Printmaking in Camberwell College of Arts

Hello, Alice, it is very nice to talk with you for a little bit about your learn­ing exper­i­ence, so tell me, how did you choose Printmaking stud­ies? What was your main motiv­a­tion, for select­ing Camberwell College of Arts?

Alice Valentina Biga: Hello, it’s a pleas­ure for me to be help­ful. Printmaking became part of my life in 2006, when I star­ted my BA at the Academy of Fine Arts in Turin, Italy. Before that I have been study­ing Art at High School for five years, but Printmaking sub­ject was not included at all. I choose to under­take a way that was com­pletely unknown to me: etch­ing, mainly because of its alchemic side. Camberwell College of Arts amazed me when I first vis­ited on an open day in 2010: the Printmaking workshop’s facil­it­ies are some­thing quite rare to find some­where else in this coun­try and in the coun­try where I am from: Italy; there­fore, because I knew I wanted to keep on study print­mak­ing, I applied hop­ing to have the great oppor­tun­ity to use those facilities.

Creative indus­tries as well as the visual design are con­sidered to be pre­cari­ous and very com­pet­it­ive fields, what do you think about it?

I do agree with that state­ment and I am also con­scious and scared about that world; scared because the com­pet­i­tion is about money and fame, whom can eas­ily kill or deform the inten­tion and pur­ity of (a piece) of Art.

Regarding your dis­cip­line con­tent, how is it organ­ized, can you tell us more about it? How would you explain Printmaking for some­body, who is not famil­iar with it?

I am enrolled as a FULL TIME MA, which is organ­ized in 3 Units. Students have access to the work­shop three times a week, plus one lec­ture a week; twice a month there is a tour in gal­ler­ies with our course leader or a visit to the prints room at Tate Britain or V&A; tutori­als are once a month plus cri­tique groups which some­times are also self-​organized by stu­dents. The object­ive is a final exhib­i­tion at the end of the aca­demic year (September 2012), but dur­ing the course we are encour­aged to be pro­duct­ive, to exper­i­ment, to research and make the most of it. Theory is import­ant, so we have a few essays to write as well. Printmaking includes all those tech­niques (etch­ing, wood­cut, litho­graphy, let­ter­press and screen– print­ing ) that pro­duce a series made by one mat­rix. Each of these tech­niques works in its own dif­fer­ent way, but they also have many com­mons stages. I would sug­gest this really well made web­site which clearly explains print­mak­ing in a funny way!


Comparing visual arts stud­ies and prac­tices to other coun­tries, such as United States or European coun­tries, do you think it is more bene­fi­cial to choose study­ing in UK than any other coun­try? Or is it not a big dif­fer­ence to you?

My exper­i­ence to study in UK is being more than pos­it­ive, so I would sug­gest Camberwell College of Arts as a great College to study Printmaking, but I know there are great Colleges where to study this sub­ject in Belgium, Germany and United States as well.

How would you relate your study exper­i­ence with real­ity, do you think you will be able to use skills you gained to you career opportunities?

I believe it will take time, but what this College is teach­ing me will surely be fun­da­mental for my career opportunities.

There are some pro­fes­sion­als in the design and visual arts industry, who claim what it is more bene­fi­cial just to go and work in the industry instead of tak­ing three years course. You are doing MA course already, what is your opin­ion regard­ing that statement?

I do agree with the fact, that a work­ing exper­i­ence in the industry can be more bene­fi­cial than a BA, but at the same time I would not be so select­ive; MA is also com­pletely dif­fer­ent from BA, it gives you the oppor­tun­ity to work beside it and you can organ­ize it fol­low­ing your own interests.

We would like to ask about draw­backs of your study related exper­i­ence. Do you have any cri­ti­cism, opin­ion about how some things could be changed in the course? What would it be?

Fortunately, I do not have any com­plains about my stud­ies at this College, surely because my stud­ies in Italy were so behind com­par­ing to how everything is organ­ized here.


Do you think the fees of the courses in UK are worth its qual­ity and con­tent? What is your opin­ion about recent increase to 9000 per year for BA?

I believe, that no course is worth £ 9000 per year, even the best organ­ized and struc­tured one. These fee increases are ridicu­lous: cul­ture should be meant as one of the most import­ant ele­ment in human being’s life, not a priv­ilege for just a few. People had fight against this in the past and now, as we know, his­tory is a circle and it is repeat­ing itself. Unfortunately, this situ­ation is spread­ing in many coun­tries in Europe, and Italy is one of those as well.

Tell us a little bit about the pro­jects, prac­tices you work with at the moment, why do you like/​do not like it?

My stud­ies are based on etch­ing, which I am try­ing to com­bine with my new researches: at the moment I am exper­i­ment­ing a new tech­nique (solar– plate) which I did not stud­ied in Italy, because it was not being taught. I would also like to com­bine etch­ing with a 3D influence.

What kind of visual arts are you inter­ested in? Do you famil­i­ar­ize your­self with any par­tic­u­lar style, his­tor­ical period or media?

My favor­ite ways of expres­sions are pho­to­graphy and etch­ing, but I recently dis­covered the poten­ti­al­ity of work­ing with install­a­tion, afte see­ing “Black Mirror”, a multi-​channel film install­a­tion by Doug Aitken at the Victoria Miro gal­lery. It made me under­stand, how dif­fer­ent media can work together and cre­ate an atmo­sphere, where the viewer is included and he is part of that atmo­sphere for a short time, being a really import­ant part of it.

What would you sug­gest other young cre­at­ives, con­sid­er­ing to study in UK? Any tips, mis­takes bet­ter not to be done?

I would def­in­itely sug­gest to a per­son that want to study Printmaking to apply at Camberwell College of Arts because is a great opportunity.

What about the area you live, does it have fas­cin­at­ing art scene, inde­pend­ent gal­ler­ies, etc ?

I live in Herne Hill, which is between Camberwell Green and Brixton, so I have the oppor­tun­ity to be close to many inter­est­ing areas. I know that South London starts to have more lively and act­ive art scene, which is really inter­est­ing and helpful.

Thank you for your time!

Gintarė Žitkevičiūtė
About author:
Gintarė Žitkevičiūtė
Gintare Zitkeviciute is Art Pit’s thinker and doer. In her work practise, she values lean approach, creativity and quick decisions. She doesn't like working with random people and thinks that a team is a heart of successful project. For that reason, she carefully picks people she works with on everyday basis. She is mostly interested in innovatio... Read further >
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