Friday, 23 July 2010

Final day...

I have really enjoyed my experience of the Site Young Apprentice Scheme. I have learnt many new skills during my time here, for example using a Mac computer and software such as audacity, Photoshop and Dreamweaver. I’ve no doubt these skills and the confidence they have given me, also in picking up a variety of new skills quickly. This experience has also given me a brilliant insight into the arts world, as I have met artists and visited galleries. On all of these occasions the people were so informative and willing to answer all your questions. There is so much for me to digest.

It was a really relaxed and creative working environment, which was easy to adapt to. Everybody was able to be independent in his or her work but it was very much a community and everybody helped each other out when it was needed.

I discovered how to use my time effectively and was surprised how quickly I picked up new skills and adapted to a working environment.

I think the most important thing I had to do was leading my own creative assignment as it enable me be an independently artist and set myself goals. I also had to learn to use my time productively and be organised.

If I was to repeat this experience again, the only thing that I would do differently is to try and get to know everybody better.

I think anyone coming to do a placement at the Site Gallery should come with an open mind and willing to learn, as you should try and get as much out of the experience as possible.

The one piece of advice that has stuck in my mind was from Andrew Hunt when I interviewed him. He said as long as you were determined and did not give up you can achieve anything that you want to in life.

I am a lot more open minded about Contemporary Art now, as I have learnt that even if I don’t understand the piece of work it may still have an effect of me which ultimately is what art is supposed to achieve.

I am proud of completing my Bronze Arts Award during my 2 weeks work experience.
Yes, I would love to hear about future opportunities at Site!

Day nine...

Finishing off day! Another day sat at the Mac but for good causes. After I had completed all of my Arts Award written assignments, I set off to bring my final piece in my project together. I firstly had to resize all of my images and then type up all of my quotations on the same size document as my pictures.

This took absolutely ages and I felt such a relief when I had finished them. I could then start with the fun bit of actually creating it on Dreamweaver. I matched up the images and quotations that I wanted to go together and uploaded them, continually managing to confuse myself with which quotations I had already used. I decided to alternate from image and quotation because I wanted the page to be self-explanatory when you first looked at it. I created a title to the page and pressed save. My mini project is completed!

Day eight...

Today we had a day out of the studio, as a well deserved rest from all the typing from yesterday. We set off to Bank Street Arts, which I found out runs a residency program for local artists and holds exhibitions. From the outside of the building it does not strike you as a gallery but as soon as you set foot inside, the creative atmosphere screams out you. The gallery was originally a posh terraced housing, so the layout was amazing. What would have been the courtyard is a now a café, which is the central focus of the gallery, creating a feeling of community between all of the residences. Currently Susannah Gent's work is being exhibited, which contains film taxidermy, installation and sculpture. (see my arts award part a for more on this)

We also had a look at artist Bryan Eccleshall at work, who was in the middle of producing an installation in one of the gallery rooms at Bank Streets Arts. He was working around the concept of copying and had chosen to pick the 12 most popular postcards sold at Graves Gallery and traced them onto transparency film. He then projected them on the wall and tracing them again. Bryan explained how he was interested to see how the images had changed from the original due to them being copied twice. They came out very abstract and were very effective all together in one room. He liked the idea that they were quite compacted together around the walls because if they were the original images it would look too overcrowded. His work reminded me of huge pages from colouring in books.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Part D...

White lie -noun a lie perceived as or intended not to harm, but told in order to avoid distress or embarrassment.

I chose to name my project 'little white liars' because my project is based around the concept of white lies, which come into everybody’s daily life but a lot of people don’t like to admit to telling them. I find it interesting how many people tell white lies subconsciously as though it is part of a routine, and how a white lie is an accepted lie in society. Just as people tell white lies there is a certain understanding that we encourage them so our feelings are not hurt.
I also wanted to highlight people’s perceptions and first impressions they have towards other people by mixing up who said what lie. From this I wanted people to become aware of the prejudices they have just from a picture and show how these judgments may not necessarily be true and hopefully cause them think about this in their everyday life. I also wanted to create a piece of work that everybody can relate to and reflect personally from, and show how similar human beings are.

To start my project I asked random members of the public on the street for the last white lie they had told. Or one they could remember. It was important to involve as many different types of people as possible to get a variety of lies and images. I then recorded their answer on an audio recorder, as a quick reliable source to go back to, rather than writing their lie down. Got I them to cover their face with it a piece of white card while I took a full body photograph of them. It was essential in the photograph to capture all of the body so you were still able, without seeing their face, to know certain things about the person such as sex, age, interests and other visual signifiers that cause us to make judgments and assumptions about people automatically.

I chose to cover up the persons face in the image, so you cannot see a facial expression, so the person reminds anonymous in admitting their lie (which some would not have done without). Once I had got enough photographs and audio recorded lies I spent time transcribing the comments and editing the photos in Photoshop for the web. I used Dreamweaver to create a final interactive web piece. I chose to make a roll over (photo image that swaps to another when the mouse rolls over). Some with the portrait first, some with a lie quote. This I think helps the project appear quite self explanatory at a glance and encourages the idea of the audience rolling over the image with their mouse.
The hardest thing I found in this project was getting the public to participate, as many people were reluctant to help. Luckily I had prepared myself for rejection and improved my people and persuasion skills while doing this project. It helped also that they weren’t going to be identifiable in the final work. I faced my fears and confidence issues and since this project, feel I’m now able to approach any member of the public, which I believe is a very useful skill to have.

I think my project came together really well and I’m proud of it. It think it can improve and have more impact the bigger it gets (sheer scale) and the more diverse the people and lies become. This is something I might come back to it the future so it may be an ongoing project.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Day seven...

Today I visited the Archipelago gallery where I was shown round by Rupert Wood who firstly took me around to gallery. I loved the Club Pony posters that were designed by Robin Beck and now desperately want one so I may have to revisit soon. I was then shown the workrooms where the silkscreen prints are created. Rupert explained each step they have to take to produce a print, which is a lot more complex than I first thought. It made me realise how cheap the prints were being sold for in relation to the time that has been spent on each individual print.

Once I returned back to the Site Gallery I focused on writing the Part B of my Arts Awards as my experiences and thoughts on the gallery were fresh in my head. After finishing this I then started on my Part A, getting quite a lot done. I’ve had a very productive day so am happy!

Part B...

I chose to specifically to focus my event opportunity (part B of the Arts Award) on the Archipelago gallery. We went to a lot of galleries during my time at the gallery but I wanted somewhere I hadn’t been before and I was intrigued to know the running behind this small, mostly print-based gallery. I was particularly interested in the fact it has a studio that is dedicated purely to art editioning, producing hand-pulled silk screen prints (a very traditional craft) and posters for the art market.

The work that is sold and exhibited consists of limited edition prints, original artworks and photographs that are all contemporary. Archipelago produces silkscreen prints by artists such as Kid Acne and Phlegm - local graffiti-based artists whose work is scattered all around the streets of Sheffield. I like how the gallery develops this street art into accessible prints that people can buy as a way of bringing this art inside. The gallery will take a print and reproduce a limited edition silk screen (say 100 in total) that it then sells.

Although a good idea, I do feel that bringing street based art into the gallery, away from the street context, does reduce their impact from when you might see them in physical locations. Not all of the work is like this though. The work here consisted of designers, illustrators and graphic artists which overall creates very effective pieces of work.

Rupert Wood, the founder and manager of the gallery took me around the workrooms where the silkscreen printing is produced. I did not realise how complicated and time consuming it is to make one individual image and it has made me appreciate the amount of work that goes into each print.

My favourite group of images on display were the Club Pony posters, which were quite recently part of the ‘Too Many Parties’ exhibition that the gallery held. Each of these posters were specially designed by an artist named Robin Beck. These stood out to me, as I like how they are iconic posters from the past, which will have been previously decorating the streets of Sheffield. This is another form of art that has been brought inside when originally it was supposed to be outside capturing the publics’ eye.

The images on these posters immediately captured my attention as they are quite shocking and controversial cartoons with highlight the type of people that they will once have been targeting. I think the idea of creating images from past posters is intriguing and inspiring.

When I arrived at the gallery the first thing that struck me were the premises. The traditional 19th century industrial building consisting of complex rooms all around a central courtyard immediately added character to the gallery. During my visit I found out that the building previously housed an engraving works, penknife manufactures, recording studios and a building site office, which I think emphasizes the traditional charm of the building even more.

The images up for sale were displayed all around these complex rooms, which created the impression you were in a big terraced house, highlighted by the original feature of fireplaces and old windows. The quirky yet homely atmosphere of this gallery enabled you to visualise the screen prints in your own house.

There was no show in the changing exhibition gallery at Archipelago during my visit but there was still plenty to enjoy. I was interested to find out that Kid Acne curates all of the exhibitions at the gallery. It’s good to know that local artists are actively involved with the gallery.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Day six...

This morning we went down to Yorkshire Artspace (which is where I conducted Andrews interview) and were shown round by Rachel Dodd who explained the running of the building. I found out that the Yorkshire Artspace is a building the provides affordable studio space for artists of all medias. The studios vary in size and therefore vary in price. Yorkshire Artspace also runs three Starter Studio Programmes. This is designed to help ambitious artists who are at an early stage in their career, offering workspace, equipment, mentoring business advice as well as exhibition opportunities.

Currently Emilie Taylor, who is a ceramicist, is holding an exhibition at the Yorkshire Artspace. She agreed to explain her exhibition and show us around her studio. When we went into her studio, like in Andrew Hunt's, we were greeted by another gorgeous dog. The small room was dominated by a kiln on the right-hand side, that she admitted she had only just got use to using. There were also works in preparation scattered around the room, cluttering the sideboards. She then showed us and explained to us her work in the exhibition. I was interested to find out the her work was inspired by different aspects form and function of the places we live, particularly British housing estates and our relationship to them. Her use of decorative patterns and line drawings gave her work a very contemporary feel.

In the afternoon Emily Foster came in who has just got into Sheffield Hallam University to study a Photography Degree after doing a foundation course in Doncaster. She showed us her work which was mainly photography, her specialism. Later on I continued taking images for my mini project, with help from Vicky where we ended up running after possible participants, all for a good cause though, my project is coming along nicely.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Day five...

As soon as I arrived I started to edit my interview with Andrew Hunt on audacity (with my new skills I had gained on the first day!). Due to going on a bit of a tangent at the end this took quite a long time to edit but before lunch I had a perfected my interview. I will upload the interview at a later date.

In the afternoon I started my mini project, which goes by the name of Little white liars'. I am asking members of the public the last white lie they told and then taking a picture of them with a white board in front of their face. Once I have enough images I am going to Photoshop the lies that people have told me onto the board, mixing peoples lies up. I am mixing up the lies as I want to explore the initial judgements we have of each other through the lies we tell. So I set off asking members of the public. Some were friendlier than others but I still managed to get a fair few pictures. Unfortunately the heavens opened so I had to take refuge back at the gallery. Once I was back I put my mini project to the side and I started to explain my experience, the affect it had on me and what I learnt from my interview with Andrew.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Part C...

My interview with artist, Andrew hunt:

I organised an interview with a local artist called Andrew Hunt, who works from a studio at Yorkshire Art Space. I specifically chose Andrew because I love his work as he paints people in their everyday life with a kind of humanness everyone can relate to. These figures have a lot of character which makes his work very pleasing to look at.

Before the interview I researched him and the evolution of his work through his website and what I could find out about him online. I was curious to know why he did a group of work under the name 'Tobago' as these images were unlike his other work so I wanted to know what had inspired them. There were loads of questions that the research brought up and I looked forward it asking my own which it had triggered.

Andrew was born in Chester in 1973 and grew up in North Wales. He attended Bath Academy of Art in 1992 where he studied for a degree in graphic design and illustration. In 1996 he moved to Sheffield where he has now settled. I found his choice of degree very intriguing as he is now a figurative oil painter so I would have expecting him to have done a Fine Art degree. I was also curious about why he chose to move to Sheffield.

Armed with plenty of questions Vicky and I arrived outside his studio to be greeted by an extremely cute Terrier who ran out to greet us with a collar that read 'Hi, I’m Arthur'. Andrew’s studio was just how you would imagine an art studio to be. There was a half finished canvas set up in the middle of the room, plain canvas stacked up against a wall and a large collection of dirty tea mugs all around the room. There was an old arm chair and everything was covered in paint splodges.

I immediately liked the atmosphere of his studio, it was bursting with character (accentuated by Arthur causing havoc around the room) and very welcoming. I thought these two aspects came across in Andrew's personality during the interview as well. Andrew made the interview very enjoyable as he was very honest and down to earth with his answers so I got a genuine insight into his life, work and thoughts.

I admired how truthful Andrew was when he admitted that he actually didn't like all of the work he had produced. He highlighted that undeniably it's not your personal opinion that matters about a piece of work it's the customers. I had never thought of this concept before as I had always believed that the artist must always like the work they have created, but with commissions it is surely very true as you may be working to other people’s ideas.

Andrew seemed like he had been very persistent and determined to become an artist so it was really nice to see he had succeeded and he loved his job throughout the interview. He sees his job as more of a pleasure that he gets paid for rather than work. I was also interested to find out that the group of work 'Tobago' was a commission in which he got to travel to the Caribbean, which emphasised his success as an artist. I think the most important thing i found out was that after meeting Andrew I could tell that his personality is truly reflected in his work. I really enjoyed this piece of work. Here’s the final interview I edited together:
Here are my interview questions…

This is Harriet Williams interviewing artist Andrew Hunt, as part of Site Young Apprentice Scheme.
1. How would you describe the art that you make?
2. When did you first realise that you wanted to do art as a career path?
3. Why did you choose to do a degree in graphic design and illustration?
4. You came from North Wales and you now are living and working in Sheffield, what does Sheffield have to offer you as an artist?
5. If you weren’t an artist, what do you think you would be doing?
6. When would you say you are most creative?
7. Which is your favourite piece of work you have done?
8. Out of all your exhibitions, which one has been your favourite and why?
9. Who and what inspires your work and why?
10. Why do you choose to use portraits of people in their everyday life as your subject matter?
11. You must have met some characters through your work, have you any funny stories from your experiences?
12. You did a group of paintings under the name Tobago, what inspired that work?
13. What process do you go through in your work to create your final pieces?
14. What types of art don’t you like and why?
15. What are the highs and lows of being an artist?
16. What advice for young artists?

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Day four...

Today we did film editing, using the film that we had recorded yesterday. It’s safe to say this was not my forte.. I needed an uncountable amount of help and my finished product was nothing to shout about. However, I learnt to use imovie (at its simplest) so the time was not wasted.

Later on I arranged an interview for 4:00pm with Andrew Hunt who is a local artist and painter. I love his work as he paints people in their everyday life in comical situations which everyone can relate to. I researched his career and then prepared a mix of questions, all that I was intrigued to find out.
At 4 Vicky and I, carrying two audio recorders, a camera and my questions, two doors down from the Site Gallery to Yorkshire Artspace (YAS) where Andrew Hunt has his studio. As he opened the door to his studio an extremely cute Terrier ran out to greet us with a collar that read 'Hi, im Arthur'. His studio was just how you would imagine an art studio to be. He was so down to earth which made the interview genuine and an enlightening insight into his life, work and thoughts on the world. (see my Arts Award part C for more infom!)

Today I also finalised my idea for section D for my bronze art award.. just need to get started on it!

Day three...

The first half of the day was spent editing the images we had taken yesterday on Photoshop. We were given another overload of information before we started, of a quick overview of what each button does (which is quite a remarkable amount on Photoshop). Surprisingly remembering more than I thought I would and I started my editing.

In the afternoon we were able to customize our blogs (I went for a very simplistic style as you can probably see unless I’ve changed it again). After this we were given all the information about the Arts Award and started brain-storming a range of ideas for our own self led project. Vicky showed the website, which I thought was a brilliant insight into a creative project and good for generating ideas. Even though it was at a much larger scale than is possible for me to do, it helped inspire me with my ideas.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Part A...

My challenge...
During my time at Site Gallery I wanted to learn to better understand the world of art in Sheffield. I chose this as my challenge as I felt quite naive as to what I know about my local art scene and was very intrigued to learn more about it, especially as I am thinking of studying Fine Art for a degree. To achieve this I made notes on everything I have experienced, like trips to galleries and talks and advice from artists and the staff at the gallery. At these galleries I asked questions to try and get an insight into the life of local artists and other related jobs. I also recorded the information that I learnt each day in my blog as a daily dairy.

After my two weeks of work experience I have learnt just how vast and v\aired the art scene is in Sheffield. During this time I counted ten exhibitions within the city all displaying a wide range of art forms. I visited four of these during the two weeks; the first exhibition I went round was by Haris Epaminonda, which is currently at the Site Gallery.

It was a surreal experience consisting of four different videos being played in one room with very subtle music in the background. It certainly wasn’t very self-explanatory and I wouldn’t say that I could relate to the artists’ thoughts behind this work but it was definitely an experience, which in itself highlights how her work had an effect on me. From this exhibition I learnt that you have to be very opened minded about different forms of art because even if you don’t think you understand it, it may still affect you in some way.

I then went to Emilie Taylor's ceramic exhibition in the Yorkshire Artspace (which also houses artist and maker studios). Her use of decorative patterns and line drawings give her work a very contemporary feel. I was interested to find out that her inspiration in her work was based around different aspects of the forms and functions of the places we live, particularly housing estates and their relationships with the British. She emphasised that in her work she felt that it was really important to start with a subject that you know, not a statement that you want to convey because by starting with something that you know it will subconsciously have a message behind it anyway. I was also intrigued to find out that after she had completed her Fine Art degree in fine art she had no idea what she wanted to do and ended up becoming a drugs worker. She then felt the need to learn a creative skill and started to attend a course in ceramics at a night school. Now she works on her ceramics for half the week but still has her day job. I thought it was really eye opening to learn that she has two completely different jobs but I have since found out that many arts survive like this. For example they may freelance across several jobs like Vicky and Ben do at the gallery. Emilie highlighted that this has a real positive aspect to it because she does not have to conform her ceramics to sell them.

The third gallery I visited was the Archipelago Gallery, which is what I chose to write about as my Part B section of my Arts Award. I didn’t realise there was a gallery in Sheffield that reproduces artists’ work in the exhibitions to sell via limited edition prints. And that they make and sell on it own premises. I was shown around the workshop used for the silkscreen prints and I learnt how they produce each individual print, which I found out was a very time consuming and skilled job. It made me realise how cheap the silkscreen prints were in relation to how much time was spent on each one.

The final gallery I visited was Bank Street Arts (which also houses artist and maker studios). I was interested to find out that Bank Street Arts runs a unique residency program for local artists and holds exhibitions. Currently Susannah Gent's work is being exhibited, which contains film, sculpture and taxidermy. I had never seen taxidermy in real life before and found it very fascinating but shocking at the same time. I'm not sure how I feel about taxidermy but I now appreciate the skill that is needed to preserve an animal and I agree with the concept that there is no point of throwing a dead animal away when you can make art out of it. I was interested to find out that Susannah in her work was exploring the craft of taxidermy whilst re-contextualizing the traditional focus of animals. Her work represents the dead rather than trying to preserve an essence of life in the animal, which creates a contemporary aspect to her work. She also looks at how we as humans personify animals in human ways.
All the galleries I visited operate in different ways so it’s good to know there is something for everyone. Both in the work and in what support and services they may be looking for in a gallery.

My interview with Andrew Hunt was also eye opening, as he emphasised how determined you need to be if you want a career as an artist because it is so competitive. I also thought it was interesting how Andrew chose to settle in Sheffield, as it’s not a place I would expect an artist to move to. However, where he lives is crucial in his artwork because he uses the people around him and their characteristics in his paintings and Sheffield is a friendly and down to earth place with lots of history and character. I found in fascinating just how much the area he lives in effects his artwork, highlighting that Sheffield could be a perfect place to become a successful artist.

Day two...

Today was focused on film and photography. We met a film producer/ director/ lines man called Rob Speranza who was originally from New York but ended up moving to Sheffield. Although not as glamorous, this move has turned out pretty well for him. He now is the manager of the SYFN (South Yorkshire Filmmakers Network) and has worked on many short films. We had the pleasure of watching one of his films not knowing what to expect. However, the setting of some woods and the eerie sound in the background immediately suggested that it wasn’t going to be a comedy. For a 6 mintue short I was very impressed, and a bit shaken!

We all then went to look at the Haris Epaminonda exhibition, currently at Site gallery. It was a surreal experience consisting of four different videos being played in one room with very subtle music in the background. It certainly wasn’t very self-explanatory and I wouldn’t say that I could relate the artists thoughts behind this work but it was definitely an experience which in itself highlights how her work did have an effect on me.

Later on Richard Bolam showed us some of his work, which is based around filming and also deals with the passing of time like Epaminonda’s work, but in a different way. Richard emphasizsed how the music in the background of a film can affect the end product as it can change the whole meaning of the media. After being inspired we had our own attempt of filming (regardless of the awful weather). After warming up when we got back we also had a go at doing a studio portrait shoot, which was extremely entertaining.

Day one...

The morning started off with the well known awkward silence from a group of young people that had never met before. The few minutes (that felt more like 30) sat glancing around the room and was followed by what felt like an endless amount of sheets filled with information that we were all desperately trying to take in. After our information overload, to further our knowledge of each other, what better than pairing us off to interview each other in preparation for when we will be interviewing an artist. Vicky introduced us to thinking about good interview skills and the mp3 and mic kits we’d be using. This was a perfect opportunity to delve into the questions our curiosity had been waiting to know, whilst learning how to use new technology.

The afternoon was filled with an introduction into Contemporary Art, which was explained in a presentation by Lesley Guy from Bloc Studios. This presentation enlightened me to many new artists, which to be honest, I had never heard off before. I particularly liked the work from John Stezaker, as I loved the way my initial response made me feel. Stezaker collages two completely different images, which may have captured a moment in different eras and are a different subject matter. For example, by covering the face from a picture of person with a different image of maybe a landscape, he takes people out of their comfort zone, as they are unable to judge or try and relate to the person in the image causing a very apprehensive feeling and forcing you to use your imagination when looking at his work.

After this presentation we went back to our recorded interviews we did early and were shown how to edit the pauses and mistakes on audacity. Once getting over how different you sound on the audio to how you think you should do we produced a perfected interview.