The Scholarship provides support for two Home/EU students studying on the MA Fine Art course at Chelsea College of Arts and is worth £9,300 per recipient, covering full tuition fees for each scholar.
In April 2014 we celebrated the launch of these scholarships, which will support ten students over five years, by visiting Frank at his home a stone’s throw from Chelsea’s Millbank site to talk about what inspired him to want to support the artists of tomorrow.
Here, we look back at our interview with Frank and speak to Daniel Goodchild, who received the scholarship in 2015, who tells us about his time on the MA Fine Art Course and how receiving funding has helped him develop his practice.
Born in Guyana, South America, Frank’s family settled in the UK when he was 15 years old. Frank became an artist in 1956 after completing his National Service which saw him employed as a clerk in the RAF. Having decided he wanted to study visual art, he joined Chelsea before winning a scholarship to the Royal College of Art in 1959. At the RCA, his fellow students included David Hockney to whom he lost out on the gold medal when they both graduated in 1962.
When asked what drove his decision to set up these scholarships for MA Fine Art students at Chelsea, it seems that it was a straight-forward decision to make. “The thing is, it’s always the simple things that are so difficult to explain. Clearly my own life informs the decisions to do things like this: when I was a student, if there was somewhere I could have gotten a scholarship to avoid having to ask my parents for support I would have done it.”
“People who want to make creative things will do it anyway, they’ll do it with anything! Put an artist under pressure and they will find a way of coping and my contribution here is a way of facilitating that. Artists will always do what they have to do and find ways of doing it, but if I can find ways to alleviate some of that stress then you’re duty bound to do it.”
Daniel studied for his BA in Fine Art at Lincoln University, and joined Chelsea in 2015. When asked why he decided to study a postgraduate course, he answered that he knew he wanted to explore his practice:
“I decided that studying an MA Fine Art course was the most beneficial opportunity, to further my education, not simply obtaining an additional qualification, but an opportunity to explore the parameters of a new environment, challenging one’s approaches and application of resources and an expansion of one’s experience and knowledge, through the coming together of artists from contrasting demographics, cultures and artistic practices.
Journeying straight from a BA and with only a year of working with oil I also desired to pursue a direction, considering an approach to painting as a process for investigation, removed of preconceived variables and context and narrative, allowing paint to dictate its own language, through colour, composition and ‘chemical alchemy’.”
Daniel originally had applied for the two-year part time MA Fine Art course option, but course tutors Babak and Brian suggested that he would be more suited to studying full time in just one year as it would it would continue the intensive and immersive nature of the course that he was used to, coming straight from undergraduate level. It was when he received his interview for the MA Fine Art course that he became aware of the scholarships and support available.
In July 2015, Chelsea College of Arts hosted an exhibition of new work by Frank Bowling, entitled Right Here, Right Now, which had an impact on Daniel’s work during the MA course: “Mr. Bowling’s show at Chelsea was particularly influential in challenging my approach to painting, daring me to be a bit braver with colour, experimenting with the chemical alchemy and composition of my work”.
Speaking about what the scholarship has meant to him, Daniel said “To represent Frank Bowling, through the opportunity of a scholarship and to study MA Fine Art at Chelsea, has been a great privilege and has allowed for an exciting, challenging and evolving journey.”
“I’ve had a wonderful year at Chelsea and it has been an experience I shall cherish. I’ve seen my work evolve considerably: I’ve created many lasting friendships and progressed along the journey to becoming more professional in my artistic endeavors. The most important lesson I have learned at Chelsea is to not be afraid of change and evolution.”
When asked if he had any words of advice for the students that are about to embark on their postgraduate studies, Frank was clear that it’s about enjoying your work: “Remember to go back and get on with your work. Have a good time in your studio, that’s where it’s at.”