Surprised, impressed, inspired – those are the three main words I would use to describe how I felt about the Hereford College of Arts Graduate Show of 2011. The standard of work was so high, the creativity was outstanding and there were a number of works I would want to buy.
It was not an exhibition you would normally think to visit. Hereford is a bit ‘out-in-the-sticks’ and I have not heard of the arts reputation of the college. Nevertheless, the work spoke for both the college, the tutors and the students. The final pieces were of such a high standard that I would go to visit again next year. To say I enjoyed myself would be an understatement, I loved it.
My brother is about to start a degree at Hereford College of Arts, he will be taking the BA in Artist Blacksmithing for the next 3 years before starting his own business creating wonderful work with fire and metal. So I decided to accompany him on the trip to Hereford to see what the final year students of his course produced. Also, I was hoping it might give him some confidence, inspiration and drive with his degree. Unsurprisingly he is a little nervous as he comes from a vocational blacksmithing background and not from a design perspective. So visiting this show was a means to start those creative juices flowing.
By the time we left, I’m not sure who was more inspired?! I was certainly the most enthusiastic. I talked the whole way home about each and every piece I saw, I was enthralled (and also a little critical – half my degree was in Media and Communications).
So the best thing I can do is share my absolute favourites with you (this is hard to whittle down) and give you a taster of the awesomeness to come from these Graduates.
Note: Photos were snapped with my iphone. We went to the exhibitions for Artist Blacksmithing, Contemporary Applied Arts, Textile Design, Photography, Graphic Design, and Illustration.
Below is the structural knitwear pieces by Amanda Rolfe who took inspiration from the Herefordshire landscape and architecture and used drawings as the starting point for creating 3-dimensional knitted creations.
Here are some beautifully constructed and tactile pieces that smell wonderful! Sara Rhys is one to watch!
Probably the favourite piece for all of us – my brother, boyfriend and myself. This forged metal barbeque is cantilevered perfectly, designed well and functional too. I like my metalwork with functionality. This is created by Edward Blower.
One to watch – Hollie Anderson. Her work is intelligent, creative and pushing boundaries. She is interested in animistic religion, magic and the Collective Unconscious.
A creative way to display your photography portfolio.
My favourite in the photography exhibition. I love social documentary photography and Camilla Watkins seeks to document the dying ‘cafe’ as corporation giants of bland coffee houses take-over in every town.
An ex-army officer , Mark Paul Robertson seeks to reconcile the effects of battle through meditative photography in the Brecons. The detail of these landscape photographs is incredible, and he has captured some wonderful colours and shapes in these prints.
Quite possibly my joint favourite in the photography section. Nick Davis documents one of the last of the prefab communities before the council ‘rehouses’ the residents, rips down their homes, and allows for new-builds. The photographs are wonderfully composed and the accompanying photobook is outstanding with a poignant quote paired with each photo showing how widely the opinions of the residents vary.
The Graphic Design lot were excellent at pimping out their services. I like that they are thinking forwards to employment. The standard was very high and I imagine that the Graphic Design industry is highly competitive.
This is my favourite piece in the Illustration section. Jester(Jessica Shoolbraid) is vibrant, detailed and cohesive. The paintings, book and postcards are well thought out and the inclusion of her sketchbook as part of her exhibit was brilliant. I loved being able to sneak a peek in her thoughts, process and development of her work. I think this is one illustrator who will go very far indeed.
Contents of my handbag at the end of the day…
Collected quite a few business cards…
There are so many brilliant works that I have not included here.
But if I have learnt anything, it is to visit graduate shows, there are some amazing works to find there.
I will definitely be keeping an eye on their work for the future.