Charlotte Cousins : Free Range Emerging Art Award Artist #2 Answers FAD’s Questions

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This Year FAD have teamed up with Degree Art and Cass Art to help launch The Free Range Emerging Art Award .
Over the coming weeks we will be interviewing all 10 winners of the 2013 award. As well as reading about the artists on FAD
you will also be able to buy their work via DegreeArt.com and FAD will also be following how all ten progress during the next year .

Here is the second interview with Charlotte Cousins from Bath Spa University

1. How was Free Range for you ?
It’s been an experience that I really have learnt a lot from, both during and also preparing and arranging our contribution (Bath Spa’s Fine Art Show was titled The World Did Not End) beforehand, which was a student run project that ran for about six months ahead of the show itself. Being part of the group that put the event together has left me with a number of skills that I will be able to use when arranging my own events and exhibitions in future. Then there was the show itself, to see our hard work come together as a group of friends and peers and to enjoy the experience together in London is something I will remember and take with me.

2. What do you hope to achieve in your first year after graduation ?
In truth, I’m a fairly ambitious person, but you never know what’s around the corner…Although I have recently moved from Bath to Bristol and obtained myself a working space at BV Studios. Which has been an exciting confirmation, knowing that I will have that space to continue as an artist (hopefully) well beyond into the future. At the moment I’ve got a couple of projects in the pipeline, but I’m particularly hoping to have taken part in an Artist In Residency program. Potentially spending a month or so making work in another country really grabs me, it would be a fantastic achievement now that graduation has happened.

3. Can you tell us more about your work and what are the main ideas you would like to express ?
In an age of digital saturation, I choose to work with found analogue photographic material, lost to its owners and at the brink of ruin, it is the physical vehicle at the centre of the emotional and psychological narrative that encompasses the work I create.

Through making what can often seem destructive, but in fact carefully considered interventions with the material, I attempt to depict the process of human memory to the viewer. Utilizing film and collage to create a discourse with what is largely fragmented imagery from our shared histories, using geometry and movement resulting in a poetic ambiguity that is relatable to each of us. Through the melancholy of its original loss, these fragments of history and technology are hence given a new force and power that might have never existed.

I guess I’m quite a nostalgic person really, looking to communicate those emotions that we feel when we look at this sort of material and it inextricably powerful link to our processes of memory and the effect of recollection over time…I just think that the relationship that exists between these things is so beautiful. I’m also looking to explore ideas of the archive and technology a little further in correspondence with these ideas. Of course not necessarily at the same time….but that could be cool.

4. How do you start the process of making work?
I start by working with my large collection of found analogue material and simply work and rework the material until the imagery is fragmented, but still holds enough narrative to interest and communicate with the viewer. It’s hard to me to say really, I tend to vary my processes to keep refreshing and building my ideas. I’m never sure if the material will result in small scale installation, large scale structures and projections or delicate collages…

5. Do you consider the viewer, when making your work?
Yeah, I really try to make sure that the overall effect upon the viewer is what is most profound about the work. I want to try an instill a sense of a connection with these images and objects in a way that they may never have felt before and perhaps to make them think about their relationship with their own personal imagery and with my own found material.

6. Name 3 artists that have inspired your work.
Becky Beasley, John Stezaker and Kerry Tribe also the writer Roland Barthes has played part in things

7. What defines something as a work of art?
For me, it’s something profound within us, that is extremely hard to verbalise and so art exists for those things that we as individuals have been unable to communicate. Art is the result of my emotional connection with lost objects that I feel represent something deeper than just aesthetic value to then create a visual narrative from that attempt to communicate with others.

8. Anytime, any place – which artist’s body would you most like to inhabit?
At the moment I’m reading Patti Smith’s Novel “Just Kids” and the way she writes about her life with Robert Maplethorpe at the point just before they reach their wider recognition, living in New York, enjoying their creativity, is an experience that seems so inspiring that I would love to be able to put myself in her shoes. Or perhaps Sophie Calle at the point when she was working as a Venetian chamber maid to spy on the hotels inhabitants…and I’ve always wanted to be able to speak French.

9. What was the most intelligent thing that someone said or wrote about your work?
I feel as if this quote taken from a feature of my work on a blog (crackintheroad.com) that I also happen to write for, sums something up about my work that I think is a really nice way of putting things…

“The care in which she takes in adapting these already delicate remembrances and the aesthetic fragility of her pieces makes me want to take and store them for another twenty years in my little shoebox hidden in the wardrobe.”

I like that this work is still seen as precious after it reconfiguration and not disfigured. My intention is to be respectful of these objects and the history imbued within them.

10. How did you find exhibiting at Free Range ?
For me, it has been an extremely rewarding and fulfilling experience and I would recommend that future graduates shouldn’t be afraid to put themselves and their universities forward, you really don’t know what might come of it.

10. Have you investigated selling your art online ?
I currently have a profile with Saatchi Online, although my large scale works are a difficult thing to tackle in terms of selling by comparison to my smaller scale collage works (not shown at Free Range).

11. What’s next for you?
Right now things have got a building pace for me, which is great, I like to keep my work and other projects going constantly. I am currently working as a Volunteer at Spike Island, Bristol, whilst also running a local gallery space and writing for ‘Crack In The Road’ and ‘Thunk Magazine’ on a regular basis. I also have an upcoming show at the Looking Glass Gallery at the beginning of August with writer Trevor H Smith, which I can’t wait for…it’s all beginning here.

For more information, including further images of my work, CV and contact details, can be found on my website: charlottecousins.co.uk

Read Eve Laws Q & A number 1: HERE

About The Free Range Emerging Art Award
The ‘Free Range emerging art award” has been created in conjunction with FAD, Degree Art and Cass Art, designed to support 10 young artists in the year following their graduation.

As an annual showcase of British-based art and design graduates, Free Range brings together a vast network of young graduates for a series of free exhibitions at The Old Truman Brewery on London’s Brick Lane. Over a hundred courses and more than 3000 students exhibit their work across five disciplines: fashion & textiles; design; photography & media; contemporary & fine art; interior design & architecture.

FAD, Degree Art & Cass Art are all committed to discovering and nurturing new art talent and, under the guidance of founder and creative director Tamsin O’Hanlon, Free Range has long been dedicated to providing a support network to students after graduation.

The 10 recipients of the award will be selected from the graduate work exhibited at Free Range’s Art weeks (28th June – 8th July) by a panel of industry experts: Mark Westall (founder and creative director of FAD), Elinor Olisa (Co-Founder of DegreeArt), James Bidwell, (CEO of Cass Art), Ryan Stanier (Director of The Other Art Fair) and Tamsin O’Hanlon (founder and creative director of Free Range). The 10 artists who the judging panel believe to have the potential to succeed, will all receive:
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• Representation and mentoring from DegreeArt, who specialise in identifying and mentoring talented graduates
• On-going editorial coverage and support from FAD
• A £100 bursary from Cass Art
• Automatic entry into the Signature Art Prize
An Exhibition in 2014 at The Truman Brewery

www.free-range.org.uk/ContemporaryandFineArt

ABOUT FREE RANGE
Free Range is an Old Truman Brewery special project set up by Tamsin O’Hanlon to provide new creative graduates with the opportunity to showcase their work on an international level. Attracting visitor numbers of over 100,000, the annual Free Range exhibitions present the work of thousands of art, design students in several distinct categories including: fashion, art, graphics, photography and interior design.
www.free-range.org.uk

ABOUT DEGREEART
DegreeArt.com was founded in 2003 and is one of the UK’s first Online Art Galleries. Over the past 10 years, DegreeArt.com has established itself as the market leader in UK student and graduate art sales, hand picking and promoting the most promising artistic talent. DegreeArt.com offers clients the opportunity to invest in the artists of the future.
www.degreeart.com

ABOUT CASS ART
?????????Cass Art is London’s leading independent art retailer offering the world’s finest art materials. Committed to encouraging everyone to realise their creative talents, Cass Art supports and ?promotes emerging talent through a number of prizes and art initiatives across the capital.
www.cassart.co.uk

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine, ' A curation of the world’s most interesting culture' [PLUS] Art of Conversation: A tri-annual 'no news paper' AofC - Issue 1 Autumn 2018

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