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The new art wrapped round our buildings

Published 24 February 2016

As building works start on our RA250 renovations, look out for new works of art surrounding Burlington Gardens – designed by artists of the future.

  • In 2018, our two buildings, Burlington House on Piccadilly and 6 Burlington Gardens, will be joined into one major venue designed by David Chipperfield RA. As Burlington Gardens is covered by scaffolding, we spotted a chance for some public art – and even better, a chance for some young artists to exhibit for the very first time. Inside the pedestrian tunnel section of the scaffolding around Burlington Gardens, today we reveal work by 24 selected students from three Further Education colleges; City of Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and City & Islington, and 30 primary school students from the Gateway Academy.

    Students from further education colleges spent the afternoon with us in workshops over seven weeks. Led by painter and printmaker Diana Taylor and with talks from the likes of Richard Wilson RA, these young artists were encouraged to take inspiration from the RA Collection and to base their designs on the architecture of the RA buildings.

    Here’s what happened – as told by 17-year-old Jadon Bubb, a student at City & Islington College.

    • Artist Diana Taylor leads students in a workshop in the RA Learning studio

      On our first day we met Diana Taylor, a professional artist who would be guiding us through the project. We also met James and Lizzie, who are art students and volunteer at the RA. I had never been to the Royal Academy before, and spent time the first week delving into its roots. With a camera, I toured the building and soaked up its history.

    • Diana Taylor leads a discussion with students in the life drawing room

      Week two and we’re into drawing. We started by doing some site-specific drawings, including the sculptures in the restaurant in the Keeper’s House. However, the highlight of that day was visiting the Life Drawing Room in the RA Schools. Here Diana Taylor introduced us to her own work, and told us a lot about the history of the Life Drawing room and how it’s still used by RA Schools students today.

    • Students in a workshop with artist Diana Taylor

      In the third week, we explored the idea of collage, using historic photos. I like the idea of taking away and layering old photos – it gave the photos a new purpose and had an interesting way of making us look at everyone else’s ideas. The week after this we tried silkscreen printing, my first time using this technique. I really enjoyed the experience. I was able to experiment with my designs and colours and work with others to achieve the designs I wanted.

    • Richard Wilson RA leads a workshop with students

      The sculptor Richard Wilson came to visit us in the studio to talk about his own installations, the processes and work that goes into creating them. The work of his that caught my eye was a piece called Slipstream – a twisting aluminium sculpture simulating a falling aeroplane. It was the most amazing work I have seen by a UK artist.

    • Richard Wilson RA addresses students

      One thing I took away from the talk by Richard Wilson was what he said about the creation of ideas. He mentioned how when he has an idea, he doesn’t go straight into making or building, but instead he develops his thoughts to get the most out of it. I found Richard Wilson’s talk very influential and I took a lot away from it.

    • Student work for the Hoardings project

      During the last two weeks we’ve been experimenting more with different techniques. Firstly, we’ve been drawing statues from around the RA using chalk and pastels. To begin with I was worried about drawing with chalk and pastels since I find them hard to use, but it gave me a chance to further my skills. But I was pleased with the outcome and thought it was a positive experience. Then in week seven, we finished off the class by creating monoprints as our final designs for the hoarding.

  • Over the past seven weeks, I have explored the history of the RA, and had a chance to look at amazing sculptures, paintings and drawings, and meet artists I really admire. I am very thankful for the team for creating such an uplifting and fun environment to work in. This experience has allowed me to work on my skills as an artist, creating collages and prints, using chalk and pastel and most importantly developing my ideas. My most memorable moment has to be Richard Wilson’s visit and hearing him talk to us about his process of creating and working on his installations. His words really pushed me to create more in an artistic sense, develop my ideas and be open to new ways of thinking and approaching my work.

    Find out more about RA250: our redevelopment plans for the RA’s 250th anniversary in 2018.
    Learn more about the RA’s work with students and teachers.

  • Local students with their work on the Burlington Gardens hoardings

    Local students with their work on the Burlington Gardens hoardings

    The designs, featuring inside the pedestrian tunnel section of the scaffolding during our RA250 renovations, are the culmination of work by 24 selected students from three Further Education colleges; City of Westminster, Kensington & Chelsea and City & Islington and 30 primary school students from the Gateway Academy