The Foundation Year 2016-17
BA Fine Art, Slade School of Fine Art
I am going on to do a BA in Fine Art at the Slade. When I started at the Royal Drawing School I was undecided on my future direction; I was considering studying English Literature, however whilst on The Foundation Year I realised that I would be happiest pursuing a career in art. The course has helped me in following that path, both in terms of the portfolio of work that I built over the year and through the support and advice from the tutors.
This course seemed to provide far more substance than any other Fine Art foundation course available; I was especially interested in the focus on drawing, I felt this was something that could improve my work. I am also naturally quite a disorganised person, so I knew that I needed a course with a fairly tight structure in order for me to get the most out of my time.
It is really great to be on a course where almost everyone is passionate about the same thing. This feels very different from being at school, where it was easy to feel side-lined especially as I was at a school where all of the emphasis was on science and sport. It is a creative and supportive environment which I feel has allowed my work to flourish.
The regular contact with tutors (all of whom are professional artists), through one-to-one tutorials, groups crits, workshops, and in more casual conversations, was undoubtedly the highlight of the course for me. They were always interested in what I was doing, and happy to offer insight and advice, as well as suggestions in terms of artist references and potential pathways for my work to progress down.
On the course I was introduced to a plethora of new methods and ways of learning, some of which I have really enjoyed and have proved of lasting use to me, and others which despite being mostly irrelevant to my interests were interesting to have tried. In addition the course has taught me several great habits that I will certainly try to continue, particularly keeping a
learning journal, a research file, a log of visual references, and a regular sketchbook. I had used some of these things during my A-Levels but it was very liberating to be encouraged to keep these records in such an unselfconscious and personal way.
The experimental printmaking workshop was an important part of the course for me; it was when I realised that ideas for a piece as well as its final appearance do not have to come wholly from the artist’s mind. I hadn’t done much printmaking before because it is such a process-dominated way of working but you can get many results which you could never have imagined.
The course’s overall emphasis on drawing has had a significant impact on me and my work. Through drawing, I have learned you can shed some of the layers of assumption, which we tend to shroud ourselves in, going beyond merely looking at the world around you to really see what is there.