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Liberty Antonia Sadler graduated from the Foundation Diploma at Central Saint Martins in 2012. She went on to study BA Performance Design and Practice also at CSM, graduating with First Class Honours and winning the prestigious Lowe Nova Award in 2015. She is now going on to study MA Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art.
I identify my practice as an illustrator & filmmaker, using character and playfulness to discuss themes of food, ‘femininity’ and sexuality in a sociopolitical context. My work aims to open discussion about vulnerability, imperfection and inequality, exploring issues of 21st century body politics, with a focus on the experience of living in a female body in a ‘photoshopped’ world; the new visual rhetoric of perfection through digital manipulation. Using humour as a technique of critique my objective is to use it as a device to answer the unspoken dogma of one’s body being one’s collateral.
Central Saint Martins was somewhere I wanted to study from a young age, its alumni and reputation made me set my sights on it. As I got older and read more about what the college had to offer I realised I would also get an exceptional educational experience.
Foundation was a very positive experience for me; it’s when I made the transition into moving image and also body-political work because I felt I was in an explorative but nurturing environment. I created a character called ‘Frankenstein’s Fat Monster’ for a short performance film in which the ‘Monster’ is pelted with sugary jelly and cake until it looked like murder scene, the costume then became a hanging ‘skin’ which took over 12 months to begin to decay due to the preservatives in the food. After that project, I felt secure enough to push a more grotesque aesthetic agenda and also learn how to use a DSLR camera for the first time.
The intensity of the Foundation course is what I think makes it such a useful experience; you get to practice coming up with ideas and then realising them quickly, there’s no time to be precious. For example, in the morning you maybe have a workshop, you get set a task and by the end of the day you will have created something. It’s a great introductory experience into the pace of professional life, while also being a lot of fun.
During my time on Foundation, I still had enough breathing space to be involved in external projects; at the time I was working a lot with musicians, designing an album package for Peter Howarth (lead singer of The Hollies) and to direct & design a music video for Macedonian signer Tanja Tzara. My time on Foundation really helped me develop my skills while I was working, ‘learning to learn’ and to adapt quickly.
I went onto study BA Performance Design & Practice at Central Saint Martins, graduating with First Class Honours in 2015. It’s such a unique course; it embraces the multidisciplinary practitioner and encourages collaboration. It’s one of the few courses not to ‘stream’ practices, you can be a live artist sharing a studio with a make-up artist, a theatre designer, an installation artist, a director and so on; it’s exciting because you can learn from each other, transfer skills and get an insight into a practice completely different from your own. The foundation course Performance Design & Practice pathway really gives you a full introduction to this way of working.
I have just been shortlisted for Central Saint Martins’ Lowe NOVA Prize and am going on to study MA Fine Art at Chelsea. Since my Foundation, I have explored my practice through the eyes of performance, learning to execute my ideas through practical skill as well as integrated theory and research. Performance Design & Practice helps you think outside of the introspective, encouraging you to question the purpose of your practice and to consider audience, who is it for and how will they connect with the work. This mindset can be applied to so many different types of creative practice and I think is what has helped my push my personal/political boundaries within my illustration & moving image practice.
Be open. The practice that you begin with will evolve; it will get stronger with the more knowledge and skills you acquire. Foundation encourages you to explore, to sometimes get a project completely ‘wrong’ and rethink, to make a mess and that’s why I think it’s so useful. If you are from the UK, the A-Level system teaches a certain amount of boundaries and ‘box-ticking’, Foundation encourages you to think less about categories and more about what you, as an individual practitioner, want to bring to the creative forum.