I went up to Nottingham to see my ex-fellow students’ graduate shows. There were some impressive things, some normal stuff, and some awful stuff. I find that the more I see, the less I’m impressed with. If I think I know how to do it and it wouldn’t be too hard then I don’t get too impressed. I am impressed at a high level of craft/skill or idea. Mediocreness in both once disappointed me, and now is beginning to be normal – you can’t be disappointed if you didn’t expect anything more.
The awful stuff was what came out of the design for film and TV course. It was more like A-level standard, or maybe Foundation, but certainly not degree level. Their ideas were mostly unimaginative and not well communicated. I know from having had friends on that course that they spend much time building the models. They would do well to develop skills other than that on their course.
The impressive stuff was from the Theatre Design graduates and the Graphics graduates. There was a very high standard of work for the most part of each of their courses, with only a few that weren’t worth looking at. In fact, I liked some of the graphic designers’ work so much that I’ve asked some of them to work with me on my Adopt-a-Grandma project.
Now, some friends’ work: Hannah Stevens makes lovely handcrafted and handprinted bags and other objects. A true craftsperson. If you’re ever stuck for a present for a female friend, think of her.
Thomas Moore is an artist who makes sometimes grotesque creatures that are meant to stir the viewer’s imagination. His piece in the graduate show was a series of three creatures made of wires, polystyrene and other man made materials. If you want to be slightly disturbed or disgusted by art, he’s the one you want!
Fergus Woods, a photographer, documented a family’s life where most of their members were disabled. He made a book of the photos and wove it into a written narrative that worked very well. Out of everything I saw from the graduate shows, this was the piece that stirred the most emotionally.