“Every artist was first an amateur”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Art at King's
Art at King's seeks to inspire and nurture creativity through exciting projects, exhibitions, workshops, trips and lectures. We encourage pupils to explore and experiment with media to grow in confidence and ambition through their work.
Fine art is the foundation of the department, and we develop traditional skills of drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking and textiles alongside contemporary media such as digital photography, film and IT. Pupils are supported to find their strengths, and develop artistic skills to express themselves.
The department occupies a unique building, and studio spaces are spread over four floors. Specialist facilities are available for drawing, painting, printmaking (intaglio, relief and screen), photography (including a darkroom and digital facilities), ceramics, textiles and sculpture.
In October 2016, we opened our new art studio, the Silvermead Studio. With funds donated by an OA, this new studio complements our existing facilities. The mezzanine floor, suspended above the main open-plan area, creates a more intimate space for individual and focused studies, with the main space enabling pupils to work on large-scale and collaborative projects.
Large glass doors will open onto a terrace for outdoor working in the summer months, and our existing facilities will be used more effectively to create specialist working areas.
Artist Michael Brennand-Wood officially opened the studio on 25 February 2017.
Outside the Classroom
The art department organises trips to support teaching and provide pupils with the opportunity to engage directly with art and photography and to carry out research first-hand.
Recent study trips have visited the Tate Modern and Saatchi galleries in London, Pitt Rivers in Oxford and Exeter galleries and cathedral.
Overseas trips are also organised for sixth form pupils taking A Level Fine Art and Photography –recent tours have included Barcelona and Vienna.
“I did not find the opportunity at this years leavers’ ball to thank you for having my son at your school. (What a great party that was! My compliment to Ms Menheneott & her team). My son loved being at King’s even if it took a while for him to adjust, and I think he learned plenty of valuable things apart from the purely academic. We all feel a little blue now this big adventure is over. We are proud to hear that he made a donation to the school with one of his artworks. I am sure he will strive from here – not only in arts – and will remember the school should he succeed later in life. You and your colleagues, the administrative staff and all the friendly people I have met during my brief stays have made it a true and happy cause to support. ”
- A parent whose pupil recently completed his A levels at King's
There is plenty opportunity outside of lessons for pupils to come and work in the art department and activity sessions are open to all regardless of whether they are following the subject at exam level or not. This is a great time for pupils to experience working collaboratively or on a bigger scale and is an opportunity for the younger pupils to work alongside the older ones and take inspiration from the diversity of work going on.
“Pupils have high levels of aesthetic appreciation and creativity, and use these in a number of areas including in art, photography, and textiles to produce excellent outcomes, both in the context of their own abilities and the standards of exam boards.”
- ISI Inspection Report 2018
Every year we have pupils who move on to study art related courses at university. These include Art Foundation, interior design, architecture, photography and fashion management. Within the department we guide and support the pupils with their applications and with the preparation of their portfolios for interview.
Clare Schmidt, BA in Fine Art (DeMontfort Leicester), is our Head of Department. Clare is a practising mixed media artist who brings a wealth of teaching experience and expertise in her subject to the art department at King's. Through her own work, Clare explores the possibilities of combining photography with painting and collage to create images with unusual luminosity and vibrancy of colour. Her work is exhibited and sold throughout the South West.
Anna Simpson, MA in Fine Art: Painting, Wimbleden College of Art, works alongside Claire on a part time basis. Also a practising artist, Anna exhibits her work under the name Anna Morris. Her work explores the transformative effect of light on surface, land and sea, using a variety of techniques and medium: some conventional such as oil paint, collage and print, others less common – wrapping oak blocks with thread, soaking card and paper in oil, using household paints and varnishes, scoring and incising perspex and plywood in order to make marks. Last year, Anna exhibited her work in our gallery as part of Somerset Arts Week and was the featured artist in Evolver Magazine (The Wessex Arts and Culture Guide).
Ivan Schmidt is our Art Technician. Ivan is also a professional photographer and works closely with our photographer pupils. Growing up in France, Ivan spent years travelling, working in education and business. To date he has taught in the South West for 20 years, and has a wealth of experience inside and outside the classroom.