From an early age I have been fascinated by 3D forms and how different materials and processes can affect my perception and engagement with them. In the 1990s, I started to explore my own creativity and loved the process of making sculptures. After a life-changing experience, it became to clear to me that I wanted to develop my artistic side and be challenged to explore my practice.
Finding a course that focuses on the actual making of sculptures is very difficult these days, so discovering the Academy was very exciting. The Sculpture programme offers so many opportunities to explore a wide range of skills, processes and media through the Elective Skills Workshops and Studio Practice. The course is really well structured, with close teaching and personalised feedback by experienced and practising artists. I believe that the focus on preparing students for future work is unique to the Art Academy and essential in anyone’s development as a working sculptor. The Professional Development module is a fascinating part of the course, introducing you to sections of the creative industries and hearing from artists about how to develop a career.
Having input from others, including students, has challenged my thinking and offered me new ways of seeing and doing things; it is always done in an incredibly supportive way. It is interesting to hear how my work is perceived and has made me reflect on what I am trying to achieve and the concepts that I am working with. I am developing a language to discuss, explain and critically assess my work, which is invaluable in order to grow and develop as an artist.
I have also become interested in understanding how my work fits in to current sculpture practice and how to make it relevant to audiences of today and the future. Tutors have an incredible knowledge of other artists and it has been fantastic to re-discover artists and be introduced to so many new ones. I am looking at art in an entirely different way now and enjoying the research that comes with the advice.
My expectations of the course were surpassed within the first few months and I still can’t believe how rapidly my practice and thinking has developed. It has opened my eyes to different ways of thinking and interpreting my ideas, and I have started using materials I never thought I would. I wanted my work to become less figurative but am surprised how quickly I have done that and with a confidence I did not know I had. I could not have done all these things without the insights and support offered by the Academy.
Having started the course for personal reasons, my confidence is growing exponentially and I am now starting to believe that I could become a practising sculptor!