Student Story: Francesca Blomfield, MA Painting, 2017–
Francesca joined the RCA Painting Programme after being awarded a Jerwood Painting Fellowship in 2015. Francesca studied BA Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art, graduating in 2012.
When did you first hear about the RCA, and why did you decide to study here?
So many of the painters and artists I admire have come out of the RCA. There seemed to be so many divergent styles coming out of the Painting Programme; there’s no ‘house style’. It felt like the right place for me. There’s a strong, investigative, strenuous criticism culture within the Department which makes it an ideal environment to explore things in.
Can you describe what it’s like studying at the RCA?
The Programme is really trying to offer something for everyone. There’s a really broad range of lecturers and tutors and also the external people who come in. I’ve felt that whatever I’ve needed at any given point has been available. I really appreciate having that time and support from people.
Have you been set any particular briefs that have had a significant impact on your practice?
The Painting Programme isn’t brief-driven, so it’s entirely open. You’re encouraged to go and meet people and use the facilities that are available, but there isn’t the idea that you should be doing one thing or another; it’s more about individual exploration. The theoretical side has also been really positive for me.
How has your work or thinking developed while you have been at the RCA?
I was a bit nervous at first because I thought I might become a completely different artist here. But I think you have to be open to that possibility. You have to be willing to go where your work leads you. I feel I have a clearer idea of my position as an artist. My process feels authentic and true. I don’t think I’ve ever been so open-minded and excited about the potential for my work. It’s been really positive.
What have you found most rewarding about your time at the RCA?
Having the support to go where I want with my work. There is enough dialogue here and things feeding into the work, in terms of the technical aspects of making the work and the theoretical underpinning, that have allowed my work to evolve. My work has changed but it’s still very much mine. It feels true to who I am.
What are your plans for this year, and what do you intend to do after you graduate?
I don’t like having concrete plans. I feel there’s a precariousness to what I do. You don’t know what will come of it; opportunities can come from anywhere. But I feel I’ve had an injection of confidence, and I want to make this work long-term. I’m still immersed in the process and I want to trust that. I want to enjoy and make the most of these final months at the RCA.
Advice for student applying?
I spent five or six years between finishing my BA and starting at the RCA, and I found that very beneficial. It’s good to take the time to know yourself and gain the life experience that can inform your work. If you find that you need that extra time, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do what you want to do.
Find out more about MA Painting at the RCA and how to apply.