Emerging artists from UWE Bristol to show at Affordable Art Fair

Issue date: 04 September 2017

Affordable Art Fair

A group of six recent graduates from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) have been given a golden opportunity to take part in one of the UK's most prestigious art events, the Affordable Art Fair.

Sam Gare, Fair Director, said, “We visited the UWE Bristol Degree Show and selected six graduate artists across a range of disciplines including photography, sculpture, installation and painting.

“At the Affordable Art Fair, we pride ourselves on supporting emerging talent and we couldn't be more excited to be partnering with UWE Bristol to showcase, and sell, talented graduate work at the fair this September.”

The six artists selected include sculptor Alice Vaughan, photographer Josephine Atkinson, acrylic painter Natalie Savage, oil painter Stuart Cranfield, textile artist Laura Collins and sculptor Connor Lowe.

Karen Lewis, Head of The School of Art and Design at UWE Bristol, said, “This is a great chance for our graduates to get some exposure at such a prominent UK Art Fair. We are absolutely thrilled to be working with the Affordable Art Fair as the organisation works across international markets; and exhibiting can open doors that help boost artists' careers.

“Making it in the art world means becoming skilled at networking and shrewd at presenting and selling your work to gallery owners. As so many galleries take stands and serious buyers attend the Affordable Art Fair, our selected graduates have a wonderful chance to make connections and to get their work noticed by the right audience.”

Student profile 1 Laura Collins – textile artist

Laura Collins uses textiles to show her awareness of people's mental health issues, as well as their coping strategies. She has previously been awarded for her quirky use of material, and in recent years she has mostly focused on using crochet as her medium.

Her latest artworks were driven by the desire to highlight and reveal some of the vices that people use in their daily lives. She makes inanimate, lifeless, and unimportant objects seem more significant in order to portray the extent of the coping mechanisms that some people may rely on.

Large crochet soft sculptures are big, bold, and obvious. Making huge versions of other people's coping strategies is quite revealing and some people have described her work as 'oddly cute', 'humorous', and 'fascinatingly dark'.

While Collins uses crochet as her current artistic medium, she maintains that this is how she has learnt to cope with her own mental health issues over the years. Suffering from depression in the past year and anxiety disorder for much of her life, Laura suggests that crocheting is hugely therapeutic because it helps to soothe her mind, helping to transport her thoughts elsewhere; thus any anxiety and uncertainty that she may experience is temporarily decreased.

Student profile 2 Natalie Savage - painter

Natalie's work focuses on the 'domestic space' and the things we choose to surround ourselves with. Her still life paintings draw attention to menial everyday objects, transforming them from unnoticed belongings into large vibrant paintings.

Natalie said, “My attention to finding beauty within my surroundings developed at a young age when growing up in Barcelona and the Costa Brava. Surrounded by rich, vivid colours and elaborate architecture, the region provided a constant source of motivation for finding art around me and creating paintings.

“I am inspired by the work of David Hockney, particularly in my use of excessive colour and an intentionally unregimented style. Using acrylic paint I work quickly and fluidly. Alice Neel and Henri Matisse's still life paintings have also influenced me.

“I was born into a very creative family so from a young age have always been encouraged to create art constantly and in doing so have developed a passion for painting. My mother, a sculptor and constant source of inspiration, decided to up and move to Spain with me and my younger sister when we were fairly young. In doing so I was exposed to the beautiful landscapes of the Costa Brava, Girona and Barcelona.

“These places were rich in inspiration and even at a young age I was constantly painting my surroundings. I continued to paint throughout my childhood and teenage years developing a style of my own until going on to do a Fine Art degree at university.”

The Affordable Art Fair takes place at Brunel's Old Station on Friday 8 September until Sunday 10 September. For details see here.

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