I am an artist based at Spike Island studios in Bristol. My art practice can be described as sculptural installation incorporating a range of materials and approaches from model making, cast objects, photography and film.My work is motivated by an ongoing interest in archaeology, language, our relationship to the natural environment and Architecture.I make work for exhibition, public commissions and work with a range of groups and individuals. I have been collaborating with artist Marcus Jefferies over the last six years, making large scale artworks. We currently have a Primary Capital Education Programme (PCEP) Art Commission for Merchants’ Ventures Academy in Bristol. This commission involves designing and creating a range of external artworks, floor designs, entrance way, fencing, outside teaching areas and sculpture. It is our biggest commission to date which is both exciting and challenging.I am founder and director of Art in Motion (AIM). An arts organisation that provides opportunities for artists with learning difficulties to engage within the contemporary arts. I am passionate about using the arts to support others to reach their potential, working with the artists in AIM is fun, rewarding and inspiring.
I am currently working at Bridgwater Library as part of the Somerset Engaging Libraries project. Working with a group of adults with learning disabilities using creative and imaginative ways to re-imagine the library, its design, use and importantly how the library may better meet the needs for people with disabilities.Being someone who is passionate about libraries this is an exciting project to be involved in. Libraries are such important spaces and are in the process of having to adapt to survive. There will be an exhibition at the end of the project which will hopefully inspire curiosity, spark debate and create conversation.
My inspiration comes from many different sources. As an artist I try to be as observant and remain as curious as possible. I am lucky to be part of a large artist community at Spike Island so get to see the creative process of other artists and get insight into the development of their work.The artists I support at AIM are always an inspiration for there directness and honest approach to making their artwork. There are is also an endless list of artists that inspire me but the most currently inspiring is Sarah Sze.
What book or exhibition has inspired you recently?
I am constantly reading and recent inspirational books are; ‘Making’ by Tim Ingold, ‘On longing’ by Susan Stewart and ‘Sapiens’ by Yuval Noah Harari.
There have been three exhibitions that have had an influence on my work. Going back as far as 2015 I saw an exhibition of work by Sarah Sze at the Victoria Miro in London which I am still digesting. More locally at Spike Island Hedwig Houben: Others and I and Iman Issa: Material (2017)
What’s been your biggest professional, personal or creative achievement to date?
Setting up the arts organisation Art in Motion has been a massive and rewarding achievement. In our first year of operating I helped organise a European art exchange programme. This involved taking artists with learning difficulties abroad to both Madrid and Cork. Some of the artists had never even been on an airplane.
A personal achievement has been walking across the Austrian Alps from East to West, difficult, challenging, inspiring and beautiful.
With the artists on the Engaging Libraries project, to create a vibrant, inspiring and informative display in the library that we will all be proud of. Also, I have a solo show at Test Space at Spike Island in July, so my own creative focus is on creating the work for this show.
What advice would you give an emerging socially engaged artist?
Trust in the creative process
Be prepared to shift direction if things aren’t going how you planned
Listen and learn from those you are working with and enjoy the collaborative process.
Photo by: The Kiosk Project. Colin Higginson is on the left.