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Ilsa Brittain - The Open College of the Arts

Ilsa Brittain

I have been involved in the teaching of art for over 15 years, conducting classes and workshops for every type of student – young, old, experienced or completely new. For some people art is a calling, for others an enjoyable pastime. All reasons for becoming involved are valid, there are no set paths, the art world is wonderfully mobile and accommodating. Because people come from all walks of life and all sentiments, the exchange and the discussion is so valuable. I find teaching a highly rewarding experience and am always curious to discover the uniqueness of each person coming to art.

I am a contemporary painter, a practising artist, living in London. I regularly exhibit in the UK, USA and Europe. My ambition as an artist is to arrest the attention of the viewer, for a moment, in a compelling space. My work has a lot to do with the human form and the human psyche. I am very interested in how the meaning of imagery is affected by the techniques and colours employed to render it. I have worked in a wide variety of mixed media, oils and acrylics.

Many people join OCA because it is difficult to attend a full time, physical, degree course. I joined OCA for exactly that reason. I was living in Nepal at the time. My youngest daughter had just left home and finally I could turn my full attention to my own career. OCA provides the opportunity to overcome logistical difficulties and were extremely accommodating of my particular needs. The courses led me to a greater understanding of my own practice and the art world as a whole. In addition OCA provided me with an art community I could interact with.

Immediately following completion of my BA Hons Degree in Painting with OCA, I travelled to New York and undertook a two-year Fine Art Master’s degree at the New York Academy of Art. This was an intensive, rigorous and skills-based course, set in the heart of one of the largest art centres of the world. I gained wonderful experience and insights. Since then I have been regularly exhibiting, most recently in the Art Rooms Art Fair in London, The Mall galleries in London and Flowers Gallery in New York.

Art involves an investigation, the development of a new language and the opening of possibilities. I look forward to meeting every new student and playing a small part in their journey.


ilsa brittain