I am a London-based artist working in video, performance, drawing and writing. For the past eight years I have been an art student in London, from BA to MA and PhD, all the while writing my way through trials and tribulations. For my own purposes, I kept an Art Journal throughout my studies, which I have now decided to publish as a document of thinking and struggling through artistic practice, from the perspective of a young artist within the rich yet flawed environment of arts education.
I am publishing my private art journal to offer on the one hand a detailed, personal archive (journal as in ‘diary’), and on the other, to invite fellow art students, prospective students and alumni, to share their reflections and experiences of what is commonly known to be the challenging lifestyle and pursuit of being an artist (journal as in ‘edited collected texts’).
While I hope that my published art journal may prove to be a resource for other art students, it is so personal so as to in no way serve as representative of other artistic practices and sentiments among students. I hope that what is gleaned from it can be available to you for comparison to your own experience, and perhaps serve as reassurance: for instance, the various anxieties that I inherited from art school become apparent through the years of writing. My private relationship to making art changes as new professional and academic pressures are met. The process of saying ‘what my practice really is about’ starts to seem futile, and like a creative exercise in itself, where the art is always already changing into something new as I am trying to pin it down in words.
Art school is difficult, and utterly beguiling in the freedom it permits. The first day of my BA Fine Art course at Wimbledon College of Arts entailed students sitting blankly in an empty white room at empty white desks with no assignment other than those that we could come up with to set for ourselves. No homework, no marks, ambiguous feedback, no assignments, no readings, almost no path whatsoever. Art ‘course’ is really the wrong word for it. Expect instead simply conversation, time, and space. Art ‘bubble’ is probably a better description.
This is both a rich and challenging kind of freedom. While there is much I feel art schools can be criticised for, I am still trying to remain a student, and seem only to wish to extend my time in the art bubble.
In the meantime, as I continue to think through my journal about my own month-to-month artistic predicament, I welcome articles, excerpts from your own journals, letters, conversations and opinions about the state of the art student today to be published on this site, wherever in the world you may be. Use the form below to get in touch or submit content.
Or visit my artist’s website.