Jack Fawdry Tatham moved from Edinburgh to London as a child. He studied Foundation Diploma in Art & Design at Camberwell going on to complete our BA Sculpture course, during which he won the Harry Crisp Award for his valued work with children. We caught up with Jack in the lead up to the Private View of his Solo Show The Shrewdness of Apes showing in our Student Led gallery – The exhibition showcases a series of etchings that have been influenced by the natural world, human relationships, power and love, his show is on until 25 October 2018. Jack has also been selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018. New Contemporaries is the leading organisation supporting emergent art practice from UK art schools, Jack and the 56 other artists’ selected work will be exhibited at our neighbor The South London Gallery from the 5th December 2018 .
Please tell us a bit about your background and how you came to study at Camberwell?
I grew up in South London, so Camberwell College of Art was a natural choice for my Foundation. The course was free and was one of the most enjoyable years of my life. I made good friends, felt truly free and explored many ways of making art.
Can you please describe your art/design practice now?
Drawing is at the centre of my practice and is something I try to do it every day. I enjoy the freedom of drawing. On a very small piece of paper, for a tiny price, one can create an imagined scene or draw something beautiful. I love the etching process, for one it’s a good way to turn a drawing into a more solid, fully-realised piece of art. You can also reproduce prints and so this makes them easier to sell at a cheaper price. I like how the image drifts in and out of existence throughout the process of etching; from person to paper to plate to print. Along this process the image evolve as mistakes, accidents and new ideas occur taking the image in new directions.
I often think about my time in the plaster room at Camberwell with the amazing technician Becky, where I was taught how to mould make. These lessons relate to printmaking as one has to think in reverse often, one has to have an understanding of materials, and one has to follow a process that underpins the creative idea.
Studying my postgrad at the Royal Drawing School transformed my practice. It pushed me to take drawing as a serious part of my practice, as well as giving me the practical skill to achieve my ideas.
The course was very different from my time at Camberwell. The Drawing School is very small and relatively independent, with a distinct lack of CCTV and security. The course runs for a year and a half and is completely free. It is full time and consists of lengthy teaching days being taught under numerous practicing artists. There was no paper work for tutors or students, creating a freedom to focus on learning to draw. At Camberwell I felt the focus was about ‘why’ you are making work, whereas at the Drawing School it was more about ‘how’ you are making work. I feel very lucky to have received both these forms of education and I hope this will stand me in good stead for the future.
Your exhibition The Shrewdness of Apes is currently up in the student led gallery –
The exhibition came about through meeting some of the now third years and them saying they could help me have a show in the space. I am fascinated with the natural world. As an urban dweller, I pine for a connection with animals so I use my drawings as a way to fill that void. Academic science, Christianity and industrialised farming have all played a role in demystifying and dissolving the kinship between humans and nature. In my work I try to rekindle this precious connection.
The title of the show comes from the collective noun for a group of apes. I feel that we no longer have the same respect for animals as our ancestors may have had. It is because of humanity’s shrewdness that we evolved from primates but it is also our shrewdness that has, over hundreds of years, separated us from them.
You have been selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018…congratulations!
I am over the moon to have been selected for the Bloomberg New Contemporaries. This is the first year they have allowed unaccredited art schools to apply, so it was open to the Royal Drawing School, Turps and The School of the Dammed. I was surprised to be selected as I feel it’s funny to have the word ‘contemporary’ next to my work, as to me my pictures look ancient. I’m also very chuffed to have etchings selected as this is an old traditional way of making art, so it’s good to know it still has a place in the future…
The Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018 show will be on display at South London gallery from 05 December 2018 to 24 February 2019. The show is free and offers a wonderful selection of art from students from all over the county.