TRANSLATED BY 翻譯 x Syndi Huang 黃煥欣
Most British art colleges provide studio space for their fine arts students to cope with their creative learning and practice. Compared with other types of studios, what is the relationship between arts students’ studios and their creation, and what are those students’ opinions towards the relationship among studio space, studies and arts creativity? To find out an answer, we have an interviewed with Sun Yi, a MA Fine Art student from Slade School of Fine Art to talk about student studio space in UK arts colleges.
ART.ZIP: Would you please tell us how arts colleges, such as Slade School of Fine Art, allocate studios for the students?
SY: I am not sure about other art colleges, but for my college, students are requested to attend a welcome meeting at the beginning of the semester where teachers will hand out to each student a studio space plan from which students can pick an area that they like. While some students may choose the same area they want, they need to sort out the space by themselves and teachers would not interfere. The students’ choose for space is based on the forms and needs of their creativity, for instance, for those students who tend to create larger scales of artworks, they will choose relatively higher ceiling space, whilst some students prefer space with great natural light. For myself, I have chosen a relatively small space, as my works are in comparatively smaller sizes.
ART.ZIP: How do students make use of their allocated space? What do you think the difference between arts studios in the UK and those in the mainland China?
SY: The studios for majority of students in the UK are a state of living and working that are combined together, where they read, chat, paint, sleep, listen to music, and have coffee, etc., which is similar to that of China’s student art studios. With regard to the difference, there are not many students in the UK majoring in fine art paintings and many of them will go to try a variety of other art forms, such as printmaking, installation and sculpture, etc. And the students are from different countries, speaking different languages, which enrich the diversity of cultures and creativity. This learning and working environment in the UK arts colleges is very much different from that in the mainland China.
ART.ZIP: In terms of your personal learning and creativity, what is the relationship between you and the school studio space?
SY: Personally, the school studio space is not particularly significant to me, because on the one hand, I do relatively smaller artworks, and on the other hand, my creation is not necessarily in need of a particular studio space to engage in. The studios that the school provides for students are merely passive space allocated for students in a temporary period of time. And the school’s activity arrangement such as exhibitions and summer short courses often affects our use of the studio space. Therefore, I don’t really like the studio space that the school has offered. It is only in the case I have a clear work plan and objective that I will go there, otherwise I prefer to go to the library or café for reading, or do paintings at home. The studio for me is just a symbol of identity as an art student hence assigned with a specific space.
ART.ZIP: Do you have any ideal studio space in your mind?
SY: It has to come with a large table where I can practice calligraphy and ink painting, since in the past I have been receiving training in these two areas, and they have become an indispensable part of my life. But this does not count into the space of art practice, but for leisure and fun only. Besides, there should be a place for drinking tea, preferably with a small bed where I can lie down whenever feeling tired. Ideally the studio is a factory-like open space with the possibilities of various creativity and experiment, which may be in a cluttered condition, nevertheless, I don’t mind it shows the sign of life in the studio, but the areas for work, relax and living should be accordingly divided.