“Stressful but really enjoyable,” says Nicky Lacy as she looks back on her time at the University of Chichester.
She is one of the students showing the results of their labours in the fine-art BA (Hons) degree show in the University’s artOne building.
“It has been great to be exploring new things. Chichester was recommended to me by one of my neighbours who is now working as a full-time artist. You get a lot of freedom here, and that’s what I really like. The first year is a bit more structured, but the second year and the third year you can do what you want, but you get help and advice as you go through it.
“When I came here, I didn’’t do any drawing or painting or any collage. It was very much digital based, but they made me come out of my shell with the painting and drawing and collage. I now work in mixed media, a mix of collage and paint and pretty much everything apart from textiles.”
Nicky started with marbled patterns to which she has added old family photos. She can pick out her great granddad, her great, great aunt: “Most of them were quite creative. My great grandad was a musician full time. My whole work is about memory and how the brain can erase and adapt and edit memories. I am trying to convey that in my work. I lost my grandmother on Christmas Day. She was my last grandparent. Through the art, I feel closer to her. I have been finding out a lot about the family while I was creating these pieces. I would love to go into art therapy after finishing here.”
Gabriel Olalekan, originally from Nigeria but living in Oxfordshire from his primary-school days, came to Chichester via Portsmouth where he had been studying illustration, only to discover that it wasn’t really for him: “I am a person who loves to paint, and with illustration I was not really getting that chance. I wasn’t really enjoying it.” Chichester got him back on course, and he is finishing with work which he calls Portraiture and Passion: “I like portraiture as a way of recording someone’s appearance. It tells us something about their personality or their beauty.”
Gabriel has completed a self-portrait. He also uses friends and family as his subjects. One of his paintings shows just how much he loves spending time with his brothers.
“It is about how we connect with each other, the relationships we have with people.”
The passion side of the project explores portraiture in the context of the things he feels passionate about, including basketball, going to the aquarium and going to the gym.
“I don’t want to study any more. That’s the end of studying. I just want to become a professional artist and learn my money from that.”
The show runs from Friday, May 11-Thursday, May 17 (weekday opening 11am-6pm; weekend opening 11am-4pm; walkabout with exhibiting students, Tuesday, May 15, 5:30-8pm. Free.
For other stories by Phil, see: https://www.chichester.co.uk/author/Phil.Hewitt2