The Story of Art School and the Red Tape

With the degree show just over the hill and everyone around me starting to get tense I find myself dealing with institutionalized red tape (a-fucking-gain). Why do we student artists have to deal with so many barriers when all we are trying to achieve is some form of conclusion to the past four years of blood, sweat, and tears.

Let me put this in context for you. I, for my degree show, have proposed to exhibit four works, two instillations, one photographic/sound piece, and one performance. Originally I proposed to hold most of these within the building at Grays (excluding one of the instillations), but later decided to adapt one of the works so that it could be held outside so not to take up space unnecessarily for a one-off performance. Personally I thought I was being considerate, doing both the school and my fellow students a favour. But all I have seemed to have encountered after proposing this is a massive pile of the proverbial ‘red tape’. Their response was this…

“Anything between both buildings for the duration of the show is problematic – power, security, equipment left outside overnight etc etc…. The quad is a more controllable and safe area but it’s starting to get busy in there.”

I really think they failed to understand the whole notion of this being a ‘one-off’ performance. I only plan to do the performance once… I say again once. Not for the “duration of the show”. And I am now being encouraged not to do the work, something I have spent a long time researching, organizing, and developing so that it could be accommodated. Their main concerns seem to be power, equipment, and that ultimate failure of legislation, health and safety (the legislation of common sense). And I am still unsure as to what major health and safety issues I will encounter. Someone tripping on the cables? Someone eating a cable? Both seems as likely to me. For me it seems to be a waste of both my time and my energy to put so much into this for it to be cancelled just because their worried someone might cause themself a ‘You’ve Been Framed’ moment.

The next problem was the suggestion to hold it in the quad. As I explained in both my proposals is that this performance is extremely loud and would therefore impose on the other work being held there, another reason I considered and the main reason I asked to do it outside the Grays building.

Basically I think the only thing that is causing any problems with this work is the school seeming inability to both understand what I am proposing and they’re lack of encouragement. They clearly have ‘better’ things to deal with. All I want is to feel I achieved something with my time at Grays, and to be able to share that with the public (the whole point in making art, no?)

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My Culture This Weekend 2

BP Portrait Awards @ The Dean Gallery.

Don’t really need to explain what this was all about, the names fairly self explanatory.

Personally I didn’t agree with the judges decisions. The first prize was a dull, and ill-conceived, painting of the artist’s (Peter Monkman) daughter trying to capture the essence of the end of youth, as the daughter is 13 in the picture. A lifeless, slightly abstract portrait with very little texture is what it really was, and it being placed next to a A0 photo-realistic painting of an elderly woman, which was a beautiful example of painting skill, didn’t do it any favours.

There was plenty of other examples of brilliant painting though out the exhibit, like the winner of the Young Artist Award, Mark Jameson. His portrait of his younger sister is a scarily realistic, jumping out of the canvas, a tribute to modern youth culture. There was also a painting by a former Grays student of his deceased wives father after an open-heart surgery. The image has a ghostly quality, the ghastly scar a dark tribute to the physical turmoil of such an extreme surgery.

The cover artist Edward Sutcliffe’s painting ‘On Assi Ghant’ was easily my favourite, its photo-realism leaping bounds beyond anything I’d ever seen! Its the first painting you encounter on your entry to the gallery space and you spend a lifetime trying to convince yourself that its not a photograph, everyone standing around you in as much awe as yourself, over hearing all the comments “that can’t be a painting”. The subject of the painting, a elderly Indian artist, expression is one extreme contemplation, years of knowledge captured in the layers of paint.

Mutiny @ The Art School, Glasgow

A massive night! Was amazing to see the whole BBL rig in action!

My culture this weekend

Toby Patterson @ Fruitmarket Gallery
An interesting exhibit of paintings, installations, and photography. Patterson captures the simplicity of the geometric shapes we introduce to our surroundings with our architecture. His work is the deconstruction of these spaces, extracting a simplistic beauty from post-modern architecture which we would otherwise overlook.
I wasn’t sure about the work at first but once you emerse yourself within the exhibit his work has a profound beauty.


Kenny Ken @ JungleDub
A fun night of old school Jungle business! Spent most of the night looking after the soundsystem though, but at least it was a sexy void rig 🙂