An introduction to Art

Q: What will happen at the start of the course?

You will choose one title from a list on which to base your work. It is completely up to you how you respond to the title, what materials you wish to use, and whether you work 2D or 3D. Remember, we are trying to tune in to you and what you like, so if you already have an interest in something, tell us about it. We don’t expect you to know how to do things already and are very happy to demonstrate whatever you’d like to learn, but you must be willing to practise. We are all in the process of learning, so enjoy it.

Print or photocopy images of artists’ work that you like, keeping a note of the artist’s name and the title of each piece. Your examples must come from a variety of artists, rather than just one. Keep a record of book titles and web addresses.

You will be asked to take your own photographs to work from as this ensures your work is original and personal.

Q: How much homework is there?

We do not set specific homework tasks, but we expect 4 hours of homework to be done EVERY WEEK, the same as your other A-level subjects. We do not set you tasks, because you are all working on different titles and making work in different ways. We’ll discuss with you in lessons how to move your project on and the kind of work you should be making, and then we expect you to follow this advice for the rest of the lesson time, for 4 hours of independent work and until your next tutorial. Remember, if you get stuck in-between lessons just email your teacher and ask for some guidance.

Q: How is the course taught?

We teach you individually, discussing your ideas on a one-to-one basis, rather than as a group. So, in a lesson your teacher will greet you as a group and then work their way round the room speaking to each student individually about their ideas, the work they have made so far and what they have looked at for inspiration.

We need to get to know you. We need to understand the kind of things you like looking at, what kind of art you’d like to make and what kind of things you are able to go out and photograph in order to base your work on. Bring images in of things you like and show them to us. Look through art books and art you like and share it with us. Help us understand who you are, as an artist. By sharing those interests and influences, we shall be able to advise you more accurately and expertly and it will help you really connect with Art. You will be expected to work from your own photographs and regularly research artists that link to your work. These two things will keep your ideas and skills building along with input from your teacher.

Q: What are your results like?

Bilborough is THE place to study Art. We have a very established department and get outstanding results. People who know about art send their children to Bilborough, and we attract enthusiastic and committed students who enjoy the subject.

Q: How is the course structured?

We study AQA art and Design A level.

There are two projects: Component 1, a coursework unit worth 60% marks; and Component 2, an exam unit worth 40% marks.

In Year 12 you will start Component 1 and this will continue all the way through to the end of January in Year 13. You start Component 2 in February of Year 13.

There is also an essay of approximately 2000 words which will analyse and evaluate your coursework development.

Q: What kind of thing will I do?

For Component 1 students are given a list of possible titles to work from and they choose one as their initial starting point. Every student uses a sketchbook to document the development of their ideas, their experimentation with materials and techniques, connections with artists’ work and plan an outcome. The final piece(s) made at the end of each project is a culmination of the investigation and decision-making seen in the sketchbook and should take between 15-20 hours to make. In addition to the sketchbook and final piece, students would often make supporting work outside their sketchbook.

For Component 2, student choose a title from the exam paper as the basis for their project. The project will develop in a similar way to the coursework over 10 college weeks plus Easter fortnight. The exam component culminates in  an additional 15 hour piece made in the Art studios under exam conditions.

Q: What is Fine Art?

Fine Art is NOT just painting and drawing, it is a term that means any kind of Art you might find in a gallery. If you have been to a contemporary art gallery, you know that all kinds of artwork can be found there, in all styles and all materials. Fine Art is a very wide term and we choose it because it means our students can make art in any way they want. Our students can use the following processes to make their art:

painting, drawing, screenprinting, lino-cutting, digital art, Photoshop, animation, film-making, photography, collage, textile processes, silk painting, pen work, mixed-media, spray-painting, stencil work, sculpture (including wire work, wood work, plaster, latex, glass wax, alginate casting, mixed media assemblage and installation).

So, within Fine Art you can base your work on whatever you like, use whatever materials you enjoy using best and find a style that is right for you.

Q: Can I study two qualifications in Art?

YES. If you want to do two art qualifications at Bilborough, you can opt to study Art & Design: Fine Art and Art & Design: 3D Design. If you have chosen to do both, you would make 2D work in the Fine Art option and 3D work in the 3D Design option. The subject matter, style and choice of materials would still be up to you. Students who choose to study two art qualifications are often considering an artistic career and progress on to local Art Foundation courses before studying a creative subject at university.

Q: Can I study Textiles or Fashion?

Under the Fine Art endorsement students can work with textile processes and even make garments, but they will be pieces of artistic design, rather than high street style functional clothing. We have facilities for screen printing on fabric, applique, batik, soft sculpture, embroidery etc.

If you want to work in a graphic style you can use the look of advertising or packaging or games design but you will not be working to a commercial style brief.

Many of our students progress onto Art Foundation and/or creative degree courses and study subjects like: Fine Art, Architecture, Sculpture, Games Design, Printmaking, Illustration, Interior Design, Fashion, Textile Design, Product Design, Applied Art, History of Art, Animation, Digital Art, Graphic Design.

We hope that the Course video, FAQs and Subject Live chat have answered all your questions about the course. If you do have any other generic questions, please contact the course leader [email protected]

Please note that queries about your individual progression onto the course should be directed to [email protected]