Could you tell us a little bit about your work?
There are two strands to my practice; a collaborative group called Tangleface Arts and my own freelance work.
Tangleface consists of four AUB graduates, three from Fine Art and one from Film Production. We make large scale sculptural pieces for festivals and events and on commission. Our work is bold, colourful and carnivalesque. Projects have also included costume, stop-motion animation and kinetic elements.
My freelance work is mainly illustrative design, comprising of posters, flyers, logos and signage, or event decor and set dressing. I also deliver pottery workshops in primary schools, and am a workshop facilitator for Betty’s Birds which delivers creative hen parties.
What was your biggest achievement from the first year of graduating?
Tangleface’s flagship project ‘Son Caméléon’ began developing as an idea in the summer I graduated and went on to occupy the following year. I formed a team to deliver the project, and from this team a few members continued on to form what is now Tangleface Arts.
Son Caméléon toured five festivals in the first year, thanks to a huge investment into writing proposals, a continued determination and a good sprinkling of luck.
This experience opened my eyes post-uni to how wide the creative events sector is, and started me off on the path I’m now pursuing. I formed the belief while at uni that I didn’t want to pursue a ‘gallery art’ route, preferring work that goes directly to people, and is experience-based and active. Son Caméléon was my first attempt at producing work of that nature, and we have continued since as Tangleface Arts.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
The fact that all my work is creative and that it provides me with enough income to stay afloat makes me feel proud. My work balances many different projects simultaneously, which keeps me engaged much more than if I was focusing on a singular project.
I’m not bored of being creative, and haven’t yet desired to move into another sector completely, so I must be doing something right. Learning to juggle work is unbelievably important, and getting my head around being self-employed is an ongoing struggle.
Maintaining creativity, whilst keeping a grasp of practicalities is a big achievement to me!
How do you feel studying Fine Art at AUB has benefitted you?
The creative network that evolved from AUB within my year group across many different courses has been unbelievably valuable. There are about 20 of us from my graduating year from Graphics, Architecture, Film and Fine Art all working in Bristol.
Everyone is still working in the creative field and we all pass on opportunities to each other. Bristol is a great base for collaborative projects, and our network quickly expanded beyond AUB since being here. I am constantly learning a huge amount from my AUB peers, from practical making skills, to design techniques, to work ethic.
Have you furthered your study since your BA?
I have been attending a pottery course in Bristol for over a year now, mainly as a hobby and to keep learning new skills! I would like to eventually reach the stage where I can bring it into my freelance work as well.
Why did you choose Fine art and AUB?
I chose Fine Art because it is so broad. I had tried a few things within my Art Foundation, but my experience was very limited. University was my first opportunity to truly experiment in the creative field. I was drawn to the communal studio within Fine Art, and the freedom nature of practice. Lots of my friends on other course were envious of our Fine Art studio setup.
When I went to my interview at AUB I immediately liked the atmosphere of the campus. It was personal, small and solely for creative courses.
If you could go back and re-study your BA is there anything you would do differently?
In my third year I started maximising on the workshop and learning a lot of new skills. I wish I had started that straight away. I can easily say that with retrospect because a lot of my work now uses power tools, but I wish I’d relished the opportunity more at uni.
It’s important to introduce yourself to the technicians and gain confidence in going into the workshop. Having Patrick Taylor as a Fine Art technician was pretty pivotal in getting me to start using the workshop to develop my work, ultimately allowing me to aim high and be more ambitious. Thanks Pat!
I understand why I didn’t do it at the time, but I should have researched further into understanding how artists actually make a living with their practice. I should have asked my tutors for more practical advice as an artist staying afloat in the real world.
What is your one piece of advice to current students?
There are two things…
Maximise on the uni facilities, taking the opportunity to learn new techniques and experiment with ridiculous projects – sometimes failing. Remember there are few repercussions while you’re studying.
Invest a lot of time into forming a creative network. Your friends are important in so many way. Value your friends for their creative skill-sets (as well as people of course!), and take time to learn about their practice. You will be able to egg each other on to further your creative pursuits post-uni, and will have a ready-made creative network to collaborate with.