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We Are MA: Jodie Starkings, MA Fine Art

We Are MA looks at the diverse practices and backgrounds of NUA’s MA students. MA Fine Art student Jodie Starkings gives us an insight into her practice, where she discovers and depicts unloved and overlooked parts of the city of Norwich.

Can you tell me about your practice?

My current practice is discovering and depicting unloved and overlooked parts of the city of Norwich in print and experimenting with new ways to use Lino cut, such as layering images and taking casts of Lino itself.

I think Lino cut has been criticised in the art world as a lesser medium but I am going to change that.. in a few minds at least!

Jodie Starkings

Why is your practice important to you?

Lino cut is especially important to me because it is a combination of drawing and carving. I very much enjoy creating things with my hands, so the action of carving a Lino block is extremely satisfying.

I do also love drawing and painting but when I decided to concentrate on one particular area of image-making I realised that I kept going back to Lino cut so I followed my artist gut!

Can you tell me about your transition from BA Illustration to MA Fine Art? What drove you to chose MA Fine Art?

It was in the last part of my second year in Illustration that I said to myself that I was going to concentrate on Lino as a medium which allowed me to explore the later units in more depth without worrying about how I was going to make the images.

Towards the end I found there was more to Lino than the print. In fact, I find the finished print to be my least favourite part of printmaking because it means I have completed that process and am left feeling a little sad!

What I mean is that the action of carving and mark making had to be explored further, and I thought Fine Art was the best place to do that. Illustration was more focused on the end result while Fine Art explores the journey.

Jodie Starkings

What inspires you?

Music, stories, shapes, curiosity, distractions! I have a busy mind that jumps around from one idea to the next, so trying to get it under control can be a challenge!

How do you feel your MA enables you to grow creatively and professionally?

This was a difficult question for me at first, as due to the Covid restrictions, I felt I had not grown much creatively.

Now looking back on how it was necessary (and still is) to adapt to make work from home and explore a much smaller space than before I realise that I have actually discovered much more about myself and my creative process than I would have done under normal circumstances.

I admit I miss the workshops and facilities at university but having limited materials pushed me into directions I may not have gone in, and the tutors and staff have always been there supporting and encouraging me to keep going.

Jodie Starkings

Do you think creative students have an obligation to shape and challenge the industry and how can this be done?

The word obligation puts a lot of pressure on people that should be placed elsewhere, whereas I believe we should encourage questions, not be afraid of being wrong and challenge the industry through persistent, confident conversation. I don’t know, maybe I’m being idealistic!

Why should someone consider studying MA Fine Art?

I have found this course to be more liberating than the BA as the learning process is left to you. It is a bit daunting at first but the support from tutors and by encouraging students to support each other is so rewarding that they help build up your confidence to believe in your work and your ideas.

I am coming to the end of my MA now and feel I can defend my practice and explain my process in a much clearer and positive way than before. I wish I could do it all again for fun!