Sian Watson, the artist commissioned to create an art installation for The GenART exhibition, ran her first session with a group of young artists involved with Soft Touch Arts. The group was comprised of six young people, myself included, who were asked to share their own influences and interests in art. Sian’s practice is based on narratives, people, environments and objects around her, which she transforms into cubed Perspex sculptures. To begin creating the sculptures, she asked the group to give responses to the GenART exhibition based upon the seven formal elements of art. At first, the group were slightly hesitant to give responses and did not immediately engage with the task. However, after a little coaxing from Sian and encouraged group discussion began, the group opened up and responded well to the task. We were asked to keep sketchbooks recording parts of artworks that we particularly liked or that evoked a certain personal response. Sian will then use these to work with us again and influence how she makes her own sculptures.
The initial engagement proved a little difficult, as people seemed slightly stuck or timid in opening up about their reactions. However, the session was limited to a couple of hours so it perhaps wasn’t enough time for the group to fully relax into the task. The next session will last the duration of the day and allow for individuals to be as involved as they wish throughout this time. The structure of the first session had the positive effect of guidance and direction, but it also made the group a little rigid in their participation. The loosened structure of next week’s session, and the interaction on a one-on-one level may change how the group responds to Sian’s tasks.