By Hannah Debson
After a stressful few weeks of exams there is nothing better than some much needed creative release. Blank Canvas – the first collaborative arts weekend of Durham University society’s – has made its first appearance this year as a way of allowing different artists to interact and share their creative visions in the post-exam season.
Durham’s Art scene is alive and kicking, but it tends to be quite fragmented and different creatives don’t have many opportunities to mingle and share ideas. Sometimes the most interesting art pieces can be developed when different points of view are shared, and the most original insights can come from a discussion between artists who are accustomed to fundamentally different mediums. As an artist, your mentality is enormously influenced by your tools – poets and painters will convey the same message in very different ways for example, each constricted to different degrees by the boundaries of language or paint.
The aim of Blank Canvas was to overcome this fragmentation. Photography Society joined with Durham Student Productions, along with Creative Writing, Poetry, and Art Society to create an open event for all members. The event itself was very simple, and aimed to let people be as free and creative as possible, to learn about different types of art and to work with artists who they usually wouldn’t collaborate with. We had a variety of artists from creative writers and painters to film-makers present, creating some interesting artistic pieces which are currently being exhibited in the Arts and Photography Exhibition at Riverside Café in the Durham Student Union (between the 10th and the 17th of June 2016). Blank Canvas ran over two days, and included full access to an extensive array of art supplies including film making and photography equipment such as DSLR Cameras, online editing programmes, and sound equipment, as well as a range of art supplies including a variety of paints, charcoals, sprays and pencils. There was also a photo studio set up, complete with backdrops, lighting and tripods. Society Exec members were constantly on hand to help provide guidance on how to use equipment that participants were not familiar with, as well to provide advice and guidance.
The outcome of the weekend has resulted in some extremely interesting projects, based on random themes selected out of a hat by each group. Resulting projects include an art film, developed almost entirely by painters and creative writers, as well as a sculptural art installation combining painting, photography and sculpture. This year was the first year this project has run, and hopefully it will develop and improve to become a long standing link between Durham’s creative communities.
Image taken by: Hannah Debson