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We need the arts now more than ever

Sean's abstract painting.
Sean's abstract painting.

Written by
Joe Richardson
Published date
02 November 2020

In times of change, isolation and uncertainty, the arts can comfort us, connect us and keep us well.

With children spending more time at home than ever, parents and carers may be looking for activities that will help keep them engaged and stay creative.

We believe the importance of art in a child’s development is key. Arts and creativity cultivate well-being and help young learners create connections between subjects.

We got in touch with Short Courses tutor and printmaker Seán Myers to check in with what he’s been getting up to since the last time we caught up with him back in 2018.

Since then, Seán has been teaching on a range of courses with us including Portfolio Preparation Online Short Course, Experimental Printmaking for 16 to 18 Year olds as well as working with Future Creatives to deliver courses in Wandsworth. We wanted to find out how Seán has responded to creative challenges this year, most notably the lockdown, and the impact it has had on his practice. Seán offers advice to aspiring young artists as well as 5 reasons why you need to take a Short Course.

Sean teaching in class.

For Seán, the arts offer “originality and freedom of expression.” Two qualities that are echoed throughout his practice and his teaching with UAL Short Courses and Future Creatives. At the very start of his art practice as a B/Tec National Diploma in Art and Design student at Chelsea College of Art in the late 80’s, Seán ventured out of the painting studio to discover the printmaking workshop.

Opening the door to that workshop unlocked a lifetime fascination with the possibility of “combining printmaking techniques with one another depending on what he would like to achieve conceptually.” His early mixed media experimentations were to form the foundations for how he would approach his practice and teaching for years to come.

Sean's painting.

Through his years of practice and teaching Seán has demonstrated himself as a resilient character who has adapted his methodologies and processes to a multitude of situations unfolding around him. When stuck in a creative rut, Seán shared how he responds by “taking himself out of his current mood” to do something he “wouldn’t normally dream of doing” to find new sources of inspiration.

On 16 March 2020 when lockdown hit the UK. Seán 's quotidian experience; like everyone else across the UK; changed quite dramatically. Seán took this opportunity to respond to his experience of managing his newfound routine of taking daily exercise in Clissold Park, London. He began to take photos during his walks, with a particular focus on the stunning Grade II listed Clissold House.

Sean's painting.

For Seán, the building stood as a “symbol of solidity and sturdiness” against a background of the “fast-moving and transient” public getting their allocated exercise in the park. Seán collaged together images from his regular visits to the park to piece together a dynamic depiction of Clissold House in print. The work means a lot to him, he describes it as “signifying a very uncertain time in his life in having to adapt to working from home but also getting the required and necessary exercise” for his mind, body and creative practice. The result is a vibrant and detailed study of one of the foundations of his lockdown experience whose ever presence offered Seán a source of energetic inspiration in otherwise static circumstances.

“We need the arts now more than ever before.” - Seán Myers

Seán recognises the significant role that young creative people will play in shaping the future of the world we live in:

“Humanity seems to be at a crossroads about its future and needs new ideas, new methods of problem solving and creative people to come up with solutions for some of the serious challenges facing us all”. - Seán Myers


He understands the need for young people to engage in “active learning through doing” to help build their confidence, to progress and to grow in their creative endeavours.

Sean's work.

Through his methodology of encouraging students to be “totally authentic to themselves” by “translating their unique experiences of understanding the world” paired with continued experimentation and exploration Seán hopes to help students to build the confidence to fulfil their creative ambitions.

Here are Seán’s five reasons to take a UAL Short Course/Future Creatives course:

1. Learn new skills  
2. Meet people from different parts of the UK, Europe and around the world  
3. Gain the confidence to pursue Art and Design as a future career  
4. Enjoy the freedom to experiment with ideas and techniques  
5. The opportunity to have a lot of fun and enjoyment!

If you’re looking for a route into a career in the arts, a UAL Short Course or a Future Creatives class is a fantastic place to start. Build your portfolio with our classes that offer the opportunity to try out an array of new techniques from painting to window dressing!

Check out our latest courses taught by a fantastic range of tutors with bags of experience in the creative industries.

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