Tell us a little bit about yourself—your background, major program of study, reasons for taking this trip, and anything else interesting you want to share (maybe something people might not know about you).
Hello! I’m Lily and I am an international student from Iran. I came to Canada in 2018 to study fine arts and to experience living and studying abroad. At the beginning it was quite challenging to live all alone far from my family and home, but after a while it became easier and more interesting and I fell in love with Vancouver and its people, and now I am even thinking to stay there even when I finish my studies. As you can guess, I like to travel and study in different countries and get familiar with new cultures and their art, so as soon as I heard about the field school, I applied for it even though I knew it would be even more challenging for me regarding getting the VISA (which was not the easiest thing to do due to political conflictions between Iran and other countries) and also taking third year courses for the first time in second language. I am mostly focusing on painting and would like to become a painter but I also enjoy studying psychology and I am planning to get a minor in psychology after I finish my BFA program.
What has met or exceeded your expectations or surprised you about London (or Venice) so far?
I am really surprised by the art world and galleries in London. I knew London is a great city for studying and seeing art but I am still surprised by the fact that you can see any type of art anywhere here whether it is in an art gallery or a street or a café, and I think people in London try to engage themselves with art and it seems like they like to know and study about it. I also like that many of museums and art galleries are admission free in London and I believe this leads people to see art more often and to know more about artists and artworks. I’m also enjoying all the cute and cozy coffee shops and love spending hours at these places to have a tea and do my journals. And one more thing that I would never forget about London is its historical and beautiful architecture that you can see all over the city.
Give us some insight into your assigned artwork from the Tate Modern. After seeing the work in person in London (and any other related art from the same artist or art movement associated with the assigned work), what struck you most about it and/or how did the artwork’s form, content, and context shift for you when seeing it.
My assigned artwork from the Tate Modern is Skull Snap by James Rosenquist (1989). This piece is created by acrylic paint, dye and lithograph on paper and also collaged elements and it is mainly about the power of money and more specifically the dollar. By reading and searching about this artwork I knew that the scale should be big but I still got a new and different type of feeling once that I saw it at Tate Modern. For me, seeing it in person was very different than seeing it on the screen. Just the same as this artwork I was quite surprised by seeing Bridget Riley’s artwork, my other assigned artist, too. I can even say that seeing Riley’s work in person made me way more excited and surprised compared to Rosenquist’s art piece. Every time that I looked at Riley’s art, it felt like it was the first time that I’m seeing it and I could look at it for a long time.
How did you approach the creative task of responding to your assigned artists in studio? What were your challenges as an artist to be in dialogue with the artwork and artist? Would you do anything differently now that you have seen the work in person?
To me responding to Bridget Riley’s artwork was more interesting and easier because I would personally rather paint or draw when it comes to choosing my mediums. Even though I never tried to create an art in op art style before, I always enjoyed looking at this type of art. For Rosenquist’s work I enjoyed that I could convey a meaning behind my work but I found using collaged elements a little bit more challenging than what I expected (see art projects by Lily below, first one responding to Riley and the second to Rosenquist). By seeing the artworks in person there is not really something specific that I might want to change in my projects but I would definitely continue knowing more about op art and I’ll try to do more of this type of artwork.
Today’s activity was a free day to yourself in London. What were your impressions? What will you take away of the experiences of this day? What are the most memorable moments for you?
Today was a free day except that we had to go to an art gallery and choose two artworks to write about that we at first did not like and/or liked. In order to complete my journal I went to both Tate Modern and Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as V&A), and I mostly spent my time at V&A since it was my most favorite museum among all the art galleries and museums that we visited during the time that we were in London. What I really liked about V&A was that it had lots of different artworks from all around the world and from ancient times to present. The museum also owned a very large collection of sculptures that were made during Renaissance in Italy but most of them were casts of the original ones. Still, I got excited that I could see some artworks and sculptures that I’ve studied about before and got some information about. V&A was also the only museum that I could find artworks from my country and middle east; looking at those artworks and seeing familiar names was quite enjoyable for me because it made me feel like I’m back at home, so I can say that was one of the most memorable moments for me on that day.