Zoe Andrews

The Foundation Year 2016–17
BA Computer Science & Innovation, University of Bristol

At the Royal Drawing School you are an artist, even if just for a year. You are an artist who is introduced to the craftsmanship of many specialities and techniques without the requirement to choose a particular practice. The Foundation Year offers the luxury of experimenting and exploring materials through workshops by experienced tutors. But what ultimately attracted me was the small number of students on the course, which fully exploits its incredible location in London through weekly gallery visits and artist lectures. Trinity Buoy Wharf has it perks; putting 45 students in the middle of nowhere makes it difficult not to make friends. Subsequently, this led to an exciting studio environment.

The course is intense, very intense. Five days a week, five sketchbooks, workshops, personal projects, lectures and gallery visits, so I think adjusting to the lifestyle was challenging. I figured that my total, fortnightly contact hours during A-Level were equivalent to 1 day at the Royal Drawing School. Retrospectively I now recognise how this has led to the exponential development of my practice. It has gone at light speed and there is still so much I want to do.

A typical workshop started with me doing something and then a tutor would come along and urge me to work in the opposite way. It is the element of challenge integrated throughout the course which has helped me in working towards the intellectual craftsman I hope to become some day.

Zoe Andrews

There is a seemingly bottomless access to tutors and technicians which is invaluable. They all specialise in all different techniques and whether it was a workshop or tutorial, their experience within their field has led to developing a personal level of sophistication in my practice. Visiting lecturers and artists have also had a real impact and I distinctly remember Alice in Wonderland illustrator John Vernon Lord speaking about drawing, he said; 'Don’t let the hand fall into a smart way of putting the brain to sleep', which particularly struck me. It confronted the reality of mindless creation and how for years this was all I had known. Intellectual craftsmanship demands challenge, and as one of my tutors said, 'Through limitation, creativity thrives.'

I am doing Computer Science and Innovation next year at the University of Bristol. The Foundation Year has instilled in me the firm reality that I am an artist at heart but this year has showed me that if you can think like an artist, you can do anything.  I have been able to take up incredible opportunities and be a part of something bigger – can I do it again please?