A.i.R. | Neale Howells Part 5

A.i.R. | Neale Howells Part 5

Our artist in residence for August, Neale Howells, takes us through his time at the Cyprus College of Art… and the Slade.

Outside Cyprus College of Art 2017 photo: Phoenix Williams

so here i am again in cyprus for the summer holiday with the kids… last time i was here i stayed at its art college, lempa, for its summer school way back in 1995… so twenty years later after being chucked off the island… (joke)… i found myself back there again…

but 1995 was the year that i had an epiphany… we all get them don’t we?.. that time when you have a sudden realisation… yeah, a bit of blinding light too… well, mine came right in the middle of an interview for the MA course at the prestigious slade art college, london… wow… this is the college i wanted to go to… i hadn’t applied for anywhere else… i loved what it stood for… the outsider… the artist doing something different… so anyway there i was at the interview with all my work on the floor having brought it up in the estate car from neath that day… i think i managed ten minutes before the interview started ‘going tits up’… five people bombarding with questions and little old me trying to think of answers… i had worked in isolation for five years so this was baptism by fire… i went quiet for a bit then just said, ‘i’m talking shit, aint i?’… they nodded… i walked away and out of the building but strangely with a weight off my shoulders… i new it had gone wrong but i also felt i didn’t have to prove anything to anyone any more…

“Everything is Now” Part 2

for five years i had worked towards that interview and then i realised that i had already done my MA in that time working in my studio/shed with veranda… yes i felt a shift in the way i looked about the art that i did and it felt great… i did phone up the next day to see how it all went but i knew…

artist newsletter was the main publication for any artist at the time and on its back pages there was an advert for cyprus college of art and its courses, summer school and MA… interesting… but i thought trying the place out first would be a good idea so summer school here i came…

it was a very important part of my development… i mentioned the cutting of the work and the unconscious ripping of being creative… but there was also a lot more… this little story i used in practice lately when i was asked by fashion designer jayne pierson to teach at the famous conde nast college in london this year… that’s vogue college to me and you… so here i am in my studio in cyprus working away… and i started to notice how another artist there was working and she was very precise and exact… so i asked her if she would like to work on the painting i was doing… and the transformation was massive…

“Everything is Now” Part 1 acylic oil pastel pencil wood 2016

perhaps uninhibited by thinking she would spoil it she became expressive… ok it could have been the free paint but the change was extraordinary… this was of practical interest for me… it is this ability as an artist i believe you need to get to the next level… you can’t let the painting own you but you must own the painting… so being able to have no fear of ruining your work as an artist is what you need to achieve…

who is the best judge of a work of art…? i think: time…

it was observing the public while having set up outdoor studios in cardiff that i started to see how art is frightening to people… when asked if they would like to contribute to a work they would draw usually the last thing they done in school… or even say ‘i can’t draw’… it’s all these areas i have tried to explore in my time in wales… to make art more excessable to the majority…

art portrays itself or is portrayed as a very elite area and that is wrong… art surrounds us…

from those food wrappers to skyscrapers, art is a fundamental part of everyday life…

so art is everywhere you choose it to be… one of the questions asked to an artist is “what is art..?”… simple yet profound… there’s two answers here… the radio four answer and the simpler more accessable one… i have often chosen the second… if you want to attract the public into art then speak with them in mind…