My office is covered in art as my wife is keen to ‘recycle’ the numerous pictures that my children bring back from school.
Personally, I have always found Tracey Emin to be an inspiration and I like to think that my office has a look of her ‘unmade bed’.
There are some who seem not to see the meticulous manner in which I carefully arrange my papers and possessions and who claim it is a mess. Such people clearly have no appreciation of contemporary art.
The Shrewsbury School Art Faculty is opposite my study window, and when it is possible to see through it, I witness a stream of arty folk visiting the nirvana of creativity. I love going into the Art Faculty as there is such a breadth and range of work to be admired. I myself keep my artistry very much to myself but I can boast that all the pictures I produced when I was at school were displayed. It was a very well-produced copy, though I say so myself.
There is almost a completely new look to the Art Faculty teaching team. The new Head of Art is Ms Lucy Caddel who has joined us from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Crayford Academy. Lucy is a superb artist and particularly enjoys painting fruit.
“It’s so appealing,” she told me. “I find I go bananas when I have a brush in my hand,” she added as she sipped her orange juice.
Lucy is delighted to be working here, “It’s a plum job,” she admitted. ‘Currantly’ Lucy is keen to make the Faculty as accessible as possible. “I want it so that every young woman and young man goes about their business with real zest and enthusiasm.”
Lucy has brought with her James Yule, who she has worked with before. James had been in Dubai, but with global warming he felt he might as well come back to Shropshire. James is a definite enthusiast and enjoys working with creative minds. He has really loved working with his Fourth Form set: “Every day is like Christmas when you are working with such amazing students,” Mr Yule added.
He particularly likes Minna Moore’s pink centipede. Such is his imagination, he can almost see it as real. “Reality is all about perception, and this centipede is attacking me,” he claimed.
He is also a big fan of Tabitha Winkley’s work. Though Ms Caddel and Mr Harrison could not work out where Tabitha got the idea to make a rotten apple from.
Stewart Harrison is the third member of the new triumvirate. He is no mean artist himself and is a musician of some note (mostly the right ones). Stewart has a clear idea of his purpose in life, despite Alex Loumidis suggesting otherwise, his major job being to enhance the historical knowledge of our Art Historians.
“Art History is my life and I see it being made all around me.” Mr Harrison said. “Alex Loumidis could be the next Andy Warhol,” Alex Loumidis is keen to be the next Andy Warhol. “I am keen to be the next Andy Warhol,” he intimated.
Mr Jarrod Gabbitas is another wonderfully talented artist but he is not new to the department. “I am not new to the department,” he told me. “I like to keep fresh and I am open to change,” he added, so I gave him 50p to keep him happy.
Yiota Maxfield comes in on a Thursday to help with the creative demands of the School. “I pop in once a week for a ‘craftanoon’,” Yiota explained. She is skilled in creative crafts and felt work, among other artistic mediums. She has an expertise in art therapy, and William Cowper was quick to tell me that he looks forward to the session all week. “I can’t sleep at night before my creative art sessions. The lack of sleep has made me slightly anxious, but I find the art I do is very relaxing and calms me down. So, I am working in a vicious circle.” Frank Mansell feels that Art is very therapeutic, and George Clowes was quick to agree. “Art is very therapeutic,” he observed.
Emily Edwards and Fran Baynes wanted to show me their breakfast on a plate. “Mrs Maxfield has been egging us on,” Emily explained.
Mr Yule then showed me round the Faculty whilst eulogising about the Upper Sixth, who are all currently working on their trial exam pieces. We came across Elwood Rainey working on a piece the theme of which is ‘who am I?’ He was clearly on a very personal and thought-provoking journey and was completely absorbed in the creative process.
Olivia Taylor has also found her art work to be absorbing. Indeed, it is so absorbing I could not get her to notice I was there. I have concluded that she likes to create art that has purpose and is poignant. The picture of her staircase has become a hit on Instagram with over a hundred likes already.
Molly Kaye is working at a sofa which is in the shape of a large pair of lips. I asked her what her inspiration was. She told me that she has been asked by her family to make them a new sofa. Molly is such a lovely young lady that she has taken up the challenge and just hopes her parents like it. I think they will, Molly!
Anna Scott-Bell was not keen on being photographed making something with sand and clay that was inspired by one of Kader Attia’s untitled installations. Anna is too modest, and I am highlighting her brilliance – after all, it is important to get used to fame.
Kiwi Chan is working on some distorted faces in a very clever manner, and Anthea Siu is keen on chairs.
Olivia Collingwood-Cameron was keen to show me her sketch book and has been quietly creating a variety of masterpieces, while Freddie Williams has been inspired by Kyffin Williams and has been painting Welsh landscapes.
There is so much talent I will have left several budding artists out, but I hope I have managed to paint a picture of the broad landscape that is the artistic scene at Shrewsbury School.