Its amazing to think that I am shortly coming to the end of my second year BA(Hons) fine art degree. This has led me to think that in one years time I will be preparing for the final show of my degree then I have (hopefully) completed and passed my degree. This has led me to consider exactly what I will do when this period of studying is over.
I currently am running my own business which I see myself continuing once I graduate. I have been lucky that I have this business as a source of income as I would otherwise not have been able to take and complete my degree. At this moment in time I am unsure if this is what I want to do for the rest of my life with regards to an income but it has given me many learning opportunities and hopefully this will continue as I will certainly be considering taking a MA Fine Art at some point in the future.
I would certainly take a break of a year or two before I would want to start the MA and this period would allow me to digest all that I have learned over the past 4 or 5 years in academic art study. This study break will allow me to strengthen myself as an artist and develop my own individual language. I will also need to give a lot of thought to the financial costs of taking a Masters degree, not just the fees themselves but how I can generate enough money to enable me to pay my bills such as mortgage and council tax etc... At this stage I am thinking that it would be much easier for me to study the MFA on a part time basis as this means I could effectively work pretty much full time during the degree and also the work load of the MFA would effectively be halved.
I have been researching places where I could conceivably take my MFA and looking at the pros and cons of each
Royal College of Art
If I was to continue painting then a chance to study at the Royal College would be a dream come true. The knowledge of the tutors and the many successful students who have come through this college speaks for itself. They also have a very good bursary scheme that I would need to look into before even considering applying for. To get a place in a school such as this would be no easy task as the application rates are very high but people do get places and if my work was strong enough I may get lucky.
MA Fine Art
Goldsmiths has an excellent heritage in the world of fine art with a huge list of successful artists that have previously studied here. A huge benefit for me is also that Goldsmith offer the MA on a part time basis with one day per week attendance. Securing a place on the Goldsmiths MA would also be hard but I think it may be more attainable than the Royal College of Art. To study at such a college as Goldsmiths also means that I would get my work seen by influential people and it would give me a brilliant opportunity to establish myself as a serious artist.
Central St Martins (University of the Arts London)
MA Fine Art
St Martins is arguably most desirable place in England to study Fine Art but they do not seem to have a great deal of painters study with them. This could be down to painters not applying for places or painters not getting places. I know through my own experience of their summer shows that painting is not strongly represented. Places would also be very hard to secure at such a prestigious venue.
Slade School of Fine Art
Slade has a rich heritage of painting and also offers an MA in fine art. However, as a full time course and the distance from my current location It would currently be impracticable to apply for a place here.
Writtle College School of Art and Design
Writtle college is just down the road from me and it offers an MA in art and design. Studying at Writtle would be ideal in terms of travelling but I know that the art department is quite small as I have visited it on a few occasions. A large part of doing an MA for me would be the networking opportunities it will afford me and for this reason I feel that Writtle does not offer as much as say for instance an MA at Goldsmiths College.
I have also been looking at the many competitions I could enter to establish myself as an artist. As a painter the most prestigious award is the John Moores painting prize. This has been running for many years and has been won by many painters who are now household names. There is also the summer exhibition at the Royal Academy which is held each year. Though not as prestigious as the John Moores Painting prize it would still be an excellent achievement to have my work selected and displayed. There are many other competitions for artists and painters to enter but consideration has to be taken for the type of entrant people are looking for as there is not a great deal of kudos in winning the painting competition at the local community centre or church! Often galleries and artists tun spaces have competitions of sorts where prospective artists apply to have their work shown. Such an event is happening at TAP in Southend soon and I will be applying for this.
I would also be interested in tendering for commissions to produce public (or private) art. Although my practice is based around painting I feel my flexibility is sufficient to be able to offer alternative solutions to the requirements of the public commission. Also coming from a business background I feel I would offer a degree of professionality to any proposals that perhaps my contemporaries may not.
working as an intern may be an avenue I could take. As I work for myself my working hours are quite flexible so I may be able to spend a few days a week as an intern. This would be a good way to get a foot in the door of any prospective employer, network and perhaps a way to promote my own artwork.
I am also compiling an ever growing list of websites that I can use to hunt for opportunities, commisions, interns and generally keep abreast of what is happening in the art scene in and around Essex and London.