Fashionably Late

“This is not the way you realise what you wanted, its a bit too much too late if I’m honest”

- Ed Sheeran “Don’t” (Bit of top 10 to ruin my Hipster Status – that’s a joke)

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So, two posts after I promised to keep up to date with regular posts I broke my promise – sorry.

Although now I have a day off I can finally upload some of my holiday photos, this generic yet still beautiful sunset is from Bude Beach and after waiting in very windy conditions at 9pm we got our sunset.

I will do a few little posts throughout the week for you with all the others.

Next week I have my ASLevel Coursework and Exam examples for you.

Oh, I nearly forgot! I got my ALevel results.

I achieved BBB in Art, English Literature and English Language.

Yes, I am annoyed that I didn’t get an A in Art, but it was a tough year and there’s no one to blame but myself for that (even though I would very much like to blame one person in particular). Regardless, next year I will be in Bournemouth studying Illustration (I think, it may be unconditional but plans can change).

Until next week,

J

xxx

Portfolio Advice For Art School Applicants

So a good year on I am finally getting round to doing a Portfolio Help Post!

One of the most daunting things about applying for a course in the Creative Arts is the requirement of a Portfolio of work. Depending on the course you are applying for your portfolio will be different. For example, a Fine Art course requires different pieces to a Fashion Design course.

The first thing to consider when applying is are you applying through the right path?

When embarking on further education, degree courses are applied for via UCAS. However, if applying for a Foundation Degree in Art and Design you are normally asked to apply directly to the school. This means you are not limited to only 5 options and you are also able to pick and chose the most relevant of the qualifications you possess.

If you intent to study a course in the Arts you are usually expected to have completed a Foundation Degree in Art and Design or have an exceptional portfolio of work, if you are under 19 in the September that you will start the course it is a free year. This is an opportunity that you should not pass off, a foundation degree with build up a better portfolio and a wider understanding of the creative arts, additionally it will help inform the course you chose after completing the year. 

I applied for a 5 degree courses via UCAS and then 2 Foundation Courses separately. I applied and was offered places from Lancaster, Newcastle, Bournemouth, DeMontfort and Reading for a 3 year degree in Fine Art. I also applied to University of the Creative Arts Canterbury and Central St. Martins, I was accepted by Canterbury but rejected by St. Martins.

I used the same portfolio for every interview (Newcastle and Lancaster do not do interviews, they ask for a digital portfolio) and was equally prepared for all interviews. 

It is very important to check the websites and course details for portfolio requirements for the course. Often I found that they tend to be pretty lenient however some ask for a size limitation, a specific number of pieces or certain labels/presentation of pieces.

When creating a portfolio it is difficult to decide which pieces to include. You will be asked to include sketchbooks that inform your pieces and sometimes written work as well. Additionally you are often asked to only include work from the last two years which can make choosing a variety of pieces quite difficult. It is a very good idea to include as much work as possible that you have done outside of Alevel and GCSE as that will demonstrate a wider interest in the subject and a more driven student.

My Portfolio 

In addition I also produced 4 sketchbooks that informed the larger pieces above.

I would add a disclaimer, reminding anyone viewing this that my work is my original work and that it should not be copied. However, when applying for an art and design course if you have pinched an idea off someone else its very unlikely you’ll have the originality to survive the interview.

Interviews are the other main worry. An Art interview is completely different to another interview process. From the schools I did interviews the format was mostly similar. The session (either morning or afternoon) began with a talk from a student or member of staff then a tour followed and then one by one we were called in for interviews. In the interview you are expected to talk through the pieces you have brought, discuss your likes and dislikes and processes you have used before. You will be asked where you want to go after completing your course and what your long-term aspirations are. You must also be prepared for questions that will catch you off guard, the ones that are designed to pick up on your personality and your drive, for example, at DeMontfort I was asked about interests that were not Art related in the slightest, I chose to answer by talking about my interest in Literature and writing.

Another aspect of the interview process is the daunting ‘group interview’ I was not aware that Bournemouth were going to do group interviews and I was caught completely off guard, so here’s how it worked :

I arrived in the reception where 50-odd students were waiting with portfolio in hand to be called for their interview group (as other courses were also interviewing the same day) when my course was called me and 20 other applicants slowly advanced towards our course leader and followed him though to a large building where we were split into two groups of 10.

My group was led upstairs where we were left for 10 minutes and asked to pick out two pieces from our portfolios, 1 which we thought was our best piece and another which we felt had room for improvement. At this point I was panicking, the other 9 were quick to open up their portfolios on the desk space available to start flicking through their work, I chose not too look at all at the risk of my confident disappearing completely. There was no desk space left and as no one was talking to each other at all I sat on the floor opened my portfolio and pretended no one else was there.

I chose my two pieces quicker than I expected and also decided to use one of my smaller sketchbooks that informed one of the drawings to boost it up a bit. Trying to be friendly I smiled at one of the girls and asked “how are we even supposed to chose, I wasn’t expecting this!” the girl looked at me blankly and then looked down and continued rifling through her paintings.

Not a single one of the 9 spoke to each other, this made me realise juts how competitive these interviews are and I will say it was a real shame that just being friendly wasn’t a possibility.

The course leader returned after what seemed hours but was only 10 minutes and asked us to grab our pieces and stand around the large table. He worked around the table and finally reached me. I placed my two pieces on the table with an unbelievably shaky hand and he asked me to introduce myself and my work I introduced myself and explained my work, referenced my sketchbook and the tutor liked it, he then asked if anyone had anything to add.

He had done this for everyone and we had all remained silent but to my absolute horror one of the girls piped up saying “it’s a bit simple but its ok” instead of being modest I responded sharply with “it was supposed to be simple otherwise it would lose impact, but thanks”.

I will say this, if you’re in an interview and someone wants to be even the slightest insulting you do not want to just agree otherwise the interviewer may think you have no self belief and that may cost you your place. Following this group session we were sent away and then called back again for further individual interviews where we go the chance to talk through the entire portfolio and ask any questions we had. 

On the train home I got an email saying something had changed on my UCAS and I had secured my place, and the grade requirements were lowered as well, I was absolutely thrilled. 

So there we have it, my experience of Art School Interviews and Portfolio planning.

I hope this has helped in some small way, and has answered any questions you might have.

Also, the offer I will be taking is the one from UCA Canterbury where I was offered an unconditional offer on the day. My plan for next year is very open I’m looking into courses at San Francisco Art Institute and Chelsea School of Art but I am also considering travelling for a little while (that is if I can save the funds this year).

Enjoy,

J

xxx

Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil

“I’ve seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.” 
― Ernest Hemingway

As I told you last week I went off to Paris for a week. We stayed in Hotel Carina Tour Eiffel which is five minutes from the Eiffel Tower and one of the loveliest hotels.

I will apologise for the late post but I am only just on the eurostar home!

I have been to Paris twice before and the second time was when I fell in love with it so I thought it only best to drag two of my friends along with me again. 

As I talked about in my last post I am looking on to the positives and continuing to be the ‘Eternal Optimist’ and this holiday well, has had it’s fair share of drama when planning, and not to forget that one of my friends got badly ill and the other was ill too and had to leave early, but it all came together.

As far as inspiration goes I’m a little all over the place, the Modern Art Museum was brilliant and the variety of work helps put modern art into perspective – varied. The crowds of people are an interesting aspect, and as my very artistic – yet thinks she’s not – friend pointed out iconic and generic tourist sights could be more interesting by having the same person walking in front and blocking the view. Bordering on a relfection of human nature, and the incessant need to block our own paths, or even as simple as the beauty of an imperfect composition.

To keep it simple I have put together a little gallery of shots from each day, a few things I want to remember.

Monday (Day 1)

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Tuesday (Day 2)

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Wednesday (Day 3)

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Thursday (Day 4)

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Friday (Day 5)

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Saturday (Day 6)

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Sunday (Day 7)

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Monday (Day 8)

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So that’s everything, I hope you enjoyed this post!

I absolutely loved Paris and it is a really wonderful city, I only wish I had learnt at least a little French so I didn’t have to rely on my friend for half of it. Anyway, Paris is a beautiful city and never fails to impress. I will definitely be coming back.

I would like to strongly point out that after three hours of delays and a very painful shoulder I am now considering a ferry next time I travel.

I will say though I am quite glad to be heading home. There are lots of lose ends to tie and a lot of art school prep and well, life planning. Also I miss my coffee! As I will never stick to this unless I write it down I will add now that with so many changes coming up I am making sure I don’t lose anyone, we spend our life time building relationships only to move on and forget people, that is something I am not willing to do. Yes, there are people I am all too glad to say goodbye to, but there are a small few I refuse to forget. So with everything changing and so many new things coming I want to remind myself and all my readers, not to forget.

Next week, as requested, I am finally getting round to doing a portfolio post, tips on how I created mine, and things I wish I had done to improve it. I will also do some interview techniques and what to expect if you get a group interview, I know this is all personal to my experience but I was frantically looking for advice like this when I sent off my applications so I hope you will all find it useful.

Goodbye Paris…

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Until next week,

Enjoy!

J

xxx

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living”

“If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living”

(Don’t get caught like a deer in the headlights)

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Good Morning!

Since the time of each post isn’t published I will add it is currently about 5.30am and I am about to get on the train to St Pancras, where I will be jumping onto the Eurostar and leaving for Paris for a week. If you were wondering then yes, you should be very very jealous!

Even better I’m off with two of not only my closest friends but two of my favourite bloggers, so I thought it would only be fair to let you all know what’s been going on.

I think the best way to get through all this is to go step by step so here goes!

The Past

This blog has documented the last two years of my life which are next to nothing in the grand scheme of things but just like everyone else I’m in my own little world. The last two years have been A levels, and from these I have learnt that school is stressful. It doesn’t go away, it screws with your priorities and yes sixth form does try very hard to shoe-horn you into ‘uni’. If it wasn’t for one of the loveliest, kindest and most genuine art teachers I would have never even thought of going to Art School and I would be preparing for embarking on a Literature degree right now. Yes, University has many good points but for those looking at a more creative route sixth form doesn’t exactly help.

Just like everyone at my age and to be honest, everyone at some point in their life, I have come to realise friends aren’t always friends. We build relationships with people because they live in the same town as us, are the same age, go to the same school or have the same hobbies. As much as I have some truly wonderful friends in my life, people who I will never forget, people who have made a huge impact on my life, not everyone is a friend. People are by nature all out for themselves, and something I’ve come to realise pretty quick is if someone isn’t playing the attention card, the victim card or the superiority card they’re probably playing you better than you think. It’s a harsh reality that people can so easily hurt you and not care, they can be so self-absorbed in their own ‘problems’ they forget they can quite literally tear another person apart, and not even say sorry. But not everyone is like this, people are good, it just takes the right person to bring that out, and you won’t always be the right person.

It can be so easy to see yourself as a benevolent being, a saviour and a good friend but that is not going to be true, sorry. However, you can try, and part of this is accepting not everyone is going to try as much as you do. People will believe what they want and they won’t put in all the effort that you do. As much as this is truly annoying it is unavoidable and the only way to deal with it is to accept it and keep trying, if you’re trying then you’re already ahead.

Unsurprisingly things do get hard, I know people who suffer huge depression, and others who suffer ‘depression’. Yes, there is a difference. But it’s important to remember that everyone has bad days, everyone gets low and everyone at some point is suffering. You do not have to be depressed to be sad, and from what I have seen of a few people I’ve come across in my life you don’t have to be depressed to self harm. I have no specialist knowledge of this topic but it is something that is close to my heart as I’ve seen people close to me deal and still now continue to deal with it. The only issue here is that things do get hard and yes they will be hard, but I am an eternal optimist, I am hugely aware of the fact that I am allowing ignorance to be bliss, and I don’t care. If I have to live life a little ignorantly and cluelessly to be happy, then that is exactly what I plan to do.

I am exceptionally lucky, I have grown up in a home with a Mum, a Dad and a Brother. I was given attention when little and despite having my fair share of family drama I have been blessed. So (remaining optimistic) the ‘Past’ is the past, and with all this change so close it’s time to move on.

The Depressing Giving Up Post

So after my “Life Update” post which was not like me at all I have concluded that motivation is hard. It’s difficult to motivate yourself, to find a spark of inspiration and its tough to believe in your own ideas when it seems everyone around you is dragging you down. It is very easy to just sink a little, feel sorry for yourself and wallow in self-pity and that’s exactly what I did, funnily enough I did it for about two months.

With my likes and hits dropping I was driven to ask : How do you know if a blog is worth it? I find this blog a high source of inspiration and it is the interactional aspect that drives me most. Art focuses wholly around the reaction of the viewer, the audience, and with a lack of that I was unbelievably unmotivated. Being an artist means you become so reliant on others opinions that your own become clouded, modesty and pride jump in and then you’re screwed, so I’ve come to realise art is subjective but it is also personal and it needs to reflect the person creating it.

Art is so influenced by mood, Van Gogh painted exclusively in blue when depressed. So, it is vital as an artist to present the version of you that you want to be seen by others, art can, yes, be a reflection of yourself but it can also be a reflection of who you want to be and who you want to be seen as. We all have bad days, but if you don’t want to be the ‘depressed artist’ you have to paint as the version of you that’s all smiles, the version that wipes away tears flushes their face with cold water and coats on a few layers of foundation ready to smile.

The Blog

So, with all that covered on to the fun bit! It was time for change. Two years on it is really time to mix things up a bit. I have decided to change the format, the tone and the message. I want to present a more ‘together’ appearance, because if I can organise my blog maybe I can organise my life!

As I have discussed art should reflect the artist, and a blog should reflect the blogger. So, as I change so should my blog, and I would like to think that despite not having a plan and not knowing myself at all right now, I am much more organised and much more driven to succeed. This blog is the only representation of me, the only thing that can document my journey and reflect what I am, so it must be mine.

All the pages have been changed, just like all of me has changed, and I hope you like it.

Art School

Now for the best bit, I was lucky enough to get an unconditional offer. I joke how art is easy, how anyone can do it. It isn’t though, there’s no textbook, art is really bloody hard. What’s worse is being an ‘Artist’ comes with the dreaded Hipster Enigma, the ‘alternative’ lifestyle, ironically I’m the most mainstream person I know. Anyway, I digress, Art is tough, its hard and it is NOT a doss subject, I worked hard for my offer. There were sleepless nights, stress, pain and yes I did get my own arm stuck in alginate when casting during my exam. I worked hard, and as much as I am modest, I know in myself that I deserved that offer.

Now it’s mine, this is my chance. Everyone is choosing their paths and I have mine rolled out in front of me, my very own yellow brick road. Ironically, according to one of the single most important people in my life I would probably be the Tin Man. But most importantly I have decided that I need to take every chance I get, I never joined loads of clubs or did loads of extra curriculum activities and I think this had limited me. So this year I am aiming to be as involved as possible, to take chances and to step out of my comfort zone.

I feel like over my time in sixth form I have changed dramatically, I’m more confident and more self-assured but in my mind I’m only half way there and hopefully with my start fresh right around the corner I’m close to change. There are still insecurities I need to hush and aspects of my personality I want to tweak but hopefully I’m close.

Another wonderful thing about Art School is I will finally have the “right kind of people” around me. Not saying that the people around me are “wrong” but they are not quite right for me. I often feel dragged down and having different interests means if I want to spend time with people I sometimes have to follow their interests and sacrifice mine. I am looking forward to finding like-minded people, people that will motivate and inspire me. If not, I will go out and find some inspiration for myself.

The Future 

Everything is open, things are changing. So I have decided to be selfish and will use this time to be where I want. I will work to be the version of myself I want to be and I will be the person I want to be. People often say they aren’t happy and instead of trying to fix it continue to be unhappy, I don’t think they deserve happiness. If you don’t want to work hard to be happy you never will be. Of course happiness isn’t the goal, it’s just a mood that comes and goes, and since its ever so annoying like that I am choosing to grab happiness and not let it go. Life is too short to be sad.

The eternal optimist shall prevail.

Thank You

Here we mark the end of the post I suppose, and this is the last thing I have to say. This blog is my most valuable possession, it documents my work, it demonstrates who I am and it reflects the person I want to be. I hope that for some of my readers it is a form of inspiration, or just something that makes you smile. This blog has driven me to work, to explore new things, to help others more and to push myself in every way. 

I have a wonderful 3,000-odd followers and without the support and likes and subscribers I wouldn’t have a clue, I wouldn’t know whats good whats bad whats average, and I am unbelievably thankful for every single blogger who has linked up with me and followed or commented, it means everything. It is often argued that the internet offers us a false sense of security, that ‘likes’ and ‘subscribers’ are just a number set to give us something to hold onto to drive self belief, but without the internet I would not know half of what I know, and it really does prove that when done right, the internet is a beautiful place to build a name for yourself, I mean, type my name in to google, this blog will be the first thing to come up.

Finally, this blog is why I’m going to Art School, it is the very reason that I am following something I am passionate about and it is the reason that I feel just a little bit special,

whoever you are that’s reading this,

thank you for that.

 …

I think that’s just about everything, I know this was an exceptionally long post but I hope this covers everything.

Change is good. It might break you, or hurt you. It will, however, remind you that the world doesn’t revolve around you and adapting is a part of growing up. Things do get better, as long as you make them. So make them, it’s your life.

Take a second today to say thank you, or help someone, or just make someone smile. Kindness may not mean as much as it used to, but,

it will remind you we are all capable of kindness,

we are all capable of change.

Enjoy,

I hope you like the changes!

J

xxx

A Heavy Choice To Make

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Though the pressure’s hard to take
It’s the only way I can escape
It seems a heavy choice to make
And now I am under all

And it’s over
And I’m going under
But I’m not giving up
I’m just giving in

I’m slipping underneath
So cold and so sweet

The image I have used is a very old shot from last year, but it is one that I definitely will be working with over the next few weeks.

As I wrote about in a post a little while ago this blog is, well, dying out a bit. So instead of trying to force it I am going to completely change it, the format, the style, and I promise I will be 100% stricter with myself when posting. I hope you will all like the changes. The official first post of my newly designed blog will be up next week on Monday morning, see you in a week!

Enjoy,

J

xxx