Saatchi Gallery – School Prize Retrospective

It was in 2011 that a portrait painting of mine became a finalist in the Saatchi Gallery Sunday Telegraph Art Prize for Schools. This was an amazing achievement which really encouraged me to continue my education within the arts. Since then, I have gained a foundation diploma and a degree in Fine Art at Loughborough University. Here, I was able to discover my true passion, drawing.

Currently, I am studying for a PGCE in Art and Design to become an Art Teacher. I have been inspired by the amazing teachers and tutors who sparked my passion for art.

To my surprise, Saatchi Gallery contacted me this week asking if I would like to participate in the School Prize Retrospective. Short-listed works will be re-displayed alongside  current work to show how ideas and approaches can evolve and develop through further education within the arts.

I was asked if I would like to create another wall drawing to represent my current drawing practice. I accepted, and before I knew it I was standing in front of a 9 metre piece of wall within the Saatchi Gallery!

I decided that I wanted to stretch the wall drawing across the entire length of the wall, so that it could interact with the space of the gallery.  I knew this would be challenging within the limited time that I had available. I didn’t have time to think, I needed to just draw and get as much done as a possibly could without compromising the quality of the work. I had to ignore the overwhelming sense of pressure which had the potential to squash all my creative ability. Imagine the artists fear of the blank page and times it by ten ! Despite this, I started to draw, sanding down areas of wall to ensure a smooth surface for the pencils to glide over. Loop, loop, loop, repeat…….I had a strange sense of deja vu.

12 pencils later, 2 sanding pads, hundreds of sharpenings, and 30 hours of drawing I managed to complete the piece.

Waves of dark intense areas of graphite meet areas of large loops, creating contrast and movement. The piece draws attention to the mundane humble pencil, which usually only gets used for preparatory purposes within the confines of sketchbooks. The looping mark is used to build surface texture and resemble a doodling technique. During the drawing process I am able to lose myself, completely focussing on the drawing. Everything surrounding me becomes a blur, it is just me and the pencil leaving a trace on the walls. The drawing exists directly on the surface of the wall, allowing the space to become transformed. There is an ephemeral quality to the drawing, knowing that it will only exist for a short amount of time before it has to be painted over.

This was a surreal experience, one which I will never forget.

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