Monthly Archives: August 2012

SPOTLIGHT: Rebecca Foster

Tell us a little about yourself Rebecca?

I am a fine artist with an MA in Drawing from Wimbledon School of Art.

My current artistic practice involves the appropriation of pre-existing and original images, transforming them into a new whole. I work in drawing, painting, photography and film and these media often overlap in my work. I am interested in the beauty of the everyday, unexpected juxtapositions of images and repetition of form.

Alongside working as an artist my background is in producing, art directing, graphic design and prop making on a number of feature films, commercials and TV productions for the BBC, Channel 4 and independent film companies.

I studied at Central St Martins and Wimbledon School of art and my work has been exhibited internationally. I was BAFTA nominated for my work on the Children’s BBC art show ‘SMart’ and received full funding for my MA from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

What inspires your work?

My work is inspired by the sheer amount of images and messages we are bombarded with everyday. I like seeing connections between images I find and working out ways of making these images relate to each other. I am inspired by everything I see and hear!! I truly believe everything I experience goes into my art.

You juxtapose contrasting images on one canvas in your series of oil paintings, what is the idea behind this?

Initially I began the process of juxtaposing images when I started working with mirrors. I created an installation inspired by a Rilke Poem – You Who Never Arrived, when I documented this work I began taking photos through the mirrors. I liked these results and experimented more with mirrors: juxtaposing 2 views within the same image (Urban Beauty Spots – Red) . This then developed into combining found objects and images which I then painted.

Are you working on any projects at the moment?

At the moment I am working on a series of work I’m making with my scanner which I will later paint.

What does the future have in store for you?

I am working hard at trying to get my work into gallery exhibitions and taking on portrait commissions as this is something I really love to do!

More of Rebecca’s work can be found here


SPOTLIGHT: UK Young Artist Ami Barnes

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How did you get involved with UKYA?

After university, I started submitting work to as many competitions and galleries as I could. I found it hard to find competitions that would accept video based photographic work – but as UKYA called for all entries, it was precisely the sort of platform I hoped to get my work shown.

Your series based around first dates is an interesting concept, please tell us about it?

The first date series was my response to a couple of coinciding situations – I found myself in Marseille, on a month long workshop under Antoine D’Agata, two months after the ending of a 5 year relationship. I wanted my work to enable me to reach out to people and this situation allowed me to make contact and have some meaningful human interaction. The two most important things for me during the creation of this work was that I was about to recognise each date as individual, I wanted to share something for myself and to have something shared with me in return. I needed to feel that I had the right to share these encounters; a lot of it relies on trust. A less emotional answer to this question can be found on my website.

Are you working on any projects at the moment? Tell us about it/them?

I’m always taking pictures but ‘first dates’ was such an upheaval, I subsequently found it hard to produce work which means as much to me. I loved that work from its conception, and fitting such immersive forms of working into everyday life has proved quite difficult. One thing that has come out of it is an increased enjoyment of creating in close collaboration with people who I trust and who trust me. I am starting to put the images of a potential new series on my blog, but don’t quite know where it’s going yet. I am excited about the process of making and putting things together again.

What would you say is your biggest photographic aspiration/goal?

The most important thing I can achieve through photography is my continuing sanity – photography played a massive part in the recovery from my eating disorders and depression. I use it to help moderate my moods even years later (My blog has more info). I hope to continue making work that has the power to affect people; I want people to experience an emotional response when they see my work. I am also currently attempting to make myself into a suitable candidate for a Masters in Art Therapy. Art can be such a positive force for change and I would love the opportunity to do that professionally.

For more of Ami’s work click here

SPOTLIGHT: Previous UK Young Artist Sarah Mei Herman

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

How did you get involved with UKYA?

I found out about the UKYA competition through the Royal Collage of Art, London, where I was studying at the time. I applied with some of my work and was selected for the event in Derby in 2010.

Your work centres around the relationships between people. Was this always an interest of yours or did it start with the relationship between your younger brother and your father?

During my studies for my BA degree, I experimented with double-portraiture and started photographing some of my friends together with their brothers or sisters. For my graduation I worked on two different projects; ‘Oma Belle’, a series about my grandmother, father and half-brother and ‘First Loves’, a series about young couples. I developed a deep fascination for relationships between people during this time.

Has photography always been an important part of your life? When did you realize it would be your chosen career?

I only started photographing when I was 18 or 19. I remember being fascinated by the idea of being a ‘photographer’ from a young age. My mother was always taking photos, so I grew up with photography. After high school I studied philosophy for a year, which I loved, but realised I wanted to go to art school. During a trip to my father’s home country, South Africa, I started photographing obsessively and came home with about 40 films. That year I applied to The Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the Hague, where I studied for my Photography BA from 2001-2005

Other than your ongoing projects exploring human relationships, do you have any projects you are working on or planning?

My Series ‘First Loves’ is currently being exhibited at the 8th International Biennial of photography and Visual Arts at the Museum of Modern Art in Liege. I am planning to extend the idea of ‘First Loves’, to photographing young couples in different countries and explore the different ways in which young adolescents experience their first encounters with love. Right now I’m working on a collaboration where I am portraying fathers with their daughters.

To see more of Sarah’s work click here

SPOTLIGHT: Previous UK Young Artist Steve Poxson

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Strand Gallery has had the chance to catch up with a couple of the previous UKYA participants to ask them a few questions about their art and their experience exhibiting at such a prestigious event.

How did you get involved with UKYA?

Back in 2010, a few of my friends had mentioned they had been involved in earlier projects run by the group…been taken out of the UK and had been given the chance to meet other artists and display their work to a wider audience. I just finished a new series of work based on my degree show, ‘Abnormal Beauty’, so thought I would enter for the Derby event as I thought it would be a good place to get shown for the first time.

Your series ‘Abnormal Beauty’ is unusual and intriguing; tell us about the ideas behind the project?

It began back at University while I was writing my dissertation on the idea of hyper-reality. I was interested in the idea of the perfect image and how it could be captured, so I began to experiment with an ordinary flat bed scanner as a way of capturing images. I placed objects directly onto the glass and scanned them at a very high resolution. The images had a unique quality to them and a limitless level of detail, allowing me to examine objects more closely. I began scanning unusual objects, objects that would repulse people (eg. Pighearts, brains, bones etc.). I found a strange kind of beauty in them; and by juxtaposing them with other items I created vast patterns to entice a viewer, bringing them closer to see the beauty. I took the idea further and played with insects and meat to create epic patterns to draw people into the beauty of the detail of these grotesque objects. The ongoing experimentation is about playing with the process of photography and trying to find a beauty or something alluring about the hyper reality that has been captured.

Has photography always been an important part of your life? When did you realize it would be your chosen career?

Photography has always been a big part of my life. I used to love going through old photos that relatives had taken; my Granddad used to photography flowers as a hobby and he had a great collection of slides. It wasn’t until I was 14 that I thought of picking up a camera myself; at school I said I wanted to be a photographer, I hadn’t really thought about it before. I then started photographing things around me, which at that point tended to be skateboarders and bands. I took A-Level photography and had a passionate teacher, Mr. Lanchini – who inspired me to experiment with the medium itself. Having someone talk so passionately with so much knowledge, really got me thinking about possibilities and pushed me to do new things, playing with photography to take it further.

Are you working on any other projects at the moment? Tell us about it/them?

I am working on several projects; ‘Meat’ is a continuation of the ‘Abnormal Beauty’ series – looking at natural patters, colours and textures formed from scanning raw pieces of meat and breaking the patterns up with manmade ones to collage. I am also documenting a WWII airstrip close to my home, given the name Ghost Town, by local children. I hope to create a series that explore it with an accompanying video, to explore the history of the area. Video is something I would like to explore further as well as looking at how I can introduce pattern and digital collage into different scenes. This has taken the form of collaboration with musicians Michael Liggins and Pale Tide.

To see more of Steve’s work click here

EXCLUSIVE: World Event Young Artists

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here at The Strand Gallery, we’ve been following the work of an exciting event that is coming to Nottingham in September 2012. World Event Young Artists (WEYA) is the first of its kind; a global event that will showcase a selection of the most creative talent on an international scale. It will explore the work of 1000 artists, from 100 different countries, in 1 city. These Young Artists will have a once-in-a-life-time opportunity to come together to share their creativity on an international platform. It will allow the chance of international exchange on a global scale, bringing together an intercultural dialogue across political borders as well as showcasing the practice of some of the most talented young artists the world has to offer. These factors have allowed the creation of an unforgettable experience for all of those who are taking part, generating a remarkable exhibition for an audience of art lovers.

WEYA is being hosted by UKYA (UK Young Artists), a wonderful organisation which works nationally and internationally to showcase young, creative practitioners between the ages of 18-30. The organisation works to produce exhibitions showcasing outstanding works of art from all different art forms. UKYA has been able to build an extensive group of young artists and an event such as WEYA, which thrives upon discussion and collaboration, provides networking opportunities and encourages future partnerships between like minded artists from across the globe.

World Event Young Artists 2012 is hosted by UK Young Artists and supported by Arts Council England, Cultural Olympiad East Midlands, Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham City Council.

Keep posted this week as we will be launching a few in depth snippets of some of our favourites from the UKYA event in 2010.

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW: The Strand Gallery partners with Faris Badwan for new exhibition

Here at The Strand Gallery, we are very excited to announce our forthcoming exhibition which will be running from 18th – 30th September 2012. Creatures in Colour: Sketchbooks from Faris Badwan, is a collection of the artist’s intricate, dreamlike ink drawings, alongside new works in watercolour.

Faris Badwan is frontman of The Horrors and his unique artwork has adorned the album covers of The Horrors, Hatcham Social and The Charlatans.He studied at St Martin’s college of Art and has documented his entire life through drawing. Faris has identified the accidental and the obsessive nature of his work as ‘hypnotic’ states of concentration which go hand-in-hand with unintentional smudges and slips of the pen.

The exhibition maps the progression from Faris’ early pen and ink sketches, through to bold, new pieces in watercolour and acrylic.

Faris: The Creatures in Colour will be compiled from sketchbooks I’ve been keeping over the last couple of years. I draw all the time and as a result the books end up documenting everything. Aside from the visual diary aspect, The Strand Gallery will be exhibiting new unseen paintings and drawings more focused around colour and technique. There were ideas in the last exhibition that I wanted to develop and expand upon, and a lot of the mark-making in the new work is more expressive and intense.”

Creatures in Colour: Sketchbooks from Faris Badwan will be showing at The Strand Gallery 18th – 30th September 2012