Graduates Show Interdimensional Exhibition at The Arc
Film Graduate Adam Mclean and fellow graduates Holly Speakman, Hannah Richardson and Jana Popova are currently working on their exhibition Inter-dimensional which will open at Arc, Stockton Art Centre in March.
This Exhibition comes of the back of Adams internship with The Arc after graduation which lead to the opportunity to pitch and curate his own exhibition. The work featured will include a range of graduate artist from courses across our Stage & Screen and Visual Arts faculties.
Read on to find out more about the exhibition, the participating artists and the work that will be featured!
Tell us about The Interdimensional Exhibition!
JANA: This exhibition is all about the freedom of expression, pure feelings during moments of life and death, mystery and happiness, anxiety and relief all mixed together in one place. They exist beyond the borders of our understanding. Beyond this dimension. Interdimensional.
HANNAH: The interdimensional exhibition at Arc explores the theme of existence, and how we connect. With an emphasis on colour theory and contrast, the exhibit guides us through different creatives’ views of space and time and how these intersect. From including a wide range of forms and subjects, the work shown aims to provoke thought about the world we know and what it is to exist between space and time.
HOLLY: Interdimensional is an exhibition all about the concept of travelling across spaces, into places unknown. Personally, I was inspired by the aesthetic of 1960s psychedelia, and the idea of being removed from somewhere familiar and into the beyond.
ADAM: When I graduated from The Northern School Of Art I took up a short internship at Arc Stockton and during my time there I got to see just how full of creativity and art the Northeast has. I met some talented people such as Lizzie Lovejoy and saw exhibitions they and many other artists had done in the past at Arc. As someone who had been honing my filmmaking skills and exploring a very abstract and visual side of film, I was desperate to find a platform to find my audience and show off the kind of visuals I was making.
The Interdimensional theme came from recycled concepts that had gone into the planning of my third-year Final Major Project, A film that explored a Hellish parallel world and what travelling through an abstract void would look like, it was heavily inspired by Alan Parker’s film Pink Floyds The Wall (1982), Twin Peaks, and the films of David Lynch. I had decided that just because my film wasn’t put into production it didn’t mean I couldn’t use the concepts in other ways. So many great ideas had been scrapped by fellow students over the years just because their ideas weren’t picked and it was a shame that there didn’t seem to be an alternative for them to keep their ideas alive or improve on them somehow.
Who will feature in the exhibition?
ADAM: The people I had asked to take part in the exhibition were the people who I had asked to help on my 3rd-year project if it had gone into production. I had an eclectic selection of costume designers, production design students, and filmmakers, and beyond the university, I eventually had The Hartlepool Writers club involved and various artistic friends. It really did feel like a had a motley crew behind me and it’s been so exciting over the past few months seeing what each of them has produced and how each of them has taken the concept of travelling through different dimensions and made it their own.
I feel truly lucky to know these talented people and I can’t wait to work with them more in the future.
Tell us about the work you have submitted? (concepts, materials, skills used)
JANA: As I live abroad outside the UK the most suitable format for me to submit for an exhibition was my digital Illustrations created in Photoshop CC software. There are three of them and each is a reflection of a particular emotion that are experienced by the person with an anxiety disorder.
HANNAH: Susan was crocheted over 4 months using assorted oddments of secondhand wool. The style of crochet is freeform, meaning no specific pattern was followed in the making of this, though a variety of stitches, hooks, and techniques were used in the making, creating range in the texture and appearance of the face. The piece was inspired by a variety of different artists and forms, such as Jose Dammers, a crochet artist specialising in portraiture, as well as the 2022 film, Everything Everywhere All At Once.
HOLLY: My piece focuses on the idea of a home, being pulled from its foundations, away and out of itself into somewhere totally new and unknown – lost and lonely out in space but yet spilling over with energy, light and colour from within.
I explored an illustrative style I haven’t tried before, experimenting with selective use of colour. Using my trusty iPad to draw digitally, I tried out new brushes, overlays and light effects. For this exhibition I wanted to keep it simple, yet still detailed with use of line, in order to emphasise the borderline between reality and the ‘other’. The clouds of colour, made of layered waving lines, were all individually drawn in a style inspired by op art.
ADAM: The work I’ve submitted for this exhibition is all photography based. I wanted to capture movement and focus on the travelling side of things and in my head, I was picturing what colours I would see if I were flying through space. I did this by setting up my Lumix S5, turning off the lights, and using various light sources such as glowsticks and even a neon mask to play around with exposure setting on my camera and create some photography I’m really proud of. The photos were then used as prompts for the Hartlepool Writing Club and it was a really unique feeling seeing people look over my photos and see things I didn’t such as aliens shooting bombs or demons in the dark. It was a really rewarding experience seeing the cogs in their brains go to work.
Aside from playing with the exposure I used my Kaleidoscopic Lens Filter and recorded myself in the dark with nothing but a sunset mood lamp. I then played with the footage in Premier Pro, adding effects and playing with masking tools. Once the videos were exported I took screenshots and sent those screenshots off to be printed. So even if you aren’t so much into photography there are other ways you can create visual work that can go up on a wall.
Tell us more about the Hartlepool Writing club!
ADAM: The Hartlepool Writers group are a friendly bunch of Writers who gather at the Hartlepool Library once a month, led by Denise Sparrowhawk. I joined them in 2022 as I was entering my final year at The Northern School Of Art as I wanted to start giving myself projects to work on after I graduated so being able to write creative stories and take part in monthly prompts was a really useful way of keeping myself active and I recommend other creatives look out for similar groups to join and try to plan ahead for their own graduation to keep themselves on their feet. Everyone there has lived such interesting lives and everyone has such great stories to tell both fictional and real.
I first went to them with the idea of writing flash fiction and poems because I thought it was interesting for the exhibition. I liked the idea of people reading between looking at the art and photography. In a way, it felt like each story was dipping into a different dimension and people passing by would get to quickly jump into this world and then jump into the next as they walked on.
One thing I discovered very early on was not everyone knew what the word Interdimensional actually meant and that’s where the idea of using my photos as prompts came from to help give everyone some visuals for inspiration. They’ve really been a great bunch to be around and I’m really proud to be hanging their words next to our work. if any students or creatives are in Hartlepool and want to practice their writing and want to get involved then they absolutely should as it’ll help inspire you and motivate you.
You mentioned working with the Biz and Russel Smith can you tell us a little bit more about it?
ADAM: I first met Russell when I Directed and edited the music video (theme from CIGAR CIGAR) for his band CIGAR CIGAR in my final year at The Northern School Of Art. Shortly after he approached me again to create a second music video for him over the summer. This gave me something to work on and when it was nearing completion he got in contact again to tell me about the new gallery space and Framing company he had opened in Unit 2 of The Biz. I could tell how passionate Russell was about giving students the space to display work and giving students a space to make films or perform, and he’s now even got things rolling by setting up workshops and inviting students from The Northern Art to his Unit. It really does feel like the start of something that’s going to benefit the students and the art scene in Hartlepool enormously and I’m very excited to be on Russell’s radar and working with him, as every phone call we have seems to get our creativity flowing.
I started to think about what to do with the work we were producing after it had finished at Arc and it seemed a shame to just put in it storage so I got in contact with Russell and he agreed to let me put it up for two weeks in May, giving people another chance to see the work and giving us another chance to meet fellow artists in the area and encourage others to do something similar.
I think if you’re a student who has never had an exhibition before but is interested in showing off your work or someone who want’s to perform for the first time or even just attend a workshop of his, then you should 100% go down to The Biz and talk to him!
You have spoken previously about encouraging students to come to the exhibition, what would be your advice for those that want to get their work out there and exhibit more?
HANNAH: In terms of getting your art out there and on display, it never hurts to ask! There are many schemes in the North East aimed at getting artists work displayed and shown, such as the North East Art Collective, and most galleries are happy to speak to you about your work, whether this be directing you to a more appropriate place, or discussing your options.
JANA: Search for opportunities, even if they seem too insignificant to move you forward. Just continue to try and never stop.
HOLLY: I’d say to anyone looking to get their work out there, networking is hugely important – especially during your time at uni! It’s only through knowing Adam and his awesome work that I got to be part of this, and thanks to collaboration and showing interest in each other’s work during uni we’ve stayed in touch after graduation. Share your work with others, be proud of the things you create, and you’ll find people who love and remember your work.
ADAM: When my Final Major Project wasn’t put into production I was understandably upset like many others before me. But channelling those ideas into visual work has felt like giving a breath of fresh air to something I thought had died. Being able to take concepts and ideas for shots and turn them into photography, and then having stories and poems written about those photographs, it’s been a surreal experience. Honestly, I think any and all students are capable of doing something like this no matter how big or small or what course they’re on. I never expected to go from a film course to getting A2 prints of flying houses in space framed. If you have ideas or even just the smallest concept I 100% recommend getting in touch with Russell at the Biz or Arc or even Pineapple Black in Middlesborough and exploring options for what you could do. You don’t even need to produce photography or poems, I’m going to be projecting an abstract video of eyes onto the walls of Stockton Arc to give people nightmares. Exhibitions are an exciting way to challenge the way you think visually and it will help you branch out to meet other artists in the area so when you graduate you’ll be able to go off and meet all these talented people around you.
For the majority of us it is our first exhibition so we have no idea how it’s going to go down but we hope that if you come we can talk, ask us anything you like, show us what you’ve been making, tell us what you’re interested in. For me, I see this as a great way to market ourselves and meet other creatives so please do come down and introduce yourself and start making these connections with other artists because like me and Russell you never know who you might end up working with more in the future and what kind of opportunities will come from those friendships.
And while you’re at Arc you should totally sign up to the Tees Valley New Creatives!
We hope that you come along to the Inter-dimensional launch night on March 24th at Arc Stockton. 6PM-8PM, free entry.
If you are interested in studying a creative degree at The Northern School of Art you can see our available programmes here.