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”.

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Circle Triangle Square presents ‘Remades and Readymades’

Bronwen Anwyl, Daniel Bethell and Edward May graduated from BA(Hons) Fine Art at Falmouth in 2017. Recent work by the three artists is being shown in Peckham, London, this July.

Remades and Readymades is presented by Circle Triangle Square, an art platform set up by Edward May following his degree. The exhibition explores the aesthetic and theoretical themes surrounding man-made objects and the natural environment (and the crossover between them), in the context of the art gallery.  

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?

 

 

 

New York Commission for 3rd year Illustrator

Securing multiple appointments with editorial giants such as The New York Times and Wall Street Journal is one thing. Receiving commissions from such renowned companies whilst still a student, immediately after showcasing your work to the directors, is quite another.

After a hectic day in New York pitching portfolios to art directors from a broad range of companies, Illustration students prepared to wind down for the evening. But one student, Tom Paterson, secured an opportunity that could be the first step into a successful editorial career.

On the strength of his portfolio presentation, Tom was offered the chance to create an illustration for a New York Times online article, the deadline for which was the next day.

Tom explained: “The article I was sent had a lot of great imagery. When creating editorial illustrations, I always tend to lean towards conceptual illustrations rather than literal interpretations of the text, as the image has to speak on its own but also must reflect the core ideas of the text.”

The piece, entitled ‘The Soul-Crushing Student Essay’, explores the dissolution of university students’ ability to write in a subjective format, the private “I”. On his creation, Tom reflected: “I had a few ideas in mind, most of which pictured the student chiselling themselves out of a block of paper. The final illustration has a more refined version of this concept, as the essay the student writes is being stacked into a shape resembling their head.”

Our undergraduate illustrators have the opportunity in their third year to attend the New York agencies study visit; after returning home, Tom was notified of another exciting prospect requiring his particular skills. The Wall Street Journal needed an illustration for their upcoming Off-Duty summer issue. He said: “In the space of three weeks I’ve worked for two of my favourite publications. I’m going to be constantly networking with more art directors and sending work out to potential clients.

“I can’t emphasise enough how well the tutors on the course have prepared us all for the real world of illustration. I’ve also found that the focus on conceptual thinking and strategies has changed the way I think about creating images. I now spend 70% of the time sketching and generating ideas, instead of focusing all my time on just creating a pretty picture.”

On being a Groundwork Intern…

Second year BA(Hons) Fine Art student Bianca Cocco was recently awarded a two-week internship supporting the opening of the Groundwork season of international art in Cornwall. Supported by funding through Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence scheme, Groundwork is organised by CAST (the Helston-based Cornubian Arts and Science Trust) in partnership with Kestle BartonNewlyn Art Gallery & The Exchange and Tate St Ives.

Bianca reflects on her experience…

‘My 2-week placement at CAST as Groundwork intern allowed me many opportunities to gain insights in how multi-site exhibitions can be organised. Many staff members and volunteers were artists and students, so I made a few new acquaintances and the conversations were quite enlightening. It certainly broadened my horizons and I discovered a great deal about the local art community and gleaned insights into what could lie ahead after graduation.

Steve McQueen, ‘Gravesend’ (2007), presented for Groundwork at CAST in Helston. Image: Jamie Woodley © CAST (Cornubian Arts & Science Trust)

Christina Mackie, ‘The Judges II’ (2012-2018), presented for Groundwork in the King’s Room at National Trust Godolphin. Image: Jamie Woodley © CAST (Cornubian Arts & Science Trust)

My first day as intern involved some hosting for the resident artists at breakfast before they set off to install and talk about their work with staff and volunteers.  That day was extremely busy and involved preparation and placement of roadside signage about the events around Helston and surrounding areas – it was important to ensure visitors were able to locate the various sites. There was also much to do at CAST as building works had just finished and the spaces needed clearing.

During the opening weekend I travelled to various locations such as Godolphin House, Goonhilly Earth Station and Kestle Barton, where my primary role was greeting and guiding guests to the exhibitions. The atmosphere was lively and positive – I really enjoyed myself and didn’t notice how long the day had been when it culminated in Andy Holden’s evening performance at AMATA at the Penryn campus.

Subsequent days involved invigilating the various exhibition spaces and works by Steve McQueen, Semiconductor, Simon Starling and Christina Mackie. Invigilation can give you a chance to spend prolonged time with artworks and it was particularly relevant for me as most were AV-based and this is my main area of interest. Christina Mackie’s work at Godolphin was rich and mysterious so I was grateful for the opportunity to study her work in detail and read press material relating to her installation.

Overall, I gained a deeper understanding of the effort involved in organising exhibitions and it enhanced my appreciation of the works and institutions involved. I would highly recommend pursuing work placements at some stage during study as it helps to ground you and offers realistic expectations of how life can unfold after graduation. My experience at CAST was invaluable to me and I’m grateful to have been able to contribute in some way to the success of Groundwork’s opening week’.

Groundwork Coordinator Josie Cockram commented, ‘Groundwork internships support people at the beginning of their careers to gain experience working alongside the team in the delivery of an ambitious programme of international art. We’ve been delighted to work with Falmouth University students working as interns and volunteers. Bianca was a big help during our opening weeks and we’re very pleased that she will stay on board as a volunteer invigilator as the programme continues’.

With an emphasis on moving image, sound and performance, the Groundwork programme of exhibitions and events in 2018 includes presentations of important new commissions and acclaimed works by internationally celebrated artists in venues and outdoor sites across West Cornwall. Volunteers are welcomed as the programme continues – to find out how to get involved, visit the volunteer section of the Groundwork website.

The Drawn Exchange: A collaborative project

Alice Howard and Georgia Hunt

Falmouth School of Art student Alice Howard collaborated with her good friend and BA Photography student Georgia Hunt in the development of The Drawn Exchange, an art group involving residents at Abbeyfield Residential Home in Falmouth.

Georgia, a final year student of BA(Hons) Photography, had wanted to develop a photography workshop with residents after she discovered that some were creating beautiful artistic work in the privacy of their bedrooms. Georgia described as an immense privilege the access she gained to the private world of this community, but her plans soon broadened. She says, ‘The initial plan to begin a photography workshop was scuppered as I saw a greater need to encourage drawing, the most basic yet fundamental form of seeing. The purpose then shifted to center on relationship, the relationships between the residents and their relationship with drawing’. It was here that Alice became involved. A 3rd year student on BA(Hons) Drawing, Alice brought a love of literature and a foundational understanding of drawing, which underpinned the art group model, based on emotional awareness and creative freedom. Similar to the practice of Art Therapy, the emphasis lay in the process of making art. The success was in the quality of relationship as opposed to the final outcomes. The Drawn Exchange was born.

Each week the group got together around the living room table, with materials selected by the residents. The sessions began with an exercise to engage the emotional mind, to invite and express the unseen and then – responding to how they felt – they began to draw. Sometimes they worked with their non-dominant hand to activate the right hemisphere of the brain, to stimulate emotions, to open up a channel for feeling and to encourage emphasis away from the visual aesthetics of the drawing. Georgia says, ‘I think of it as preparing the ground  for further art making to occur, yet it was often the most profound. There is a raw and unknown quality that emerged through the drawings’.

The art group worked predominately from imagination and memory and the residents communicated their internal world, bringing a shift from emotional to physical. Georgia says, ‘The magic of drawing is that it has the capacity to bring to life those fading fragments of memory, unfolding like silent stories on paper’.

Alice introduced poetry into the group, to act as a catalyst for sparking memories and understanding feelings, which could then feed into drawings. Alice says, ‘In a number of sessions, we did collaborative drawings between two people. Starting from a poem enabled the drawer to delve deeper into their emotions sparked by that poem. The collaborative aspect meant that as the paper was turned and we each worked into the other’s drawing, it was no longer about responding to the poem but to the other persons drawing’. The drawing became a form of exchange.

The culmination of the project was a showcase of the work made and curated by the Abbeyfield Art Group.  The exhibition was shown in the communal areas at the Abbeyfield Residential home to the joy and acclaim of residents, students, and visitors. Georgia and Alice intend to explore the possibilities of continuing elsewhere the model they have developed here in Falmouth, following their graduation this summer.

 

Student exhibition opening at The Fish Factory – Tristiam and Iseult

 

A group of BA(Hons) Fine Art students have put together an exhibition at the newly re-located Fish Factory Art Space in Commercial Road, Penryn.

 

‘A group exhibition of our most recent works.

Titled ‘Tristiam and Iseult’, inspired by the Cornish myth, this exhibition presents a group of artists who moved to Cornwall, fell in love and never left.

The hypnotic and dreamlike environment that is Falmouth, we present to you a snippet of our creative processes and a look at our last 3 years here.

From painting to illustration to sculpture, expect a range of different works and see how we inspire each other.’