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National Student Art Exhibition at the Mall Galleries

Held under the patronage of the Royal Society of British Artists as part of their commitment to supporting young artists, The National Student Art Exhibition features work by gifted and talented students from Schools, Colleges and Academies across the country.

The artists range in age from 11 to 18 years old. This is a unique opportunity to see artists at a very early stage in their careers. I am not able to see the exhibition but I interviewed some of the successful artists who got the chance to show their work in the Mall. I was very interested to see how they felt about getting the chance to show their work in London and to learn more about where they are off to next year. I interviewed Will, Charley and George and it was great to talk to such enthusiastic artists.

How does it feel to have your work shown in London?
Will: It feels great to have my work shown in the Mall Galleries for the National Student Exhibition. It's not only exciting to see my own work in the exhibition, but it's inspiring to see the work of other artists in the very early stages of their careers.

Charley: It was such an honour and felt so surreal to see my paintings in a London gallery; never in a million years did I think that my pieces would be chosen.

George: A sense of accomplishment as the exhibition was on a national scale, I also was very happy that my work got some recognition from teachers,  the public and people in the art industry.

 Will Calver
 George Cooper
Will Calver

What artists influence you?
Will: Antony Micallef has been my biggest influence over the past few years, I find his work visually and symbolically beautiful and a visit to his studio further highlighted his importance to my work and me. I am also inspired greatly by my grandfather's more illustrative artwork.

Charley: My favourite artist is Jenny Saville due to her controversial outlook on the female form. My piece Scarlett was loosely based on her work and replicated the desire for the perfect body in the modern world in order to contrast Saville and her distortion of the form.

George: I have many different artists that influence me depending on what subject matter is and the medium is. I am particularly fond of Dotwork/pointillism. The artists are not 'famous' or well known, most are part of the tattoo industry

What’s been your favourite exhibition that you've been too?
Will: I don't think that I could choose a single exhibition as a favourite, but I always enjoy going to the BP Portrait Award and Steve Lazarides' galleries.

Charley: My favourite exhibition that I've been to was the Andy Warhol exhibition in Southampton a few years ago, as I love the culture and the imagery of the 60s that he projected through the art form.

George: The photographic exhibition Conflict and Time at the Tate, the room was full but nobody spoke everyone was overwhelmed by what they were viewing, leaving them speechless.

 Charley Perrio
Charley Perrio

What are you currently working on?

Will: For the past two years I have been creating art primarily for the A-Level course, which I feel pushed my work to some dark and occasionally morbid places. Since finishing school I have found that I much prefer working in a more illustrative and light-hearted style. At the moment I'm just having fun with my art, sketching people in caf├ęs and on the train.

Charley: I am currently working on an a4 painting of my dog Lola using acrylic on board. I thought I would have a break from painting humans as; portraits and the human form have heavily influenced my work through college.

George: I have work set for summer for a foundation degree and I'm also taking commissions, which tend to be paintings of pets as I like to draw or paint animals.

What are you plans for the future? 

Will: I am going to be studying a foundation course at Falmouth University in September and see where that takes me. Although it would be a blessing to make a living from art of any form, to me a career in illustration is the dream.

Charley: In September I am going to Chichester University to study fine art and hopefully will one day break out into the art world!

George: I’m doing a Foundation degree at UCA and after go to university in London or Brighton or accept a tattoo apprenticeship.

These are only some of the works that are on display. The exhibition is on at the Mall Galleries in London until the 11th of July. I want to thank the artists for giving me permission to use their images. I wish them all the luck in their careers. 


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