The Big Walls and Windows Project, supported by Liquitex and Cass Art, creates a unique opportunity for Camberwell College of Arts students to propose and realise a temporary large-scale, site-specific artwork displayed within the college.
For the 2022 Big Walls and Windows Project, inspired by the stained-glass windows of the historical college, Ffi Farrer-Miles has created a patterned mural using a bold geometric style contrasting with the minimalist interior of the Camberwell College of Arts modern building.
We caught up with Ffi to find out more about her experience and how she approached the project.
Hi Ffi! Congratulations again on being selected for the 2022 Big Walls and Windows Project in Camberwell College of Arts. Can you tell us about your proposal and what made you apply for the Big Walls & Windows project? What appealed to you about working on such a large scale?
Hi, thank you so much! The project has been such a fantastic opportunity and I’m really grateful I was given the chance to see my proposal through. The idea of having free reign on a huge canvas in such a prominent area of the college was honestly really appealing, as it’s not every day you get the chance to work on such a large scale, so it seemed too good to miss - especially as the geometric nature of my work seems to lend itself to a larger scale.
Now you’ve completed the mural, how did you find the experience and were there any big challenges?
The experience was really fun but definitely presented new challenges to my usual way of working. Figuring out the scale/measurements, using new tools and finding the most streamlined method of working to meet the deadline were definitely my biggest challenges, but with a little patience and help from my amazing tutors, I was able to overcome them.
The piece is a response to an architectural feature of the historic UAL building in Camberwell, could you tell us how you brought these small details to life in a contemporary way in your mural?
It is indeed! My abstract geometric design took inspiration from some stained-glass windows in the historical college building, and it aims to bring an awareness to the beauty and history of the original features, all whilst re-contextualising them through a contemporary colour palette and style.
The mural takes this small detail and turns it into a vibrant pattern of visual abstractions to reflect and celebrate the Victorian architecture, and invites an element of the original building into the newer, more minimalist extension.
How did you find working with Liquitex paints and mediums, did you find the materials shaped the artwork in a new way for you?
Out of all the Liquitex mediums on offer, I went with the Soft Body Acrylics, as these are actually a material I’m well familiar with and usually already my first choice. The viscosity and pigmentation of the paints is unbeatable, so they’re a great choice for achieving large flat areas of bold colour and crisp lines. The wide range of colours on offer actually allowed me to keep my colour mixing quite straightforward and easy to plan, thus saving me a lot of time for painting.
Can you tell us how you tackled the project step by step?
The first step really was to figure out a timeline of how I was going to prep and prime the wall, draw on my design, and get painting, and planning my documentation (which you can find over on my Instagram) all whilst keeping my public workspace safe and interacting with passers-by. After that it was a case of getting stuck in and enjoying the process. I taped off my design section by section, working methodically, and it came together colour by colour.
Watch the time-lapse below to see Ffi at work...
How do you hope the passing public will respond to the work?
I would love people to take a moment to enjoy the vibrancy of the colours, the scale of the shapes, and perhaps just reflect on how my mural contrasts the surrounding minimalist interior.
What are your final thoughts on the project? Has it helped you to develop as an artist and do you feel you’d like to tackle more site-specific artwork installations in the future?
I’d absolutely love to take on something like this again, I feel it’s made me more confident in my ability to plan and complete ambitious projects. I’ll be sad to see it go at the end, but equally excited to see what next year’s winner brings!
And finally, what’s next for you?
At the moment, I’m getting ready along with my fellow final year students to put on our graduate degree exhibition which will be open at the Camberwell College from June 20th-25th 2022. There’s some incredible undergraduate artists taking part, and the details can be found either over on my Instagram @ffi.madlen.art or the @camberwell.painting account.
See Ffi’s Big Walls and Windows installation is on display at Camberwell College of Arts, 45 - 65 Peckham Road, London SE5 8UF until 28th May 2022. Admission is free.
Check out the range of Liquitex products available at Cass Art, and read our interview with Manyi Takor, selected for the Central Saint Martins Big Walls and Windows 2022 project on the Cass Art Blog.
Image credits: Ffi Farrer-Miles at Camberwell College of Arts. Photography by Peter Cattrell ©. Timelapse: Filmed by Ffi Farrer-Miles and edited by Star Sun.