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Derbyshire visit sets art students’ creativity alight

Posted: 06 October 2022

Art and design students from West Nottinghamshire College ventured into Derbyshire to sketch a large-scale sculpture exhibition to inspire their next art project.

Students from the Level 3 Art and Design Year 1 and the Advanced Art and Design Practice Commercial Design and Image Making groups visited Chatsworth House’s grounds and parklands to explore the Radical Horizons: The Art of Burning Man exhibition, which has been in place at the Peak District stately home’s premises since April.

The installation has direct links to the Burning Man festival, which takes place in the Nevada Black Rock Desert each year. It is made up of eight existing sculptures and four works which have been built on-site. On Saturday (1 October) a nine-metre-high sculpture called Relevé was set alight at dusk, in a celebratory way, to symbolise ‘letting go’ and closing of the exhibition.

Three of the new sculptures have been created in the parkland through the help of local schools and community groups over the past year, and mirror the build process at Burning Man, which sees teams of volunteers gathering in the desert to create new artworks.

The group of 34 students’ visit was both a celebratory well done to thank the first years’ completion of their first mini project of the academic year entitled My Dreams and for getting through their first five weeks of the college course.

Their next project, called Fantasy Vs Reality will link very well with the sculptures they explored at Chatsworth.

Art and design teacher Natasha Simpson said: “Over the coming weeks we’ll be delving deeper into the studies and sketches created at Chatsworth as well as the Burning Man exhibition in the USA and drawing links between art and concept. This will enable students to start thinking on a deeper level what is required to make a conceptually sound piece of work. 

“Our students made the staff very proud when walking around the site on this first whole-year trip, even if we did have to battle the rain when the heavens opened – they took it all in their stride!”

Student Felix Beaumont, 18, said: “We explored various art pieces at the Radical Horizons exhibit along with taking photos, notes and sketches of the pieces in order to inform our own work. My favourite was probably Le Attrata which was a statue of three moths perched on top of three metal spires. I really liked the use of different materials to create the moths along with the actual design of the sculpture.

“There were many different styles of sculpture that were all enhanced by various other objects and textures. These gave the sculptures a very surrealist feel which went hand in hand with both our previous and current projects called My Dreams and Fantasy Vs Reality.”

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