As an educator, part of my role is to support students to develop their own personal artistic voice; a unique and recognizable artistic style that is distinctly their own. Students on examination courses have the time and space to conduct deep, personal investigations into their chosen art mediums and techniques. Honing and developing their own working practices to become the vocabulary items with which they can explore and communicate their ideas.
Allen in Year 13 is one such student. Over the course of his 2-year A level in Art, he has produced an incredible breadth of work in paper sculpture, ceramics and fine art fashion. I have been really impressed with his ability to achieve a consistent personal voice throughout his body of work. Whether it is a sculptural garment with pleats and folds, or a flowing clay sculpture, his work speaks of an interest in natural forms and a desire to explore line, form, and space in a free flowing and organic way. It is very evident that each piece Allen makes is his own creation.
One of his pieces entitled, ‘Final Breadth’, speaks to us in the form of a question and asks us to consider, “Is their beauty in death?” Most often beauty is not a quality we associate with death. The finality of death, and the sense of loss, can obscure our ability to appreciate the beauty of a life completed, and fully lived. His sculpture was inspired by the way blossom falls from trees making a beautiful carpet of flowers on the ground, completing the cycle of life from birth through growth, maturity, reproduction and finally death. The main piece of the sculpture is on the ground and some pieces have been suspended, as if being taken on the ‘breath of the wind,’ echoing the final breath of life.