This afternoon I went to visit the PCA Graduate Show 2018. I only had a chance to visit the Game Arts and Illustration exhibitions, but I plan to go again tomorrow (the last day!). I’ll try to post about the full exhibition later, but for now, below are some of my favourite pieces that I’ve seen so far.
Today me and my colleagues at Plymouth College of Art Pre-Degree will be putting on a show with our final project work for our first year. It’s open from 4pm to 6pm, and all are welcome. Spread the word, come down to the Palace Court centre and have a look 🙂
Plymouth College of Art – Pre-Degree Campus
Towards the end of 2017, all students at Plymouth College of Art were given the opportunity to submit ideas for projects for a collaboration between PCA and the Tate, called the Tate Exchange 2018. The theme for this exhibition was “Factory Settings“, and we had to come up with ideas based around production. I had an idea to produce collaborative comic strips working with groups of other students, where each participant would give me one frame to draw to build a series of stories. The projects selected to be part of Factory Settings would take place at the same time in London and Plymouth.
My idea was selected as one of the art events to take part, and I requested to have my project based locally, partly because of my age. I’m fifteen, so that places some restrictions on my ability to travel – even with supervision and safeguarding from PCA. I also think it is important to support and create more art projects in Plymouth.
The next stage was for me to plan out my project and what resources I would need for it. Maddy Blythe, the Curriculum Manager at PCA Pre-Degree, suggested that I work across three separate venues, spending one day at each – PCA Tavistock Place, PCA Palace Court, and Plymouth School of Creative Arts, and where in the buildings I should set up. This gave me the chance to work with three different age groups, and see the differences in narrative and content between them.
I decided to carry out my project in an A4 landscape sketchbook (mine was produced by Seawhite of Brighton) and black ink fineliners (I used Sakura Pigma pens) and a brush pen (Pentel), as these are materials I am used to and are good quality, and will keep in good condition for a long time. I supplied myself with the materials (bought at my local specialist art shop The Art Side), but the different venues I went to supplied the chairs and tables!
I visited PCA Palace Court on 31st January, PSCA on the 1st February, and worked in The Warehouse at Tavistock Place campus on the 2nd February. For each comic strip I began by marking out the frames (each strip has four frames, all on one page) For the first frame of each story I asked a participant to give me an idea for the beginning of a story, such as a character doing an action or an event. Then I asked the next two participants what happened next, letting them refer to the previous frames in that story, and then asked the final participant to provide an ending for that story. The next participants would start, continue, and finish the next story/stories.
I didn’t limit people to just giving one idea, as several people had gotten really interested in the project!
In total, I worked with around 38 participants – students, staff, and visitors at the venues from primary age up to adults of between 50-60, and we managed to produce twelve different comic strips. Some of the results were wacky and action-packed, and others were more sweet and thoughtful. The themes ranged from rockets in space, to an elderly couple breaking the fourth wall, and duels between unicorns. Each strip fills an A4 page and consists of images with no description, and so the theme of production is able to continue in the reader as they must interpret the story themselves, so each story can have multiple meanings depending on the interpreter/reader.
My plans for my sketchbook of comic strips is to make it into a new zine, which I hope to release at Counter art book fair in Plymouth on the 17th March. I will also have the original artwork with me for people to look through. After that, I will be making it available for galleries and exhibitions interested in art books, comics, or work from young artists.
If you are interested in viewing the original art for this project, please come along to Counter, or contact me.
UPDATE (11/3/18)! My new TEX Comics zine will be available at Counter! See this post for more info!
I will be revisiting the We The People Are The Work exhibition at Plymouth Arts Centre several times hopefully during its stay, because the exhibition will be changing and growing over that time as local groups of people come to add to it. I wrote about my first visit here.
This post will be mostly pictures of what has been happening there so far, which is mostly plans and conversations. Alongside the prints by Ciara Phillips the walls are covered in notes from Ciara’s meetings with the different groups of people she is working with, which includes students from Plymouth College of Art. Laura Kelly was there today as a gallery explainer and she talked to me about her experience being part of the process. Reading the notes and hearing her talk about them is really interesting, I took photos of some of the ones that I liked most and wanted to remember.
“Don’t be upset if it’s only a few that get involved because it’s only a few that will make a change.”
“We do not make art for the public. We are the public that makes art.”
“Get off your phones, Have some more fun, Talk to your kids, And play in the sun”. This is part of a poem by Madeleine Elliott age 10.
This picture shows some of the notes and materials which will be used to create the pieces of art.
Because the work is being created right now, the pieces can respond to news and current events as they happen.
I will revisit the exhibition and write more in a couple of weeks, but I would definitely recommend visiting to look at all the notes being made in the process of discovering what the different people want to talk and make art about.
Last year I documented what I saw of the Plymouth Art Weekender, an annual city-wide art event where different galleries and venues open up to the public with temporary art installations made by artists based in Plymouth and abroad. It takes place over three days, and there are lots of exhibitions and events to enjoy. This year, as an official blogger for PAW, I will try to cover as many of this year’s art installations as I can!
Today, I was part of an art tour surrounding We The People Are The Work, a project that “will explore ideas of power, protest and the public” and involves exhibitions by five sets of international artists in five different venues. Each project involves working with the public in some way.
We did our tour in a slightly different order, but still began in Plymouth University’s Peninsula Arts (PenArts) gallery, with a video installation by artists Antonio Vega Macotela and Eduardo Thomas called Advice From a Caterpillar. The artists are from Mexico City and when they were approached to create a piece for WTPATW they researched Plymouth and decided to do a piece collaborating with extras who had been in the Tim Burton film Alice in Wonderland. The piece features locations which appeared in the movie or that the actors wanted to talk about.
Peninsula Arts also has the first of two big black walls called We The People Are The Words which the public are encouraged to write words or doodle on using the provided chalk.
We moved on to the second part of our tour, an exhibition in Plymouth Arts Centre (PAC) by Ciara Phillips. The space has been transformed with new colours, shapes and patterns on the walls and large prints everywhere.
Parts of the gallery have been turned into workspaces with a darkroom, screen printing area, and a relaxing space for reading. Every week new work will be created here by different groups of people working with Ciara, and that work will be added to the display changing the space over time, until the show ends in November.
The second big black wall and chalk set is at Plymouth Arts Centre, and I drew another cat.
We moved on to the Council House which is not usually open to the public because it is still a working building, but the city museum have been negotiating with the council to be able to use it while the museum is being remodelled. The piece here has been planned by artist Peter Liversidge. Peter started with doing text generating projects with different members of the public, and the pieces of text were reviewed by the council (to check for anything “problematic”) then compiled into a large book.
The gallery space is taken up with a large white stage where every day two or three sign painters will take requests from visitors, who can choose any piece of text from the book, and create big cardboard signs from them.
On the way to the next exhibition, we stopped to look at the billboards outside the Council House for the #AtlanticProject. These bring up questions about what it means to be a good neighbour.
We moved on to KARST for the next WTPATW exhibition. The artists here are a feminist collective called Claire Fontaine. As soon as the door opened we smelled burning and smoke. The first piece here is a huge arrangement of thousands of matches set in the shape of the United Kingdom. Students from Plymouth College of Art took five days to place the 58500+ matches, and they were set alight on Thursday evening. The whole place filled up with smoke and parts of the gallery have actually been burned and melted by the process, which was documented.
The second room is completely filled with red light and here there are neon signs, some of which are animated and seem to respond to each other.
On the way to the last exhibition we passed by another PAW art piece, The Truth Wall. This features political letterpress prints by Kiss & Bite Letterpress Studio.
The last stop on our tour was Plymouth College of Art (PCA). In the gallery here is a film and sound installation by Matt Stokes. This piece looks at DIY culture and how live music venues are disappearing locally. Four local independent bands are filmed playing their music live at the locations of once iconic, but now closed, music venues.
Tomorrow I will be going to The Plymouth Athenaeum to take part in PAW myself at the YEA Plymouth table. We will be giving away free copies of our collaborative zine YEA ’17 which features work by ten young artists aged 11-16. This is a Plymouth Art Weekender project and our first big project together. We will also be selling zines by YEA Plymouth members and badges to raise money for future projects together.
Last year I was a member of the National Saturday Art and Design Club at Plymouth College of Art. We got to experiment with different media and artforms throughout the year, and take trips to local exhibitions as well as two trips to London for bigger NatSatClub shows featuring our work alongside work made by other groups.
Our final trip to London was on the 17th of June. We met up really early to catch our coach just after 6am so we could get to the exhibition at Somerset House around 11am. It was really busy as hundreds of young people from NatSatClubs around the country had come to see their work on display. We were greeted and each given goody bags of art supplies, water, and snacks, and shown in to the first area where all the Masterclass work was on display. Our Masterclass was in making word drawings with Barnaby Barford.
Next we went upstairs and had a look around the different clubs’ work. Plymouth sent in a lot of our work, and the pieces that were chosen for display were our beach glass jewellery, and our glass houses which we made in a class led by our Student Ambassador Ben Lintell.
This video shows our glass houses lit from below with a torch to cast shadows on the white wall.
We were all called into a large room filled with benches for a speech by the National Saturday Club founders, Lord and Lady Sorrell. Then we were called up one by one and received our Certificates and Yearbooks.
After the ceremony some of our group went to the National Portrait Gallery, but I stayed to look around the exhibition for a while longer. There was a huge amount of different types of work on display by young people from the many clubs, including zines, puppets, film, fashion and ceramics.
At the end of the day, we met up with the rest of the group to get back to the coach. Unfortunately, the coach had overheated (it was a really hot day!) and was broken down, leaving us stranded in London! Our group leaders brought us all water to drink and we took a walk around Covent Garden watching a clown and looking in the Moomin shop. The coach was fixed in an hour or so, and we headed back on the five hour journey home.
I was sad that some of the work I was most proud of from our many projects wasn’t put on display, but I hope to be able to put photos up of those pieces here soon, and I did have a really good day. It was really amazing seeing so much work from young artists all in one place and I was really inspired by all that I saw. I would recommend joining the group to anyone aged from 14 to 16 who likes art and really wants to try different things.
Below are some photos of work from National Saturday Clubs all around the country. I have included lots here so that people who didn’t get to go on the trip can still enjoy some of the work we saw.
Here are some links to previous posts I have written about NatSatClub: