Chichester University: Meet Louise and her “booby tree”

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Futures will be determined when the BA fine art degree show 2015 goes live this weekend at the University of Chichester.

But if imagination, inventiveness and enthusiasm are anything to go by – and surely they should be – this year’s students should have little to worry about when they get their results later this summer.

Louise

Louise

Louise Wiltshire, aged 26 and originally from Kent, really has made art from the unlikeliest of sources – her mother’s discarded tights.

She’s filled the tights with plaster and pulled them together to create what her fellow students have affectionately dubbed ‘the booby tree’: “My mum cleared out her tights drawer, and I used them!”

Friends have said the filled tights look like mushrooms or pebbles or even garlic or testicles, but the general consensus is breasts: “It kind of feels like the piece should be called Mother,” Louise says. But at the same time, she’s reluctant to give it a name for fear of prejudging or conditioning people’s reactions. The point is it’s all part of the rich journey she’s been on since coming to Chichester, a decision initially taken because her brother was already at the university here studying history.

“I looked around and really felt comfortable here. It wasn’t scary at all. It just felt really friendly and calm.”

It has proved the perfect place to develop her art: “When I first started here, I thought I was going to be a painter. It took me about half a semester to realise I am not! I am much more interested in 3D work.”

Another student who will look back on her time at the University of Chichester with fondness will be Liliane Sutton, from Singleton. After effectively a year’s foundation course at Chichester College, she has been at the University of Chichester as a part-time student for the past six years.

“I have always done art and been interested in artistic endeavours. I was doing a lot of courses at Pallant House which are excellent for adults and also at West Dean College. I happened to meet somebody that was at the university and had just started doing a BA. It just sparked me. I applied, and I got in.

“For me as a part-time student over a longer time, I think it has been more relaxing than for other students, but I have enjoyed the interaction with the younger people, being with people you can discuss art with, looking at other people’s art, being inspired by other people’s art.

Also fascinating has been the change the course has prompted in her: “I have changed fantastically as an artist. I am an oil painter, and I am inspired by the beautiful area in which I live and by the Sussex Downs. I started off this semester doing more figurative landscape. I was going out with a sketch pad and watercolours and bringing them home in the mode of Matisse and translating it to the canvas. But this last term, I have become much more abstracted in my work.”

Originally from Bournemouth, 24-year-old Dan Rickman (facebook.com/danrickart) has found his own particular university path has taken him right back to the start, but this time fully conscious of all the decisions he has taken along the way.

“I have gone full circle really,” says Dan. “When I arrived, I was making art in the same way I am making art now, but I have deviated and I have learnt so much by doing it.”

He describes his art as a hybridisation between sculpture and painting, using found materials and recycled materials. “It’s things like old furniture. I take objects that have been discarded and have no use to anybody, and I give them a new purpose and turn them into an object of beauty.” After graduating, Dan will be heading back to Bournemouth for a few months to build up some cash, and then he will be heading out on his travels.

“I have bought a 14-seater minibus and taken out 11 seats. I have converted it into a home. I will live in it and move around in it. I will go around the country creating art. I will become self-reliant. It will be a home and a studio.”

The BA fine art degree show 2015 will be in the artOne building on the university’s Chichester campus on Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17, 11am-5pm; Monday to Friday, May 18-22, 11am-6pm; Saturday-Sunday, May 23 and 24.