Reading Art students showcase their creativity

Art and Design students from Reading College and University Centre welcomed friends and families to their Art Exhibition Private View on Thursday 27 June.

Families of Art and Design students viewing the exhibition at the Private View at Reading College and University Centre

The art studio at the King’s Road campus was turned into an art gallery showcasing artwork by students studying our Visual Art and Design programmes, from Level 1 through to Art Foundation (a one-year pre-university course).

The exhibition features a range of art styles including fine art, fashion and textiles, photography, mixed media, painting, films, architecture, games and concept art, video, art installations, interior design and much more.

Level 2 and Level 3, year one students were given the topic of distortion to focus on, as it’s an open-ended theme that can be interpreted in lots of ways across a range of specialisms making it relevant to all students. Level 1 students were given a colour as a starting point for their projects.

Level 3, year two and Foundation students explored their own thematic enquiries for their Final Major Projects, individually writing their own briefs to investigate their interests. As a result, the work is a range of concepts and materials. It also acts as an opportunity for these students to expand on their own artistic interests as they progress on to further or higher education, employment and apprenticeships.

The exhibition is open to the public, staff and students until Friday 5 July.

Printed tote bags on display at the Art and Design Exhibition at Reading College and University Centre

One of the most striking pieces is a giant prop scythe made by Dakota Marsh, 17, from Thatcham who is studying a Creative Practice: Art, Design and Communications Level 3 Extended Diploma at Reading College and University Centre.

She said: “I wanted to specialise in props this year as I enjoy 3D work and I can visualise it better and hold it. I wanted to do something defensive, organic and offensive because I wanted to build up a range of props and learn to work with different materials such as Gelflex, silicone and thermoplastic, which I found really helpful because it taught me to get to know the materials better.

“I wanted to build weapons to see how I could do it in ways that were different to other people. I watched a documentary about how they built the weapon props on The Lord of the Rings to see how they did it and work out how to do it on a budget. I also drew on steampunk to help with the design.

“I started off with the organic piece by making a mouth coming out of my leg, then I made a metal gauntlet that went up to my shoulder, which was my defensive piece and then the scythe was the offensive piece. I had five different weapon ideas originally and following feedback from my peers, I narrowed it down to the scythe as it was the most popular idea.

Dakota Marsh, Art and Design Level 3 student with her giant prop scythe

“It’s made of different materials including wood, fabric, chains and high impact polystyrene. I started off by making the handle, before moving onto other elements of it. I consulted one of my teachers as he had a lot more experience than me.

“I made several mock ups to help me decide on which materials to use, settling on wood. I decided that I wanted it to be able to be taken apart and put back together to make it easier to transport around which was difficult because I couldn’t drill the connectors correctly but after trying a few different methods I managed to do it.

“It’s nerve-wracking seeing your work on display when people are looking at it and interpreting it. So far, I’ve received lots of positive feedback from both my teachers and my family members so that’s good. I was shocked that they had hung it from the ceiling as I wasn’t expecting it.”

Over the summer, Dakota will be shadowing a set decorator on a production. In September, Dakota will be returning to Reading College and University Centre to study an Art and Design Level 3/4 Foundation Diploma to broaden her portfolio.

A young female looking at a textile book on display

Celia Green, Visual Arts Teacher at Activate Learning, said: “It’s been really lovely for the students, staff, their families and friends to celebrate the end of year exhibition. It’s particularly nice for the students who are leaving us this year and are going on to university, apprenticeships, into employment or working as a freelancer to celebrate their hard work this year.

“It’s been good for the students to come in and learn how to hang their work in an exhibition and experience putting an exhibition together as this is something that in industry, they need to learn. It also helps to inspire students who are coming here in the future.

“It’s also been nice to challenge the students as to how they show their work by suggesting if they can make it more interactive, use music and lighting etc, which has created a really interesting and interactive exhibition. It’s been important for the students to put their work out there, get some feedback and help them grow in confidence.”

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Families of Art and Design students viewing the exhibition at the Private View at Reading College and University Centre