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We Are MA: Keron Beattie, MA Fine Art

Keron Beattie graduated from MA Fine Art in 2018 and went on to exhibit in the FBA Futures 2019 exhibition at London’s Mall Galleries. Here he talks to us about his process of making and how the MA helped him to develop.

What drove you to study MA Fine Art at NUA?

I had just completed my Contemporary Art and Design degree in Chelmsford – but I still felt that I had only just begun to understand myself as an artist and needed to continue to make, question and explore. 

Can you tell us a bit about your practice?

My work is concerned with fragmentation, remaking and wholeness and the potential of materials to change or transform.

I prefer to use found and recycled objects and these are generally worked by hand using traditional tools and techniques.  The slower process of hand working encourages a way of seeing and then re-seeing the materials and allows new ideas and forms to emerge in a dialogue with the materials.

I am also interested in the passing of time recorded in the objects themselves, and through my interventions.

Why is your practice important to you?

It allows me to pursue and develop themes which have been of interest to me throughout my working life, but in ways which are new to me.

As an artist I am also responding to, and responsible for, the world around me and my work is a personal response to a world which feels increasingly fragmented and damaged. My used of recycled and found materials is part of this response as it helps to preserve limited resources and prevents items becoming landfill. The found object is usually unique too.

Working to a domestic scale encourages my work to be looked at carefully and to find a place in the home as well as the gallery.

Keron Beattie

What do you enjoy most about the process of making?

With new work I try to begin without preconceived outcomes as I enjoy being open to what the objects or materials are saying to me and the direction they are suggesting.  Sometimes it can take several attempts, over a period of time, for a direction to become clear.

In remaking, or making whole, I am also to some degree creating order and I recognise that the feeling of managing chaos (however fleeting that might be) is a central part of my psychological make up as well as my art practice.

What inspires you about the creative community at NUA and in the region?

I’ve found it supportive and challenging in equal measure.  The community is big enough to be diverse and interesting but small enough not to feel lost in a huge, ever-changing pool.

How do you feel your MA enabled you to grow and develop, personally and creatively?

It gave me the space, but also the structure, to make and experiment.  I was also able to research more deeply subjects and artists who interested me and that dialogue between making and researching was fundamental in helping me to grow creatively. 

I think that in terms of personal development I became much more confident seeing and describing myself as a working artist and not just someone “doing art”.  Becoming an artist later in life has also, in a sense, helped me move into older age optimistic and interested in the future and keen to continue to push and develop my life and practice which are now one and the same.

What advice would you give to someone considering MA study?

I would recommend it as a route to opening up and understanding your practice, and giving yourself the time and space to experiment and explore. Be open to your practice taking on a new and perhaps unexpected direction too.

See more of Keron’s work on his website and Instagram

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