INSIGHT in a collaborative project between Pallant House Gallery and the University of Chichester which brings two artists together. From September 2014 to December 2014, the pairing consists of Outside In artist Paul Bellingham and Fine Art MA student Gemma Green. Over the past few weeks they have been sharing the experience of making work, discussing their art practices and visiting galleries.
I got a call from Jennie from Pallant House Gallery out of the blue telling me of this project, and I was instantly intrigued. We arranged for me to go to Pallant House a week or so later so that I could meet Gemma to discuss our work and to see if we were interested in proceeding with this idea. I think we were both very inspired by one another’s work and ideas and agreed to give it a go. So we started on the 1st September. At my first session at the Uni with Gemma I felt excited but nervous at the same time. We commenced by just sketching separately in our pads and chatting about various ideas. The following week we began a collaborative piece on an A1 sheet of paper, just drawing spontaneously without any initial plan of what it would be. We knocked around a few ideas of what we would do in the following weeks, including some etching and printing, as well as deciding to take it in turns taking some work home and sharing in the development of the piece. I really enjoyed working with Gemma and couldn’t wait to do more.
In the weeks that followed, we completed one large drawing of about 5ft by 5ft using a variety of media, again spontaneously, and moving around the paper, taking turns at different areas. We also filmed ourselves doing this. On the same day, we prepared some plates for etching. This was the first time I had ever done etching and Gemma showed me the procedures involved. I found it incredibly exciting and felt like a child in a sweet shop with lots of money to spend! At home that week, I etched my plates and looked forward to seeing what Gemma had etched on her plates and putting the whole thing together to make prints. We did this the following week. It was an absolute delight to go through the various stages of the etching process, up until the point where you finally see the finished result, which we were both very pleased with.
Also for a couple of weeks we have been working on another 5ft by 5ft collaborative drawing, which is yet unfinished. Last week we went to artist Nicola Hancock’s studio to meet her and see her work and listen to her explain her working process and what the work means to her. She came across as very likable and was an inspiration for me. We ended our meeting with about half an hour of frenzied mark-making and drawing in a concertina sketchpad, which was great fun!
We are taking this inspiration forward into a number of ideas, including continuing the concertina sketchpad, more printmaking and more drawing. We are open to see where it takes us. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this experience so far and look forward to continuing.
Working on this project has been an amazing experience for me to be able to share both an interest in art and the opportunity to make work with another artist.
When I first saw Paul’s work I was struck by the similarities in our own art practices and our shared interest in drawing, in addition to the contrast of our processes of making work. Paul works quite spontaneously whereas I am very methodical and meticulous. Since we have been working together and have produced a number of collaborative drawings, we have both influenced and inspired each other through discussion and teaching each other new techniques. Paul has taught me the benefits of spontaneity and the subconscious in making work and, as we are predominantly based at the University of Chichester, I have had the opportunity to teach Paul the process of intaglio etching. Together we are exploring different media and mark-making techniques.
We have had great fun making a number of collaborative drawings, printing, visiting artist Nicola Hancock, and walking around Chichester and the Cathedral.
We have tried to be creative in our documentation of the time we have spent working together. We have taken a number of films of our drawings, which we would like to edit into time-lapse videos to show the development of the images, and have also started recording some of our conversations together as we discuss art, our work and our experiences.
We are hoping over the next few weeks to visit Pallant House Gallery and view the new exhibitions, continue exploring Chichester and the surrounding areas in order to find inspiration for work and make some work outside, and I am hoping also to show Paul the process of Screenprinting. In our documentation of our work, we are learning how to use different media and are going to explore the process of developing and editing our films and sound recordings.
Both Paul and Gemma are also keeping a blog alongside their weekly activities as part of INSIGHT. Click here to visit the blog.