Every two years FORMAT selects a number of University of Derby photographic students for the FORMAT Graduate Award. Those artists selected are then included as part of our festival the following year! Today we bring you Gavin Wells.
Firstly, congratulations on the end of your degree and on the FORMAT Award! How does it feel to have finished your three year journey?
The time has really flown by and the way I think about my own practice has completely changed over the last three years. I feel that University has made me really focus on what is important to me about photography.
So, tell us about the project you exhibited at your degree show? How did it come to be and what were you exploring?
I had been experimenting with digital imagery for a while and looking at what a digital image is made up of below the surface. When I started actually manipulating the code of the image, the results were so different from anything I had seen before. I spent a lot of time playing around with different file types, software and hardware seeing what effects could be produced. I began using portraits appropriated from the internet of political and cultural figures embroiled in various scandals, trying to keep the work as topical as possible. I stumbled upon the quote “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” and it seemed to fit perfectly with this body of work. I started to collect headlines from various sources and began to place these into the portraits’ digital code. These scandals became the vehicle for the images corruption.
What inspired/influenced you to delve into your subject?
I am interested in artwork that challenges and may ruffle feathers and this work has seemed to demand an opinion. I believe that’s what art should do. I have always had an interest in politics. The scandals which appear almost daily are hard to ignore, so metaphorically the corruption of the image goes hand in hand with the corruption we read about in the media.
What’s next for you and your project?
There are potential subjects appearing in the news daily, so I am never short of material. I am looking to develop my work with the inclusion of text, more towards the aesthetics of a political propaganda poster and on a much larger scale.
What advice would you give those starting their degrees in September?
On a creative course there are certain hoops that must be jumped through in order to achieve academically. Try not to worry about these too much and try to create work that challenges yourself, your lecturers and traditional ideas.
See more of Gavin’s work on his website!