Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies

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Rebecca Bennett

Fine Art with History of Art 2012

Art Consultant at Project Art, London

What made you choose to study Fine Art? And why did you choose Leeds?
I enjoy making art, and I always have. I wanted to learn more technical skills and was interested to understand more about the history of art and the philosophy behind why artists make work. Having completed my Art Foundation Course at Chelsea college of Art in London, I realised I wanted to study outside of the capital city and get the campus university experience that I’m not sure London can offer in quite the same way.

The course at Leeds interested me because I could continue to explore a range of artistic media. I didn’t have to narrow down to just one focus, like painting, or sculpture, photography or ceramics, as a lot of universities and colleges ask. On a multidisciplinary course like the one offered at Leeds I could continue to use any medium I wanted in my practice, which actually broadened my horizons and I ended up making a lot of audio-installation works. It was also 50% History of Art so it had quite an academic underpinning which I was attracted to. In addition I had the opportunity to study abroad for a full year, which was the real no-brainer for me having studied a couple of languages for A-Level and having always enjoyed travel and other cultural experiences.

Where do you currently work and what is your job title?
I work at a small company in London called Project Art Limited as an Art Consultant.

Can you tell us about your day-to-day role?
It varies a lot from one day to the next…a large part of it is admin, answering the phone and emails, archiving, but I also regularly communicate with our clients and framers/shippers/printers/publishers and delivery guys about projects we are working on. I check that our artists’ stock is in order, select and prepare artwork presentations for client meetings, and scan pieces so we can make prints of any of our artwork commissions for future projects. I do a lot of research for our jobs, both online and through going to art fairs and open studios searching for new artists we can work with.
Project Art Ltd. also frames work so I help with measuring up, selecting frames, configuring the various mounts needed and measuring how multiple images can be mounted and fit into a particular frame size. I then check the artwork after it returns from our framers, label it and wrap it up ready for shipment/delivery.

How do you think your degree has helped you in your career? In particular, what skills did you learn and how do you use these in your job?
I think doing a Fine Art degree alone means that one learns how to communicate diplomatically. I suppose through my own studies I have learned how to talk with artists about their work, how and why they make it and the processes they use, and having experienced that myself I can relate to them on a similar level. I understand different artistic media and what makes some more appropriate for certain environments than others. I also do a lot of layouts and tweaking of artwork myself as we print things, so my Photoshop skills are often handy, particularly my understanding of image quality. Putting on exhibitions and all of the organisation, time-keeping and administrative tasks that are required to do that have been helpful in the business world too I think. But I’m the only one in my company with an art degree, and actually with any sort of art background, so it is not absolutely necessary to have studied Fine Art should Art Consulting be a career goal.
I didn’t even know jobs like this existed until I discovered Project Art!

How would you sum up your time at Leeds?
Fun, challenging, frustrating at times and hard-work, but my time at Leeds (and in Milano) certainly helped to shape me into who I am today.

What are your plans for the future?
I don’t really know, and I like that. I will probably continue in this job for a while, and learn everything I can, but I’m not sure I want to live in London forever. I would like to travel, and I hope to do a masters degree… perhaps in Art Psychotherapy, so I can work more with people creatively for the better, but that is something for later after I’ve had a little more life experience I think. I feel very lucky to have a salaried job in the arts at all, and I am thankful for that!   Times are challenging at the moment.

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