The Bath Spa Porthleven Prize

Letter of Application

Peter Lanyon, who taught at the Bath Academy of Art from 1950-7, was commissioned to produce a work for an exhibition “60 paintings for ’51”, as part of the Festival of Britain. He made a large-scale oil painting, called Porthleven. I remember the date because it was the year of my birth, and I remember the name and his Cornish connections from a 2009 visit to the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath where I saw his huge 1962 murals Porthmeor, and a new Porthleven. These long works, about one metre by three, are full of the space and movement of sea, sky and shore. I was happy to make these connections when I first heard of the prize.

My part-time course, from a standing-start through a foundation degree, has sometimes meant that my progress has also been in fits and starts. However, in the workshops, in particular printmaking, textiles, book making, 3D and recently on iPad, I have been able to produce a credible response to the materials available. I have enjoyed studying the use of language in art, concrete poetry and art & language, and I enjoyed the adrenaline rush of making presentations. My recent work has involved archiving my creative project, my journeys and my final student year. Whilst it has absorbed me, it has seemed to be lacking a theme – lacking that confident answer to that critical question – so, what is your work all about? And yet I now believe that my flexibility, and ability to respond to varied open calls and other briefs in a timely and capable manner, has become a real strength. This final year has given me increased artistic confidence, which means that I can adapt to accommodate, and respond to provenance.

I can cook, sew, mend, cycle, spell, I’m adequately fit, I am used to teamwork, I’m stable and I have a sense of humour. I’m enthusiastic, diligent & reliable. I have the skills to co-operate with and facilitate others, as well as being able to respond to my surroundings and produce my own art. Collaborative work including performance and text as well as visual art sounds just up my street.

The images I have chosen for my digital portfolio show the breadth of response I would be able to offer. My textile monoprint series was inspired by the colours, texture and mood of the 1905 Finnish painting of Lake Keitele by Gallen-Kallela, and my initial plan for personal work to complement my writing and photography would be to make monoprints.

During the initial site visit I would produce a sketchbook of writing, prints and photos. This would be a self-contained piece of work, a permanent record of the whole field trip, which could help inform plans for the residency, and provide evidence of outcomes for discussion at interview.

For my personal practice, this would be real chance to expand my own creative art. This opportunity would be a major development for me, offering the chance of a life-altering challenge. I don’t want my art career to fizzle out just as I graduate; I need this chance to accelerate into orbit.

“To gain professional artistic experience, adapt to other perspectives, respond to a theme.” I can do this, and I would not waste this chance.

If a new movement of art is going to come from Cornwall, I want to be part of that drive. If The Porthleven School is to emerge it will need cohesion and momentum and a good artistic archivist. I can offer unique skills and I would relish the challenge to produce my own responses to the port and sea and sky of Porthleven.

“The artist is often perceived as the vehicle by which a place and moment is truly captured.” Indeed.

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