Susie Green graduated from the MA Fine Art course at Chelsea. She is an artist who works across a broad range of media. Her recent solo exhibition at Jerwood Space, London was comprised of architectural scale paintings and framed works on paper alongside sound and sculptural works. These, when brought together, questioned and celebrated ornamentation, intimacy and sexual pleasure. We chatted with her to find out more about her work and her time at Chelsea.
Ildiko Buckley graduated from Chelsea in 2008, having studied the PG Diploma and then the MA Fine Art. Her work often takes place over extended periods of time and involves participation with others; which can be seen in her most well-known piece, a giant, glittery YES sculpture, which was a collaboration with friend and artist Jane Palmer. The sculpture is featured in a new publication by Michael Petry, The Word is Art, a global survey of artists working with texts, words and physical books. We chatted to Ildiko to find out more about the inspiration behind YES, what being featured in The Word is Art means, and what she’s working on next.
Stella Kapezanou is graduated from Chelsea in 2017 with an MA in Fine Art. Her big, figurative images show her interest in people and society, where her aim is ‘to compose complex, ironic and sometimes obscure works’. Currently based in Athens, she splits her time between Greece and London. She was recently shortlisted for the Artists’ Collecting Society (ACS) Studio Prize. We spoke to Stella about how her time at Chelsea changed her as an artist.
Amira Baraka graduated in 2016 from the MA Interior and Spatial Design course at Chelsea College of Arts. With a background in architecture, she is currently a Senior Interior Designer at Raafat Miller Consulting in Cairo. Amira started the UAL Egypt Alumni Group in 2017.
We spoke with her about why she started the group and what she’d like the group to achieve, as well how you can get involved!
What made you choose London, and Chelsea College of Arts to study at?
London is a fascinating city for me for its history, and being a leader in modern art. When I was thinking about pursuing a master’s degree abroad, I was looking for a school known for creativity and experimentation where I can practice my ideas, that’s why I chose UAL. Also, I wanted to stay in a city where I can explore creative practice inside the university and outside it. I loved visiting art galleries and exploring works by established and emerging artists and designers.
What do you do now?
I’m currently practising as a Senior Interior Designer at one of the leading consulting offices in Cairo. However, I haven’t settled yet. I’m planning to do a PhD and to pursue a career in academia and research which was my career plan before doing my MA. After the exposure, I had to different kinds of arts and design during my stay in London I’d love to say that I’m currently in the phase of rearranging my thoughts before carrying on with a PhD.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
There are a couple of things that I’ve achieved and I’m proud of; one of which is working with a non-governmental organization in Cairo on a project concerned with designing for differently-abled people and providing services to them on an equal basis with the rest of the public.
What do you like most about being part of the UAL Alumni community?
Being exposed to opportunities that can help me advance my career.
Why did you set up the Egyptian Alumni Group?
I wanted to get in touch with alumni in my city, however, I was surprised and curious when I’ve found out that there wasn’t an alumni group in Egypt. So, I decided to be the one to take the step and connect UAL alumni. I believe we would make use of a local network for creative activities, and to catch up and see what we’ve been doing after graduation. I hope this group can bring us together to explore our common interests in Arts and Design.
What do you hope the Egyptian Alumni community will achieve?
Like most of the groups for college Alumni, people usually like meeting likeminded people, with whom they can share their experience and ask for advice when they need. I hope the alumni community in Egypt can achieve more, and be a start for a real community where UAL alumni can help each other advance in their art careers.
What is next for the group?
Moving from social media and have a fixed monthly meetup where people can meet, make new friends, and share their valuable experience related to art and design.
How you can get involved:
Have you got ideas for UAL events that you would like to see happen in Egypt? Perhaps you would like to lead an event or workshop or know of free spaces to hold activities. We are keen to hear from any of our Egyptian based alumni with ideas and who want to help our community flourish. Join the Facebook Group to let Amira know your suggestions and to keep up-to-date.
Vanessa Mitter and Doireann Ni Ghroghair met while studying for the MA Fine Art at Chelsea College of Arts in 2010. They are now showing their work in a joint exhibition, I AM A BEAUTIFUL MONSTER at Arthouse1 Gallery, Bermondsey.
Vanessa’s paintings are brightly candy-coloured visions of the female form with an underlying darkness and autobiographical layers. Doireann’s sculptures are inspired by architectural details, and are cast in unsupported latex molds so they bend and buckle and lose their shape. Although their work is very different – Vanessa being a painter and performance artist, and Doireann a sculptor, they complement one another beautifully.
After graduating the pair stayed in touch with each other, and also with many others from their course. Those contacts turned out to be really useful for getting their work in to galleries (literally – one of their fellow Chelsea alumni is a technician who helped carry Doireann’s 100kg sculpture up the stairs and into the gallery).
Doireann stayed in London for a few years, but then ended up on the Fire Station Artists’ Studio Residency in Dublin, after a short stay in Japan. “Sculpture at Chelsea is really amazing. It’s because of that workshop that I started making plaster sculptures, and built up my skills. I owe a lot to the technicians there. We were really encouraged to experiment and collaborate, and it was from that that my work took on a different shape and direction.”
Vanessa, who works from her studio in Hackney Wick, has exhibited frequently since graduating, with shows in the UK and internationally. “Chelsea leaves you with a ‘can-do’ attitude and mentality, and the freedom to find what you want to do. We were encouraged to break down what we did, rip it up, and then put it back together. We weren’t focused on creating a finished product, it was more about finding out about what we were doing to get there. It’s like your work is a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle, and you pick it apart and throw it everywhere and then you put it back together again slowly…”
Vanessa and Doireann will be giving a talk along with Emily Jane Campbell at the gallery on Saturday 1 July, from 4pm – 5.30pm. All UAL alumni are invited along for drinks and nibbles.