Beck’s Canvas 2008 at the RCA in London

Last year Los Cuadernos de Julia collaborated with Stella Artois, – and this year I was invited to Beck’s Canvas 2008 event in London. Like Illycaffe and Chateau Mouton Rothschild, so Beck’s have been supportng young artists for over 20 years by letting them use the Beck’s label as the canvas for their artwork. This year, however, is unique in that it saw Beck’s partnering with the Royal College of Arts to exhibit the work of the four RCA graduates.

As we are told,

2008 sees a landmark for the Beck’s art programme, with the launch of Canvas. For this very special project, we needed a very special partner. The Royal College of Art is a particular kind of ideas factory unlike any other. As the world’s only wholly postgraduate university institution of art and design, the college boasts a global reputation for artistic excellence and an unrivalled creative environment. College alumni and internationally admired artists Tracey Emin, Tim Noble and the Chapman Brothers all created Beck’s labels during the 1990s. Then, as now, Beck’s was striving to support those determined to express themselves creatively. A partnership with the College presents a great opportunity to achieve this goal.

I attended the event on 16 July at the Royal College of Art in Kensington, next to the Royal Albert Hall (see the image at the top of the post). The preparation, however, started already in June when I was contacted by OnlineFire PR who found me via Technorati.

Below is a short video I put together using promotional images supplied by OnlineFire, as well as the examples of art work by the winning artists. You can also check Beck’s Canvas 2008 photoset on Flickr. An interview with Simon Cunningham will be coming up shortly, that will include some transcribed excerpts.

I would like to thank OnlineFire for the invitation, and particularly James Fell, who has been a great help in providing information about the event and artists, setting up an interview with Simon, and supplying me with images.

Last but not least, congratulations to the artists!

Links and further information on the artists:

Riitta Ikonen

Originally from Finland, Riitta believes the Beck’s Canvas project resonates with her own belief of taking art out of the gallery for people to see in a wider context. In her mind individualism is a little space inside your head reserved just for you, like a private restaurant table that serves you anything you think to want.

Riitta takes inspiration from ‘the performance of images, through photography and costume design. Certain things, usually small and insignificant, excite me to the point that I have to wear them and then document that process.’

Key achievements for Ritta include featuring on the cover of a ‘mail art’ book published by Lawrence King Publishing and compiled by Flat 33 (RCA Alumni). She has also been interviewed by WWF for her ‘Snowflake’ project, which was funded by the RCA and addressed climate change in the Baltic. In November 2007, Riitta was commissioned by the Tate to produce an interactive costume experience and has most recently been shortlisted for the Adobe Creative Futures 2008.

Riitta is currently still working on producing a herring costume for a dive in the Baltic Sea – another attempt at raising the awareness of climate change in the area. She is also contributing to a campaign to encourage commuters in London to interact on the underground, as well as working with the Tate’s events programme. Plans for the future include travelling around the world to create artwork that highlights local issues for charitable use, “I’d love to take my work to Japan; go to Mongolia to work hard; go to Cuba for the amazing colours and people; learn new skills and share ideas with unique people.”

Tom Price

Tom Price, 26 is an alumni of Sculpture (2006). Subsequent to this, he received a First Class BA (Hons) Sculpture from Chelsea College of Art in 2004 and currently works from his South London studio, in Brixton.

In April 2008, Price exhibited a solo presentation of his art at the NEXT Art Fair, Chicago and will also be showing work at the ‘Personal Freedom Centre’ in October during Freeze Week at the Hales Gallery. Other awards include receiving the Sir John’s Cass Bursary, which allowed him to study at the Royal College of Arts.

Price is now working on new sculptures and continues to explore different materials and formats.

Simon Cunningham (his profile at RCA)

Simon Cunningham is an alumni of the MA Fine Art, photography course (2007) Cunningham lives and works in London.

Cunningham has sold more work than he has been able to exhibit mainly through his group shows and to private collectors. Cunningham is currently exhibiting film and photography work in Fragile at Espai Uba in Barcelona and also in Italy as part of ‘In our world’ at Galleria Civica de Modena.

Charlotte Bracegirdle

Charlotte Bracegirdle, 34, is an alumni of the Masters degree in painting (2006). Originally from Broardhembury, Devon, Charlotte spent seven years applying to art schools across the UK before accepting a place at the RCA.

Charlotte has previously been awarded the Davis Langdon award (2006) and was shortlisted for 2007’s New Contemporaries.

Plans for Charlotte’s future are to continue painting and exhibiting her work, she is currently working towards an exhibition for the Madame Lillies Gallery, Stoke Newington, running from 10 September 2008. Bracegirdle dreams to be an artist in residence at the National Gallery, she loves all the history in there and dreams to spend all her days painting.


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