Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Illustration at Brighton Art College

I went to see Offsprog Two's degree show at Brighton Art College. There's the very funny film she made of the Life Drawing Class with Eugene in a paper nude suit being drawn by a whole roomful of straight faced students, and the best bit, the interviews with nuns (and Lucy, who was taught by nuns) bound into a little prayer-book sized booklet. She does a lot of embroidery, and in her exhibition is an embroidered cross-stitch cassock with an exclamation mark in black, blue and white (nun colours), and a banner with an excerpt from a nun's prayer. She has previously sewn embroidered patches with bodybuilders on them, and Nick Cave, and she's promised me a Poirot. I must remind her of that.
I love Art College and it's a privilege to be able to hang out in one again. The big white rooms were full of young people's wonder and questioning of everything, all articulated in interesting and beautiful art: print, sewing, painting, drawing, films, photography. I got a lump in my throat; it was partly the smell (why doesn't music smell that good?) and partly pride (this is the second daughter to exhibit art at a degree show; both different artists, both very good). Ideas are so important; the imagination is what makes us human, not money, business, banking, and dark blue suits from Tyrwhitt. Hear that, Osborne?
It was also really odd to be back in the same building where I studied all those years ago. We went upstairs to the print department, and the little room where I used to coat etching plates in photosensitive liquid was still there although the machines had been moved around. Fine Art was still in the same corridor! We wandered from room to room and I think probably all wished we could have had a go too.
 Joan rather liked a fetching painting of a duck smoking a fag; and there was a film of students getting drunk, a theme I'd seen at another University show recently. This lot looked just as embarrassed and guilty as the others; I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time (meow!). Eugene had a bicycle with a Mercedes grille on the front and Merc hubcaps on the wheels. I was rather taken by the photo of him riding down the country road with it, and thought how nice it would be if everyone customised their bicycles instead of thinking of them as branded status symbols. Like Eugene's, I suppose, actually.
Afterwards we flopped on sofas, exhausted by all that looking. Joan said she had the ailment Gallery Foot. The cure was Mr Whippies on the seafront next to the merry-go-round, which serenaded us with Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree and other cheesy songs, some of them Scottish. The little tambourines trembled, the xylophones zinged and trilled, and large seagulls floated about menacingly in mid-air waiting for chips (with delicious expanded polystyrene container on the side). Two babies outshrieked the seagulls by being totally unafraid and charging them, but they soon sailed back into position to dive-bomb the remains of people's dinners. Offsprog One told us that they don't like ice cream, so we were safe.
I want to go to Art College again. I wonder if they'd let me in?

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