Degree in Progress: Sam Shaw and Madeline Whitelaw
How are the final year artists getting on?
For any discipline, final year is no easy year. It comes with the pressure of communicating a coherent idea of your identity as an artist or designer – sort of presuming that at the end of education the ‘self’ is found, explored and understood. But it’s just the beginning. In our interview with Jessie Darling in Issue 4, for example, one view against the marketisation and professionalisation of young artists in the first couple of years of their practises became quite clear. Darling said:
“Early twenties is not the time to be thinking about a brand, a signature, or a career. Recently, I taught a second year BA module in which my objective was to help the students develop a “signature style,” which for me was about helping the student figure out what matters most to them in their practice. I’m strongly against the standardisation of an aesthetic at that stage. The conversation should not be about what it looks like. People also get stuck on “My work is about…” What the fuck? How can all your work be “about” the same thing?”
The work of the students we are featuring are often about chance discoveries and finding the means to do something with them. Slowly growing. Here, we speak with Maddie Whitelaw and Sam Shaw, to see how they’re getting on with their final year.