The Art department is well equipped with five studios for drawing, painting, printing, sculpture, digital design, textiles and ceramics. Pupils work with a range of media and processes including screen and lino printing; acrylic, water colour and oil painting; plaster and wire; oil and chalk pastel.
Art & Design is a curriculum subject for all pupils in Years 7 & 8 within which, a broad and exciting programme of study is undertaken. In Year 7 we engage students in the Formal Elements of Art & Design from the outset, whilst working creatively with a variety of different media, materials and techniques. Critical and analytical contextual studies are fully incorporated into the course, encouraging the students to make relevant links to the works of traditional and contemporary artists or designers. They explore key genres and movements such as the Renaissance, Abstract Art and Surrealism. By Year 8 students have developed their confidence and ability to demonstrate a more personal response to a theme. Their projects include “Graphic Communication”, “Architecture” and “Craft and Culture”.
In Y9 the Art & Design courses enhance the skill, depth and individuality of pupils’ work. In Fine Art, they are encouraged to develop their imaginative and practical skills with a focus on drawing and painting. They investigate themes such as “Distortion and Expression in Portraiture”, “Still Life and Structures” and “Landscape and Perception of Colour”. In Graphic Communication, the focus is on creating designs using traditional as well as digital drawing, collage and printing techniques. Pupils respond to design briefs inspired by concepts, for example “How Graphic Design Helps to Create Better Architecture”, “If You Could Put One Message on A T-shirt What Would It Be?”, “Do You Judge a Book By Its Cover?” and “Can Graphic design Save Your Life?”
At GCSE level and A Level, we mainly work 1:1 with our pupils forming a partnership of creativity aiding students in advancing their style and approach. At this stage, we encourage the pupils to develop deep meaning behind their work, pushing the boundaries of art and design to create highly original, complex and sophisticated ideas. Students are actively encouraged to seek new artists and experiences to inspire experimental and inventive work. All pupils develop a personal investigation, recording their journey in sketchbooks and making accomplished outcomes. Their ambitious and exciting body of work is displayed in our much-anticipated annual exhibition in the Bourne Foyer. Each year, selected pieces are put on permanent display around the school as well as a small number of works being shown in the Haberdashers’ Hall. We aim to embed Art & Design within the school community with paintings located in the Aske building and our iconic Fine Art Cows along with wire animal sculptures visible in the school grounds.
The overall experience, in Art & Design, is strengthened and extended through our lively programme of additional activities where pupils can enhance their learning through clubs such as architectural modelling, canvas painting or ceramics. Life drawing, with professional life models, is a popular and challenging choice for Y9-U6 who also enjoy our open studio time when they can work on their own projects in an informal setting. We are very fortunate to be able to provide one day artist led workshops for our most promising pupils as well as exam classes. In these workshops, pupils gain insight and inspiration through working alongside artists, for example Darcy Turner, James Lake and Ian Murphy, creating impressive additional pieces for their portfolios. The annual House Art Competition attracts participants from across Y7-9 and sees pupils completing high standards of observational drawing with commitment, focus and pride. We also run our very own “Turner Prize” for these year groups. At 6th Form, pupils can opt to study Landscape Painting, Portraiture or 3 Dimensional Studies with us as part of their Enrichment programme.