Foundation Year 2017-18
Arts University Bournemouth, BA Animation
I used to go to the Young Artists Life Drawing programme on Saturdays and I heard about The Foundation Year from the tutor there. Until that point, I hadn’t thought about doing a foundation; I thought I wanted to go straight onto an Animation degree course. But after going to an Open Day and speaking to the tutors, I realised how much I could still develop my practical skills, especially drawing which is so vital to animation. I had also read one story in the prospectus about a student who had discovered his passion for animation whilst on the Foundation Year, which convinced me further to apply; other courses didn’t seem to value animation as much.
In the beginning, we did receive a lot of guidance, which you could compare to being in school, but it was nothing like A-Level. With every workshop and every piece of work I made, it felt like I was being pushed and challenged to make the most out of my ideas rather than to fit the requirements of an exam board. I think this has changed the way I work a lot because it means I’m way more critical and aware of basic things that you just don’t think about at A-Level. Keeping up with the full time schedule and extra sketchbook work has been challenging though – it feels like I just never stop thinking about my work and art in general. However, this just means I’ll be able to keep up my Fine Art practice at university and I feel prepared for it, so it’s difficult to complain!
Throughout the course of the year my way of working has really developed. It seems so simple, but I had never thought to work from sketches and my own drawings instead of photographs. This focus on observing and translating my own unique point of view into my practice is definitely something I will continue with. Reading and researching artists for myself has also helped me mature, it’s forced me out of working in my own little bubble, and encouraged me to develop my ideas. I also can’t understate the value of having my own studio space and so much time to talk with other students and tutors. It is incredibly humbling and inspiring just to walk around the shared spaces during break or to overhear some great advice in someone else’s tutorial. The importance of these things only sinks in over time, but when I reflect on it, just being surrounded by hugely talented people has influenced me a lot.
The tutors that teach on The Foundation Year are so knowledgeable and passionate – they’ve made me enjoy things I’d never considered doing. I remember the casting workshops and found objects sculpture workshops in particular; they helped me finally understand how to think and work three-dimensionally. Every tutor has something completely different to offer and with each chat, either in tutorials or workshops, it felt like I had a whole new breakthrough. Tutors were just so invested in what we were saying; they challenged my ideas and were actually interested in helping me develop.
My final major project is a reflection upon my childhood, and how difficult it is to connect with different sides of myself that only live in the past – especially as a transgender person. I have been exploring this through different methods, but the project will culminate with a long, narrative painting set in my grandparents’ estate in Warsaw, which is where I was born and spent a lot of time as a child.
Next year I am going to study Animation Production at Arts University Bournemouth, because even though the course has made me fall in love with Fine Art, it’s made me want to pursue animation even more. I now realise that I can combine the two practices and still experiment with different media and techniques in whatever non-conventional ways I want. I will still be painting and making art alongside my course, it has become a big part of how my mind works now.