Arts Lab Experimental visual arts for social change

Having worked in business all my life, I find art gives deeper meaning

STUART is a Totnes-based, self-taught artist who’s spent most of his life working in business. He took up a ‘Splash’ residency at Arts Lab for a weekend, showing his paintings for the first time outside of his studio environment. He also facilitated a workshop exploring the question ‘what is art for?’ 

‘Having come to art relatively late in life, I’ve found deeper meaning as an artist and in the wider exploration of art in general. For the past 15 years or so, I have been quietly working away on my own painting and sculpture practise, for my own well-being, personal enjoyment, and wider discovery. More recently, the existence of Arts Lab has been a great opportunity to meet other artists and folk who enjoy art, to show my work and learn from seeing and practising with others. The best conversations, I’ve discovered, happen as part of artist studio visits and critique sessions. I’m looking forward to more of these.’

An open weekend in the Lab’s painting-filled studio with Stuart prompted informal discussion and workshops around engaging with and understanding art. This was primarily targeting those ‘who know they love art but not sure why or what it means’.

Says Stuart: 

‘The best conversations can happen between artists and those who enjoy exploring ideas. Arts Lab provides prototyping opportunities for artists who wouldn’t for various reasons get to show or talk about their work, and be part of critique type dialogues. More art studio set up than art gallery, I am for the first time showing my paintings outside of my own studio environment. Together we can discuss and explore what art is for and why, for us, it is so important.’

‘We know that art is somehow important, but many of us are not sure how or why. Especially if we haven’t had a formal art education, are not part of the ‘professional’ art world or just unsure about how to begin to appreciate or interpret art? Is that even allowed with contemporary art? What’s the way in?’