Also if you like taxidermy, I one hundred percent recommend going to the Museum of Everything (3) in Primrose Hill which has been curated by Sir Peter Blake (and also check out his daughter Rose, who is a sick illustrator). One room has his collection of taxidermy which is mind blowing plus lots of other treats. Also you can get a copy of Circus magazine from the shop there, which is a wicked read!
This post is going to be very unusual compared to what is normally put on this blog. But I think it would be really cool to tell you about the course I'm doing at the moment because it is the time of year when people are applying and enough time has passed for me to make fair comments and judgements about where I am studying. Because last year, when I was applying, my school was so hopeless at giving advice about going to art, all they cared about were people who wanted to be doctors, vets or lawyers ... so here is some alternative advice!
I am currently studying art foundation, which is a one year course designed to prepare you to degree-level art and design programmes. It gives you a chance to experiment in areas you haven't tried yet, would like to try and also provide a strong portfolio of work for degree interviews (compared to one made solely from art a level work) as well as helping you choose which course/area of interest you wish to take further. Essentially it allows you to totally loosen up and experiment as much as you want before you enter a three year degree.
Kingston University is where I am undertaking this course. In all honesty I didn't think I would get onto this course as 1 in 16 people get in (compared to Chelsea where it is about 1 in 3, where I got rejected from). There are three reasons I think the art foundation at Kingston really stands out
1. SIZE - my course currently only has 116 people on it, which is minute for an art school - considering Central St Martins has 600 on foundation and Camberwell has about 400. For me, the size of this course is great because you can really get a grasp of how other people work and you don't feel particularly anonymous. Also this means that the tutors and course directors know personally who everyone is and I think this is fantastic because it is so important to have good relationships with people who work with you.
2. STUDIO SPACE - unlike other foundation courses, Kingston provides each student with their own individual studio space, which is awesome. This means that there is no pressure to leave early, so the next stream of people can enter the workspace. Also it allows you to feel totally comfortable and prepare you for the environment that you will find on degree, rather than being overwhelmed.
3. CONTACT TIME - during the diagnostic period we are required to be in the studios from 9.30 - 5pm five days a week at least (this drops to four, after the diagnostic stage). Personally, I think this is great as I can't imagine anything worse than being on a course where the staff want you off the premise or if you start at 11am or something ridiculous. Time is so precious and so much can be achieved in a day.
This time last year when I was thinking about applying I remember being super stressed because I didn't do art a-level or even art gcse. So my portfolio was purely made up of work that I had made in my free time or on courses. I suppose this gave me a lot to talk about in interviews, rather than saying that a certain piece came out how it did because an art teacher told me to do it like that. Self-motivated work is fantastic, you can show what interests you, how you work independently and that you are the kind of person who doesn't sit around complaining about not knowing what to do. All course want people who are k-e-e-n! Also look over your portfolio a million times and show it to lots of people and ask their opinions. Because Chelsea and Central St Martins do not do interviews, you drop your portfolio off, pick it up three hours later and they decide whether to let you in without even seeing your pretty little face! So make sure things make sense, you won't be there to explain anything to them, so clarity in choices and presentation is important.
Choosing which colleges to apply for is a ruddy nightmare. In terms of art foundations there are no restrictions to the number of course which you can apply to , but in UAL (London College of Fashion, Central St Martins, Byam Shaw, Camberwell, Chelsea, Wimbledon and London College of Communication) you can only apply to one of their colleges. Several of my mates are at LCC, but on their foundation course you do not get a diagnostic stage, you choose your specialism prior to starting and dedicate the whole year to that area whether it is photography or graphic design. On the other hand one of my friends goes to Byam Shaw which has a purely fine art foundation, which I would hate - but he absolutely loves it - spending time in different aspects of fine art. Totally go to as many open days as possible, the more you see of a place, the more you get to understand it.
So far on my course, I am at the diagnostic stage. Basically you get to try out six subject areas in five day blocks and at the end you choose one to specialise in.
- Fine art
- 3D design
But these vary from course to course. For example, at Kingston "textilles" isn't an area you can specialise in, but if you choose fine art you can work in such mediums.
Anyway, this post has been longer than I intended it to be and I don't think I've covered everything.
I hope that it has been useful for at least some people - sorry if you read this for no reason!
And if you have any questions please feel free to ask and I'll get back to them.
Today I started studying moving image/animation, with my class. By next Wednesday I have to produce an animation (minimum of 20 seconds with at least 12 frames/second!), which I think is sooo exciting.
They showed us this one guy PES who is an utter ledge, some of his animations are below ...