It's important to believe in what you're doing and one thing University gave me was the confidence to believe in what I am making. But more importantly it gave me the ability to really critique my practice succinctly and with the correct context.
Since graduating I have been able to support my practice and projects through various application processes including funding from Arts Council England. I have also had a small amount of success selling work. Two other graduates from Newcastle University have set up The NewBridge Project (http://thenewbridgeproject.com/, opens in a new window), a studio and gallery complex in the city center, which has made the transition from student to graduate so much easier.
One of my main focuses for 2011 was the SPECTRUM almanac, which I organize with artists Adam Hogarth, Sebastian Trend and Mike Pratt. The project had the intention of raising critical dialogue within the SPECTRUM collective and contemporary arts in Newcastle. We designed and published the SPECTRUM almanac, which will be an annual publication, bringing writers form outside the North East to meet and discuss our work. Along side the publication we held the exhibition SPECTRUM:WHITTLEHOGARTHPRATTTREND, which was curated by Matthew Hearn and shown at The NewBridge Space, Newcastle. We are currently organizing the 2012 issue of the SPECTRUM almanac. For more information on the SPECTRUM group see: www.spectrumalmanac.com [opens in a new window.]
My advice for students is to make sure you utilise the facilities at University while you’re there – once you have left you will miss them, believe me! And keep in contact with those peers form University that really challenged you and your work. It is good to have a group who you can discuss your work with once you have graduated.
Importantly just keep working and exhibiting; leaving University is a really steep learning curve but having goals to work towards really helps.
See my work at: www.thomaswhittle.co.uk [opens in a new window]