Our graduate artists-in-residence Helen and Adam are well into their residency now, and it has been exciting to hear their ideas growing and developing over the past few months. Take a read as both reflect on how they have got to point where they now are with their creative practice…
The Praxis of Memoria: Inspiration in Plain Sight from Adam Neal
In actuality, my practice and processes are a lot more simplistic than I proclaim them to be. Yet I still overthink it, time and time again.
During my childhood we would have family Sunday dinners every week, without fail, and I used to be both fascinated and perplexed with my Dad’s process of making gravy. To begin with, everything from tea bags to bay leaves, yet it would culminate into gravy that transcends all things comprehendible. Remaining completely bias, of course.
I suppose the correlation being drawn is that at the beginning of any process, everything is thrown in, but its how those ingredients then combine, get boiled down and ultimate reach the point of being gravy. How does my practice become gravy?
I started this residency by proposing a body of work that documented Working Men’s Clubs in Coventry, and then moved onto working with D Di Mascio’s Ice Cream. Now I find myself at a moment of pure self-reflection, and self-indulgence to a certain extent.
Reflecting on my relationship with my Grandparents, and the way in which the intricacies of this can be translated into a comment on contemporary working-class culture, is where I am currently positioned.
The gravy has been left to stew for a while, extrapolating flavours from the ingredients added before hand. Only now is it beginning to reduce itself. The nature of the residency is starting to become a more apparent, its pure artistic development and that’s what I have been travelling through.
Struggles, both practice and non-practice based, have afforded me the opportunity for this self-reflection within my creative outlays. Producing work about my Grandparents, individually, facilitates the elucidation of contemporary working-class culture from a far more intimate and articulate perspective.
I’m just hoping the gravy’s done soon, my dinner’s getting cold here.
Socially Engaged// I Think// Therefore I Am? by Helen Kilby-Nelson
I know I over think, and then I think about the over thinking and then I over think about thinking about the over thinking and …..
It can be exhausting and counter productive, however all the thinking, research and conversations around the subject of socially engaged art, and my practice in relation to it, has not been a misuse of time. My work continues to navigate and respond to issues within contemporary culture around capitalism, surveillance and mass control; it is so intrinsically woven with the everyday, society, community, people, it seemed I was heading towards a socially engaged based practice. I may well still be heading in that direction but my way of working cannot be too prescribed. There needs to be freedom, a fluidity, a synthesis between research, making and everyday interactions that inform the multi-faceted parts of any body of work. I think (that word again) I am an observer of the social, also engaging in many ways which should not be separated from one another, boxed up and labelled.
My current work and research into housing hierarchies has led to making work that responds to how our identity is often perceived by others based on the type of house we live in. I am excited to be in the process of planning creative workshop events that will create a space for open dialogue and exploration around the subject of housing status in contemporary society and societal preconceptions about access to opportunities. These will take place in public and community spaces in Leamington Spa and Coventry over a three month period through April, May and June.
I’ve reached an exciting point where an extended period of reflection and research is now producing visual responses and experimentation. The thinking will continue, it never goes away but its focus now will be on the production of art that aims to engage others through dialogue, participation and inclusivity.