Reflections on a Year of Art Education

Despite cultivating my art practice in earnest since 2018, this year I embarked on my first year of full-time art education at an academic institution. This took the form of a Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at The City Literary Institute. In some ways this felt ironic or like some kind of admission of failure, I had after all treated my first year of living in Spain as my own ‘self-directed foundation year’, even putting on my own show at the end of the year. But finding myself back in the UK, no longer part of an active art community and trying to move forward from the isolation of working through various lockdowns, the time felt right to embark on my first experience of something approaching ‘art school’. My last experience of formal art education had been taking GCSE art a very long time ago….

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‘They/Them/Their: Naturally Not Binary’ at IMT Gallery

Tonight was the first art show I’ve been to in London which felt real. Real work – people trying to work something out, grappling with their materials to try and understand something, to get somewhere. Engaging with the work of trying to deconstruct some of the deeply embedded ideological fault lines in our society. Power structures that so often go unquestioned. But slowly, slowly, a critical mass of critical practitioners is blossoming.

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‘The Natural World’ by Oliver Hoare

A beautiful ammonite spiral, the arc of a giant seedpod, a softly lit room with spotlights highlighting all manner of incredible artefacts. Each item beguiling, glistening in the light and laced with all manner of geographic and historic provenance for the visitor’s delight. So many small marvels, yet why did this rendering of “The Natural World” by Oliver Hoare leave me feeling so queasy?

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Triennial tripping

Folkestone Triennial is the largest open-air display of public art in the UK. Every three years it brings together a diverse mix of international and local artists to make new site specific works. This year I went on a walking tour guided by Naomi Eaton-Baudains a producer working behind the scenes at the Triennial and also an artist in her own right.

Her tour was fascinating giving an insight into how Lewis Biggs, the curator works with the artists to develop pieces that respond to each location, considers the broader dialogue between pieces dotted throughout the town.

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