Mermaid Court, 165A Borough High Street, London, SE1 1HR
2 Years (Full Time), 4 Years (Part Time)
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The Figurative Sculpture Diploma has been carefully designed to ensure students are introduced to the wide variety of subjects and issues specific to developing a sculptural practice. Skills classes run over the two year cycle, following a planned curriculum designed to ensure students gradually build the necessary techniques as they progress through the programme. Taking a mix of recommended and optional classes, students choose from a vast array of different approaches to sculpture, including essential techniques, structural skills and health and safety issues.
In Level One students are encouraged to experiment widely with techniques and approaches to sculpture. At its core, the course takes students through a structured, bespoke programme of portrait and figure sculpture, the language of form and sculptural techniques. Over Levels One and Two, further classes extend students’ sculptural skills and language, covering a wider range of issues including; armature making, measurement and anatomy in technical figure and portrait sculpture, expressive and dynamic figure work, language of form and materials, waste moulding and reusable mould making, plaster and resin casting, pigments, colouring and patination, large scale site specific projects, ceramics and mixed media figurative sculpture. In addition to this wide variety of sculpture classes, students may opt to take classes in another discipline, such as painting, print-making or digital studies, to complement their study of figurative sculpture.
Studio practice classes at this level support the beginnings of creative and contextual research through a series of projects which encourage students to explore their personal creative motivations, how to use formal, artistic language within figurative sculpture and the relationship between the material and conceptual exploration of a creative idea. Our programme of digital workshops in Level One introduces students to basic digital techniques, giving them the skills to manipulate photographic imagery as a tool to assist in their image making and presentation of their work. Professional development sessions begin the process of preparing students for the issues they would need to consider if they were later to go on to seek work as a sculptor. This programme is completed in Level Two, covering issues such as marketing, working with galleries, writing an artist’s statement and building a website.
During Level Two there is a shift in emphasis towards greater self reflection and analysis. Skills components support the further refinement of each student’s technique. Studio practice work challenges students to take on a site specific commission, with tutor support and peer review as they negotiate the relationship with their client and balance the client’s needs with their own creative process, addressing the complex variety of issues involved in such a project as a sculptor, including health and safety concerns. For the subsequent projects during this level, the focus is on each individual student’s own artistic practice as they develop their ideas and personal language, whilst undertaking a more in-depth analysis of the art historic and wider context for their work. A short essay, on a topic relevant to the individual student’s interests, is completed between Levels One and Two to support this work. The conclusion of the Professional Development programme during this level completes the preparation of students for life after the Academy.
The Figurative Sculpture Diploma is assessed by a board including members of the Royal British Society of Sculptors and the Society of Portrait Sculptors, with the highest proportion of the assessment focusing on the Graduate show. This is the highlight of each year at the Art Academy, with Figurative Sculpture Diploma students showing alongside Fine Art Diploma and Contemporary Portrait Diploma students, creating a varied, exciting and accomplished exhibition. The show attracts huge numbers of visitors, including representatives from the professional art world. Preparation for the show requires students to consider carefully all aspects of their practice, with a particular focus on how to present and curate their work, as well as how to promote themselves as emerging artists.
Whilst the Figurative Sculpture Diploma is a two-year course full time (or four years part time), there is the option of a further year of study, aimed at enabling students better to reflect on the skills and creative insight gained during their previous two intensive years of study.
The emphasis at this level is on self directed studio practice, enabling students to explore and develop thoroughly their own interests and individual artistic voice within sculpture. Continuing support is provided in the form of regular group critiques and personal tutorials as students explore further their own practice, refine their artist’s statement and fully prepare for the life of a sculptor after leaving the Academy. Discretionary skills classes are available to enable students fully to hone their techniques and approaches to sculpture within this challenging genre.