It was a true honour to have had the opportunity to speak with and present my work to the world-renowned art dealer, agent and philanthropist, Anthony DOffay.
I, along with five of my peers from the Fine Art and Creative Art Practice courses at Sheffield Hallam University, were selected to present some recent work and given the rare chance to speak with one of the most prominent and well-respected figures of the art world.
Three of my recent photographs were shown, which Anthony initially described as elegant. He asked me if there is a particular photographer who inspires me, which then led into a discussion about the life and work of Francesca Woodman
. Anthony mentioned that he recently purchased a collection of Woodmans photographs that once belonged to her boyfriend. The eighteen photos that make up this highly personal series are now on tour as part of Anthony's Artists Rooms collection.
Woodmans work was all about what one can do in a room, with a camera and with a body.
In the larger
of the three photographs I displayed, Anthony picked up on the hand barely touching the object, which is exactly the point at which I was hoping to invoke my own eroticism.
Of the two smaller photographs, he said that these were more poetic, whereas the larger was more sexual. He mentioned the importance of the vessel; that what women do with vessels is very interesting.
Returning to the word poetic, Anthony began to speak quite excitedly about Japanese aesthetics, saying that my work held a similar quality. He suggested I should research into everything Japanese, Japanese ceramics, Japanese screens, mannerisms, and the Japanese fascination with the mask also seemed to spark his interest. He also drew a rather entertaining comparison between British and Japanese culture what other nation wakes up after dreaming of tea in the middle of the night?
I said that I had looked briefly at the work of Nobuyoshi Araki and Hiroshi Sugimoto
after having a tutorial with Penny McCarthy last month. Just before he had to leave to do his talk on the Andy Warhol exhibition
, Anthony recommended that I apply for a residency in Japan and should go meet Araki!
He asked if I had any more photographs to show him - unfortunately I only had my sketchbook with me. I showed him the photographs from my previous shoots - he asked when I had taken them, I said in January, and that the ones displayed on the wall were taken in March. I think March is better than January, dont you? I agreed, laughing, and said, I should hope so! He also seemed to like my drawings very much (the 'Wanting' Series
Anthony also mentioned Guy Bourdins photographs I have not heard of Bourdin
before, so I look forward to researching into his work further.
Anthonys enthusiasm for my work was an incredible compliment, and a confidence boost that was exactly what I needed right now in the run-up to our Degree Show.
Thank you to my tutors Chloë Brown and Gary Simmonds for selecting me to present to Anthony and for giving me this unforgettable opportunity.
Finally, thank you to Anthony DOffay for offering me such wonderful words of wisdom and taking the time to speak with me and view my work. It was truly an honour and a great pleasure!