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Freelance painter and Alumni Terry Channell discusses life as an artist

BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking graduate Terry Channell discusses life as an artist, and the valuable support of being part of an artist collective.
Terry Channell graduated from Plymouth College of Art in 2017 with a BA (Hons) in Painting, Drawing & Printmaking. Less than a year later and Terry has been busy taking on multiple projects exhibiting and painting, as well as developing a collective with fellow artists.

Terry has exhibited work with the Federation of British Artists at the Mall Galleries London and at the Rhizome Contemporary Open in Plymouth. Alongside this he has continued to create work and engage in critiques with other artists.

We caught up with Terry to hear more about his journey since graduating from Plymouth College of Art.

Channell Terry Yup ik Presence II 1

What have you been up to since leaving Plymouth College of Art?

I have been fortunate to have had exhibitions in Plymouth, at Rhizome Contemporary Open and in London with Federation of British Artists at the Mall Galleries.

Exhibitions are exciting but a lot of work and I have been busy installing, de-installing and curating, alongside developing a website.

I have also continued working at Rhizome, our artists collective, making work and taking part in talks, exhibitions and critiques. I didn't realise that I would be so busy after leaving Plymouth College of Art.

You recently exhibited your paintings at Mall Galleries in London, how did you secure this opportunity?

The Mall Galleries host an annual exhibition run by the Federation of British Artists (FBA). The FBA assesses work from art schools across the country to select, in their words, "the outstanding graduates" of the year.

I was fortunate enough, amongst others, to be put forward by my Programme Leader, Dr Stephen Felmingham. The FBA asked to see my work and I was shortlisted and then accepted for the exhibition. This is the first time a Plymouth College of Art graduate has been selected by the FBA, and Stephen and other college graduates came to London; we had a great time celebrating.

"Plymouth College of Art enabled me to make the transition from being a businessman to being an artist."
- Terry Channell, BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking graduate

What do you enjoy most about being a painter?

Many things - being a painter is a wonderful life. The physical act of painting - having a dialogue with paint that takes you on fascinating journeys; the sense of finding my place in life through painting; and working with creative minded people.

I recently led a discussion on "why artists create" at Rhizome and it became clear that regardless of whether painters, drawers, or sound artists, we all shared the view that art is a necessary part of our life journey.

How would you describe your work and where do you get your inspiration from?

I am driven to question the world around me, and I use painting as a means to investigate that world. Inspiration can come from anywhere - a manhole cover, a piece of cloth or, as in my latest work, a chance encounter with Inuit dance masks.

My figurative work seeks to capture the 'presence' of objects, such as the masks, whereas I use my abstract work as research tool, looking further into the concept of being and presence.

Terry Channell Yupik Presence II and Presence I

What are the main things you have taken from your time at the Plymouth College of Art?

Plymouth College of Art enabled me to make the transition from being a businessman to being an artist. Iit gave me the ability to make and the confidence to realise my work in my way, but to also take risks and reveal my true self through my work.

Any advice for your fellow graduates starting out?

Most importantly, have faith in yourself and your work; ultimately it is only you that will make a success of what you do. Also, keep in close contact with other creatives, through an Artists Collective or a more informal grouping; life after college can be tough and you will need a support network.

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