Every year thousands of art graduates leave college in the hope of making it as professional artists, photographers, architects and designers. With hundreds of art courses in the UK, getting noticed is key and this is where Free Range offers a unique approach to exposure by showcasing many emerging graduates from around the country under one roof at The Old Truman Brewery.
Here, Culture Trip’s Art & Design editor, Freire Barnes picks the artists to look out for among the 3,000 exhibitors at the weekly rotating presentations of fine art, photography, design and interior design & architecture students.
Romily Alice Walden
The Londoner has started to make a name for herself with her neon sculptures of the female form – made using donated naked-selfies – that have been exhibited at Lights of Soho Gallery in London. Having studied neon bending under master craftsmen in Wakefield and Berlin, Walden set up her neon studio last year and is currently completely her Fine Art BA at Leeds College of Art. You can see her brilliant neon work at Free Range, which explores the social strata of gender and considers craftsmanship within the digital age, from July 7.
The Arts University Bournemouth BA student wants to create a sense of community within urban environments, and to readdress how public spaces are utilised. Originally from Peterborough, Broughton creates digital prints and installations which suggest reclaiming city locales such as carparks. For Sit (2016), he considered how a space normally assigned to parked cars, could be repurposed for the enjoyment of the local residents by positioning a bench in a parking bay.
The British-Yemeni photographer focuses his lens on creating strong visual stories for fashion editorials, as well as his documentary projects. Currently studying Visual Communication at Birmingham City University, Khaleel is a name we will no doubt hear more from, as his photographs challenge both cultural diversity and generational individualism with striking intensity.
The digital realm might allude to programmed perfection, but just like the virtual world, it is prone to inaccuracies and faults. Ellie Brown is a mixed media student at Leeds College of Art, who predominantly works with digital media celebrating the glitches that might otherwise be considered an inconvenience. She then develops her highly digitised vistas into installations.
Another photographer creating stunning portraits is Ravensbourne University student, Alexander Rocks. With a name that already evokes stardom, Rocks takes his inspiration from the 90s, in particular fashion tomes such as i-D, to create gritty, candid photographs of people in their homes or in their neighbourhoods. Here, contemporary individuality screams at the lens with nostalgic flare.
This young photography student studying at Falmouth University definitely loves pink, but don’t confuse that to mean she creates ‘cutesy’ or ‘girly’ art. Linfield uses many variations of rose as a backdrop to her self-portraits that question how the media portray women as well as determine how women should look. You’ll be able to see her powerful pink-themed portraits from June 22 in the photography week presentation.
Driven by understanding the material world around us and the element of chance, University of Hertfordshire Fine Art student Lily Rankine creates painterly sculptural installations that are heavily imbued with abstract symbolism. The highly kitsch sits alongside cartoon icons such as Homer Simpson in Rankine’s cacophonous work, which attempts to distil the artist’s quotidian experiences.
Also a Falmouth photography grad, Talitha Khachik creates unusual photographic compositions whether it’s fabric-covered bodies in expressive poses, or graphic designs overlaid portraits. The Leicester-born photographer, who grew up in a home enriched by her Anglo-Arab mother’s Iraqi and Armenian roots, draws on her eclectic social experiences to broach anthropological categorisation, gender distinction and political concerns in her vivid photographs.
Free Range 2017 is at The Old Truman Brewery, 85 Brick Lane, London E1 6QR until July 17, 2017.
- Photography Week 1: June 22–26
- Photography Week 2: June 29–July 3
- Fine Art: July 6–10
- Interior Design & Architecture: July 13–17
Opening times: Friday to Sunday 10am–7pm; Monday 10am–4pm (closed Tuesday and Wednesday). Check the website for full details.