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Artist Interview: Jamie Holman

Headshot, image credit: Lee Smillie

Jamie Holman is an Artist, writer and lecturer based in his home town of Blackburn.Combining his practice with work as a contributing editor for The Saatchi Gallery Magazine Art and Music, a lead moderator for UAL Awarding Body and external course consultant for UCLAN. Works from this collection have been exhibited at The Royal College of Art, The Saatchi Gallery Magazine and more recently British Textile Biennial.

'Hi Jamie, your work is an incredible commentary of our landscape in the North of England, exploring landscape and class. We have admired many of the projects including ‘Transform and Escape The Dogs’ documenting everyday people’s lost stories, so we are thrilled that you could talk to us and give our readers an insight into your practice.'

'Samba' Image Credit: Richard Kelly Photography 

Q: Can you tell us about your Artistic background/education?

I studied at Blackburn College, firstly getting GCSE’s that I didn’t get at school, then an Art and Design Foundation and then on a transformative year studying what was then called ‘post A level Media’ where I started making videos and sound recordings. I then moved to London and studied Fine Art at B.A. (hons) and then M.A. Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art and Design.

 Q. Do you work in a studio or from home?

I work from a studio in Blackburn Town Centre. My first studio was a shared space above Prism Contemporary in Blackburn, before I moved next door to a bigger studio of my own where I work with my studio partner, Alex Zawadzki who curates and produces my works.

Q. Who are your Art Influencers? Inspirations?

My influences are really broad and change regularly – I tend to admire anyone with singular vision, those artists who go their own way regardless of what else is going on around them. I think my biggest inspirations actually come from the people I collaborate with regularly and from lived experience of Blackburn and Lancashire in general.

Q. What helps you to create your work,  music? quiet?

Both. I prefer to have people around me when Im working, and I like to talk about my work as it emerges. It helps me get it ‘out’. 

Q. Do you keep a sketchbook? How often do you use it and do you travel with it?

I’m not a sketchbook artist – I think my phone has replaced the sketchbook in terms of a place where I record visual information or capture my thoughts or ideas. To some people that’s heresy, but I do sometimes have a sketchbook on the go when I’m working, but it’s become a repository for very quick ideas so I don’t forget them. Single pages will have one phrase or word writ large – or a very basic pen drawing of what a piece might be. Sketchbooks are essential for some artists – but there’s also a nostalgia attached to some ways of working. I feel tremendously excited by the potential of my phone as research tool, a camera, a way to draw, to find art that excites me and to present my thoughts quickly on Instagram etc 

Q. Where does a piece of work begin for you? Can you describe your process?

Often a commission provides the context – When I’m commissioned for large projects or pieces, I research ‘things’ online, in archives or from speaking to people, hoping to find something exciting that might start a thought process. On other occasions it’s simply encountering the potential of a process or material that makes me question “what could I do with that…” And I get excited about what I could do with ‘it.’ I often go looking at how things are made – or what new technology etc is available. I go to factories and fabricators a lot, just to see what could happen if I could access their resources.

The next stage is going into the studio to figure out the reality of the work. How much will it cost, where can it be made – is it going to be any good ? I work closely with a curator so often the process of making work becomes collaborative very quickly. It’s a way of working that really suits me.

Q. What are your most important artists tools? 

Well in all honesty I see myself as the principal driver in my works so I trust my instinct and my eyes in the first instance. Instinct is very important so that’s my most important tool. I suppose I would also say my phone and my mac. I’d be lost without them. I also always keep a good pen with me – sometimes the only way to explain is to draw it. Finally I think collaboration is a kind of tool, and one that is crucial to much of my work. 

Q. What are your favourite materials/technique?

I tend to become very enamoured with whatever pieces I’m making at the time. For a long time at the start of my career it was video, but I hardly ever make video these days. At the moment it’s tapestry – jacquard weaving. I made two huge tapestries for the British Textile Biennial and have just been commissioned to make seven new tapestries for a very exciting commission I’ve just confirmed. I also spend a lot of time on ‘finish’ so some of my favourite techniques come from a long standing relationship with Dan Edwards at Darbyshires framers in London. We are constantly trying to solve problems in terms of how to show the work. I really enjoy that process – the process of framing and finishing. It sounds like a small detail but its incredibly important.

Q. What are you currently working on?

I’m making new work that I hope will become important – photographic work that is personal but also very political so my left hand is developing that while my right hand is at the start of a new commission for Lancashire to celebrate the Queens Jubilee next June.

Who are ya?

'Who Are Ya?' Image credit: Richard Kelly Photography 

Q. What is the best advice you were given early in your creative career?

Be yourself and own the story. Eventually the story becomes the thing that is unique to you. Never give up and never apologise for who you are or where you’re from.

Q. Where can we see more of your work online or in person?

Ive just had work at The Manchester Contemporary and I’m represented by The Second Act. I’ll be presenting new works in June for the Queens Jubilee – which is terrifying and exciting.


 and my own work and collaborations as Uncultured Creatives is here





Catherine Peters
Catherine Peters

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