Central Saint Martins, BA (Hons) Fine Art and Film
What tempted you into studying Fine Art and Film at CSM?
It was always my goal to go to art school and I knew that art school had to be CSM. With it’s reputation, highest calibre of teaching, and tradition, I would have felt I’d compromised myself if I had gone anywhere else, it was CSM or nowhere.
What was the best thing about your time at CSM?
The best thing about CSM was that on my Foundation year we were given the freedom and encouragement to try so many different mediums that previously I had had no access to. I had originally gone in determined to pursue Fashion for my degree. However as soon as entered the film department I’d felt like I’d come home. It would never have been a medium I would ever had considered had it not been a part of the extensive Foundation year curriculum.
What did you do straight after graduation?
Immediately after graduation I formed a small feminist production company called Siren Productions, funded by Westminster Arts Council. From there I began to teach video editing at Battersea Arts Centre.
What made you up sticks to the US?
I came out to LA with my husband, He was an animator working in the UK. When Dreamworks was formed he was asked by them to relocate out here. I was living in North West London at the time, the view from my window was the gasworks. Came to LA, looked out the window, the view was the Hollywood sign, I was smitten, there was no going back.
What advice would you give any of our students and graduates interested in making a life for themselves on the US West Coast?
I would encourage anyone coming here to know that the opportunities here are boundless. Even here, CSM has an awesome reputation. When people know that you are an alum, you are immediately ahead of the game, that, coupled with an English accent and you can’t go wrong!
What do you love most about living in LA?
I found that the US and particularly here in LA , people have the most amazing, brilliant, positive attitude to helping you achieve anything you want to achieve. I wish I had known earlier in life that you really can do anything you set your mind to. If you have an idea for a project, people will immediately say, “what do you need, how can I help?” It took me awhile to overcome my initial British reticence, When I finally did, the whole world opened up. LA is lighter, brighter and with no crushing cynical attitudes to success. I’m unbearable when I visit the UK, way too jolly and annoyingly chipper!
You play a massive part in helping us bring our LA alumni community together, (for which we are eternally grateful) what made you get involved?
I came across the UAL West Coast Alumni Association completely by accident. I went to first meeting and loved it. By far the best thing was the diversity. There were members who had been at art school in the 50’s up to people who only just left a couple of years ago. We put on our first exhibition in 2013, and it was a huge success. We all worked so well as a cohesive group and now have found each other it would have been a shame not to carry on. Adopting my new LA personae of ‘you can do anything you set your mind to’, and because I’m a bossy boots, I suggested from now on we put on a yearly show during Britweek. It was by sheer serendipity that I was introduced to a fellow Brit, Valda Lake, who owns WallspaceLA gallery, and who had been wanting to participate in Britweek. We were looking for a gallery, she was looking for artists, perfect, match made in heaven. It was meant to be.
How do you think our graduates will benefit from having access to such a strong alumni community?
Any graduates who move our here will immediately have a strong support network. It can be a bit overwhelming when first moving out here. Everything is so spread out, it can be difficult to get your bearings. There is no centre to LA. But having the fellow alumni here, and because we all work in different mediums means we have a vast network of contacts you set people in the right direction.
Tell us more about the group’s plans around Brit Week.
We have an Alumni exhibition featuring 20 artists running from the 21st of April till 4th of May. We’ve renamed our group London Transplants. Hopefully we will now have yearly exhibitions.
This exhibitions theme is showing how our work has changed or progressed by our moving to a different cultural and geographical environment. How has that impacted the content of our work, if at all. It’s a continuation on the theme from the last exhibition, where we showed a current piece of work alongside a piece we had produced while at UAL. The contrast in the pieces shown in that exhibition was quite striking.
We are all incredibly excited about it, everyone is working so hard to make is as successful as the 2013 exhibit. It’s going to be brilliant!