Making it Big!
07 | 12 | 2010
Article by Helena Seget
Making it Big aimed to inspire and equip designer-makers and visual artists in applying for large-scale commissions, running public workshops and creating interventions as part of a portfolio career.
The intended aim was to show how makers can develop and use their transferable skills outside of their conventional making practice to produce large scale work for a variety of clients or for community education purposes.
The key-note speaker was Helen Marriage - co-director of Artichoke, a leading independent production company.
Her aim is to work with artists to “invade our public spaces and put on extraordinary and spectacular events that live in the memory forever”. Working with visionary artist and engineer François Delarozière, director of French theatrical engineering company, La Machine, she spoke about the challenges of convincing decision makers to give permission to dig up or close off roads for the procession of The Sultan’s Elephant; a project which took 5 years to realise.
Art consultant Sam Wilkinson specialises in commissioning site specific public art. She seemed keen to see the work of emerging artists and gave examples of practical support given, such as adapting the selection process to give those who may feel overwhelmed by it a chance.
David Rhys Jones, a trained ceramicist who also works in different media over a wide range of applications, presented a number of projects that he has been involved in over the past six years.
Claire Catterall, Curator for Somerset House Embankment Galleries then championed a new approach to exhibitions, taking ‘curating’ out of the gallery and into the wider world, such as adopting the ‘Village Fete’ theme where the public interact with designers and artists at ‘stands’.
The Making’s Education Manager, Simon Taylor, and its Business and Events Manager, Jenny Bethell took the stand to talk through a list of practical considerations related to running public workshops and they then were joined by maker Lucy Fergus who took us through her portfolio of work and some insight into how she runs her workshops.
The penultimate speaker was Andy Hazell, film-maker, automata maker and public artist. Andy stated that he was often selected to produce public art works because he works very quickly, will put his hand to anything and will always say ‘yes’. He acknowledged that much of his work is unsightly, adding that it will eventually be accepted by the public over time.
Finally, artist Keith Khan, an award-winning artist who works with communities and diverse talent to create world-class art and cultural spectacles, talked about the forthcoming 2012 Olympics - and the need for high quality, well-delivered projects that cross over performance, visual arts and world cultures, and engage all sectors of the community.
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