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BA Fine Art: Painting students prepare for the UAL Graduate Showcase
Final year BA Fine Art: Painting students at Camberwell College of Arts are approaching the last few weeks of their course, with recent current work in progress leading into preparations for the UAL Graduate Showcase 2021.
We spoke to 2 students: Leon Barnard and Ellie Home, who have found that their current work has been influenced by their home environments and focuses on places, people and domestic spaces.
Adapting their practices due to working almost completely virtually over the last year Leon and Ellie have found the outcomes of their projects have been centring around film, sound and performance-based work.
Having been unable to access the college for most of the year due to COVID-19 restrictions, I have found myself gravitating towards a practice centred around the media, and source material in my immediate environment, which happens to be my childhood. -home. This has taken the form of video and sound work, in dialogue with found-material sculptures.
I’ve found that YouTube is an ideal platform through which I can share my work. It’s a platform and medium that so many of us use in our daily lives, which has an accessibility that has proven so useful, especially when getting quick feedback from friends, tutors and anyone who might stumble across it. I tend to upload all my video works to the site, and I enjoy the way that I can curate a running retrospective of all that I’ve created up to this point, almost like a digital sketchbook.
Over the course of this final year, much of my work has looked at the relationship I have with my mother. Having been diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2019, she continued to swim at every possible opportunity at the concrete beach in Leasowe, which looks out to the Irish sea.
Last summer, I decided to film her on her daily swims, collecting hundreds of hours of footage, sharing her company with cups of tea, and - when I was feeling brave - the occasional dip. Using all this footage, I have tried to create a record of that summer whilst discussing ideas of inheritance, and the liminal landscape, both physical and imagined, as we discussed what might be left after she was gone.
I like to see my work as a form of beachcombing, tracing back across the shore to find fragments offered up by the retreating tide in front. For my final piece, I plan to show a short film recalling these moments, composing a sound work to go with this, whilst incorporating a performance where I revisit this concrete beach.
Due to the pandemic my bedroom has primarily been my studio this year, I have been surrounded by lots of bin bags and floor cleaner. I feel like the solitude that comes with working from home has allowed me to be more experimental with my practice, it’s given me the freedom to try more sculptural works without worrying about what the outcome might be.
I have also been collaborating making film and performance-based work over Zoom with two of my friends - Shawn Nayar and Saffy Stott - from back home in Newcastle. I previously had not thought of doing this kind of work and it was fun to collaborate on. The piece is a video called Freaky Deeks which was an ode to club culture.
For this film, we used green screen paint to embody and reflect the sense of ever-changing identities, through wearing our own art, and we used Blender a 3D creation suite to create virtual worlds. The outcome of this collaboration is that we are now in the process of making a northeast collective – so watch this space.
In Freaky Deeks, the club acts as an arena of metamorphosis where alter-egos and repressed desires take centre stage, allowing fantasies to be played out. The club is euphoric, sensual: pounding lights, grotty toilets, unity with strangers, sloppy snogs and vomit. It’s this contrast of the fantastical personas and hedonistic grime that makes them so alluring and carnivalesque, particularly within the queer scene. This film is aiming to celebrate this sense of euphoria, unity and carnal desires.