Humans of DUCFS - 2021 DUCFS Creatives

December 2, 2020

DUCFS Creatives is a new initiative launched this year to cultivate a creative hub within Durham University student culture. Composed of 10 unique talents, the Creatives are currently working on exciting art projects to showcase in 2021 - get to know a few of them and their artistic perspectives.

Maiya Dambawinna, 2nd Year, Stephenson / Poet 

Poetry can be found on Pulp Poets Press, SINK Magazine, The Poetry Society, Iceberg Tales Magazine and Picaroon Poetry.

How would you describe your artistic style? Who do you draw inspiration from?

I would say my poetic style is definitely more modernist, I usually approach my work in a more experimental fashion, allowing the emotion or narrative of a piece to dictate its form. I draw great inspiration from 21st century poets such as Ocean Vuong, Caroline Bird and Danez Smith, but also hark back to the narratives of writers such as Woolf. 

How did COVID-19 pandemic change the creative world? Do you think it changed your artistic perspective / artwork?

The pandemic undoubtedly changed the artistic space within which creatives can operate - it was a means of connection during the first lockdown, and I saw an increasing amount of people finding comfort in poems that related similar experience. This has been one of the single biggest events our generation has had to suffer, and as a result, I would argue my work, alongside a million others, has been affected too. I found it so difficult to write in the first months of the pandemic, because my narrative poetry relies on felt experience; living the same day over and over felt counter-productive until I learned to channel my hopes for the future into my writing. 

How do you feel about the current creative landscape in Durham University? How do you think we can further cultivate a creative scene in Durham?

I think we really need to drive technological connection in Durham; as it is, it's so hard to stay in contact with friends, never mind other creative talents - creating a diverse space to share ideas is such a lovely thing to have, and I think it'll have a great impact on Durham's creative landscape. 

Georgina Feltham-White, 2nd Year, Josephine Butler / Portrait Artist

https://georginafelthamwhite.myportfolio.com/home 

Oil and Acrylic Paint, 2020

How would you describe your artistic style? Who do you draw inspiration from?

My work often comprises of elements of collage and abstraction with the central focus around portraiture. My artistic style often varies depending on what inspires me; if I’m inspired by motion and movement my work will often be more abstract and fluid and vice versa. I use a variety of medium but centre around oil paint/pastel, spray paint and graphite. I often strive for naturalism within my art but get carried away with colours and spray cans – ending up with a piece significantly more abstract than intended. As a portrait artist my inspiration often comes from the individual who I am painting. It may sound strange but there are some faces that are really interesting to draw or paint due to their shape and structure. I also draw artistic inspiration from both abstract expressionism and the Dadaism movements. Artists such as Rebecca Fontaine-Wolf inspire me. She is a primarily figurative artist who focuses on self-portraiture and depictions of women in her direct surroundings with intimate exploration of the experiences of womanhood (Fontaine-Wolf, 2020). In the current wave of feminism, which focuses on intersectionality and often the use of technology, it is interesting to explore what it means to be a woman and therefore I find her work extremely relevant. 

What inspired you to get involved with DUCFS Creatives?

I’ve always classified myself as a creative individual but during my first year at Durham I didn’t engage with the creative community. As a creative it is easy to feel inspirationally drained without other like-minded individuals but for me it sometimes goes deeper – I feel as if I lack a part of my ‘being’ if I’m not creating. I therefore started this year adamant to involve myself more with Durham's creative community. DUCFS have the same moral values that I aim to promote throughout my work. My work as a portrait artist often encompasses social issues; investing systematic racism within both the university and wider society. I am often creatively driven towards the attitudes and injustices experienced by my peers in a hope that I can capture and present a deeply meaningful piece. I was impressed by DUCFS last year and how they addressed so many fundamental issues within both the UK and internationally; in particular, I enjoyed Miriam Sabapathy’s conversation with Alayo Akinkugbe which addressed the lack of representation of POC within art and the lack of displayed black artists in the major UK galleries. I love working alongside such like-minded individuals.

What are you most excited about working within DUCFS Creatives?

I’m really excited about working with DUCFS Creatives for multiple reasons but mainly as a way to explore and meet other creatives from different backgrounds. Within the DUCFS Creative team there are poets, photographers, make-up artists, actors etc. who I would never have met had I not had this opportunity. 

It’s also an incredible opportunity to create something outside of my comfort zone. When I paint or draw, I usually take inspiration from the subject themselves and allow myself creative space to explore but DUCFS ensures that I stick to a particular idea or theme. 

Ella Shukman, 3rd Year, St. Aidans / 

How would you describe your artistic style? Who do you draw inspiration from?

At the moment I am drawing inspiration for different lifestyle social influencers including Annie Madgett, Mia Dickerson, Jade Honey and Jess Hunt. I'd describe my current artistic style as natural as I tend to use more neutral colours and subtleties within my work. 

How did COVID-19 pandemic change the creative world? Do you think it changed your artistic perspective / artwork?

I think COVID-19 led to artists and creatives to become more open minded with their ideas due to the limitations they face. This involves the use of digital software instead of having photoshoots in person and spending more time collaborating with other artists on social media platforms. My artistic perception has changed as I began to appreciate things we are surrounded by, now that we are in lockdown, which includes autumn leaves, everyday items and the people we love. 

What inspired you to get involved with DUCFS Creatives?

I would like to develop my artistic skills and meet likeminded people who I can learn from, relate to and share a passion in art and fashion. 

Jae Ko, 1st Year, Castle / Photographer 

How would you describe your artistic style? Who do you draw inspiration from?

Very hard questions to answer. Umm.. all over the gaff?

What inspired you to get involved with DUCFS Creatives?

It is one of the only creative outlets that I thought a portfolio could be made where all my interests: fashion, photography, art etc. comes together. I also love the creative hub that it creates allowing collaboration, exchanging and mutual development of ideas.

What are you most excited about working within DUCFS Creatives?

Meeting new creative people. I love hearing and seeing what others are interested in, especially within creative industries. Not only does it inspire me to improve my own avenues but explore some that I never would have before.

Verity Capstick, 2nd Year, Hild Bede / Painter

@that_girl_who_paints

How would you describe your artistic style? Who do you draw inspiration from?

Whilst my subject matter varies (still lifes, human form, landscapes ect.), all of my art is founded upon an interest in depicting light and colour.  As a painter, I’m inspired by very late nineteenth/early twentieth century artists, and most of my work has a vintage early-to-mid twentieth century feel about it.  My paintings tend to have an impressionistic quality and I’ve taken influence from the Fauvists’ portrayal of colour.  I’ve worked on landscapes influenced by Post-Impressionists and a series of still lives inspired by Matisse and Picasso.  I do also draw inspiration from contemporary artists, and, inspired by Kate Jarvik Birch’s instagram art account, I am currently working on a November ‘daily painting’ series in gouache.  As a textile and collage artist too, I am more experimental and my work is more abstracted (although still figurative).  I’ve been influenced by the Bauhaus movement and Yayoi Kusama’s textiles and installations.

What are you most excited about working within DUCFS Creatives?

I’m actually most excited about working alongside the other creatives.  In Durham I rarely get the chance to discuss art and being an artist with other likeminded individuals, and I think sharing ideas and viewing other people’s work is such an important part of being an artist.  Being able to collaborate on group pieces or just talking about art with the other creatives will be a great experience.

How do you feel about the current creative landscape in Durham University? How do you think we can further cultivate a creative scene in Durham?

If you look for it then you can find it, and there are things I’m involved in like Durham Art Society and the History of Art department which promote artistic events – however, I do think it's limited and Durham’s artistic scene needs to develop.  Whilst I love the artistic displays and talks DUCFS organises, I would love to see more social events and workshops for artists in the future, so that more artistic people in Durham could communicate and contribute to the art scene.  

Agnes Shu, 1st Year, South College / Photographer 

agnesshu.myportfolio.com / @agnesmshu

Gone Swimming, 2020

How would you describe your artistic style? Who do you draw inspiration from?

I never tried to have a specific style, whether I was painting, or sewing, or doing photography. It was always about trying something new and experimenting, but I think looking back, my work tends to be dramatic in theme or colours. I like to build my ideas around specific locations, but I also get a lot of my inspiration from magazines and Pinterest.

How did COVID-19 pandemic change the creative world? Do you think it changed your artistic perspective / artwork?

I think the merge between digital and traditional media has been coming for a while now, but the pandemic has really given people the time to experiment and incorporate technology in new ways. Honestly, I feel that the boundaries have people even more creatively, and I do think that the creative world will be drastically different even after the pandemic has passed. 

For me, I started to make use of what I had at home - over the pandemic I set up my own studio using a clothing rack and some leftover fabric, and probably had the most fun doing that than anything else I've done before.

What are you most excited about working within DUCFS Creatives?

Learning from everyone really - there's such a wide variety of styles and media used between us all, so I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone and collaborating with them on different projects.

Callum Loveless, 2nd Year, John Snow / Photographer

@callum.l2 / @shot.by.cal

How would you describe your artistic style? Who do you draw inspiration from?

I would say my photographic intention spurs from the art of naturalness, candid expression and distinctive moments. From this, I draw inspiration from Henri Cartier-Bresson who notably defined photography as capturing 'the decisive moment'. I am also interested in political statement and documentary, which draws connotations to the work of Dorothea Lange, and entwines my photographic work with my poetic work.

How did COVID-19 pandemic change the creative world? Do you think it changed your artistic perspective / artwork?

I definitely became more creative due to the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly because of one thing - time. This time has allowed for reflection & contemplation and creative expression is the best way to achieve this. Therefore, it was the pandemic and lockdown that inspired me to begin writing poetry - as the pandemic's transverse, monumental effects on our lives and history, made me sought it almost a duty to my future self to document.

How do you feel about the current creative landscape in Durham University? How do you think we can further cultivate a creative scene in Durham?

Whilst Durham isn't necessarily a place to study purely creative subjects, it certainly holds a lot of creative thought within the student body here. The DUCFS and individual college fashion shows prove this by cultivating this creative impulse for charitable causes, and the creation of DUCFS creatives this year further cultivates creative minds - who, through their sharing of thoughts and ideas, will help permeate creative culture in Durham further.