The Epson Digital Suite housed inside the schools’ historic studio spaces, provides students with the opportunity to experiment and develop pieces using the very latest Epson digital imaging technology available.
The RA Schools are the only art education establishment to offer a three year postgraduate fine art course charging no fees. The final year exhibition provided visitors with a rare chance to view exceptional pieces by a new generation of artists. The finished artworks included a range of media from painting to photography, sculpture, performance, digital print and film. Often these are combined in hybrid and experimental works which dazzle with creativity.
All 17 students on show worked with Epson technology at some time during their three years at the Schools and it featured strongly in several students’ work at the show this year, including:
Jack Burton: produces installations of hundreds of digital photographs and prints that are collaged both by digital means and direct intervention via manipulation, over painting and graffiti type texts. Simultaneously raw and sophisticated he creates contemporary mash ups from multiple image sources that exist in the gaps between abstraction and figuration. Created in high gloss photo finish on the schools Epson large format printers they distort the strategies and characteristics of slick advertising production twisting the commercial aesthetics towards both the history of still life vanitas painting tradition and street art.
Dmitri Galitzine : who works primarily in video, performance and installation. His multi-screen narrative digital video installation ‘’Cowboys’’ shown in the schools 19th century life drawing room using Epson projectors turns the space into an immersive theatrical environment that takes its audience on an epic journey through the lives of a group of wild west creative re- enactors based in deepest darkest Kent!. This 45 minute film shot and projected in HD is in turns comic, challenging, melancholic and intriguing. In doing so he has produced an English spaghetti western for the contemporary world.
Richie Moment: works with a whole plethora of mediums and approaches. His intense and noisy show utilises digital prints, Video projection, light boxes, original music and a purpose built dance floor structure using screen prints from digital film positives. The bulk of this creative collision has its roots in experimentation in the Epson suite. It combines computerised, performative and hand drawn approaches with deceptive ease to critique the caprices and politics of the contemporary art world and the hilarious romantic clichés of the personalities it creates.
India Mackie: who showed her idiosyncratic multi-screen narrative films using Epson projectors to create a surreal mash-up installation combining sculptural structure and architectural design, performance art and theatrical artifice, offset with an aural background of original music and spoken word. Her powerful imagery questions notions of self identity, gender politics and female sexuality as experienced by young women in today’s society.
Aniko Kuikka: whose double screen projected film ‘’White sugar’’ occupies a mysterious and magical environment reminiscent of the landscapes from her own Nordic background and mythology. Using multiple Epson projectors she presents us with a dramatic and fantastical narrative set in an uncertain location and anachronistic age where female sexuality, surreal events and a cast of curious and idiosyncratic characters perform ritualistic adventures that unfold over time.
Jessy Jetpacks: sings, performs, directs and produces installations that utilise all manner of new technologies. Often interactive she explores 3D print, VR and customised projected films in various combinations of sculptural forms. Her works simultaneously celebrate and critique the emotional and physical effects of technology on society investigating the post human condition of the modern world.
Her multi tasking multiphrenia results in art of an idiosyncratic and intriguing nature whose future thinking poetic imagery and melodic lilting tunes loop around the domestic interior she has created to house her various projects.
Sam Austen: whose 3 screen film ‘’True mirror’’ is an impactful and immersive
attack on the senses with his strobe lit spinning animated heads floating in space. Accompanied by a soundtrack of broken industrial noise his images hypnotise, enthral and installation uses multi screen Epson projections at different heights to create a dizzying optically challenge their audiences like an artistic fun fair ride pulsing through the gallery. Reminiscent of early handmade avant garde film they update the possibilities of stop frame animation techniques for a contemporary audience bringing the magic and fascination of the pioneering moving images of Muybridge into future focus.
Mark Hampson, Head of Fine Art Processes, RA Schools, says: “Of course these students are digital natives but it is the manner in which they can adopt various technologies and then adapt or mould it to a creative end that I find inspirational. They have come up with a wide range of art works, from street to screen and across a broad range of media, and the response from visitors to this exceptional standard of creative thinking has been fantastic. Whether using projectors, proofers or printers students have really benefitted throughout their time at the Royal Schools from having access to Epson products and support.‘’
“Students take Epson away from its usual commercial functions and use it to showcase unusual and imaginative creative art of quality and impact. Epson has continuously supported us and invariably company representatives attend the show and see for themselves just how critical their contribution is to taking talented individuals to a new level of competence and insight. It is critical that industry and education have a mutual respect and help each other to become better and more experimental. Epson has led the way and the results are stunning.’’