Hi, my name is Kat Outten and I am currently in my first year of MA Fine Art Digital at Camberwell College of Arts. I graduated from my degree in BA Graphic Design at Camberwell last year and decided to pursue my MA studies here too as I felt there was so much I didn’t have a chance to explore fully on my degree. I learnt a great deal on my BA, pushing the boundaries of what “graphic design” could be, and left with a variety of transferable skills, but I felt that my work could no longer be defined as graphic design. In particular I wanted to explore more sculptural and conceptual elements that I felt unable to do on my degree, and after speaking to Jonathan Kearney (who runs the MA programme at Camberwell) I felt that Fine Art Digital would be the best fit for myself and my practice as an artist.
I didn’t really consider any other institutions to study a Masters at, as I knew I wanted to stay at Camberwell
I love the variety of facilities as it really gives me free reign to explore any idea I might have, and the technicians in each department had all been incredibly helpful to me during my degree. They are all practicing artists/designers and as such they were always able to help me find solutions for my ideas, and guide me on the various processes available.
My practice is constantly growing and changing and currently is focussed on physical sculptures of objects found along the River Thames- I am exploring how different uses of colour and materials will affect viewers perceptions of the objects, all of which would usually be considered rubbish. This project started in the third year of my degree, where I took these found objects into the dark room to create a series of photograms (photos made directly in the dark room that look similar to X-Rays) of them, but as of now I have made a series of macro photos of some of the objects, a short film using a macro lens, some white plastic vacuum form casts, and currently I am working in the foundry to create bronze and aluminium casts.
The metal casts involve a very long process, but I enjoy hands on work and getting messy when I create, so I am really enjoying where this project is going! I also plan to make some ceramic casts with Taz in Ceramics, and potentially some 3D printed ones too, using the 3D printers in the 3D workshops. Alongside this I have been researching colour theory, other artists who use casting, the River Thames and its history, the problem of littering in the river, and the topics of racism and classism in the art world as part of this project.
The river project embodies my love for this city, in a way- I feel comfortable in London as I have always lived just outside of it, and the river has always fascinated me. My love for London led me to apply for Social Rep at UAL in my first and third year because I wanted to meet new people and share my passion for this city. This was a really fun opportunity that helped me to meet some of my closest friends, and I loved learning about new cultures from all the people I met! I have also been a Student Ambassador for Camberwell for about three years, as I love getting involved and showing off Camberwell to prospective students! As part of this I have also had the opportunity to travel to Manchester to represent UAL at the UCAS Fair there, which was great.
Using the connections I made during my degree, I decided to turn one of my other passions into something meaningful- The Mentally Chill Society. I created it in September 2017 with the goal of creating a safe space and a platform for students dealing with mental health issues to meet, network, and share tips for managing university life. So far we have had five events, including PETS’N’PIZZA (twice) involving rescue dogs and free pizza, a Christmas film night, as well as a yoga and smoothies session, and so far we have almost sixty members!
I really struggled with my mental health during my degree and it was thanks to my friends that I managed to pull through, so I wanted to make sure that everyone who is struggling knows that they have a group that is there to support them. I also ran a Puppies and Lunch event for the counselling service at UAL based on the popular PETS’N’PIZZA event, which was very successful, and it is my aim to keep working to improve mental health support at UAL. With this in mind I partnered Mentally Chill with Student Minds, and plan on getting some of our members suicide prevention training, fundraising training, and peer support training in the future.