Future Planning / what's next
Planning the future is always uncertain.
In the current global situation, coronavirus has posed a challenge to my practice. Mentally, my ideas were scattered and judgement was cloudy and confused. This too has influenced my style of painting. For this reason, I cannot be sure of how the situation is going to play out for the degree show, or even for after this.
This pandemic has left the current world with an economically unstable country and for everyone who is looking for a job after this, is going to be challenging, to say the least.
The perfect scenario, for me, upon graduating, would be to work in an artist studio, painting or assisting senior artists. I feel that learning from expert people will be beneficial to my own personal growth, although I aspire to work for my self maybe in a more distant future when I have more experience as an artist. These two years are equivalent to my "first-taste" of the art scene and I must say I fell in love with it. I would want to stay in London if in fact, I am able to find a job. I want to take advantage of everything I have been learning and experiencing here, and because it has been such a rich experience, at all levels, it doesnt make sense for me to go back to Portugal, especially because the art world back there does not offer much opportunity. After this, the next intelligent step is to re-structure my CV to the new changes and start my job hunt. I have already applied for a studio in V.O Curations and managed to divide the space with a former UAL student of Fine Art, so this will be certainly an interesting journey we are both starting.
For the nearest future, though, I have prepared yet another volunteer trip. I have lived in Vietnam before, for four months in 2017, on a volunteer mission to teach the kids of an Orphanage in Hanoi the English language. This time I have made arrangments with one of my old tutors from that orphanage that is now on a similar mission in Kenya and has invited me to teach there, English and this time Art practices too. Due to my Architecture Degree, I will be helping out building schools for the community as an exchange to stay in their village with the locals. So, a very interesting year is upon me and I wish that, above all, I will continue to make art and get better at painting, a challenge that is only now beginning.
Sparks Exhibition / Legge Studios, Lewisham, London
Interview for the Sparks Exhibition with some of the artists participating. (minute 11:35)
What I have learned from this Experience
I have learned volumes about professional showcases, curation and all the strategic planning involved in making an exhibition happen, especially because this was the first echibition I ever participated and it was fueled by our initiative as students of Fine Art. Liliana Oderstone proposed the partnership with Legge Studios, and from there we quickly parted into teams to start planning our first show as a group.
One of the major things I took with me for the future was how important Communication is. Communication between the artists, between the owners of the space and the artists, between the teams: installation and curation, transportation and curation, curation, and marketing, the list goes on and on. From the point of view of the marketing team (the one I was included in), the organization was tricky as a lot of us didn't know quite how things work, naturally as it was our first time, and things got delayed and confused between the teams. It is challenging, to say the least, to organize within a group of more than 20 people.
From the artist point of view and on top of these challenges, the space was difficult to work with as it was a sort of metal factory and the owners had to use the space during the day to work, so we had limited visits to the site, or have the space all to ourselves to really visualize the show.
Nonetheless, in my opinion, it was an amazing space, with so much potential to be different from other boring gallery spaces.
After all the organization, stress, and frustration, the exhibition was a sucess. My work blended perfectly with the brick wall, as so many other works did. I was stunned to see how beautiful of a collective we were, and how the show in a general aesthetic, look so blended in with each room and each piece of art.
It was an incredible experience to have as a first time, and I would do it all again, with the same group of people, many times in the future if I could.
The Crypt / The Crypt Gallery , Euston London
As a participant artist showcasing The Reaching Man, planning and executing the piece went accordingly with every step of the planning. This was possible due to thinking ahead in an organized manner and taking each step slowly and ponderously (explained in the Archive)This too, was possible due to the fact of securing the placement of the piece from the beginning - from the first moment I observed the exhibition space I knew that I wanted to work with the negative space in the wall located at the entrance as it was the most captivating zone of the crypt. Not to mention being the first wall audience would direct their eyes to so I had to make a piece around the hole in the wall, not the other way around. With that in mind, I proceeded to take measurements and started sketching the plan - in the worst-case scenario that I couldn't use that area, I would adapt the piece in the end and create the negative space myself, creating a wooden frame of which the creature would appear to ”pop-out” of.
In the making process, I experienced obstacles - the passage from the illustrator file (where the project was planed in vectors so that the laser could read the lines to be cut and the ones to engrave) to the laser cut phase was bound to have some measurements off a few millimeters, although the file was prepared with precision. But those adjustments were quickly made by sanding and molding the piece to fit with the others. Due to those adjustments, labor took longer between layers but it was necessary and proved to compensate as much less glue was used to secure it as one - most pieces fit in like a puzzle.
As a member of the installation team, organization, and preparation was challenging due to the fact that there was a large number of requests from the artists. I found that many artists opted for electronic pieces with a shortage of electrical plugs in the crypt and many did not choose priorly a specific site so I suggested that we had to pair our work with the curation team. After being aware of the artist's projects in the ending phase, it was easier to meet the artist's needs. I found the collaboration between the two fortuitous as it made me understand both of two worlds - curation and installation completing a cycle for me started in the marketing division of last year's Sparks exhibition.
In my experience, installing and de-installing the show was effective thanks to the solidarity existent within our class. The environment of good energy, ready to work attitude and mutual help between all the artists was contagious not only in the preparation of the show but also during the private view.
Installation shots and video of the Reaching Man piece.
Laser Precise Cutting of each square of the piece ( presented below)
What I've learned / from the preparation of the piece
I have learned so many things from the preparation of this piece (as I stated previously in the Archive section).
This was by far the most challenging piece I had to make for an Exhibition, in terms of concept, production, and assembly at the site. When this opportunity came I was set to challenge myself. I loved the site, that old crypt look was perfect for what I had envisioned and I couldn't let the opportunity slip by. I have been in control of my pieces when it comes to doing exhibitions outside the University realms, so by this time I wanted to push myself even harder by doing this big scale piece, outside my comfortable medium.
I have learned that planning your work, compartmentalizing your ideas, and layering your steps is vital to the execution of an exhibition piece. With this project, I pushed my methodology and my concept further than ever before and that resulted in a growth spurt that I do not regret. With the time-managing skills, I acquired from preparing a months time towards the exhibition: the skills I obtained by learning new computer programs to design it and having support from the woodshop technicians in all kind of techniques for wood laser cutting, and shaping by hand as well as mounting together; I considered myself lucky enough to have had at least one experience like this.
The result, enormous growth in practice concept as well as technique. A fearless attitude towards any new challenge posed in my practice and a sense of accomplishment for a job well done that has no equivalent.
This was and continues to be the experience I most benefit from because I have learned so many aspects of what it is to be an artist in the professional world of making work for exhibitions.
Vector work done in Illustrator of the design of each piece that will stack on top of each other, by means of Layering.
The Cantenbury Talk / Cantenbury UAL
Another experience of 2020 that I take with myself for a lifetime.
The fact that I spoke as an emerging artist for the Emerging Artists Week in February 2020 is a dream on its own. It might seem exaggerated to say so but for me, It was not how it felt.
I was nervous that I was going to talk to these young students, like me, looking for inspiration to look forward to facing a tough art world scenery that awaits us.
Would they appreciate my work?
Would I be inspirational enough?
Would they even listen?
These were all questions in my head before presenting, that ended up being obsolete.
The audience was so interested in all of what we had to say. They posed questions and engaged in our topics. All the other artists participating had such inpirational works. It was such an interesting experience for me as a student, and for the professional side of my aspirations.
I learned that doing talks isn't as easy as just saying a few topics and describing your work. It is about inspiring people, making the speach interesting enough to actually touch these young people enough for them to come to say a few words to you in the end. That's what I experienced, people coming to me saying I was captivating in my speach, asking to know more about my work and the feeling was mutual among the other artists. It was such a "good-vibe" experience that I know I will cherish for many years for the knwoledge it provided me at a young age and in the beginning of my development through the art sector.