The Fine Art pathway aims, progressively to provide students with the means to undertake self-directed work within a broad range of disciplines.
The structure of the pathway provides a means by which students can contextualize their work, whilst forming a knowledge and understanding of the current debates which inform fine art practice. This structure is based around an intensive series of critiques, tutorials and seminars together with studio and workshop teaching. Students are exposed to a number of media and ways of working including video, photography, performance, drawing, painting and sculpture.
What does Fine Art look like?
- Contemporary fine art incorporates an extended notion of what painting, sculpture and printmaking can be, however photography, film and video together with performance have become increasingly important mediums.
- It encompasses a plurality of approaches which simultaneously coexist. So, for instance, figurative painting, video installation, formal abstract sculpture, interventionist strategies, performance and socially aware public projects have all become potential and valid modes of Fine Art practice.
- Fine Art practice increasingly involves the diverse use of materials and mediums. This has led to a cross fertilization of media; painters who use photographs within their work, video artists who are concerned with sculptural and spatial issues and sculptors who only exhibit photographs of their work.
Where is it seen?
Potentially anywhere. From a wide range of museums and galleries to public spaces and alternative sites such as billboards, underground stations, shops, magazines, books and the internet.
London is widely acknowledged as the second largest international art centre after New York and has in excess of 150 commercial and independent galleries. New spaces are opening all the time. International art fairs and biennales are now an important part of the contemporary art world. These tend to be large scale events which take place across multiple venues within a city. They sometimes occur annually, sometimes bi-annually, sometimes every five or ten years. There are currently over 50 art fairs and biennales throughout the world. Some of the most important include Documenta in Kassel, Germany, Frieze Art Fair in London, Whitney Biennale in New York, Venice Biennale and Munster Sculpture Project.
What degree courses could studying the Fine Art pathway lead to?
There are two types of Fine Art courses:
1. Interdisciplinary courses which enable students to work across a range of media. These are usually titled Fine Art but may also be called: Art Practice, Intermedia Art or Critical Fine Art Practice.
2. Media specific courses which concentrate on a specific media or approach to practice. These include: Painting; Sculpture; Printmaking; Drawing; Photography; Film & Video; Environmental Art; Performance; History of Art.
What future careers could studying Fine Art lead to?
Artists work on a freelance basis in many ways in order to earn a living from their practice. Some have dealers and exhibit within museums and galleries. Others earn a living through undertaking commissions, fellowships and residencies and through applying for bursaries and grants in order to develop their practice.
The great majority of professional artists work with one or more assistants or technicians. These assistants and technicians have generally had a fine art training. For instance Antony Caro was Henry Moore’s assistant, Richard Wentworth was Antony Caro’s assistant, Rachel Whiteread was Alison Wilding’s assistant, Dinos Chapman was Gilbert and George’s assistant.
Most public and commercial galleries work with teams of technical staff to install exhibitions. Most of these staff have a Fine Art training as do most curatorial teams. Artists often also teach within the HE, FE and schools sector.
Fine Art study engenders creative and critical thinking which is highly sought after by a wide range of creative disciplines. Musicians Brian Eno, David Byrne, Graham Coxon (Blur) and Bob Hardy (Franz Ferdinand) all studied Fine Art as did film makers Derek Jarman, Mike Leigh and David Lynch.
Fine Art courses ultimately aim to equip students with the skills to pursue an independent practice as a fine artist. However graduates inevitably sometimes end up working in the design industries as well as within the broader cultural industries due to the transferable skills they learn within their courses . This is often, initially, as a way of beginning to support their career as a fine artist.