In conversation with: Bryan Eccleshall - The Open College of the Arts
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In conversation with: Bryan Eccleshall

As part of the #weareoca30 campaign we are having creative conversations with some of our tutors. Watch and listen to OCA tutor and assessor Bryan Eccleshall below speaking about his work and and answering questions from students in the first of our videos.

Creative Conversations – Bryan Eccleshall from Open College of the Arts on Vimeo.

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Posted by author: Alice Morris
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9 thoughts on “In conversation with: Bryan Eccleshall

  • Thank you Bryan, you enthusiasm is infectious and a view into a successful process is invaluable.

  • Wow, that is so helpful, especially about not worrying about making a piece of work self-explanatory but that it’s ok if the viewer has to do more work to understand it; and about not talking yourself out of following up an idea, but to wait to do any editing on the physical piece and not in your brain before you’ve even started it. What you’re saying helps me understand more of the purpose to some of the exercises I’m doing in my Textiles modules too. Thanks again for sharing all these insights. I look forward to learning from more interviews in this series!

  • Thanks so much for this. You beautifully describe the design process vs the art process, something that is sometimes a bit confusing in the life of a textiles student (as we need to be able do both at different times). Very, very inspiring and down to earth depiction of how we can improve our making ‘stuff’ (love that small word – I can do stuff! Yes!).

  • Like a lot pf other students doing the Drawing and Painting modules, I get hung up on producing finished drawings as I firmly believe good drawing is the cornerstone to any piece, you cant make a good painting without first having a good drawing. Representation has always been my thing, it drives me to constantly try to be better, to reach new levels, yet I am told assessors are not looking for this as a journey in its own right, I need to work harder on producing a story or experimenting with ideas. Your video kind of makes sense of what assessors will be looking for. I work as a truck driver and during my break in the drivers waiting room I make a point of sketching a portrait of one of the other drivers, its gotten to be a talking point and they are queuing up to get their portrait done. Its only a ten or fifteen minute sketch, there is a likeness and it has really helped me to develop my portrait skills when I produce a finished piece or a master copy from a gallery. Now I don’t consider these sketches to be finished works, but flicking through the pages you can see the development of my skill and technique at doing quick sketches from life just from regular practice, a sketch a day as you say. While you can see this progression, is that more important than the improvements this exercise has had on the quality of the finished pieces that I now produce – which are to a much higher level?

    • Neil – A book full of the portraits you make would be a work in its own right. Making ‘finished’ or ‘complete’ works – especially when you’re learning can be intimidating. I think that’s because the artist tries to make the work sum up something or ‘communicate’ a complex set of meanings. It’s often easier to make a suite of works that reflect different aspects of a subject and to let the complexity arise from the way the works interact with one another.

  • I found Bryan talking about his work really thought provoking. I love the idea that it is the process which counts and not so much the finished piece and that one should make say twenty drawings not caring too much but exploring. I’m someone who loves playing around with materials but gets hung up about the end result, sometimes with stultifying effect. . Trouble is it is an unconscious thing but I’m told my drawing is much more alive than the painting (although I’m quite poor on observation but working on this) -Once I move to copy the drawing I seem to lose its vitality , maybe because I’m trying too hard, I don’t know. I’ve recently discovered monotype through the Understanding Painting Media class though and this seems to be freeing me up quite a bit .Listening to Bryan makes me realise that I’m operating within my own imposed framework and that a bit more thought could help me to branch out.
    Please I would love to have more of these conversations from tutors – thankyou Bryan, really great. Lesley

  • This was an excellent talk. It addressed directly a number of issues I am grappling with at the outset of level two., really helpful. More posts like this please OCA.

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