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Meet Emma Corrall

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Published date 03 February 2015

Emma Corrall studied for a BA (Hons) in Painting at Camberwell College of Arts in 2009, and also graduated with a Fine Art MA from Central Saint Martins in 2014.  She has recently been selected for the Catlin Guide 2015, which is a focus on forty outstanding recent graduate and postgraduate artists from UK art Schools.

Emma Corrall

What inspired you to study Fine Art at Central Saint Martins?
Central Saint Martins appealed to me because I knew it attracted the most ambitious of creative minds across many different disciplines. I have a multidisciplinary practice so this was important to me. The environment is also very rigorous and forward thinking and as a result of sharing a space that presents such a variety of working methods and creative opportunities, you have to work hard to find your own route. Due to the scale of the building and the number of staff and students, I felt this would prepare me for the professional world, more so than a smaller inward looking institution.


Did you form any useful relationships while studying at CSM?
I met so many people during my time at CSM, some of whom are my dearest friends now. Working with technicians is so useful, they are very busy people, but even just a couple of words from them could question and shift my thinking. Perhaps this is because I don’t have a very logical mind, but I love to hear how things should or could be done even if it isn’t the route I take.


What were/are your favourite places in London?
I think the fact that I am constantly discovering new favourite places is what keeps me in London. Every time I find one it feels like a personal discovery, yet so many people are in on it. I will mention 575 Wandsworth Road though, I think that will be a new discovery for many. 575 Wandsworth Road is a house recently taken over by the National Trust that exemplifies Khadambi Asalache’s (a Kenyan-born poet, novelist, philosopher of mathematics and British civil servant) uncompromising, all consuming artistic vision for life.

On Baking A Cake(detail)

Tell us about your progression from painting to video?
My undergraduate degree was in painting at Camberwell College of art.  Painting always seemed a very self aware medium, and I became more interested in this concept than the references the painted marks made. Paintings used to inform the objects I made, expanding on their material nature eg. cast prisms made from the same pigment used to stain the canvas. I began to find this limiting as painting always dominated the conversations created. Video can be considered a more everyday medium, there no longer needs to be a special occasion for a video to be made, so the videos I make now provide a more democratic tableau for the expanded field of objects to gravitate towards.


What are you working on now?
I am really excited by ceramics and have been working on a series of cast coconuts and other ‘exotic’ fruits. I’m also editing a film using footage of a performance in a very ‘aspirational’ landscaped garden. The concept of life style branding consumes a lot of my thoughts; the idea of designed goals for self-presentation and how one should visually operate in the world seems to be an oxymoron, so poor taste and low-grade materials provide a kind of rebellion against this.


How did you get selected for the Catlin guide?
Justin Hammond selects artists that stood out to him during the degree shows, his motivation and drive to seek out new work takes him to colleges across the UK. It is a fantastic privilege to be alongside the other artists selected.


Tell us more about the Helen Scott Lidgett Studio award… How were you selected for it?
The award is a collaboration with Brunswick Arts and Acme. It aims to provide a bridge between art school and practice as a professional artist by awarding a rent-free studio for 12 months together with a bursary, and the opportunity to access curators, other professional artists and networking opportunities. We were asked to submit an application that outlined our intentions for the year, proposed benefits to our practice and our portfolios. Once our written applications were reviewed an interview took place with a panel comprising Julia Lancaster (Acme Studios), Prof Graham Ellard (Central Saint Martins), Charlie White (Helen Scott Lidgett’s son) and Lindsay Seers (external artist). 


What are your plans for the next few years?
I have a solo show coming up at the end of my residency in September in the acme project space. Largely my main focus for the next few years is to keep up the momentum the award has given me to pursue a dynamic practice.


What or who inspires you?
The relationship people have to materials. Yesterday I saw a woman who’s handbag strap had broken, it seemed like she had fixed it by tying every hair band she could get her hands on around it.  I’ve been knotting materials together and bandaging them up in the studio ever since.