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:
I’ve been working on a really exciting project called YEA Plymouth for the past few months, it is a new independent organisation for young emerging artists, and you can read all about it in my blog post on the YEA Plymouth wordpress site!
I started at the Roland Levinsky Building with my brother where we met with friends who were also interested in the art which the local young people had made. We headed straight into the exhibition at Peninsula Arts. The gallery was full of works in different styles and media, including animation, film, painting, sculpture and drawings. I had seen a couple of pieces before in the Graduate Show at PCA.
One of my favourite pieces here was an ink drawing, ‘Origin’ by Rachel Card (in the 19-23 age category), which showed a woman reading from a book The Origins Of Life and her hair above her was filled with flowers and life under a night sky. Close by was a photography project ‘Growth Of Us’ by Ben Churchill (16-18) a collection of four portraits representing four decades of cultural history. In each portrait the model (I assume it was Ben himself?) is holding a camera from that era and across his t-shirt are photographs of human rights activists of that decade. I also liked the photograph ‘Cranes’ by Ryan Trower of a city skyline filled with cranes, showing how the city is growing upwards to the clouds.
Another ink drawing which I was captivated by was ‘Metropolis’ by George Davies (Winner of the 12-15 category), an extremely intricate illustration of a city. Finally, we all loved ‘Groa’ by Amelia Goodman (12-15), who combined pen, pencil, watercolour, ink and gouache to portray a dragon from a story she wrote herself.
We left the gallery and had our lunch by the Kilkenny limestone sculptures which have been loaned to Plymouth University by Peter Randall-Page. The sculptures are huge and when you touch them they are completely smooth. They made me think about how each block must have started out looking the same but the artist has made them all look unique.
After lunch we made our way across town to the Radiant Gallery. It was my first time visiting and the gallery is attached to the pretty Rumpus Cosy cafe which I would like to visit again for cake sometime! Radiant is a smaller gallery than Peninsula and feels more intimate. I thought that ‘Box 1-3’ by Jessica Owen (16-18) was the most meaningful and emotive piece in the exhibition. It was a mixed media piece of three glass cubes which each contained a different subject. In the first was a curled up baby, the second contained warped Dali-esque clocks, and the third was overflowing with flowers. The label read that the piece was “a personal response to my father leaving the family, my sadness and depression that resulted.”
One of my brother’s favourite pieces was ‘GrowClan Cats Animation’ by Antonia Parkyn (8-11). This was an animation made using Scratch and inspired by the Warrior Cats books by Erin Hunter. I am a fan of the books myself and enjoy making in Scratch so this piece reminded me how young people in 2016 are constantly expressing themselves in creative and unexpected ways using modern technology.
I didn’t enter the PYCO this year but I really enjoyed the exhibition and seeing what other young people in Plymouth are creating, so I’m hoping to take part next time in 2018.