The eight-week rotation has been a hectic, challenging yet exciting experience from which I have learnt a lot about myself and the hugely expansive area of Art and Design and its place in the world today.
I have already applied to Ruskin School of Fine Art, Oxford, to take a BA in Fine Art. Though I am still very keen to go there I think the stress and the work involved of applying early has partly overshadowed my experience of the rotation, restricting rather than enhancing my creativity. Due to the early application I missed the 3D and Spatial rotation to have an extra two weeks’ doing Fine Art.
In the first two weeks of Fine Art I had a great time exploring areas I had never previously attempted. Drawing on my own dance experience I created a short painterly animation which I projected onto a rotating cardboard structure. A piece of mirror on the structure created a shape of light that travelled around the studio as the structure spun round. Given more time, I would have planned the shapes of the structure in accordance to the animation and added colour to the piece. However, for a quick project I was rather pleased with the outcome.
After this I went into Fashion and Textiles as I wanted to make sure that Fine Art was definitely the right choice. Though this rotation was, as the tutors warned us, not what I expected, I found it very stimulating. In fact it was better than I expected because we were not limited to thinking about final garments. The fact that the drawing exercises were very directed gave me a fresh boost of confidence, allowing us to not worry about any final outcome but rather just experiment and play around in the sketch books, approaching them with a designer’s outlook. Having previously only ever painted, I relished the chance to try things out with different materials in 3D forms and imagine how the samples could be scaled up or down to create structural clothes or fabric designs. I thoroughly enjoyed it and learnt much but I was able to see that it wasn’t the right area for me. Describing me as ‘rare’ I was very flattered that one of the tutors thought I could go into fashion illustration later in life but that I was right to go with Fine Art now.
However, when I went back into Fine Art I had a hard time. Because I was preoccupied and worried about my application to Ruskin I didn’t throw myself into the work even though I know it is when I’m relaxed that ideas start to flow and I can experiment. And as my Dad likes to point out, the inner struggle is part of any creative process. I was set the task of painting from collages like Dexter Dalwood, whose paintings I saw at the Turner Prize, does. But, as one tutor said, trying to do this was running before I could walk. I think I was trying too hard! During those two weeks my confidence waned and it wasn’t until the day before the critical assessment that I clicked with the work. My final piece was a cinematic composition which hinted at a dramatic situation unfolding. A tutor commented that there were problems with the painting style but that the composition was effective.
Finally, I went into Visual Communications knowing nothing of the area but eager to learn from it. I think that it was actually my most successful rotation because I simply let go. Having attended Dominic Wilcox’s fascinating lecture I was really inspired. I found that having specific briefs for each project helped me to flourish and the group discussions also helped generate ideas. I liked that the effectiveness of your work in Vis Com is partly judged by how well the message is carried across to the viewer because this means the work can be very direct. Moreover, it opened me up to illustration which I think would suit me very well. As my work in all the areas shows, I am still very interested in figures. The illustration tutor liked my sequence project in my sketchbook and another tutor said my work was very graphic and had a strong design element to it.
Nevertheless, I think Fine Art will push me further and I want to have a strong grounding in the history of art. I wouldn’t want to go into an area to take the easier route. My love of painting remains very strong and I would like to discover my own visual language and subject matter which may well be figurative with a strong narrative at this point of time. I have been excited by many contemporary figurative painters. I like Eric Fischl’s paintings, for example, which are quite cinematic and create tension between the figures. ‘Painting Today’ by Tony Godfrey looks at where painting currently stands while many critics argue that media technology has reduced the value of paintings. At the Frieze Art Fair I was pleasantly surprised by the number of paintings, much of which were figurative, compared with installations. David Batchelor said I need to be careful not to produce A-level-style work which I fully understand and I realise to do this I should take greater risks and run with them full-heartedly, embracing being out of my comfort zone. I believe I have the capacity to do that. Moreover, I think Fine Art teaches you to look at the world differently, to question art works while exploring your own ideas.