Our BA Fine Art course is delivered in our New Adelphi building – which in my opinion is one of the most stunning, quirky and vibrant buildings on campus. Home to a theatre, an art gallery, dance studios and recording studios, it’s a hive of creativity! 🎨

Babs Smith, in her third-year of studying Fine Art, is one of the students who gets to use this purpose-built space. Below she describes how her creative practice has evolved throughout her educational journey, from college to her final year at university.

Before embarking on the course at Salford my undergraduate studies had begun in Fine Art on an OCA course (Open College of Arts, direct correspondence). I realised quickly that if I wanted to experience print and 3D materials more directly, I needed workshops, technicians and experience with other artists to achieve this. At this early stage I felt strongly about being able to respond with the medium that the narrative required and so began to study here at Salford in 2017. This is now part of my practice.

Fig 1

My first piece of work is a pencil drawing made in 2014 of a neighbour’s house (Fig 1). It was at the point where I was understanding perspective and although not completely correct, it went some way to documenting the process of landscape drawing and was also an exercise in observation. I found representation was not something that really interested me and although this exercise is therapeutic, I wanted to develop my skill with a narrative concept that had meaning.

Fig 2

My portfolio work (Fig 2) included mostly large acrylic and figurative work. I thought at the time that I would be keen to combine and improve the two but my interest in print and 3D on the degree course surpassed this and I have changed direction, although I do use drawing to observe and study.

Fig 3 was a study of a climber made at Plas Y Brenin, National Outdoor Centre in North Wales. This formed my level five external experience as Artist in Residence; during this year we have a module specifically dedicated to professional development.

Fig 3

My first experience with Perspex was creating a sculpture that illustrated the memory of a rock climb. The meditative movement, muscle memory and yogic flow of positions were translated into layers of Perspex and sparked an interest in the beautiful reflective and versatile material that is now featuring strongly in my practice. I would not have been able to resolve this work without the teaching, experience and support of the University (Fig 4).

Fig 4
Fig 5

My final piece (Fig 5) which has been submitted for marking takes a piece of masonry from a demolished house which is part of a project called Signs of Life where I explored the passing of time and the scientific illustration of the bending of time around objects whilst the object maintains the energy and destruction of the blast and the memory of a human life lived in the space. Science has become my main subject and metaphors within science are providing material for my work in many exciting directions. My dissertation considers how artists and scientists are working together to effect change. This has been reinforced by a collaboration with Researchers at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, which began at the end of level five and has included working alongside musicians studying at the University of Salford to create sound from the imaging devices used by the researcher.

Thanks again to Babs for taking the time to speak to me. If you’re interested in studying Fine Art, take a look at the course here. 🎨