Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Jade Simpson mentored by Clare Mitten

Every year, New Art West Midlands (NAWM) supports selected graduates in an exhibition at four of the region's major galleries. As part of NAWM 15, Meadow Arts was one of a number of arts organisations that worked with Turning Point West Midlands to arrange follow-on development opportunities for the artists involved. You can find out more about how NAWM supports young artists in the video below.

We selected Jade Simpson, a graduate from Stafford University, as we were particularly interested in the way that she used collections as a starting point for her work.

Jade Simpson's work in the NAWM 15 exhibition
After a discussion with Jade about her personal aims as an artist we decided that it would be most beneficial to put her in touch with artist Clare Mitten for a couple of mentoring sessions. Here is Jade’s account of what she gained from the experience:

Clare Mitten in Jade's studio
'Being paired with Clare Mitten has been a wonderful experience. It has given me the chance to observe up close an artist who is further into their career and insight into how other artists work. Seeing her studio, her local haunts and the places she goes for inspiration has motivated my own practice back home. It has been particularly interesting to compare our backgrounds and how it has influenced our practice, for instance her being based in London, a place where museums, exhibitions and culture are openly available, as opposed to Stoke-on-Trent where the art scene is made up of a close knit community or small pockets of creative hubs. We also found similarities in our works, even labelling ourselves as 'art scientists', discovering the natural world through the medium of art. 

During her visit to my own studio we were able to discuss ideas and directions in which my work could go. Clare came up with a brilliant idea regarding illustrations by Audubon and other naturalists that she discovered in my workspace and how I can adapt them into a 3D medium. At a time when I believed myself to be stuck in a creative slump she revealed that the inspiration I needed was already right under my nose. As well as that we discussed how to adapt my current situation of wanting to be a crafts-person/maker and also continuing to be an exhibiting fine artist. 

I believe the mentoring programme was a great success, for me in any case, and I enjoyed every moment of the visits, from seeing an exhibition about yogic Buddhism, to simply chatting with Clare about or home towns and influences over a beer.'

Jade's studio

Jade E Simpson
Twitter: @jadieeleanor
Facebook: www.facebook.com/JadieeleanorArtist

More about artist Clare Mitten: