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Kaleidoscope of creativity by aspiring artists and performers

Posted: 28 June 2019

Aspiring artists, designers and performers at West Nottinghamshire College have showcased their creative talent at a professional exhibition of their work.

A wealth of artistic flair was on display at Arts Fest 2019 – the traditional annual end-of-year celebration of students’ work across art and design and performing arts courses.

An evening exhibition in the college’s Visual Arts and Design Centre at its Derby Road campus, Mansfield, featured work by more than 120 learners on BTEC and A-level courses in creative subjects.

Examples on display included contemporary and fine art, graphic design, photography, screen-printing, textiles, jewellery-making, pottery, and more.

For the first time the exhibition also featured work by students attending adult and community learning courses in subjects such as ceramics, and drawings and paintings by children aged 7-11 who attended the college’s Saturday morning art workshops, plus exhibits by art and design tutors and technicians.

The bustling event, on Thursday 20 June, saw students professionally-exhibit their work and portfolios, and speak to visitors – including proud family member, friends, members of the public, and college staff – about what inspired their designs and creations.

In the viewing gallery visitors were treated to live singing and guitar-based music courtesy of performing arts student Marcus Annable.

Meanwhile, second year BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts students put on a stunning performance of Machinal – a 1928 play inspired by the real-life case of convicted and executed murderer Ruth Snyder – in the 150-seat Create Theatre in their final theatre production of the academic year.

Lee Johnson studied the BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design, specialising in photography. The 19-year-old exhibited a range of images capturing the natural landscape and wildlife.

He said: “I really enjoy being out in nature. I hope that one day people seeing my work will be inspired to look at, as well as look after, the natural world. I want to remind everybody we’ve got wonderful natural landscapes around us and that we should be preserving them instead of building industries on top of them.”

The teenager credited the course with “teaching me virtually everything I know about camera-skills”, adding: “I hadn’t really shot with an SLR camera before, but now I’ve learned about apertures, compositions and loads of different techniques. My tutors have really pushed me and allowed me to see my own potential.”

Lee is now set to study a BA (Hons) degree in marine and natural history photography at Falmouth University, Cornwall.

“I’ll be really excited to have a go at underwater photography,” he said. “I’m currently learning to scuba dive so I can’t wait to use the waterproof cameras and look at all the marine life.”

Fellow BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design student Kay Madison Russ, who also specialised in photography, showcased work across several styles.

The 20-year-old explained: “I specialise in documentary photography but I’ve also experimented with studio photography and architecture. Examples include urban landscapes in Manchester and scenes from Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

“College has introduced me to photography as a whole, whereas when I first came it was just a hobby. Now I’m going to study a degree in the subject at York St John University for three years, qualifying in 2022.

“I’m looking forward to experimenting with different aspects and learning about the differences between film and digital, such as how to edit in a dark room instead of using packages such as Adobe Photoshop.”

Level 2 Diploma student, Alexandru Axinescu, 18, showcased characters inspired by Japanese comic art, known as manga.

He said: “There are six characters, each representing a human emotion, complemented by one or two colours. Gold and green represented brave, black and red depicted rage, pink represented happy and in love, orange portrayed bored, blue meant shy, and purple showed passion.

“The idea was inspired by the work of Hirohiko Araki, a manga artist from Japan, who writes and illustrates JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. You can tell by looking at his characters what their personalities are like so I wanted to include that in mine, showing mainly one emotion.”

Adult learner Rosalind Manson exhibited two raku-fired bottles produced on an evening community pottery-making course at the college’s Visual Arts and Design Centre.

She said: “I always wanted to have a go at pottery but never had chance due to work commitments. This was the ideal venue. I’ve met new people and learnt a new skill, so it’s been marvellous.   

“Before, my skill-level was zero, so to now be able to produce pottery that looks professional is a really good achievement.

“To come together and actually show the things we’ve made is an inspiration for us to continue with the course and learn more skills.”

Kerry Pilcher, head of department: media, music, performing and visual arts, said: “Students have produced outstanding and eye-catching work across a range of disciplines and showcased their creativity, and the skills and knowledge gained during their studies, to a very high professional standard.

“It never ceases to amaze me how much our learners develop and grow as artists and performers. The art exhibition and final acting performance was a truly fitting platform to demonstrate their artistic and creative journey to an extremely appreciative audience.

“Most students will now head off to university to further their learning while others will return to college in September to complete their studies and produce even more inspiring work.”

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98.8% A Level pass rate in 2019

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