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Goodbye and thank you to tutor Ilsa Brittain - The Open College of the Arts
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Goodbye and thank you to tutor Ilsa Brittain

As Programme Leader for the painting dept, I am pleased to be in conversation this month with artist and tutor Ilsa Brittian. Ilsa has worked for OCA since 2017. Ilsa is leaving us this month to focus her attention on her practice so I am taking the opportunity to have a conversation with her and to celebrate her significant contribution to OCA.

ED: Ilsa, I know you are taking this time now to focus on your painting as you have an enormous amount of work to do for your upcoming show. Could you tell us a little bit about what it is and how it came about?

IB: I have decided to take the time to whole heartedly concentrate on my career as an artist and build a body of new work. Working for OCA has been a wonderful experience, and interacting with my students very rewarding, but my attention gets split. I have reached a moment where I need to fully focus on my own work, to jump in and create momentum without distraction. I have been backlogging a lot of ideas to explore and am really looking forward to getting going with them.

I’m also excited to announce I will be taking part in The Other Art Fair, in London in October (Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London, E1 6QR 13 October – 16 October 2022). It’s a three day open with approximately 100 other artists all with their own mini solo show.  It’s a great way to see a lot of contemporary work, of all different styles, in one place at the same time for a small entry fee. If anybody is interested to meet me and see my work in person they would be very welcome! And, if they are interested, they can track my progress on instagram @ilsabrittain

ED: You recently led a very successful series of events around portraiture, or rather the absence of it. I know many of our students enjoy making figurative work, What advice would you give them if they want to follow in your footsteps and make a career as a figurative painter?

IB: My advice would be to really get in touch with why you personally wish to make work, and what it is you personally wish to express. There are so many clichés around this idea and it is easy to bat them to one side, but really it is quite simple – “be yourself, everybody else is taken.” However, just because it is simple doesn’t mean it is easy to get at what that really means. The journey to find out is one of dedicated exploration and discovery, led by your own intuition – you will know when you have found it. I don’t think figurative work is any different, but there are established routes you can go down. In some ways, though, that makes it a little more complicated because you have to disentangle what is derivative, what is commercial, and what is personal. This is why it is so important to get in touch with your motivations, and be honest with yourself – there are no wrong answers!

ED: Well, thank you again Ilsa for taking the time to chat and thank you for everything you have given the painting and drawing departments at OCA! I’m sorry to lose you but glad you are not batting your own motivations aside but rather seizing this opportunity to create all those backed up art works in your brain! We wish you all the best.

Image: Ilsa Brittain Drawing Collage

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Posted by author: Emma Drye
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6 thoughts on “Goodbye and thank you to tutor Ilsa Brittain

  • This is so sad to hear. Ilsa was an amazing tutor and really helped me. I’m glad I got to have her as my tutor in time!

  • Thank you for you help and support as my tutor Ilsa you really gave me the encouragement, guidance and help I needed during drawing 2 investigating drawing.
    Wishing you well in your exhibition

  • Dear Ilsa,
    I’m sorry to learn that you won’t be tutoring any more. I’ve really appreciated your very informative webinars! Wishing you all the best with your own ongoing artwork and hope I might see some of this live at some point.

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