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Photographs provide revealing insight into artists’ studios

An exciting new exhibition of environmental portraits by Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) alumnus and photographer Andi Sapey is to be held at Norwich Arts Centre to coincide with the University’s Degree Shows 2015. The exhibition, titled 170 Years of NUA, examines the relationship between artists and their creative spaces – whether their studio, place of work, bedroom or kitchen table.

Artist in print studio

Carl Rowe, artist and NUA Course Leader for BA (Hons) Fine Art

The project was inspired by The Face of the Artist, an exhibition by the acclaimed British photographer John Hedgecoe (1932–2010) which featured portraits of influential artists, designers, musicians and writers. What makes this exhibition extra special is that all of the subjects have played an influential role in the reputation of NUA throughout its recent history – from influential leaders in the creative industries to recent graduates who are set to be stars of the future. Over the past three months Andi has been travelling around the UK to meet artists and to visit their studio spaces for their photoshoot. Portraits include NUA Chancellor Sir John Hurt, designers Phil Carter and Phil Wong from the award-winning design agency Carter Wong, artist Susan Gunn, curator Professor Lynda Morris and current members of the academic community including Course Leader for Fine Art Carl Rowe and Dean of Arts and Media Professor Richard Sawdon-Smith – both successful artists in their own right.

Artist in studio

Karen Riley, lead singer in The Neutrinos and NUA alumna

Although posed, there was no prior discussion with the sitter as to how Andi would take the shot, allowing for an organic process of capturing who they really are. The result is a set of unique and intimate portraits and a documentation of the communication between the photographer and sitter. Andi Sapey comments: “Each photograph tells its own story and different sitters reacted to the camera in different ways. The environment in which each artist works was very influential in the photos. Some people worked from home, others had studios in outbuildings, garden sheds and even an old milking shed on their parents’ farm. It has been a real privilege to be able to visit the artists’ spaces and to spend time with them in what are their personal and creative environments. I am delighted with the end results.”

Artist in studio

Tim Giles, NUA Librarian

The final portrait was selected from a selfie competition that NUA opened to students, staff and alumni. The idea was to encourage the wider NUA community to take their own photos in their studio space to share through the University’s social media. The winner was BA (Hons) Fine Art 2012 graduate Andrew Reeve who took a selfie in his studio at home.

The exhibition is part of NUA’s 170th anniversary events programme which is running throughout 2015. For more details on our celebrations please visit: www.nua.ac.uk/n170

Andi Sapey: 170 Years of NUA
27 June – 11 July 2015
Open: Monday – Friday, 1pm – 5pm / Saturday, 10am – 6pm / closed Sunday. Free admission.

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