Student Stories: Geraint Evans, The Drawing Year 2015

March 15, 2016

Applications for our postgraduate MA-level programme are open until 4 April, so we asked recent Drawing Year graduate, Geraint Evans, about his experience of studying at the Royal Drawing School and the body of work he has produced this year…

Preceding The Drawing Year, I spent the 4 years since my BA (Hons) in Fine Art working in relative isolation in my studio in Cardiff and exhibiting within a predominantly conceptual, performance and media-based art scene. It was during this time I found that drawing was at the heart of my practice not just as a means but as the final work.

Map of the Estate
Geraint Evans, ‘Map of the Estate’, 2014

I heard about The Drawing Year from a fellow artist and became immediately enthralled by the prospect of a year spent drawing from observation. It was at a time when I felt my work had come to rely too much on its themes and not enough on my ability to be visually creative and so I set my sights on applying.

 There’s an outstanding choice of courses and so at the start of each term it takes a fair bit of discipline to leave some free time to balance a studio practice. 

Geraint Evans, ‘Totem’, 2013  

Much of my work stems from an engagement with the urban landscape so in the first term I signed up to ‘Drawing from the Everyday in the City and from Paintings at the National Gallery’.  Drawing in the city was overwhelming at first; the world doesn’t sit still for artists. It took me a while to give up the desire to capture moments as one might with a camera. With the guidance of the dedicated tutors as well as much perseverance I’ve now begun to develop a much more personal language to engage with the chaotic flux of London. 

Geraint Evans 'Car Wash Shoreditch'
Geraint Evans, 'Car Wash Shoreditch', The Drawing Year 2015   

In The National Gallery students are encouraged to learn from the huge lineage of painting and the craft of picture making by drawing from the works of other artists. Through drawing from paintings one connects with the varying ways in which a picture is made and works, devices that I have now begun to apply to my own work. 

Last term we were given out of hour’s access to the recent Rembrandt show at The National Gallery as well as an exhibition of Egon Schiele drawings at Somerset House, an unexpected delight.

I have particularly enjoyed ‘Drawing a Story’ which differs greatly from my usual work. The tutors encourage their students to access their imagination, experimenting with personal takes on a shared story, which we read as a group at the beginning of the class. Taking these leaps in a safe testing ground for ideas, has given me the confidence to take similar imaginative leaps in the studio.

After Gainsborough
Geraint Evans, ‘After Gainsborough’, The Drawing Year 2015 

One of the many highlights of the year so far has to be the day the School’s name was changed from The Prince’s Drawing School to the Royal Drawing School. This gave us an opportunity to see the work of selected Alumni students at an exhibition for the renaming ceremony at the School. It was so inspiring to see such a diverse range of high quality work spanning the years since The Drawing Year had begun. This inspired me and left me even more determined to prove my salt!

The artistic backgrounds of the drawing year students differ considerably. The diversity of talent makes for a passionate and engaging creative environment, which succeeds in being non-competitive. There’s certainly a strong element of drawing year camaraderie and learning from each other is both encouraged and rewarding.

The Drawing Year allowed me the time and breath to develop a much more personal and poetic approach to my themes. It’s amazing to see how so much concentrated drawing can accelerate one’s ability to deal with the world around one. My drawing has gone through so many changes already.