The value of art ‘Con-nec-ted’, Jeju.
From your point of view please could you outline what the project involved.
The project involved a series of skill based workshops including body casting, charcoal making, plaster drawing and clay impression casting as well as live performances. It also involved a series of lectures around the concept of globalism, local versus global culture and environment and a focussed presentation on my practice and exhibition and commission history.
These workshops were to culminate in the creation and installation of a semi permanent series of sculptural works within the school environment. The students were encouraged to notice, study, obsess, question, connect and then represent personal, local and global commonalities within the physical, cultural and social environment.
Was their any monetary cost incurred to you for taking part?
NLCS covered the cost of my return flight, accommodation and food for the duration of my residency. I brought with me my technician/artist assistant and I paid for his flights, however he received accommodation and food. So the monetary cost to me for the technician’s flights was approximately £600.
What value do you see in the art project taking place, the production of it?
The production of the works involved a communal experience of skills and processes, creating a community of artistic practice. Professionally, this opens connections and opportunities for me as well as offering me the chance to work in a different country within a new culture, system alongside a highly motivated students and staff group.
In hindsight would you say that the project is worthwhile?
This project and overall experience was undoubtedly worthwhile. The positive feedback from students, other teachers, practitioners was overwhelming. Professionally, this will further my artistic career as a result of the portfolio of images, sketches and documentation from the project as well as the development of connections and networks.
What value do you see in the display of the artwork?
The physical display of the artworks will result in a lasting legacy both for the students/staff involved in the project, future students to the school and for me as an artist. The works are the physical evidence of a moment in time, a transient experience, an ephemeral process embodied in works of art for continuous viewing. The display creates a tangible, quantifiable outcome for both artist and school, a result of the workshops and performances and ideas/concepts which are transient. The resulting display offers something to view, to draw from, to discuss and debate, inspire new ideas, teach about installation art within a specific space.
Have you had any benefits from the project, for example has it become a talking point in a conversation?
The benefits of the project include recounting my experience in Jeju with personal and professional contacts, meeting students and staff at the school and discussing the project with other clients/contacts focussing on issues surrounding the Arts within education and the value of the Arts in the West compared to the East. The documentation of the processes and the final works will feature on a new website which is due to be launched early this year as well as being featured within social media.
What opportunities (if any) did you give up to participate in this project?
This project was scheduled for the Arts Week at NLCS and, as I was informed of these dates well in advance, I could rearrange other projects/commitments to fit around the trip so I didn’t give up any other opportunities fortunately to participate in this project.
Would you have earned a higher fee doing you’re normal work in comparison to this project, (or is this project you’re normal work) was this project worth it? (If possible please pout some figures on this)
Works carried out at NLCS is my ‘normal’ working practice. I am employed at an artist rate of £175 per day. As artist in residence I had full access to the studio so working days were long but I thoroughly enjoyed investing this time into the project to ensure the result achieved the level of aesthetic quality I required and expected from it.
Has the display (the final product of the workshop) sparked any interest in other projects or inspired you to organize the creation or installation other projects?
The creation and installation of the artworks has led to another school based residency in the UK this summer, again to run in parallel with an Arts festival week. The way in which I worked in Jeju, exploring and researching the culture and the natural environment for direct inspiration is something I am continuing to apply within my working practice.
Would you say the project has long lasting value?
Yes, the project should remain installed for as long as possible (materials used are suitable and long lasting for internal installation). Moreover, the legacy of the event, live performances, workshops, community experiences and photographic documentation of these processes and final installation will have a long lasting value for both the school, the students and me as an artist. The creation of a new artist catalogue will heavily feature the series of works created in Jeju.
If you hadn’t invested your time in this project, what would you have been doing otherwise?
I would have been continuing my studio practice based in Spain, further research, drawing and sculpting processes.
Did you enjoy this project? How much so on a scale of 1-10.
(10) This project is the highlight of my artistic career thus far. Travelling to Jeju, meeting and working with students and staff with such passion and motivation for the Arts, absorbing the culture and nature within the local school environment and wider throughout the island for inspiration to create a large scale series of works for installation. The complete process has had a hugely positive impact on me personally and professionally.
Did you learn anything new from running this project?
I actually used this project as a test. Usually I would have arrived at a residency with a fairly fixed outcome in mind based upon research carried out in the lead up to that residency. However, I wanted to test whether arriving with a very flexible attitude towards the artworks themselves could benefit my practice. A learning outcome for me professionally is that this approach is far beneficial and allows for the students to have a sense of ownership and control in the process. For myself the student group to have a sense of possibility, transformation and change and that what the students are doing actually matters.
How they would go about evaluating the success of the project – what would they measure as part of the success outcomes?
Quantifiable outcomes of the project are evident within the learning of new skills including casting and drawing techniques, charcoal making. The documentation of performances, workshops and lectures encourages critical dialogue around the activity itself. The commentary from other students and staff on the final presentation of works offers an insight into the value. The duration and therefore lasting legacy of the work itself within the school environment. The new contacts creating lasting relationships and future collaborative possibilities. The professional development for students being exposed to the best practice and the best practitioners possible and for artist’s biography and experience.
How many hours did you spend planning and executing the project?
A approximate breakdown of hours for planning and execution of the project:
30 hours planning prior to project based in Jeju exploring the island, visiting galleries, museums, exploring the natural environment, sketching and researching.
40 hours of planning throughout the project including performances, workshops, lectures, presentations, activities and collecting materials and found objects.
A further 40 hours of executing the project including casting, printing, photographing.
A final 24 hours for installation of the works.
Totalling 134 hours.
Did you know what you were going to produce before they arrived or did they get inspiration when they were here?
As mentioned previously, I purposely refrained from designing an outcome before my visits so the students were encouraged to think of the arts as including or involving investigation, invention, discovery, play and co-operation and to think that these happen within the actual doing. It was paramount therefore that the actual ‘doing’ became the focus of the project, from the travelling of the artist, our experiences together as an art group, the connections we were making to each other and to our local, natural environment. To absorb this during my stay in order to allow works to evolve in response to the place and the people I was working with.
How long do you expect the project to remain up? Are you surprised it is still up now?
No, not surprised. It should remain installed for at least two years in order that students learn from it and can take inspiration from it. Elements of the installation could be removed eventually if deemed too delicate or hazardous however other parts could remain or be reinstalled elsewhere in the school.
Did you get commissions for other projects on the back of this project?
Yes, as a direct result of the project at NLCS I have a forthcoming residency at a school in the UK and have also been commissioned to produce an artwork in a public space in Spain. I am currently creating a new website which will feature the Jeju project and installation works and will be publicised in order to explore potential future commissions and residencies.