As an artist emerging from Edinburgh College of Art I had hoped there would be a plethora of contacts and opportunities I would be able to take advantage of, as I had seen in previous years. The current situation has undermined all I had ever wanted to gain from my studies and graduation. There are thousands of art students graduating this year without a degree show, without the public exposure that would act as the first step into the art world. Some support has been offered by the various universities but nothing will compare.
I had dreamt of my degree show for years. In the weeks just before lockdown I was psyching myself up for the final push; the hours of hard labour, the sweat, blood, and tears. The staying in the studio until they chucked you out. The eating pot noodles and endless cups of coffee. The challenges of construction, presentation, and safety. The pure joy I would find in the creation of my vision. The art, always the art.
We have all been separated from our passions. This would have been a time to thrive but now it is a time for mourning. I walked past my university campus a couple of weeks into lockdown and found myself crying. The community has been fractured, the art has been locked away, and working from home is unreasonable. I am in limbo.
As a sculptor I cannot create right now, I can only imagine. Drawing is one way of imagining and became more integral to my practice. They already drove my decision making in terms of layout and scale.
In this situation, knowing there was no way to have closure, all I could do was reassure myself that it would have worked. I turned to model making and frantic scrabbling for materials in order to create this vision in miniature. The result was more of an approximation as it was only after its creation that I produced a full layout and plan for the work. The images, however, form a translation of the experience I was aiming to produce. It would have been a full experience and emersion in the installation, with the visitors activating the space; the ripples of water gently eroding the blocks over time.
“The damp solid ground with all potentials drowned, still holds old seeds and still dares to dream.”
– Extract from sketchbook writings, 2020.
Although this work has not had the exposure from the degree show it has found other ways to be disseminated. The work Built on Soil, 2020 has been featured in the a-n Degree Show Guide 2020 with a full page spread and other works have been displayed on Instagram platforms such as @sadgrads2020 and @quarantinedreams2020, with more to come. Today is the launch of the Edinburgh College of Art Graduate Show, which showcases my work and the amazing work of my peers. So please click here and go have a browse.