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Blue Room artists to feature work at Griffith Regional Art Gallery in Australia

Growing Together as Artists: Studio Me and beyond...

Back in April we caught up with Blue Room artists Joshua Henderson and Veronica Watson as they reflected on their first studio residencies, and sharing their work at Bluecoat, in the exhibition Studio Me.

The project has led on to some exciting opportunities for the artists both in the UK and internationally. Becky Waite, Bluecoat's participation manager explains more. 

Australian curator Sarah McEwan discovered the work of artists from Blue Room during a visit to Liverpool in 2018. She commissioned Henderson and Watson to create new work for a group exhibition at the Griffith Regional Art Gallery in New South Wales, Australia. Yield brings together the work of artists from supported studios in Australia and the UK, featuring artists from The Art Factory (Wagga Wagga), Arts Project Australia (Melbourne) and Blue Room at Bluecoat. 

Henderson and Watson took on the challenge of creating new pieces inspired by people and places from the other side of the world. An exchange between the studios began, with artists sharing video messages and photographs for inspiration.

“I did some box buildings of Australian buildings. It was a challenge. I feel amazing that my work is in Australia. I’m just happy to be a Blue Room artist and represent Bluecoat in Australia” (Joshua Henderson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watson began a long-distance portraiture project, inviting artists exhibiting in Yield to share a photograph of themselves, and then creating a pencil portrait of each individual.

“When I draw people I get to know them, even if I have never met them before. I hope the people in Australia like their portraits.” (Veronica Watson)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once completed, the commissioned artworks were carefully packaged and posted to Australia to be installed in the exhibition. A specially created film documenting the project was created by filmmaker George Ellis and was premiered at a seminar accompanying the exhibition. 


In addition to working on international commissions, Henderson and Watson have both been awarded Artist Development grants by DaDaFest. Each artist has been supported by Bluecoat and DaDaFest to plan a project of skills development with access to a studio space and mentoring sessions with arts professionals.

 For Henderson, the focus has been on developing a collection of print items, building on the success of his collection of postcards that were available to buy as part of the Studio Me exhibition. He has been working with print artist Becky Peach to develop his printmaking skills at Bluecoat Print Studio. He is also collaborating with illustrator Siobhan Harrison to develop skills in digital design.

“I am working with Becky Peach to help get some prints ready, I’d like to sell them in a fair and have my own table. Siobhan’s been brilliant. She’s been helping me to use the computer to design some prints.” (Joshua Henderson)

Watson has continued to connect with artist Tanya Raabe-Webber for a series of mentoring sessions with a focus on exploring digital drawing and professional development. 

“Tanya helped me a lot on the ipad with all the colours. It was the first time I have done a drawing on an ipad. I’d like to do more of this. We talked about how Tanya gets her paintings into galleries” (Veronica Watson).

Watson has also been invited to take part in a residency at Project Ability in Glasgow in September. Project Ability is a leading visual arts organisation which creates opportunities for people with disabilities to express themselves and achieve their artistic potential. During the residency, Watson will meet with artists from supported studios across the UK and Europe, creating work together and sharing ideas. 

Supporting artists in their development is a key focus of Bluecoat and it is hoped that the legacy of the Studio Me project continues to open up doors for Blue Room artists. Both Henderson and Watson are developing a strong portfolio of work, with confidence growing in their identities as artists. Watch this space for updates on their journeys. 

Yield is at Griffith Regional Art Gallery, NSW, Australia until 22 September 2019

 


 

Joshua Henderson and Veronica Watson in the studio, photos by George Ellis

'Growing Together as Artists' video by George Ellis

Exhibition view images by Vic McEwan

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