Hiya! My name is Kalika and I am studying Fine art here at Leeds Arts University. I'm from India but have grown up in Qatar, before moving to America for two years of university, and then transferring to the UK! As you can tell, I love travelling and making art about it! Outside of work, you will usually find me surrounded by cats or binging on another anime series!
Why I chose to study Fine Art
When considering my future at university, I knew I wanted to study art - I just didn’t know what kind. I grew up with my mother who is a painter and art teacher, and my father who is a photographer. I have a feeling this influenced my decision of what I wanted to study quite a bit. Whether it's your parents, A-levels or someone you met at a market, we have many experiences throughout our life that tell us what we enjoy and what we don’t enjoy.
Image: Kalika Aloni
So, here’s why I chose to study BA Fine Art and why I transferred mid-way onto the course here at Leeds Arts University.
The What and How
What I wanted to study when I grew up had been clear to me from a very young age. Although A-levels seemed like a never-ending journey, I wanted to keep pursuing the feeling I got from making art. The bigger question was; how do I pursue this? How do I find the right university?
The first two years of university I spent studying Fine Art in Philadelphia, USA. These vigorous two years in America gave me a lot of understanding of the art processes and how to navigate fast-paced problem solving when it came to presentation. However, one thing I missed, was knowing exactly what kind of art I wanted to make independent of my school work. So, I decided to switch universities and move to Leeds to study at Leeds Arts University which allowed me to explore this more freely.
Rather than having rigid classes and assignments like in the USA, my weeks here at Leeds Arts University consist of independent research and studio work, along with scheduled tutorials and lectures. The lectures combined with the freedom we get in our studios, lets me continuously brainstorm my ideas and build on them with more research materials from each lecture, as well as put my ideas into physical form.
For me, this formed a continuous cycle of changing and developing my “main” idea/theme for my projects based on new information I keep learning- which is the best part! It’s a very hands-on course which can be moulded towards many types of learning.
How you spend your time in the studio is completely up to you. I can spend hours and hours perfecting my throws on the wheel in ceramics, or take my drawing into the printmaking studio and then to the wood shop and get it laser cut! A lot of the time the university feels like a work place for young artists in training to just get their hands moving.
I realise many students will have the same experience I did, finding it strange at first to adjust to such an open, flexible course. However, such a course assures me that no matter what I’m doing, I’m doing it for myself as an artist.
The way art makes you think, re-evaluate and develop your own way of life is something I want to share with as many people as I can. So, looking for a career that does this is a good way of starting. Galleries are an essential part of how people look at and consume art, which is why I’ve been leaning towards a career in that area. The steps I need to take towards this career path have been made clearer to me since coming to Leeds Arts University.
Employability week is an annual event here - it is a two-week long introduction to the work place for students in second year. It consists of talks, events and activities that allowed me to explore my options. Through this, I discovered the option of working in Galleries and what that can entail. However, as an international student, I had some further questions about how I could pursue this in the UK. For these questions, the Careers team have been the most helpful at sharing resources and options specific to my requirements. More than that, my tutors and people I have met give me a strong sense of support in my future career as well.
Although Fine Art can feel like it has its own bubble at times, I’ve discovered (through societies and events) a whole network of people with their own unique styles of making art, whether through writing, film, fashion or illustration. My time here has given me the confidence to keep pursuing my career choice, given me confidence in myself, and my unique voice.
Find out more about our BA (Hons) Fine Art course at www.leeds-art.ac.uk/fine-art