Creative Practices during Lockdown: BFA Photography Student Kirsten Franks

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Kirsten Franks, Ground Control

Taking classes during lockdown and having to turn our own spaces into studios made us all have to face some new restrictions in our creative process.

Because we were forced to find new ways of creating, it is very interesting to realize how our current life and surroundings can drastically affect our work. Although at first the new challenges seemed too difficult, we soon discovered the many ways we could overcome them. During the months that students have taken online classes, they have gained the knowledge on how to create successful works of art under any circumstance.

In order to share how students managed to stay creative during lowkdown and how they conquered the new contraints, I interviewed three PCA students from different departments.

The first interview featured here is of Kirsten Franks, Second Year BFA in Photography student from England.

How did confinement impact your work?

For me, my work became a lot more experimental in confinement. I had to find new ways around my original ideas. I often came up with very conceptual and complicated pieces that required a lot of space and planning of materials, but because I didn’t have access to these things, I started to find inspiration in smaller things. For example, for my Moving Image class, I made a video about mafia murder scenes. In addition, I also made a photo series called Al Capone Is My Bitch. This was inspired by all of the mafia movies I was watching in my free time. I was looking in depth for smaller sources of inspiration. Picking that one small thing apart and trying to evaluate all of its different pieces. I found myself finding ways to visualize the things that I was noticing in my everyday life more than I normally would.

How did you find solutions to the new restrictions of online classes and a home studio?

The first confinement was definitely the hardest. It was really difficult to even access materials in the UK. In a way that presented a lot of interesting ideas. For example, for my drawing project I ran out of paper. This made me start looking at skin and flesh. I started working on latex. I began creating liquid latex canvases by painting latex onto sheets of plastic and then peeling them off. The second confinement was different. I was much better prepared. I learned that the best thing to be as an artist is to be a hoarder because you never know what will come as useful. For example, for my Lighting class I didn’t have access to studio lighting, so I had to find ways around it. One of the things I did is that I bought really cheap second hand store lights online. I also figured out that I could use fabric with velcro attached to it to get a whole range of lighting effects. In addition, I used cardboard to create a snoot.

What helped you stay inspired and keep creating?

Initially, the hardest thing for me during the confinements was feeling inspired. The biggest thing that helped me to stay inspired was to change my ways of thinking rather than creating in my usual process. It’s good to have an open mind and really experiment with everything. The other thing I found very helpful is trying to stay organized. I feel like when I was in lockdown I felt very much detached from reality and time. One of the things that really helped me was keeping a very detailed planner of all of my ideas, drawings and experiments. I did this so that all of my thoughts artistically and creatively were all in one place.