On Air, 2017
Emulsion on canvas, 81 x 108cm
© Louise Kimber

Student Spotlight: Louise Kimber, ACS/Kingston Materials Prize 2017
July 17, 2017
The Student Spotlight presents a series of interviews with the recipients of charitable awards we have presented in collaboration with arts universities throughout the UK.

The second student to be featured in this series is Louise Kimber, winner of one of two ACS/Kingston Materials Prizes awarded in 2017. Louise is currently in her second year of study at the university, and the bursary will contribute toward the cost of materials in the final year of her undergraduate degree.


Q. How would you define your work in three words?


Playful, colourful, evolving.


Q. What does winning the ACS/Kingston Materials Prize mean for you as an artist?


I am so honoured to receive the ACS/Kingston Materials Prize. Winning the prize has made me feel so much more confident about my work and extraordinarily positive about the third and final year of my degree. I’ve recently had ideas for projects that I originally thought would be too ambitious as I would not be able to fund them myself, but since finding out I’ve won the award I am so excited to pursue these ideas. I intend to use the prize money to purchase materials and equipment that I would not be able to afford without the award, allowing me to experiment further and ultimately create more ambitious work for our degree show.


Q. Were you familiar with the importance of either copyright or Artist’s Resale Right prior to ACS’ talk at Kingston?


I had a very, very brief knowledge of copyright laws before the ACS talk at Kingston, in the sense that I knew they existed and nothing much beyond that. I had absolutely zero knowledge of the Artist’s Resale Right, so it was incredibly helpful to hear about and to be given practical and much-needed advice that I can continue to use throughout and beyond university. The talk also made me aware of ACS itself and the ACS website that I can keep coming back to throughout my career.


Q. What medium do you mainly work with and why?


During the course of my degree at Kingston so far, I have tried to experiment with different media in order to find a practice that I feel satisfied with and can refine further in my final year and after I graduate. Whilst in my first year I worked with textiles a lot, I’ve found myself drawn further and further towards painting. For me, painting seems to be the best method to communicate my most recent ideas. I’ll see something very vividly in my mind and think, “I wonder what that would look like” or “I wonder how I could show this to someone else”, and painting seems to be an effective method of taking those images and replicating them as something tangible, something that can be viewed by others.


Q. Where do you find most inspiration for your work?


In my most recent work, I found inspiration within my own dreams. I believe my dreams to be a surfacing of sub-conscious anxieties, creating surreal situations and narratives that translate brilliantly into paintings. I would wake up most mornings from incredibly vivid dreams that I would struggle to describe to my friends and family in words until I realised I could paint them, creating a visual representation of each dream.


I use myself as a subject in a lot of my work. I am not only my most willing and easy-to-direct model, but looking introspectively at myself through my work allows me to further understand my position in the world, my relationships with others, the way I see things. In this sense, I would say that I find the most inspiration for my work within myself and from my experiences.

Smoke, 2017 (Emulsion on canvas, 81 x 108cm) © Louise Kimber



Q. Take us through your working process.


Typically, I find that my best ideas come to me when I am least expecting them; usually just before I fall asleep or whilst travelling on busses or trains, as opposed to when I am staring at a blank page or a blank canvas. Because of this, the ‘notes’ app on my phone is full to the brim with ideas to come back to: some coherent, and some not so much.


When I’m in the process of formulating ideas, visiting museums and galleries gives me some time to let an idea develop into a very clear image of what I want to put on a canvas. At the end of a day of looking at the work of other artists, I feel inspired to create my own work, and can usually plan out and visualize the general placement of shape, object and colour.


Back in the studio, I’ll stretch and prime a canvas, then start painting intuitively; working things out on the canvas itself. Recently I have preferred using pre-mixed emulsion as opposed to mixing my own colours. There is something liberating about the fact the shades and colours I am using have been chosen by someone completely detached from my work, meaning that I can spend more time working on what I am painting, as opposed to what I am painting it with.


I will often step back during the painting of each work, to decide on what I believe works and what doesn’t, and will frequently discuss my work with my peers. When it seems that I’m coming to the end of creating a piece of work, it’s important that I do have the confidence to tell myself that the piece is finished, and don’t overwork it.


Q. Can you remember the first work of art that you created? What was it and why was it so memorable?


Throughout my childhood I always found a lot of enjoyment in making drawings, paintings and collages. However, the first piece I remember well is a pastel drawing I made in a year 9 art class. We had just learnt about surrealism, and had to use some of the devices we had studied in our own work. I drew a Mallard duck/ rowing boat hybrid, floating on a red sea, with a Babybell moon shining brightly in the top right hand corner. Seven years on, I think my work continues to be just as silly. My secondary school art teacher was an incredible inspiration to me, and one of the main reasons I chose to continue to study art. I remember all of my art lessons very fondly, that lesson in particular; I believe this is why I remember the piece above anything else.


We wish Louise the best of luck in her final year, and look forward to reporting on how the ACS/Kingston Materials Prize has contributed to preparations ahead of her degree show in 2018.