Andrew Wilson - joint winner of the Student vote 2011

AA2A are delighted to profile Andrew Wilson, joint winner of the Student vote for 2010-11. He completed his AA2A scheme at Northumbria University. Andrew was also able to join us at our annual briefing day for AA2A Colleges at the Wellcome Collection in London to present his work and talk about his AA2A experience.

Andrew Wilson was born into a catholic household outside of London in the early summer of 1982. By the age 13 he abandoned his religious education in favour of football and beer, winning the Kent county cup in two successive attempts in 1997 and 1998 respectively. After a brief spell of fishing he declared himself an artist at some point in 2002.

Born out of a silent curiosity with labour, work ethic and success; the creative practice of Andrew Wilson playfully provokes dialogue between the assumed concept of both the absurd and the rational (this creative practice is often called Rich Fisher and his Splendifidus Truffle Band). After attaining a BA hons in Fine Art from Newcastle University in 2008 Andrew Wilson has continued developing his practice and remained in the North-East of England.
I had been without an artist studio since my graduation, despite keeping a very active practice alive over the two years previous. Being re-introduced to a studio practice, the environment where I had learnt my trade, I was surprised to see how my practice had evolved without one. Working once again within a studio, my studio, I was surprised to see how compelled I was to write, as opposed to making, how obliged I was to consider form not necessarily or solely of the physical sense, but more so of the conceptual (inner) sense.

Contact with students
The informality of our AA2A placements was key, as was our early introductory lecture. This allowed for the student / AA2A artist interaction to occur in a natural manner over a cup of tea, pint of ale or silkscreen bed as a level playing field. Regular events were happening and well posted and attended by AA2A artists, which also helped the exchange between student, tutor and AA2A artist. The tutorial sessions were also beneficial for both parties, good professional experience for the AA2A artist and a chat for a student about their work outside the arena of institution and grades.

Andrews project
Andrew Wilsons creative practice exists in a manner where borders between artist, artwork and audience are not easily distinguishable. Where performative elements intermingle and bind with the creative practitioners very being, and however extreme the concept or experience may seem, one is never far away from the overwhelming desire to emphasize the absurd and the humorous.

My recent curiosity has been investigating the band model, as a creative process, as an alternative to the artist model. This has resulted in a body of work and a creative practice based upon collaboration and acceptance as opposed to ego centric control freak. This curiosity with regard to collaboration (in my opinion) lends itself heavily to the ethos of the AA2A programme and has benefited both the form of my idea/work shaping and the general success of my AA2A placement.

So often around the department the question has arisen - Why are you here? Are you a student? Are you a teacher? The boundaries of what the AA2A artist is, or is here to achieve, are suitably blurred for my practice and for the benefit of the students around the department (and probably the staff too). As artists what we can offer and receive is far more closely related to the experience of collaboration through a (sort of) gift economy closer akin to what one may find outside of the institution model. Invaluable and unaccountable encounters and processes of exchange have happened in an unformulated manner, the school offers space and tools, the technicians offer time and expertise, the students offer freshness and optimism, the AA2A artists offer experience and gratitude. In this respect it seems integral to the success of the AA2A scheme that the placement remains unpaid, meaning no artist fee. The materials budget is key and equips the placement to get on with the process of practice, but in my opinion it is key that the AA2A artist remains outside of the payee/payer relationship.

How AA2A has furthered Andrews career
Undoubtedly the generosity of the AA2A scheme and that of Northumbria University has contributed massively to the development of my practice (or Career if you must). Exhibition, exposure and opportunities with deadlines are always beneficial factors in the process of learning and progress and I am very grateful for the opportunities, support and provocations provided by Northumbria University and the AA2A scheme.
Access to the studio and to a whole new community of contemporaries, audience members and friends is, and will continue to be a joy, a luxury and a useful tool afforded to me via the AA2A access scheme.

More about Andrew (including more image albums) available on our AA2A Dotbiz networking site.

Selected Exhibitions & Performances

  • the fishing of no fish (Rich Fisher & his Splendifidus Truffle Band) Gallery North Project Space, January 2011

  • On Doing (& Doing Nothing) Northumbria University, March 2011

  • All Day Disco Party Newcastle Arts Centre, August 2011

  • lets forget everything and get drunk Praxis Public House, August 2011

  • fastforward>>NCL, The Globe Gallery, October 2011

  • 'The Fishing of no Fish' silkscreen, edition of 100

    'All Day Disco Party' performance/event invitation

    'All Day Disco Party' performance/event

    'The Fishing of no Fish'