Art, reviews and thoughts from a young artist in Plymouth, UK.

Posts tagged ‘Plymouth College of Art’

Emerging Natural Beauty exhibition at Ocean Studios

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Today I went to the Ocean Studios gallery to see the exhibition Emerging Natural Beauty which is part of the Home Grown series of pop up exhibitions by local artists.

Alice and Bethany Antliff are sisters who are studying 3D Design Craft, specialising in ceramics and glass, at Plymouth College of Art. Both artists’ work takes inspiration from nature. From a distance Bethany’s piece Symbiotic Beauty looked like real twigs covered in blossoms and moss, but up close I could see her detailed work with porcelain and glazes wrapped around wire. It is pretty and fragile and stepping back again I thought that each branch looked like a dancing figure.

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Bethany’s Charred Bark vases are incredibly realistic and it’s hard to believe they were created and not grown. She has created ceramic bowls using the same colours and shades that seem as if they are ancient finds.

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Several of Bethany’s pieces feature mushroom shaped glass which appear to be growing out of them. I really like Bethany’s work which made me feel very calm.

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Alice’s pieces are incredibly fragile and delicate. Her Daisies Daisies Daisies collection are porcelain vases, bowls, and decorative pieces which have been ‘wallpapered’ with tiny porcelain daisies. She creates the daisies from a mould made using real flowers, then hand applies them individually so the entire piece is covered in overlapping flowers.

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Alice’s piece Destruction is inspired by deforestation. This piece made me feel sad and is a really effective statement about this issue.

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Alice has also created delicate flower-shaped jewellery and I really liked her intricate earrings and how she has displayed them.

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Renovat Moody is an African born artist also studying 3D Design Crafts, specialising in glass blowing, at PCA and is influenced by nature and their African heritage. Renovat’s The Essence of Africa vase collection have strong and bright colours and shapes and made me think of fruit and seeds.

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Renovat also has some framed pieces on display, including a copper wire piece that has been twined and threaded with beads. This piece looks like a tree covered in colourful birds.

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One of my favourite pieces on display was Renovat’s framed picture of the world where all the land is made of computer chips and circuitboard. The piece is put together so carefully and accurately, and even tiny islands are marked out. I could look at this and follow the coastlines for hours with my eyes and i’d love to see a bigger piece made the same way.

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The three artists completely filled every corner of the exhibition space and it’s amazing to consider how much work these students have created already! On display was also projected footage Behind the Scenes of their work in progress by Emma Pontin, and a film called Ink Flows by Jake Davey, Matthew Howard, Nat Goddard, Kristin Dodge, and Terry Lee Thurlow. Their films provided a relaxing soundtrack to the whole exhibition.

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Finally there were some pieces on display and up for auction to raise money for the Devon Wildlife Trust. I really liked Jane McEwen’s bowls with endearing messages stamped into them.

The new exhibition at Ocean Studios Gallery will open on Wednesday.

NatSatClub Devon Dialect Project

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My final illustration for the word “zart”.

We have been given a project at our NatSatClub to choose a word from the Devon Dialect and then illustrate it.  I made a long list of words, some of my favourites are:

Snishums : Sneezing

Flink : To sprinkle

Zummit : Something

Drumbledrone : Bumblebee (apparently this one was inspiration for Dumbledore’s name!)

I chose to illustrate the word ZART which means “daft”.  I looked up the meaning of daft and its synonyms.  They fell into two main groups, one with words like “stupid”, “idiotic”, and other not very nice words.  The other group contained “eccentric”, “absurd”, “peculiar” and “crackers”, and I thought that this group had a more fun and friendly character, and would be good to illustrate.

I thought about this group of synonyms and tried to make a list of my visual ideas.  I came up with lots including Wonka, circuses, spirals, dizziness, wonky, uneven, twist, and drunkenness.

Next I made sketches with the letters in “zart”, trying different forms of the letters and playing with the sizes and the way they came together.

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My sketches playing with the letters in ZART

At this stage I had chosen a basic shape I liked.  I drew it out bigger and tried it out as an outline and a sort of silhouette version.  I started adding extra parts, like a Mad Hatter top hat and drunken bubbles popping.  I felt that these would give an eccentric dizzy feel to the illustration.

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Working with my sketches in a bigger format.

After I had a good idea of what I wanted I tried a sketch using a thick graphite stick to help me make the letters flow better and to be more expressive.  I played with this a bit erasing and adding to it, thickening the letters, changing the way they sloped and trying out stripes.  When I was happy I copied my design out in ink using my Pentel brush pen.

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Trying my design out with a graphite stick then in ink.

I really liked my design as it was but I wanted to fill in some of the stripes with the black ink to finish it off.  I haven’t coloured it yet but I think that this piece would work really well in a purple shade with either a green or an orange as a secondary colour.  The final black and white version is at the top of this post.

It is fun learning about different words and doing this project reminded me of the Devon Words art project by Caitlin Hennessy which I saw at last year’s Weekender exhibitions and which I wrote about here.  I really enjoyed this project and will definitely be doing more lettering and illustrating with words in the future.

 

NA&DSC London Trip

On the 19th of November I went with my National Art and Design Saturday Club on a coach trip to a Welcome Day for all our groups at Central Saint Martins college and the Tate Britain gallery.

At 6am our coach was in front of the old Plymouth museum.  I found a seat next to a friend and chatted while we waited for the rest of the group.  It was my first time on a coach and it had soft seats with buttons to make them recline and red curtains in the windows.  We set off at 6:20 and me and my friends were excited but tired from being awake so early.  A lot of my group slept for the first part of the journey but after we stopped at Exeter services to stretch our legs and get some snacks almost everyone stayed awake.  We had another five hours or so of travel ahead so we talked about visits that each of us had made to London in the past and told each other funny anecdotes from our lives.  I did some sketching trying out different character faces but my lines were a bit wobbly from the movement of the coach, and I kept dropping my rubber down the side of the seat.

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Character sketches I made on the coach

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I did these sketches of Marvel characters in pencil on the coach and added the ink and watercolour later.

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This is what my pencil sketch of Quicksilver looked like before inking.  I did this one for my brother and Skyped it to him back at home.

As we travelled through London we took pictures out of the coach windows and pointed out buildings we recognized, like the Gherkin, MI6 and Big Ben.  Our coach dropped us off close to Central Saint Martins and we walked the rest of the way.  Central Saint Martins is a huge building and we noticed that the inside room was so vast that it was almost as cold as it was outside.  We were given stickers to wear to show we were from Plymouth College of Art and ‘perylene maroon’ goodie bags from Cass Art.  In my bag I had an A4 sketchbook, some pencils, a bottle of water and some snacks.  We sat down to have some lunch while our student ambassador Ben played on a piano and we waited for some of the other groups from around the country to arrive.

After lunch we looked at all the other self-portraits from the different groups and a photographer took a picture of us in front of our own portraits.  It felt amazing to have my self-portrait up in a gallery with other young artists’ work.  There was a lot of variety in the style and techniques used in the portraits I saw.  One group, from the Victoria and Albert museum, had used concertinaed paper with two portraits drawn on it so the one that you could see depended on the angle you viewed it from.  Some of these were quite creepy to look at because one side would be a regular portrait and the other side looked strange or demonic.  Other groups had worked with print, photography, pencils or collage.  My group used acrylic paint on pieces of wood and I wrote about that process in a previous blog post.

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My PCA sticker (stuck to my usual sketchbook), and my new grey sketchbook and perylene maroon bag from Cass Art

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The Plymouth group photo with our self-portraits and goodie bags, posted by @natsatclub on Twitter.  I am on the left in the front row.

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My photo of our self-portraits hung in Central Saint Martins.  Mine is the third from the left on the bottom row.

After looking around the portraits all the groups were shown into a large room for a series of talks.  We learned that even though there were hundreds of us there that day we only represented a third of the total members nationally!  Some groups were so far away they couldn’t make it together and so one family had come alone.  Those of us from Plymouth spent at least 12 hours travelling to London and back that day!  We heard from Cecilia Weckstrom who told us that when she was younger she didn’t know what she wanted to study, and got an apprenticeship with a children’s book company and learned about graphic design, and now she works for Lego and is a Trustee for the NA&DSC.  The director of the Saturday Club Trust, Sorrel Hershberg, and Jeremy Till, the Head of Central Saint Martins, both gave us information about the Saturday Arts Club and thanked the founders Sir John Sorrell and Lady Frances Sorrell.

When we came out of the room, ginormous pieces of paper were rolled out for us all to draw on and there were people holding big buckets with tons of crayons, pens and pencils for us to use.  My group didn’t have a lot of time before we got back on the coach but we sat on the floor for a short while and I drew my friend and myself.  There were a lot of cool doodles and there were tons of kids drawing each other.  After that I bought myself a big red NatSatClub hoodie and we got back on the coach for the next part of our trip.

All the groups headed to different venues around London and mine headed to the Tate Britain gallery.  We got a short tour around a few of the pieces of art on display and our tour guide and our tutor Kate encouraged us to talk about and critique what we saw.  We studied each piece for a few minutes and tried to think of single words that described how we felt or the impression we got from the artworks.  One piece that I found intriguing was Fiona Banner’s Break Point which is a huge canvas painted white with red marker pen text describing a chase scene from the movie Point Break.  The shade of red that she used and the way the text got closer together towards the bottom of the piece made me tense and it seemed very aggressive.  I haven’t seen the film, but I hope to soon so I can see what happens next!

We moved on to the Turner Prize 2016 Exhibition.  The Turner Prize is a contemporary art award given every year to a British artist chosen from four nominees.  My favourite piece on display was an installation by Michael Dean which was a pile of pennies equal to one penny less than its title, United Kingdom poverty line for two adults and two children: twenty thousand four hundred and thirty six pounds sterling as published on 1st September 2016.   Me and my friends thought it would be fun to roll around in it all.  It sounds like a lot of money but it didn’t feel like it when I saw it as a pile of pennies.  There was an enourmous gold sculpture of a butt by Anthea Hamilton called ‘Project For Door (After Gaetano Pesce)’ and people were laughing and taking silly photos near it.  I thought it was absurd in a funny way.  Visitors were invited to write their thoughts about the exhibition and pin them up outside the gallery, so we did that and then left to make the long trip home.

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My sketches of my friend on the left and myself on the right surrounded by other young artists’ contributions to the big drawing papers

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Me at home in my hoodie

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Michael Dean’s installation

On the journey home I took some more pictures of London lit up at night, and everyone was wide awake and in the back someone was playing music.  It was such an exciting day, me and my friends ended up having laughing fits for ages for no real reason.  We stopped at services to get dinner, but we panicked because we thought we had taken too long but it turned out we were back before most of the group.  We settled down eventually and it got quieter and some people fell asleep, and I carried on working in my sketchbook.  We got back to Plymouth at around 11 and I was exhausted.  The whole day was absolutely amazing and I’m really thankful to have had the opportunity to be part of it.

National Saturday Club Part 1

This post is going to cover what I did during the first half of autumn term at the National Art and Design Saturday Club at the Plymouth College of Art.  My tutor is Kate Marshall.  Kate is an artist who works in all sorts of media and enjoys experimenting with unusual materials from the sites she is researching.  Our student ambassador is Ben Lintell.  Ben is a student at PCA studying Contemporary Crafts and he creates paper and glass sculptures.

During the first half term we were working with self-portraits and figure drawing.  We started with drawing our self-portraits with paper and pencil.  I used a mirror and something I found difficult was that any small movements I made would throw me off.  I worked entirely in HB pencil because that was all I had with me that day.  I think I captured my expression pretty well but I think I could have made it more realistic if I used different pencils.

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Next we were given a square of wood each to draw another self-portrait on.  I’ve never drawn on wood before and it was hard to erase the pencil marks so I had to use less working lines than usual.  I worked from a photo of myself on my phone this time and it was slightly easier than from a mirror, because there was no movement and I could zoom in to investigate details.

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I then started painting my self-portrait on the piece of wood with acrylic paints.  Kate advised us not to use one colour for our skin as that would make it look fake, but to look closely for blues, greens and other hues.  I studied my photo and found lines, shadows and different shades of pinks, browns, greens and blues.  I mixed up the different colours on a palette and used two different brush sizes, a medium-sized flat one for covering bigger areas and a slightly smaller round brush for details.  I wasn’t able to find a very small brush for fine detail.  I don’t normally work with acrylic paints but I enjoyed testing them out.  Acrylics are opaque and not transparent like the watercolours I normally use.  I watered my paints down a little to make them easier to use and I noticed that when I used colours on top of a layer of white they were more vivid.

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Our self-portraits were put on display in Central Saint Martins in London alongside other National Saturday Club groups from around the country.  Here is a photo of all the portraits from the Plymouth College of Art group:

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We also spent a session speed-drawing each other in different poses and holding or wearing different costume items to practice figure drawing.  I did some using my 4B graphite stick and some using charcoal.  The charcoal is darker and has a more textured line whereas the graphite gave a smoother line.  I found that both allowed me to be more expressive and use bigger gestures than when I use a pencil.

I really enjoyed drawing the different poses and body shapes and found that our quick drawings sometimes didn’t even look human.  I want to do a lot more figure drawing as it will help me improve my character design and comic art. I’d also like to do some life drawing lessons but I haven’t found any classes locally that will accept students of my age yet.  I’ve signed up to an Udemy course on Anatomy for Figure Drawing (I got this discounted and there are sales quite often on Udemy) and I have been drawing poses from magazines.

Below are some of the sketches I’ve done recently from photos in my NEO magazines.  I have been doing very quick sketches of body frameworks using simple lines joined by small circles for joints, and bigger shapes for heads and body sections.  I saw this technique used to show figures in action in How To Draw Comics The Marvel Way by Stan Lee and John Buscema.  It is a good way to investigate poses and movement.  In some places I have used coloured pencil to add more details later.

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In this last picture I made up my own poses from my imagination and memory.  I feel that my skills have already begun to improve because of this exercise and the work we’ve been doing at the Saturday Club.

 

 

Plymouth Art Weekender 2016 Day 2, Part 2

Click here for my post on Weekender Day 1

Click here for my post on Weekender Day 2, Part 1

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The menu at Prime Cafe Bar

After a quick look around PCA we went to Prime Cafe Bar to see the Nomads exhibition  by Patrick Strode and Viktor Toth.  Patrick’s surreal illustrations felt lonely and I like how he uses colour.  In his comic page he mixed pinky-purple-orange watercolours for the background, in his other pictures on display he used just one colour for the background or made two spots of light, but everything else he left untouched.  I’d like to try this in my own drawings because his work is really striking.  I loved Viktor’s illustration of a woman in a dress wearing a headdress which looked like it was done with ballpen.  His pictures are dark and dramatic and seemed like they might be concept art for video games.  He also uses colour in confined areas, surrounded by shades of grey and black.

I had Rose Lemonade which tasted a bit like turkish delight, and a slice of banana toffee cake which was soft, squishy and delicious.  My mum had an iced mocha in a pretty glass and she says it is the best iced coffee she has had all year.  Prime Cafe Bar is a really nice space, it is comfy and there are shelves of books and games you can read and play.  We looked at a book about Japan and a Far Side book of cartoons.

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A photo showing the texture of Rebecca Williams Altschmerz (work in progress)

 

We moved on to the Fine Art Building of PCA to the exhibition Nothing Bad Will Happen.  We were greeted by Bethany Smiles who was showing her acrylic painting set Icons.  The objects on display were really diverse but seemed very personal to the artists.  For example,  Angela Hilton gathers discarded personal materials for her work, and I’ve Measured Out My Life In Coffee Spoons is a collection of 2 years worth of her own disposable contact lenses, stacked and hung from the ceiling on a piece of invisible thread.  My favourite pieces here were two acrylic paintings (one is a work in progress) by Rebecca Williams which were so filled with texture I wanted to stroke the canvas.  I also really liked Steve Brown’s political posters which I stopped at for a long time to try and examine every detail, and Sam Turner’s installation Form Of A Cyclical Construct which uses found containers and zip ties and made me think of a huge plastic dragon.

It was time for us to travel across town to Ocean Studios at Royal William Yard, and I will write about that in Part 3..

Plymouth Art Weekender 2016 Day 2, Part 1

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Chrissy Vale’s character designs at Masters 2016 (Plymouth College Of Art) – chrissyvale.co.uk

This morning I went to my second week of NA&DSC and we went on a trip to see the exhibitions at the Plymouth College of Art and Plymouth University.

First we visited the Masters 2016 room and it was full of intriguing work.  The highlights for me as a young artist interested in illustration were Chrissy Vale’s colourful comic characters which have a clean and simple style and Ashley Turner’s Onnen Design prints of animals and plants in pen, pencil, watercolour and gouache.  I also liked Tim Gundry’s drone photography photos, which give an unusual view on ordinary buildings so that they look like they came out of a videogame.

Before we went to Plymouth University, we stopped by PCA’s This Is Now exhibition which had retro TVs showing videos from the 1980’s.  Some of them were catchy music videos which I really enjoyed.

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Clare Thornton’s sculptures at Edge Of Collapse (Plymouth University) – clarethornton.com

Our group then headed to the University’s Peninsula Gallery which had an exhibit called Searching for Genius by Douglas Gordon.  Most of the art was quite creepy, especially the photographs of people with the eyes and mouths burnt away.  Upstairs there was another exhibit called Edge of Collapse which featured art by Clare Thornton, Victoria Walters (her page was unfortunately offline when I checked) and Jamie House, who was my film tutor for my art group last year.  Victoria was there when we visited so she talked to us about the different pieces and explained how her sculpture was inspired by ground swells in the ocean.  Clare’s work only used only a few different colours in clay and leather but they looked beautiful.  My favourite piece of hers was made using jelly moulds!  Jamie’s piece was made using an electrical drawing machine, and the result was a unique pattern scorched into paper.

We went back to the pre-degree centre where I met up with my mum and the two of us headed straight back out to more Weekender events, which I will cover in my next post as I have seen so much today I can’t fit it all in here!

If you haven’t read it yet, here is my post on Plymouth Art Weekender 2016 Day 1.

Young Arts Club at Plymouth College of Art

From 2015-2016 I was a member of the Saturday Young Arts Club at the Plymouth College of Art.  The course was 25 weeks long, split into five chunks with a different subject each time.  My student ambassador was metalsmith Luke Axworthy who has a studio at Flameworks.

The first section was Fashion with Sharon Morgan, fashion tutor and milliner (twitter).  The students made patterned fabric using screen printing ink freehand on cotton, and I chose to do a zig zag design.  I used a sewing machine to create a pencil case and a phone case with my colourful fabric.

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Cases made from zig zag fabric by midnakit

Sharon also asked us to come up with fashion label ideas.  I used KitBIT because at the time it was my username for videogames.  I took it further by actually designing items for the label in my sketchbook.

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KitBIT designs

The designs I created were videogame influenced because I enjoy gaming but I can rarely find clothing and accessories to express that.

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More KitBIT Designs

The next section was Animation with Jamie House.  We watched the shorts Dots by Norman McLaren and Black Dots by Luana Veloso.  We used DSLR cameras on tripods to take photos of our own drawings as we added to them.  Our next project was to draw shapes and objects then cut them out and make an animation by rearranging them on a background.  I chose to use coloured dots and I made them interact and glide around.  Then we moved on to working in teams, and I worked with a few of the other students who I had made friends with.  We made an animation using the same technique as our last project, but instead of on a paper background we were allowed to animate with blue tack on a wall.  In our animation we had Homer Simpson open his mouth and eat doughnuts flying towards him. He then closed his mouth again and because he ate so many he blew up!  Part of our project was to use a person, so we talked about which one of our group would wipe the doughnut remains off the wall, pull a disgusted face and walk away (I was nominated..) After we finished animating we used iMovie to add music.

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Finally, for our last project all of my team starred in the animation.  It was about a girl who travelled through time using a ‘Chairlorean’ (Flux Capacitor included) and had to run away from freaky future people.  She manages to get back to the Chairlorean and ended up getting stuck in the past. For the futuristic people we just wore our clothes oddly and to show the time travelling girl was in the past I drew an old newspaper as a prop.  Again, we edited on titles and music after.  I’m not sure where my films from this part of the course are unfortunately but if I find them I will try and upload them.

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Plaster sculpture and wire sculpture

The third section of the course was Experimental Drawing, Printmaking and Sculpture with Janine Rook.  This section was very interesting because I tried out some new techniques for the first time and really enjoyed them.  We drew on pieces of different kinds of paper and stuck them onto a large sheet of thick paper in a collage, made sculptures by twisting long wires, and created odd and slightly creepy sculptures by taking three plaster moulds of parts of our hands then sticking them together with more plaster, using glue and paper to decorate them.

The fourth section of the course was Graphic Design with Terry Maughan.  We entered a competition to come up with t-shirt designs for The National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth.  The winning designs would be printed and put on sale to raise money for the Community Seagrass Initiative (CSI) which helps preserve seagrass which is the seahorses habitat.  We were advised to research surf fashion and tattoos because they have a popular and contemporary style.  I did that and I also researched seahorses and seagrass.

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My hat with a fabric flower and a feather

Finally, for the last section of the Saturday Arts Club course, we did fashion again with Sharon Morgan and this time we made hats. We started by soaking bamboo millinery net in water then moulding it into the shape we wanted on a hatblock.  We had to pin the corners down, and I used glue to bond three layers of net together for strength, then left it to set.  Next I trimmed the sides to create a semi-spherical shape then stitched on a piece of elastic to hold the hat on a head.  I cut out pieces of fabric and layered them to make a flower and sewed them to the hat with beads in the centre.  I arranged a piece of floral lace around the hat edge and glued it on and added a feather.  I used black net and chose different patterned fabrics in shades that matched with the feather.

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My little sister looking fabulous in my hat!

Our hats were displayed at the Graduate Show at the College in the Young Arts Club room.  It was the first time I had my work displayed at an exhibition and it felt amazing.  I visited the room twice on different days and I was impressed by all the other young people’s work.  There were some great mural designs on large sheets of paper and I also really liked a section of printed tote bags.  We were all given a Certificate for having attended for the year.

Over the summer I thought a lot about the course and I wanted to join in again this year 2016-2017.  I found out about a scheme called the National Art and Design Saturday Club with only twenty places locally for 14-16 year olds who “demonstrate commitment and passion for art and design”.  I applied and I had to have a reference and fill in a personal statement, which I had never done before and so I was very nervous about it.

I am really pleased to say that I got a place in NA&DSC and I had my first session last week!  First we looked around the new Pre-degree center of the Plymouth College of Art, then we met our tutor and drew self-portraits from pictures and mirrors.  I used a mirror because I felt it was more challenging for me.  I have tried to draw realistic self-portraits in the past but didn’t really like doing it, but this time it was more enjoyable because I had more support and I was working in a room with other artists.  I am really looking forward to next week’s session!

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Self-Portrait by midnakit, September 2016

 

 

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