a new collection of drawings.

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Gallery 46 is a new art-space from Martin J Tickner, Sean McLusky, Martin Bell and Wai Hung Young in Whitechapel, London’s long-standing centre of radicalism and independence, has developed from the non-conformist curatorial approach they deployed at Redchurch Street’s infamous MEN Gallery.

http://gallery46.co.uk/Exhibitions/beatrice-brown-the-nothing-series/

http://beatricebrown.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Snapshot of Midas Exhibition Private View

 

The Midas Exhibition Private View was held last Friday, 11 November 2016.  The exhibition features work by 10 artists, selected from their BA(Hons) Fine Art degree shows at Falmouth School of Art.  More information on the exhibition can be found here.  The exhibition continues at The Exchange, Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance until 7 January 2017.

Recent BA(Hons) Fine Art Graduates Selected by Saatchi Art

‘I don’t think about the Horses’ in my pocket’ Ed Burkes 127cm x 127cm © Ed Burkes

Rebecca Wilson (Saatchi Art Chief Curator) has selected ‘8 UK Artists to Buy Now’ to represent some of the best of the UK’s recent art school graduates.  Two of the selected artists are our own graduates from 2016 – Ed Burkes and Nicholas Griffin! 

nicholas-griffin-lighter-than-air

‘Lighter than Air’ Nicholas Griffin 120cm x 150cm © Nicholas Griffin

The exhibition of work by the eight chosen artists is currently on view in London, and can also be viewed online.

Ed in his studio

Ed in his studio © Ed Burkes

Nick is also exhibiting in the Midas Exhibition, currently showing at The Exchange, Newlyn Art Gallery, Penzance.  Ed was the recipient of our Falmouth School of Art Purchase Prize for 2016.

Midas Exhibition 2016 opens 11 November

Recent work by Linda Straehl (video still)

Recent work by Linda Straehl (video still)

We’re getting ready for the 2016 Midas Exhibition at Newlyn Art Gallery, featuring work by ten artists, selected from their BA(Hons) Fine Art degree shows at Falmouth Campus this summer.

The exhibition runs from 12 November to 7 January, and includes work by Ella Caie (film), Finbar Conran (kinetic and sound installation), Tanya Cruz (sculptural video installation), Robert Davis (large kinetic sculpture and other works), Joe Fenwick-Wilson (painting and sculpture), Nicholas Griffin (painting), Zoë Pearce (painting), Bharat Rajagopal (painting), Isabel Ramos (video installation), and Calum Rees-Gildea (painting).

In the lower gallery, last year’s Midas winner, Linda Straehl, who graduated in 2015, will present a new video work.

A preview evening on 11 November (7-9pm) will include food from Cornish Fusion Fish and Food, as well as a pay bar. We are pleased to be enabling a group of current BA(Hons) Fine Art students will be attend the preview and an Artists’ Talk at 11am on 12 November, also open to the public (free with the cost of admission).

For more than ten years, Midas Construction, through the Midas Award, with Falmouth University, Newlyn Art Gallery and Anima-Mundi (formerly Millennium, St Ives), has provided recent graduates with funding for materials, mentoring and an exhibition in their first year after university.

A number of those exhibiting this year were featured by ArtCornwall talking about their work earlier this year: read more here.

Falmouth School of Art Student Awards

To mark the public opening of their degree shows, and the culmination of three years of study, Falmouth School of Art’s Falmouth Campus students gathered last Friday evening to celebrate with friends and tutors, before welcoming friends and family to their exhibitions.

Awards, residencies and bursaries were announced, and we’re happy to share snapshots from the evening with you…

 

The full list of award, bursary and residency recipients…

The Midas Award 2016 | The Midas selection panel have chosen work by ten graduating Fine Art students for an exhibition at Newlyn Art Gallery in November, accompanying the 2015 winner’s solo show: Ella Caie, Tanya Cruz, Finbar Conran, Robert Davis, Joe Fenwick-Wilson, Nicholas Griffin, Zoe Pearce, Bharat Rajagopal, Isabel Ramos, Calum Rees-Gildea

The Peter Root and Mary Thompson Award | Lulu Richards Cottell | An annual award to support a graduating student in their professional development on leaving university. The award is sponsored by the Peter Root and Mary Thompson Charitable Trust, in memory of alumni Peter and Mary who tragically died in an accident in 2013

The Spike Island Residency | Robert Davis | A residency provided by and at Spike Island in Bristol

The Wilhemina Barns-Graham Travel to Italy Award | Ed Burkes | An award generously supported by the Wilhelmina Barnes-Graham Trust, open to students in their final year of BA(Hons) Fine Art. 

Transition Residencies | Part of the Fine Art Transitions Project which seeks to support graduating students as they enter the professional world. Both Back Lane West and Porthmeor are significant venues within Cornwall and the residencies provide the students with a special opportunity to extend their work beyond the course:

The Transition Back Lane West Residency | Ed Rowe, Isabel Ramos

The Transition Porthmeor Residency | Lulu Richards Cottell, Rob Davis, Demelza James, Polly Maxwell

The John Howard Print Studio Bursary | Scarlet Standen | Generously provided by celebrated local print maker John Howard, the bursary is awarded to a student of BA(Hons) Drawing, and provides 60 hours of taught access at the John Howard Studio in Penryn.

The Paper Rose Award | Seekan Hui (winner), Ellen Bennett (commended) | Award presented by Mark Jessett from G.F.Smith Paper.

THE FALMOUTH SCHOOL OF ART SPECIAL AWARDS

The Falmouth School of Art supports awards in Outstanding Achievement, Outstanding Studentship and Outstanding Dissertation in each of our degree courses:

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Drawing | Minna Gawler-Wright

BA(Hons) Drawing Award for Outstanding Studentship | Jonathan Koetsier

BA(Hons) Drawing Award for Outstanding Dissertation | Sophie Bowen

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Fine Art | Finbar Conran

BA(Hons) Fine Art Award for Outstanding Studentship | Anthony Kenny

BA(Hons) Fine Art Award for Outstanding Dissertation | Tanya Cruz

Award for Outstanding Achievement in Illustration | Sara Hougham-Slade

BA(Hons) Illustration Award for Outstanding Studentship |Julia De Graaf

BA(Hons) Illustration Award for Outstanding Dissertation | Lucy Tomlinson

Linda Straehl Wins Tenth Midas Award

Winner Linda Straehl with her final work

The winner of the prestigious Midas Award was announced at a private view at the Millennium Gallery in St Ives, which also launched an art exhibition showcasing the work of all the finalists.

Linda Straehl was chosen from a shortlist of five artists, who have all recently graduated from Falmouth with a fine art degree. Linda was presented with the award at the Millennium Gallery on Friday 06 November by Steve Hindley, CBE, Chairman of South West construction firm The Midas Group.

Linda received materials or studio space worth up to £1,500 and a year’s mentoring from an art tutor based at Falmouth, before enjoying the opportunity to stage her own solo exhibition at, in alternate years, the Millennium Gallery or Newlyn Art Gallery.

Linda Straehl, said: “I feel very lucky to win the award, and especially the support that the award offers the winner. As a video maker I rely on equipment a lot, so being able to work closely with Falmouth University for another year now will allow me to create new work, which is very hard when you leave University. Many people find it difficult to continue their art after they graduate as they juggle a full or part time job. This will be great for my continued development as an artist.”

The Midas Art Award, now in its tenth year, is a joint initiative between Cornwall-based Midas Construction (part of the Midas Group), Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange, the Millennium Gallery in St Ives, and Falmouth University to help new and emerging artists succeed in the professional contemporary art world.

The award is sponsored by Midas Construction, a division of The Midas Group – one of the largest independent construction companies in the South West – which is committed to investing in the communities that it works in.

Steve Hindley, Chairman of The Midas Group, said: “People often ask me why Midas supports an art award. Our relationship with Cornwall goes back a long way, we have always played a key role in developing the infrastructure of the county, so being involved in its culture as well is very important and we are very proud of it. We have seen some incredible work this year and I congratulate Linda on her success. It’s also fantastic to see last year’s winner, Guido Lanteri Laura, back exhibiting his new work.”

Professor Anne Carlisle, VC & CEO, Falmouth University, said: “Ten years is a huge achievement. When this award began none of us could have anticipated what a key role the creative industries would now play in the UK economy. 1 in 5 jobs are in the culture and creative industries now, it’s a key contributor to the success of Britain. As the top Arts University in the UK, Falmouth University is delighted to have the support of Midas.”

Anne Carlisle (Falmouth University), Linda Straehl and Steve Hindley (3)

Dr Ginny Button, Director, The Falmouth School of Art, Falmouth University, said: “An award like this is a great opportunity for Fine Art recent graduates to experience collaborating with a professional curator. Most importantly the Midas exhibition helps them start to develop an audience and a critical context for their work.”

The winner was chosen by a judging panel which included Dr Ginny Button; Tessa Purdy, Business Development Co-ordinator at Midas Construction Ltd; James Green, Director of Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange; Blair Todd, Exhibitions Curator and Deputy Director at Newlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange; Joseph Clarke, Gallery Director at the Millennium Gallery and independent curator, Kelly Taylor.

The five students from Falmouth University’s BA (Hons) Fine Art course shortlisted for the tenth Midas Award 2015 were Sean Fergus, Ross Gamble, Jessie Giudici Mumford, Hana Omori and Linda Straehl. The five finalists were selected from 51 entries, based on the strength of their degree show work.

L-R Jessie Guidici, Hana Omori, Sean Fergus, Linda Straehl (front), Ross Gamble

In addition, last year’s winner, Guido Lanteri Laura, who is currently studying for an MA in Moving Image at the Royal College of Art, opened a solo show at the same exhibition.