Lorraine Cooke - winner of the Public vote 2009

AA2A are very pleased to profile Lorraine Cooke, winner of the Public vote for 2008-09. She completed her AA2A scheme at Norwich University College of the Arts (NUCA). Lorraine has made excellent use of the opportunity to develop her work, exhibit, interact with students and network with other artists.

She summed up what AA2A offers an artist
The AA2A scheme offers flexibility in allowing the artist to shape the experience they share with students, dedicating a proportion of their time to the benefit of students without a rigid timetable. This allows the artist to engage in necessary research outside of the institution, bringing in fresh ideas whilst developing their own and students work. The AA2A networking site allows artists to follow the practice of other participating artists nationally, and to exchange thoughts, whilst also proving a useful tool for students to familiarise themselves with artists working within their institution.

Collaboration with other AA2A artists
Since graduating from Norwich School of Art and Design (NSAD) Lorraine has been working as a professional artist exhibiting both locally and nationally. She was interested to discover that two of the other three NUCA AA2A artists were also NSAD graduates, at different stages of their professional art careers. As a result they were able to identify their individual paths taken since graduating and to share critique. Lorraine and the other artists (Tracy Leech-Williams, Michael Smith and Pippa Thurlow) collaborated during their time on AA2A and decided that the culmination of the experience should be a joint exhibition.

Facilities used
Access to the etching and printmaking facilities at NUCA proved invaluable to the development of Lorraines work throughout the scheme. Since graduating I have found it almost impossible to access such facilities elsewhere and have sought alternative methods of developing my practice which primarily involves cross disciplinary approaches to both drawing and painting. As a result of this, she says works produced during the AA2A scheme demonstrate a symbiosis of techniques including etching, mono printing, chine colle, collage, drawing, painting, stitching and mixed media.

Contact with students
Lorraine worked directly alongside the students and was keen to help develop their work, offering practical advice and assistance within printmaking. She had the opportunity to give informal tutorials to painting students on the BA fine art course and was pleased to have been approached by one particular student who requested the use of Lorraines imagery in an illustration project they were engaged in. As a result of the scheme Lorraine is now working at NUCA as a Student Mentor and continues to support her mentee from undergraduate to postgraduate study and professional practice.

Lorraines project
Thanks to the generosity of NUCA, Lorraine used approximately 300 hours at the College, resulting in seven etchings and five paintings.
I did not know what to expect at the prospect of returning to NUCA. Not only has the art school gained University status but many other changes have taken place in the five years since I graduated, so returning as a professional artist was new territory for me. I quickly developed a rapport with the students, staff and fellow NUCA AA2A artists and found the staff very receptive to my presence.
At the start of the scheme Lorraine had planned to use AA2A to continue her exploration of what she describes as 'inscape.' This draws upon the history of landscape genre in painting and is an attempt to rationalize the landscape in which she finds herself. I use 'landscape' in the broadest sense of the word, not excluding the landscape of the mind. But why landscape, with all of its stereotypical connotations? The answer is simple - of the many constituents that form the human psyche, our relationship with the environment is essential.

The work produced during the AA2A scheme marked an unexpected introduction of figurative drawing. Access to specialist equipment has strengthened my practice within the discipline of drawing through the integration of printmaking, painting and collage.

Following the end of the scheme Lorraine concludes; I used my time on the AA2A scheme to further explore new methodologies in drawing practice. At present my work investigates cross disciplinary approaches to drawing as an activity and language concern encompassing drawing into painting. The integration of etching and mono- printing processes is essential in the development of this, broadening the scope for genuine experimentation and assimilation of making processes.

AA2A.biz networking site
Throughout the scheme Lorraine was an enthusiastic user of the projects artists networking site. On AA2A.biz she produced blogs and image albums, allowing people to follow her AA2A experience. Lorraine was one of many artists who considered it a very valuable tool in the development of my practice. As a result we are giving last years AA2A artists the opportunity to continue using the site.

When describing her experience of NUCA Lorraine has said of the AA2A coordinator (Kirk Laws- Chapman) area Manager (Sonja Ruddick) and printmaking technician (Ernst Nicol) they were fantastic and could not have been any more supportive. I had an amazing time on the AA2A scheme. I felt my presence on the scheme was welcomed by both staff and students. She also feels that the benefit to herself and students was reciprocal.

How AA2A has furthered Lorraines career
Lorraine has received contact from an increasingly wide audience since having her work chosen by a-n magazine when featuring the AA2A scheme. She also curated an AA2A exhibition at the Mandells Gallery in Elm Hill, Norwich, which showcased her work alongside fellow AA2A artists and nationally established guest artist Roderick Newlands. http://mandellsgallery.co.uk

I enjoyed working alongside the students and feel really confident about my practice as a result of sharing ideas. I am now seeking a second residency opportunity and am well prepared for postgraduate study which I will commence October 2010 at Cyprus College of Art. I do not see this point as the end and hope to continue to raise the profile and awareness of AA2A.

Exhibitions using AA2A work (2009)
RCA Secret 09, Royal College of Art, London http://rca.ac.uk
Norwich print fair, St. Margarets Art Gallery http://norwichprintfair.co.uk
Playhouse Theatre, Norwich (solo show)
AA2A show, Project Space, Norwich Gallery, NUCA

Extracts from Lorraines CV
2003 - graduated from NUCA in Fine Art
2003 - 2004 Lorraine was a founding member of an East Anglian based artists syndicate collective, ARTiculate
2004 - shortlisted for the Babylon Gallery award for an emerging artist
2004 - selected for Royale Academy Summer show, Fringe of East International.
2006 - selected for 2nd Open Competition Exhibition, Byard Art Gallery, Cambridge
2008 - 2009 Student Mentor at NUCA
2010 - postgraduate diploma course in Fine Art, Cyprus college of art.

'Monkey business'

'Spiders prey'

Etching in the print workshop

'Impending flight'

Exhibition view