Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Interview by Mark Tamer
We begin a new a series of interviews with art students who are at the beginning of the their studies. 2020 has brought a whole new set of challenges for students who may already be worried about their finances and, later on, their job prospects. But rest assured, these fledging artists are a resilient lot and are determined to get the most from their studies.
To kick us off, we talk to Bea Davidson who has just relocated to Edinburgh to begin her Fine art MA.
© Bea Davidson
Can you tell us a little about yourself and why you’ve chosen the course you have?
I’m from South London and currently in my first year of a Fine Art MA at Edinburgh. Having studied both art and art history during A-Levels I was sure that I didn’t want to study one without the other - I found that History of Art began to really enrich and inform my art practice, and that studying art allowed me to approach Art History from an angle I may not have been able to otherwise. So this course was one which really promises to incorporate both which was the main hope for a degree. I also found that throughout school, having the opportunity to get out of a typical classroom setting was always refreshing and the freedom of working in a studio was always very welcome when the rest of my timetable felt restrictive and confined to strict curriculums.
So, Covid eh? What are your hopes and fears for the next three years of your studies?
I’m just really hoping to be able to get into the studio soon and really get to grips with the new processes and materials. I have always found that working amongst other people is not just more enjoyable, but also far more productive when you are all able to encourage each other and riff ideas off one another. So that’s something I’m really missing and would like to be able to return to normal more than anything. Although it can be slightly frustrating, I’m just hoping that being forced to problem solve and work with the limited resources you have from your uni room could encourage me to discover new ways of working or even just force me to get back to more basic methods which I may have dismissed before.
"By the end of the course, I would like to have honed in on the processes and techniques which I really enjoy and that compliment my work well."
© Bea Davidson
Any thoughts on what you’d like to get out of the course and what you hope to achieve by the end?
By the end of the course, I would like to have honed in on the processes and techniques which I really enjoy and that compliment my work well. I enjoy printmaking and experimenting with mixing and combing different ways to achieve a product. Printing tends to be what I lean towards in my work, so being able to leave the course with a really heightened understanding of the technical understanding of different ways of printmaking, and have all the tools to fully exploit and be playful with them would be great. In terms of Art History, I’d really like to finish feeling I have a broadened and expansive view of art, not just fitting within the western chronology which can sometimes feel a bit unavoidable, particularly within the A-Level course.
We usually ask our interviewees what’s the one piece of advice they would give to an artist. As you’re only just beginning your artist journey, perhaps we should ask, what help do you anticipate needing most in the coming months and years?
I think more than anything what I’ll need is consistent excitement and motivation - particularly in times when I can’t rely on the setting of a studio to encourage and excite me, I think it’s really important to still actively really want to work and be enthused about what I am making.
" I’d really like to finish feeling I have a broadened and expansive view of art, not just fitting within the western chronology"
© Bea Davidson
What would you like to be doing in five years time?
In five years time I really hope to be, more than anything still making work, and still being really passionate and excited about what it is I’m making, regardless of whether it proves successful or commercial, or if I am simply doing it recreationally with no intent to display it. I’d also really like to at some point be involved within galleries, to experience the mechanics behind them or get involved in curation, or even perhaps go into teaching simply because I know how much fun we had in the art department throughout school and how much I appreciated the constant enthusiasm of my teachers.
© Bea Davidson
Thank you Bea for sharing your thoughts, apprehensions, positivity and work(!) with us. We wish you luck and creativity for your first year at Edinburgh!
We'll be catching up with Bea in later blogs as well as sharing the stories of other students as they undertake art education in the time of covid-19.
Stay safe. Stay creative.
re-IMAgining the art world
Follow Bea on Instagram: @bea.davidson