Coming from Dorset, I initially looked at all the famous universities like Central St Martins and all the UAL schools. You have to search for The Art Academy. But one thing that really drew me it, was the fact that Tai-Shan Schierenberg was head of painting at The Art Academy. I thought ‘Wow; why haven’t I heard about this place?’ Then when I came to visit I really liked the atmosphere and the ethos of the art school, and that was it.
For me, your Foundation year should be a year when you can have fun and explore with Art. Its before you go to University, so it’s a year to decide what path you want to follow. I always knew that I wanted to do art but I wasn’t sure what medium I was most drawn to. I wanted a year to experiment with different mediums, which is what attracted me to the way that The Art Academy Foundation is structured.
On The Art Academy Foundation you start by doing different components, which give you a rough outline of each medium. You do: Life Drawing, Life Painting, Printing, Sculpture and Film. You get a taste of everything and after that you get to chose your own pathway. The nice thing about the component structure is learning from teachers who are also professional artists. You see their name against the components they teach, you look them up and research their work, so you can than chose your pathways to fit with the teachers and the work that inspires you.
On Fridays you have personal project days, where you can do anything you like! You can do what ever drives you and The Art Academy will just support you. This is what will develop into your graduate show. I went in being a strict painter, and I’ve come out really into film. So The Art Academy have opened my eyes to a new medium. I did the film component and just started by making short films. Initially I wasn’t sure about the sitting in front of a screen thing. But in the end I found it really rewarding, gathering the footage, seeing things that you’ve filmed yourself, and editing it into a whole new piece. There was something in that process that I really liked and I carried on. It culminated in my final piece for the show, an observational documentary, and will continue now that I have got into the Slade School of Fine Art to do a BA in Fine Art.
For me, the best bits about The Art Academy are the really great tutors, like Lynn and Alex. But it’s also a lovely place to be. It’s right between London Bridge and Borough. There are lots of places to hang out. It’s definitely a really nice spot. Everyone here is friendly, grounded and everyone really gets on. It’s a small community, so it feels kind of like a family environment. Every day you see a familiar face. Its really nice seeing people go places with their work, seeing how their work develops and seeing what kind of art people are inspired by. You feed off it.