It’s Barbie – but is it ART?

Seems like every examination session quite a few students feel that putting one or more Barbies in their DP Visual Arts final exhibition would be a good idea, and this examination is no exception. In my experience its usually female students who do this and invariably it’s all about the pressure that society puts on women to conform to a body stereotype. It’s certainly true that in various parts of the world people are more or less constantly bombarded by media ...

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (and the DECEMBER GRADE AWARD!)

Happy New Year, everyone! I’m going to start my 2014 Blog with a quick look back to the most recent Visual arts grade award meeting, which occurred in Cardiff (Wales, UK) just before Christmas. Senior visual arts examiners together with the Chief and Deputy Chief examiners meet with the visual arts assessment team and the Subject Manager twice a year in Cardiff. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Charles, our December Grade Award teacher observer. (If you are interested in attending a ...

CONFIDENCE? I get marks for my confidence???

Well, as you may know, CONFIDENCE is included in one of the Studio assessment descriptors. Yes – in addition to everything else, the examiner wants you to be confident. “Since when did my personality affect my grade?” I admit, its sometimes strikes me as a little odd that the people who designed the visual arts assessment descriptors for this course back in 2008  felt not only that your confidence was an assessable item, but that it should contribute towards  your final mark. Actually it’s ...

How do you like your kitsch – Koons or Tretchikoff?

Greg posted a comment on my last blog, and mentioned Vladimir Tretchikoff and his famous Chinese Girl/Blue Lady. I certainly remember Tina looking down on me from somebody’s front room, above the fireplace, somewhere. jkEOKH8ejeA 3XGGe4YXWZU&playnext=1&list=PLB933E7233C5FE474&feature=results_video It used to be quite easy to sneer at kitsch and artists such as Tretchikoff, but post-modernist irony and artists such as Jeff Koons  have made the whole subject a lot more complicated. 'Taste' is tough to define, but some kitsch, although perhaps technically skillful, is simply predictable and/or conceptually vacuous - although it ...

Skills vs Concept

“How much time do you spend teaching skills, as opposed to, say, discussing originality or the art and culture of different times?" There is no simple answer - because students are all different. It depends on who you get in your art class. It tends to change with every new group of students, and it also changes over the course of the programme. My school has a very fluid student population and a fairly wide ‘open door’ policy with regard to admission ...