Alumni Profile – Rodolfo Villaplana

Ashley by Rodolfo Villaplana

Ashley by Rodolfo Villaplana

This week our one minute interview is with MA Fine Art 2013 graduate Rodolfo Villaplana from Venezuela. Rodolfo’s exciting new London based solo show called The Naked and The Nude which opens in a matter of hours. Details below:

20th Century Theatre
291 Westbourne Grove
W11 2QA
16 – 19 October 2014, 11am-8pm
Private View: Thursday, 16 October 6-10pm

Sleeping by  Rodolfo Villaplana

Sleeping by Rodolfo Villaplana

Here’s a little more info about Rodolfo, his time and Chelsea and continuing climb towards artistic greatness:

Describe your Chelsea experience in 3 words? More than positive

What do you enjoy most about studying at Chelsea? I really enjoyed sharing time and knowledge with fellow artists. We shared studio spaces so we could deeply see each other evolve. I found this very stimulating as we were all experimenting with new ways of transforming and developing our work. There was sort of a general challenge that I accepted and that made me feel in a stronger position regarding my work.

The Surprise at Pimlico by  Rodolfo Villaplana

The Surprise at Pimlico by Rodolfo Villaplana

How did you enjoy living in London? As a London based artist, this city offers me the possibility to be in contact every day with the very best and the newest of the art world. I can measure my possibilities as an artist with that… It’s a privilege as a contemporary artist to have such an incredible variety of cultural offers in one place.

Where did you live in London when you studied at Chelsea? Barons Court Road, London

What was your neighbourhood like? Pretty and central

Where do you live now? Oval, London

Banana Skin by Rodolfo Villaplana

Banana Skin by Rodolfo Villaplana

What was your greatest challenge on the course and how did you overcome it? To develop my art and take it to another level. I dedicated the course to realise big format canvases where I could finally achieve this new way of transforming the background into pure colour and to suspend the figure as I am a figurative painter.

What has been your greatest challenge in your professional life since then and how have you overcome it? My new solo debut in the 20th century theatre and my recent solo show in Venice, are both very important for me. For this show in London we have the support of the MOCA museum of contemporary art and private sponsors. The space of the theatre is just massive and my big format canvases fit very well in this sort of space. We will open during FRIEZE.

What are your greatest achievements/awards/exhibitions? The Naked and the Nude:My new solo debut in London, showcasing my most recent work about the psychological possibilities of the portraiture from real life.

Self-Portrait with Blue Sky by Rodolfo Villaplana

Self-Portrait with Blue Sky by Rodolfo Villaplana

Chelsea Graduate Alex J Wood responds to the centenary of the First World War in the Crypt Gallery


Artist Alex J Wood, who graduated from Chelsea MA Fine Art in 2013, is part of the group exhibition ‘Disinter’ which explores artistic responses to the centenary of the First Wold War.

The Great War is explored by nine contemporary artists in relation to a world today where there is a proliferation of imagery and information. Sculpture, photography and painting take over the atmospheric space that is The Crypt, which once served as an air raid shelter.

Alex J Wood steers his work into ‘air warfare’ with his bronze and paper sculptures whilst fellow UAL graduate Lee Coyne (Wimbledon MFA) explores photography in the alcoves within the space. Mary Campbell retains a vibrant response with her extremely intricate paper cutouts. Other contributors include Annette Slim, Blanka Horakova, Christine White, Gill Smith, Irene Hammond and Jo Cockle.

‘Disinter’ will be running throughout Frieze Fringe Week.
Open: Tuesday 14 October – Sunday 19 October 12-6PM
The Crypt Gallery, Euston Rd, London NW1 2BA
Closest Tubes: Kings Cross St Pancras & Euston Station

Bronze and card  2014  Made whilst the first CCW Alumni Bursar Recipient at Camberwell College of Arts in 2014.

Bronze and card
2014, Alex J Wood
Made whilst the first CCW Alumni Bursar Recipient at Camberwell College of Arts in 2014.


Student Profile – Georgina Walters

Staircase Portfolio by Georgina Walters

Staircase Portfolio by Georgina Walters

This week we explore the world of Georgina Walters, a 2nd year student from Staffordshire, currently studying on our BA Interior and Spatial Design course.

Describe your Chelsea experience in 3 words? Engaging, inspiring, exhausting

What do you enjoy most about studying at Chelsea? The atmosphere, as the work ethic is really great and everyone’s ideas are so diverse it pushes you to think about things in new ways. This is relevant to the syllabus as well, which constantly makes you reconsider how you can do things.

How are you enjoying living in London? I love it, there’s always something interesting to visit and experience that I couldn’t find anywhere else!

Where do you live? Southwark

What’s your neighbourhood like? Relaxed….very close to Southbank and Tate Modern which is great, and it’s easy to get to central London and Uni.

What has been your greatest challenge so far on the course and how have you overcome it? Orthographic Drawing! But it’s all about practice and thinking logically, rather than over thinking, it’s not as complicated as you imagine. So I overcame this issue by asking lots of questions about everything I struggled with and practicing as much as possible.

What are your greatest achievements/awards/exhibitions? Probably being an Ambassador for the Artist Rooms programme back home, and presenting to all the other people associated at the Tate Modern.

What do you see yourself doing after your studies? Becoming a designer, probably not specific to one area as I like to do everything across a range of disciplines and I want to continue this breadth of work after I graduate.

And lastly, what would you say to anyone thinking of doing your course? Definitely do it! It’s hard work but incredibly diverse, fascinating and engaging. I think it gives you the opportunity to explore a range of spatial pathways without compromising on teaching technical skills. The projects are always very interesting and give you the chance to tailor your learning to you and your interests.

Follow Georgina’s website



From Chelsea to Nashville

Nashville front_web

A bit of Chelsea made its way to Tennessee this summer when, as a result of the ‘Nashville calling: Hatch Show Print’ exhibition at Chelsea Space last year, Nigel Bents, senior lecturer on Chelsea’s BA Graphic Design Communication, visited the city to meet up with Hatch Show Print Director Jim Sherraden and the collector and curator Jason Brown.

Nashville reverse B4_web

The reverse of the postcards when put together, showing work from BA Design Communication students that was sent to Nashville, Tenessee this summer.

To coincide with his visit, Jason Brown opened a very large show of Mail Art at Nashville’s The Green Gallery, which included a significant contribution of work by Nigel’s Chelsea students. For their submissions to the exhibition, each student was asked to draw a map identifying Nashville, Tennessee  – the destination of their work of art.  These images were drawn on the back of a card that Nigel had produced by enlarging a vintage postcard and dividing it up into a jigsaw-like grid.  All of the resulting works were then sent to Nashville to be displayed in the show.

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Simeron Kaler’s mail art.

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Lauren Radoja’s mail art.

A Mail Artist himself, Nigel also gave a lecture as part of the exhibition about the history of the medium including one of its key figures, Ray Johnson (1927-1995) a seminal Pop Art figure in the 1950s, an early conceptualist, and a pioneer of mail art.  Of the trip, Nigel said: “A great highlight for me was meeting Cynthia Marsh, who was a part of Ray Johnson’s circle – and swapping addresses!”

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Chelsea students’ work on show in the window of The Green Gallery, Nasville.


Nigel’s lecture at the Mail Art exhibition, Nashville.

The exhibition was covered extensively in the local press, and you can read an article about the show in The Tennessean, online on their website and find out more about the project on the Nashville Mail Art blog.

Find out more about Hatch Show Print’s exhibition Nashville Calling at Chelsea Space last year on the gallery’s website.

Find out more about Ray Johnson’s work with mail art on his website.

Find out more about studying BA Graphic Design Communication at Chelsea, vist our course pages.

Alumni Profile – Ariane van Dievoet

Candlestix candle holder by Ariane van Dievoet

Candlestix candle holder by Ariane van Dievoet

This week we catch up with Ariane van Dievoet from Brussels, Belgium who studied BA Interior & Spatial Design graduating in June 2010.

Describe your Chelsea experience in 3 words? Experimenting, exhibiting and bonding.

What do you enjoy most about studying at Chelsea? The ability to think outside the box.

How did you enjoy living in London? It was a great city to study in, full of opportunities and events.

Where did you live in London? Pimlico

What was your neighbourhood like? Convenient (close to Uni + well connected), quiet and safe.

Where do you live now? New York, USA

What was your greatest challenge on the course and how did you overcome it? Finding a way to make my final project as experimental as I was being encouraged to, while still making it a reality.
I guess the final exhibition is what helped me realise that.

What has been your greatest challenge in your professional life since then and how have you overcome it? Starting my own design studio on my own 3 months ago. I am still working on it! Having strong support from friends and family really helps.

What are your greatest achievements/awards/exhibitions? Showing my first collection of furniture/product design at the Salone Satellite in Milan in April 2014.

What is your main profession now? Designer

And lastly, what would you say to anyone thinking of studying at Chelsea? It’s a great experience!

Check out Avandi Studio’s website

Fashion Up-Cycling workshop at Chelsea this weekend

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Image © Textile Environmental Design (TED)

As part of a weekend celebrating the creative and exciting developments around Victoria, PhD students from Chelsea College of Arts are hosting a fashion up-cycling workshop this Saturday, 4 October.

The workshop is designed to inspire – and will give the participants ideas of how they can re-purpose clothing and textiles to create something unique, and will get to grips with the hands-on element of upcycling.

Chelsea College of Arts is at the forefront of research into sustainable textiles and fashion design, exploring the environmental and social responsibilities of textile and fashion production and the impact on design and the design process through Textile Environmental Design (TED) – which collaborates with scientists, consumer-behaviour experts and political scientists, as well as the textile and fashion industries. Lead researcher at TED, Becky Earley, has made a significant contribution to the emerging field of up-cycling textiles – exemplified in her Worn Again and Top 100 projects.

Image © Textile Environmental Design (TED)

Image © Textile Environmental Design (TED)

Upcycling is a cutting-edge approach to fashion – taking old, unwanted garments and transforming them into on-trend pieces for the season. As well as applying additional material, stencils and other accessories, the clothes can be altered to change their structure and cut to the way you want them – reusing and re-purposing unwanted items instead of buying new.

The workshop is part of Inside Out Victoria, hosted by Land Securities, a series of events showcasing the ever-growing range of things to do in the area.

This collaboration has been coordinated by the Enterprise Collective – for more information or support to develop your project, please contact or 0207 514 9300.

Find out more about Textile Environmental Design (TED)

Find out more about studying MA Textiles at Chelsea on our course pages.

Book your place at the workshop at:

Staff Profile – Melanie Bowles

Mbowles Fespa image


Staff member Melanie Bowles heads off to present at FESPA 14 Digital Textile Conference in Milan this Thursday 2nd of October. Here’s a few facts you might like to know about Melanie.

Melanie Bowles is senior lecturer on the BA Textile Design course at Chelsea. She is the principal author of ‘Digital Textile Design’, Laurence King, 2009, second edition 2012.
 Melanie is a practicing designer and researcher: a member of research cluster Textile Environmental Design (TED); the Textile Futures Research Center (TFRC); and The Slow Textile Group. She has exhibited her work internationally with the Craft Council ( Lab Craft), The Science Museum, and Tilberg Textile Museum. She has recently completed her second publication Print, Make, Wear – Creative projects for digital textile design – Laurence King 2015. She is also co-founder of The People’s Print.

Read more about FESPA 14Slow Textiles, Textile Environment Design (TED), Textile Futures Research Center (TFRC)The People’s Print and studying BA Textile Design at Chelsea.


Alumni Profile – Theresa Caruana

Work by Theresa Caruana

Work by Theresa Caruana

This week we talked to Theresa Caruana, from Brooklyn, New York who studied MA Fine Art and graduated in 2014.

What is your year of graduation? 2014

Describe your Chelsea experience in 3 words? Challenging, Invigorating & Trans-formative

What did you enjoy most about studying at Chelsea? The opportunity to be surrounded by artists (students and staff) who simultaneously enlightened, challenged and supported the development of my practice

How did you enjoy London? I’ve enjoyed experiencing the excitement and challenge of jostling for space amongst London’s art establishment.

Where do you live? Currently residing in Nottingham and staying in Kent when at Chelsea.

What were your greatest challenges on the course and how did you overcome them? Limitations of space and constant travel inspired me to adopt a flat pack, light weight design to all my artworks. In turn this solution added a novel material and conceptual aspect to my work by directly engaging with the common experience of urban life in the 21st Century.

What are your greatest achievements/awards/exhibitions? In November 2013 I completed Art in Your Park, a public art exhibition I created in collaboration with WW Gallery, London and Nottingham University. I commissioned new artworks by eight contemporary artists, including Royal College tutor in sculpture, Kate Davis, Flora Parrott and Royal Academy student in painting Frank Kent who exhibited for one month across 200 acres of parkland in central Nottingham. I raised over £40,000 of funding from The Arts Council, AHRC and Nottingham University as well as project managing, curating and exhibiting my own work. I have been Visiting Research Fellow of Nottingham University’s internationally renowned Mixed Reality Lab since 2009, developing interactive mobile technology that supports the curation of art in the public realm. I developed with Dr Ben Bedwell Wander Anywhere, a system that allows anyone to add media content to any location ready to be found/experienced via audiences’ mobile phones. This system is being tested by Tate Britain as part of their Art Maps initiative.

What do you see yourself doing after your studies? Chelsea has helped me to align my interests in the conceptual implications of an ever-growing ‘mobile’ and ‘interactive’ experience of contemporary life (facilitated by digital technology) with my desire to work physically with more traditional materials. The outcome of this has been to produce paintings that can be handled like maps, sculpture that can be read as signposts and architectural interventions that amplify natural elements such as the movement of the wind or the sound of the rain. I intend to continue with this for some time after my MA and engage with curators and dealers who can support me in making this work accessible to international audiences.

And lastly, what would you say to anyone thinking of doing MA Fine Art? Go for it. Definitely one of the best decisions I ever had the opportunity to make!

Your Website/Blog/Facebook/Twitter? You can follow my work on my website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and the Wander Anywhere project.