Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Day Ten - Friday 23rd - Last Day:(

Today started as any of the other days did, with opening up the macs, hearing the little sound it makes when it turns on, and getting on with blogs, finishing projects etc. The only difference I felt was that there was a certain rushed finality hanging over it all, like the day itself knew it would be the last one I would spend on work experience there, in the company of people I may never see again, and on a mac that the ones at school could never compete with, starting-up-wise. I had really grown to love that little wake up sound the macs made. Yes, the macs which I once feared and fretted over were going to be missed. And they weren't the only thing. I had really gotten used to coming in everyday, seeing the same people and although most days were different, doing the same line of work, day in, day out. It would be weird leaving it all and at the end of the summer, going back to school.

Later on, I had a review with Vicky, who I found out had written a really lovely reference for me, which I was really chuffed about. She also videoed asking me some questions about the placement, like Was anything I had done or learnt useful , What advice would I give someone else doing it, and so on.

In the last part of the day, we all watched youtube clips and generally relaxed and had food like strawberry laces and things, which was nice.

At first I was really nervous and scared about this placement, but after the time I've spent here, I think that was probably a stupid thing to do, because I have actually really enjoyed these two weeks and will really miss it, especially when I get back to school and have to do Physics and RE instead. All in all, I had a great time and have learnt so much from coming here.

Day Nine - Thursday 22nd

So today was kinda busy. So busy in fact I'm writing this late, it's actually Friday, but let’s pretend it’s Thursday.... (Cue weird flashback harp music)

Truth be told, I can’t actually remember most of what happened yesterday, so this will be sketchy. My memory is very poor, so bad in fact that I usually go upstairs and forget what I went up for.

What I do particularly remember about the day, though, was the bus journey, or rather the wait for it to arrive. There I was queuing at the bus stop, trying to get to work a little earlier, when the bus decided to do that annoying thing where it promises to be here in a minute, but then changes its mind and says it will be there in 10 minutes instead. It was incredibly irritating, waiting there, constantly checking the screen but finding no improvement, and I didn’t quite get there for the time I wanted, but I wasn’t late so it wasn’t too bad.

I came in and first started writing things up and photoshopping (that’s not a verb is it?) for my project. I had enough pictures as I got a few more recently, but I had to mostly pick and choose which ones I would use for the final thing. As well as this, I wrote up a few things for my arts award and blog, but those still need finishing, so I will have to do those tomorrow. Also, I edited the interview with Susanna and managed to cover up my mistake, so now no one will know! Well technically that’s not true is it, as I have just declared it in here. Oh well, you get the gist of it all anyway.

Day Eight - Wednesday 21st

We got kicked out today. That sounds really bad doesn't it, but the people at Site just needed to use the room is all, so we all had a nice, wait for it - SUNNY! - day out! I know English people always obsess about the weather but it really was quite miraculous.

First off we started in town and all split up and went to find pictures that would fit the caption "Hidden Sheffield", which was fun until Bethan and I got harassed by some plasterer selling joke books and the God Lady. Then I ran out of ideas and started taking pictures of pigeons, and especially this really fat one which was sleeping. I don't think I'll win the cinema tickets - which will be the prize - not even with a lovely snap of a cardboard cut out of Peter Jones from Dragons Den.

Anyway, after this we all met up in the Peace Gardens, where Bethan took a couple more of her motionless pictures. Then we were told about where we were going next which was Bank Street Art Gallery. This is where I would meet Susanna Gent, the artist / taxidermist who I interviewed. When we got there, we were given a general tour of the place. It kind of reminded me of this book I read in which there is a library which seems to go on forever, it turns this way, then that and before you know it, you're lost. It had all different levels and corridors and this little courtyard thing in the middle, and all in all I would like to live there. Ok, that sounds a bit weird, but I just really liked how different it was from other galleries.

We looked around Susanna Gent's work, in which I particularly liked her 12 Stag heads which are like the ones you might find mounted on the walls of a hunting lodge. However, these ones were different, different from a hunting lodge and different from each other. They were all made of different materials and each had different designs, and I really liked how original they were. My favourite would probably be the one made out of shells, because, not only did it look painstakingly hard to make and was very pretty, but also because I think it was something quite personal for her. A close second, though, would have to be one that was made out of pink rubber gloves pinned together to form the skin, plug holes for the eyes, and taps for the antlers.

Another person we met was Bryan Eccleshall who was working on an installation for the gallery, where he took the favourite postcards from Graves art Gallery and made line drawings onto some walls of them in the size the actual picture that the postcard was of was. I quite liked this because it was fairly original, despite the source not being.

My interview with Susanna went fairly well I thought, although on one question I kinda screwed up. I thought she taught Fine Art, but she actually teaches Media, whoops. She was quite nice about it though and answered all the questions in detail. I have posted the interview in my Arts Award Part C.

After this, Susanna and I went to Riverside. Well, she did, but I got lost. Poor Susanna probably thought I had abandoned her, but if its one thing I'm very, very good at, it's the whole getting lost business. Deary me. I ended up going back to Bank Street and painting some walls with Josh and someone called Michael I think. And yes, I managed to get paint on me as well as the walls, what can I say, I'm a girl of many talents.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Day Seven - Tuesday 20th

Tomorrow I'm going to interview Susannah Gent who is an artist who does a bit of everything I'm told, even taxidermy. When Vicky told us about her she seemed quite an interesting person to interview and so I thought I would go for her and I'm told she is nice so hopefully she won't be annoyed at my poor interviewing skills. With help I have written up some questions to ask her and also tomorrow, before the interview, we will go and see her work.

I've started photoshopping some of the pictures I have for the project but I'm still a little bit short despite some of my friends being so helpful and nice and sending me some of theirs. I should hopefully be ok though and I'll try and get it finished soon. The only thing other than the interview and this is to write everything up. So I'm really not sure what else to write about...

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Part D - Arts Apprenticeship

Part D: Leading an art project

Having used photography as my challenge for improving (part A) I have come up with a project that also uses photography but that also uses writing, the web and collaboration (with the other apprentices and friends) as this I am finding out is an interesting area of contemporary art these days.

My idea is to get people to take pictures of places around the city which are special to them, and give me reasons as to why. I’ll then pick out ones those that I feel are particularly good, editing the text and images, and find a way to bring them all together visually on a web map. Not the easiest idea in the world but it brings together instructions and decision making and working with people and Vicky said that was a nice idea I’d had.

Have been looking at ways we can plot these and the meaning people have attached to them on a map people can view online. I’ve been discussing ideas with Vicky, Ben and Kim. The ideal now is for me to put them all into a blog and a technical person will link them to a map (yay!) I loved that I got my idea to work in the end.

The idea came out of thinking up collaborative instructions people could follow after looking at similar assignments on www.learnigntoloveyoumore.com which was a huge creative project that anyone can produce an assignment for. One family I think did the whole 70 or so tasks it set!

I really enjoyed setting the instructions for this and emailing to family, friends and explaining it with other apprentices on my team at the gallery.

I would have to say that this part was maybe one of my favourite parts of the arts award and my experience at the gallery because it gave me an opportunity to explore a range of ideas and creativity with other people. Also, some of the reasons people have given me for the places they had chosen for the map were really nice to read, with some making me smile, and others making me laugh.

I really enjoyed finding out all the places they held dear to them, with all the memories they had attached to them, and it made me think about what it must be like if every place in the world were associated with personal memories and not just facts.

View my final project blog here: http://putitonamap.blogspot.com/

Part B - Be the Audience

I have really enjoyed this part of my Site apprenticeship because it has let me see galleries and works that I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise. For this task instead of being an audience at one event, I decided to comment on two events (A 'why you should go' review) as I couldn’t choose a favourite and they both offered me a different idea about types of gallery experiences and shows.


The first place I went was Yorkshire Art Space (YAS). It’s a huge modern building with a gallery at the front and it houses different kinds of studios and all different types of craft people, from silversmiths to ceramicists. We got to look around the building and in various studios, and also got to look at work by a ceramicist called Emilie Taylor. I liked her work because she made these really pretty pots, but also incorporated contemporary messages into them. I really liked visiting YAS because we got a real insight into how people work in their studios and make a living.

Why visit? Because they do a wide variety of exhibitions, it’s friendly, free and a really cool state of the art building and because it houses many different artists and makers from Sheffield.

Bank Street:

My other favourite place is Bank Street Arts, which was where I was able to see the work of Susanna Gent who I interviewed for Part C. Bank St. is a quirky big old house in the centre of Sheffield. Very different from YAS. From the outside you wouldn’t know it was a gallery.

Susanna’s work went across 3 rooms (we only saw 2 as the cellar exhibition had been only for a few days). It included taxidermy pieces of ‘road kill’ rabbits, foxes and badgers. The work is based around ideas about how children's books often use animals as characters and about how people aren't really very aware of where their food come from. Which we don't really want to know about because it makes us think too much about death, and that we are also partly meat.

Although I am a little squeamish, I did like the ideas behind all her work and it was obvious that she really thought about it, and not just did it randomly. Her other work was more playful and consisted of a square gallery full of a wide variety of fake and comical deer heads (amounted as you would see them in a film but all were made of random stuff). There were taps as antlers, and ones covered in shells and interesting fabric and rubber. Anyway that would work. All really creative and fun.

Also, we were able to talk to Bryan Eccleshall about his work which we managed to catch him in the middle of in a small gallery. At the moment he is making line drawings of the Graves Art Gallery's favourite postcards, and is drawing them onto the actual wall, using an OHP to copy from. They will be the size of the paintings the postcards are of, but will be drawn from the postcards instead off the paintings. He talked to us about this and about copying and I quite liked this idea, because it will be an installation and is fairly original, despite the source not being. His work is about exploring ideas rather than finished produces which is new to me.

Part C - Arts Heroes and Heroines

My interview with Susanna Gent: http://www.radiowaves.co.uk/story/151009/title/BethanyBoaminterviewingSusannaGent

For this part, I have interviewed artist Susanna Gent after visiting her Bank Street Arts exhibition which I really enjoyed. She doesn't work with just one media, but with lots of different ones, like sculpture, taxidermy and film making, which I thought was particularly interesting and was why I chose to interview her. I particularly liked her 12 stag heads that she had made, because they incorporated humour and a really creative use of material and were just really interesting to look at as they were made of all kinds of odd things she had collected, (like one, for instance, had skin made of pink rubber gloves, taps for antlers and plugs holes for eyes).

I really enjoyed my interview with Susanna despite being nervous and I think she enjoyed being asked questions. She was very helpful and answered all questions with lots of detail which I really appreciated. I hope to see more of her work in the future.

The questions I asked her were:

- How would you describe yourself as an artist and what you do creatively?

- How did you get into art and did you set out to be an artist from a young age?

- You use taxidermy (that is stuffed animals) and fake animals in your work, why?

- I believe you have taught yourself taxidermy which you've used in this exhibition, how did that come about and how do you source your animal bodies?!

- I've heard you are also interested in ideas around the uncanny, can you tell me a bit more about that?

- The fake deer heads mounted like trophies on the wall come across as bizarre and comical. What place does humour have in your work?

- How does your past creative work differ from this particular body of work and is it all related somehow?

- Which other artists do you admire and why?

- what kind of things or people influence your work?

- Does your art pay a wage or do you have other ways of making money?

- So you teach on the Media course at Sheffield Hallam University. I imagine art a difficult subject to 'teach' because it's such a personal thing to different people…how do you deal with that?

- What advice would you have for any aspiring young artists?

- What are your plans for future creativity?