UPDATE: Friday 19th June 2020

We are reopening!

Next month the Academy will be reopening for summer school and, from September 2020, welcoming academic students back on site.

As you can imagine, the lockdown has posed challenges for us all here at the Academy but we are learning and adapting and innovating to help us keep things running as normally as possible for all our students and tutors.

Many of you on our academic programmes have undertaken assessed modules online during the lockdown, but we miss the vibrancy and creative buzz that students, staff and tutors bring to the Academy.

At a time when creativity has never been more essential and as the country prepares to ease out of lockdown we have been busy making preparations for a ‘new normal’. Our main priority, of course, is to ensure the wellbeing of our community of staff, students, tutors and models. To this end we will be running a reduced number of courses over the summer.

Going forward there will inevitably be more online and remote teaching for our academic courses. In the meantime we are making changes to our buildings to reduce any risks posed by coronavirus. So, whether you are a returning student, or a new or prospective one wanting to develop the art skills you rediscovered during lockdown, we understand you will probably have questions.

We hope that our Coronavirus FAQs are helpful to you. We have also created a dedicated Keeping the Academy Safe page that will be kept updated with the latest information.

We look forward to welcoming you on-site soon.

As you may have seen in our newsletter a couple of weeks ago, Art Academy London raised enough money to buy two 3D printers to print protective face masks for NHS staff. Donations came to over £10,000, it only took 12 hours to raise enough for one printer and another 4 to buy a second. We were really impressed and grateful for all your donations. It is evidence of the brilliant community that the Academy is a part of.

Our Sculpture Pathway Leader, Julian Wild, has printed 1000 visor bands so far. The protective equipment have since been sent to several care homes and surgeries. We are now also an NHS supplier, so our visor bands are being sent directly into an NHS pool, to be sent where they are most needed.

See the featured photos of our 3D printer and PPE in action at a care-home in Chichester. Thank you health heroes!

We are delighted to announce the winner of the Art Academy BA Prize 2020, in association with Hitachi Capital UK. Congratulations to Chikaora Obiora who wins a full scholarship for tuition fees on our BA (Hons) Fine Art course starting September 2020 for the duration of the programme.

Our inaugural prize was judged by, Rob Pepper (Principal, Art Academy London), Henry Little (Executive Director, The Fine Art Group), Kate Gordon (Founder, London Art Studies), Sid Motion (Founder, Sid Motion Gallery) and Tai Shan Schierenberg (artist).

Henry Little said of the judges decision:

We were immediately impressed by Chikaora’s technical fluency and her clear potential for the future.

Chikaora was announced as the winner at our Fundraising Auction & Dinner at Christie’s on Thursday 20th February.

At Art Academy London, we believe everyone should have access to high-quality art education. That’s why we offer art courses to suit all levels of skill and commitment, and provide bursaries to help students with tuition fees for our BA, Foundation Degree and Fine Art Foundation.

Shortlisted entrants received an Art Academy London sketchbook and drawing pack, and will have their work shown in our online gallery.

Don’t forget that you can still apply for our BA (Hons) Fine Art starting September 2020.


Apply Online Now

Our Fundraising Auction & Dinner at Christie’s Auction House on Thursday 20th February was a complete success! The evening raised over £40,000 for Art Academy London.

Six works by Academy tutors were auctioned on the evening, and another 12 of our tutor’s works were displayed on the walls for sale. Academy Pathway Leaders, Alison Hand and Julian Wild spent the day curating the artworks for display. It was incredible to see the final hang of tutor’s work under specialist lighting at the renowned auction house.

Once the evening’s (around 120) guests started arriving, the space came to life. A pop-up studio was set up in one of the anti-rooms, so that guests could do life drawing before dinner. Academy students: Suzon Lagarde, Paul Starns, Ruth Swain and Richa Vora led the life drawing.

Arlene Blankers auctioned the six artworks by Academy tutors, saying it was “the most fun” she has had as an auctioneer. Our guests took a particular shine to the evening class paintings which the Marketing Team decorated with vinyl lettering to represent 32 silent lots which were on sale. By the end of the night, the canvases were sold at auction as well!

We are so grateful to all of our donors, who are listed on the last pages of the Auction Brochure. We are also very thankful to Academy staff for all the hard work that went into the event’s organisation. It was a true highlight in the Academy calendar.

Contemporary Portraiture student Constance discusses the challenges and rewards of studying art part-time

After two years of working full-time and squeezing in the odd painting I realised I wanted to pursue art more seriously. I began exploring part-time study options in London and visited Art Academy London on a cold March afternoon. I loved what I saw. The building is a little rough around the edges, but there’s a real sense that everyone who was there really wanted to be there.

I met with Darren from the Academic team, and learnt about the flexibility of the programme, and the incredibly high amount of tutor contact time you receive. When I went home that night and discovered over Facebook that an artist I had been admiring for years occasionally works as a tutor there, I decided that this was something I really, really wanted to do.

However, knowing you want to do something and having the means to do it are different things. First off, work: Art Academy London offers a part-time course with two contact days, so I knew I’d need to quit my job and find part-time work. Then there’s the matter of course fees: the Academy has a great bursary culture, and I was lucky enough to be granted a course fee reduction, but I’d still need to fund the annual balance on a part-time salary. In the months before the course began in September, I began saving as much of my full-time wage as possible, and hunted for a new part-time role. After a few interviews, I secured one with a September start, and I just snuck into the Academy’s 2018 intake.

Working and studying part-time is incredibly rewarding but not without its challenges. In the nine months that I’ve now been with the Academy, I’ve seen my art progress in bigger leaps than ever before, and I’m so excited by the new skills I’m learning and developing. I just have to focus on that when I’m eating my fourth 45p Lidl soup of the week and trying not to think of how much of a botch job I’ve made of my DIY haircut! Of course, there will be things you miss out on and other goals, like saving for a house deposit and progressing at work, that need to be put on hold.

A saving grace has been art commissions. I began taking on portrait commissions when I was raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK in the summer before I started school. I produced four paintings, and realised I should start doing this more seriously once I was working part-time. I took the Academy’s ‘Digital Development’ module in my first term, and built my website. Since December, I’ve produced eight paintings for paying clients. Over a year, this will make me enough money to cover my course fees and keep my head above water, and it’s so rewarding that I’m actually using the skills I’m developing at Art Academy London to support myself.

Our Life Size Figure Sculpture Masterclass had some fantastic results this August! Students created a full human figure from clay, working both with a life model and self-directed without a model. Lasting four weeks, each student completed a fully formed sculpture. The finished works are a testament to the course; they are fantastic studies of the model’s form.
The Masterclass is a truly immersive experience from start to finish. Starting with the construction of a steel black iron foundation, students then used clay to build the full figure. As well as developing the technical skills of measurements, plumbing, anatomy and clay application, students honed their creative skills, developed an understanding of sculptural texture and forms, and learned how to capture the model’s unique expression. The finished sculptures were both products of anatomical study and works of art!
If you are interested in taking this class, email shortcourses@artacademy.org.uk, for more information on future course dates.

Art Academy London in partnership with The Open University is delighted to announce that it has launched its validated BA (Hons) Fine Art and Foundation Degrees in Contemporary Portraiture and Sculpture, starting September 2019. The art school and charity, based in Southwark, has worked with the Open University since 2017 to become an accredited higher education provider.

The Academy is an artist-led institution that has built a reputation for investing time in supporting each student through tailored, hands-on tuition. It offers the best of an old-school atelier combined with the vibrancy and diversity of a contemporary art school: students have the freedom to explore their own art practice while building a solid foundation of both traditional and contemporary skills, and learning about the practicalities of working in the creative industries through Professional Development modules.

Rob Pepper, Principal, Art Academy London says:

“This is a real testament to the quality of us as an institution and the art education we offer. We’re delighted to bring a new BA and Foundation Degree to the table, offering art students something different: a tailored course designed and delivered by practising artists.”

“We truly believe in art education for all, which is why we’re offering every first-year student joining our BA or Foundation Degree in September 2019 access to the AAL Academic Bursary for the duration of their programme. This will significantly reduce our fees to below the national average for degrees, breaking down yet another barrier for students looking for quality arts education.”

The Academy has also recently launched its Honorary Advisory Council to support it as it seeks to broaden its reach, its resources and its facilities. The Council is comprised of a host of leading figures, both within the art world and in a diverse range of other industries., including Jo Baring.

Jo Baring, Director, The Ingram Collection comments:

“The Academy has been self-sustaining for almost 20 years and it’s an exciting time to be a part of its growth. This partnership with the Open University will allow the Academy to open up its unique teaching approach to even more students.”

Applications are currently open – more information about the programmes and bursary can be found at theartacademy.wpengine.com/which- programme/

Thank you to everyone who came to our 2019 Graduate Show, which celebrated the hard work and achievements of our graduating Diploma, Fine Art Foundation and Certificate students.

Our private views, held on 3rd and 11th July, were buzzing with interest about our graduates’ work. Artworks were exhibited across the three floors of our Newington campus building, covering a wide range of media and subjects.

The first private view included a speech from Academy Trustee and Managing Director of Cityscape Digital, Damien Fennell, who spoke about art and industry. Principal Rob Pepper announced the Trustee’s Prize winners: Elaine Hanlon won the Trustee’s Foundation Prize for her installation piece ‘Obstreperous Lady’ which included an impressive printed wall hanging that was commended for being both humorous and thought-provoking. Julia Thompson won the Trustee’s Certificate Prize for her striking oil on board portrait ‘Small World’ (congratulations Elaine and Julia!).

The Diploma private view saw Henry Little, Academy Trustee and Associate Director at the Fine Art Group, providing words of advice for our emerging artists. With all the fantastic work on display, our Trustees had a tough job of selecting the Trustee’s Prize winners: congratulations to Contemporary Portraiture student Chantal AuCoin and Diploma students Charlotte Smith. Chantal’s triptych ‘Creation of Human 2.0’ and ‘Cincinnatus’ questioned the influence of technology on today’s society, while Charlotte’s mixed media installation incorporated text and sculpture. Congratulations also to Idris Woodroffe, whose collection of abstract paintings exploring how our minds perceive experiences, won the Natwest Prize.

We also had an impressive collection of artworks on display at the Print Show, two of which won prizes from our sponsors: Elizabeth Dawson won the Intaglio Printmaker Prize for Outstanding Print with her soft ground etching ‘Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere, Mata Hari’, and Emma Lucia Reyes won the John Purcell Paper Prize for her woodcut ‘Underworld.’

This year’s exhibition included a number of inspiring works, with many sharing some really moving messages. The show marked a significant stage in our graduates’ aspiring careers, which we are very excited to be a part of. Congratulations to all of our graduates for putting on such a great show!

Well done to Sculpture degree student Jo Holt, the winner of the 2019 Surrey Sculpture Prize! Her piece, ‘Eye of the Beholder,’ comments on the tragedy of coral bleaching and the brilliance of biofluorescence, and explores how a change of perspective can bring life into a new light. Jo was awarded £500 cash, a 12-month membership to the Surrey Sculpture Society and a future exhibition opportunity.
Another entry noted by the judges was Masa Travijanin’s ‘Inverted.’ Masa’s sculpture began as a layered latex cast of her body, which she then cut up and embroidered, incorporating textiles, jewellery and make up. The piece was acknowledged for its imaginative framing showing the embroidering aspect of self-presentation.
Alexanda Rendle-Short’s piece ‘Beginning of life,’ a series of black clay coiled pots, was also recognised for its representation of DNA through the varying clay shapes.
Thank you to everyone who entered their sculptures for the prize, and congratulations again to Jo for winning!

Join us in congratulating AAL Contemporary Portraiture student Paul Starns, who won the AAL Drawing Prize 2019 (of £100) with his fantastic life model drawing. Paul’s drawing was commended for its formal accuracy by judge Brendan Kelly.
We had a number of excellent submissions this year: honourable mentions included Emily Russel’s non-figurative piece, which Brendan felt respected the two-dimensional nature of drawing; Fiona Feng’s life model drawing, which was noted for its consistency and skill; and Minnie Scott’s piece, the only entry which used colour, which was deemed ‘creative, energetic and fearless’.
Thank you to everyone who entered, and congratulations to our prize-winner Paul!