00:00:02 My name’s Naomi D. I’m a senior lecturer in Fine Art and also a practising artist myself, and I teach at Central St Martin’s College of Art and Design in London.
00:00:12 I grew up in a, a family that, that sailed and built boats and owned a boat yard and, you know, my father was in the Navy. My brother’s a Marine Engineer, so I, I grew up in a, in a community whereby people made things and I, I sort of thought I would end up being part of that kind of world.
00:00:32 And I was very good at physics and maths and engineering, the sorts of things that you need to be able to do that, and I did art more or less in the lunch hour. And I, and I still loved it, it was fantastic. But it came to the point where it was time to decide what I was going to do next after school, and I decided to…not go and study engineering at university and to go on what’s called an Art Foundation course.
00:00:57 We got to try a whole range of different art and design disciplines, so we got to try fashion design and graphic design and product design and all those sorts of things, and we also had a go at what they called ‘fine art’. And it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my whole life was trying to, kind of, make meaning without there being necessarily a, a sort of, set of reasons for doing it. And the people who taught me challenged me in a way that I’d never been challenged before, and they made me think so hard it hurt. And I took a real risk and persuaded myself that not to worry at this point about how I was going to make money in the future, how I was going to earn a living, whether I was going to disappoint my parents or whatever, and, and to do just what excited me most and to take the biggest challenge, which was to study fine art.
00:01:20 And the people who taught me challenged me in a way that I’d never been challenged before, and they made me think so hard it hurt. And I took a real risk and persuaded myself that not to worry at this point about how I was going to make money in the future, how I was going to earn a living, whether I was going to disappoint my parents or whatever, and, and to do just what excited me most and to take the biggest challenge, which was to study fine art.
00:01:45 Back then I had a lot of skills in carpentry and building, those kinds of things, and right after I’d finished my MA course I was working as a builder. I was like, right, you know, I’m doing this building work, I’m making, sort of, OK kind of money, but it’s really hard work and it’s stopping me doing the thing that I love and I want to do. So I did this kind of crazy thing which was…
00:02:07 I went to a library and I found out where every single course was in the country that taught the thing that I could teach, so fine art, sculpture, and I literally sent out hundreds of letters telling them what I had to offer. Taking about the sort of ideas I had about how I might be able to contribute to their particular course, and out of 150 letters I probably got ten answers. I got ten days teaching work.
00:02:34 The next year I got more. Five of the places that had had me for a day had me back for a few days, and I was making my art and having exhibitions and, you know, making work in grotty, sort of, buildings that weren’t very secure, and freezing cold, and you’re doing all that, sort of, artist in a garret kind of stuff. And I went without a lot of the things that my family and my friends had. I just put everything into what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be.
00:03:01 Three years ago I had a, an accident whereby I caused some damage to my neck and my arms, and I wasn’t able to use my arms for about two years. My passion for making things, my hobbies includes sailing, wind surfing, that kind of thing, it was just all completely out of the window. I spent my whole time doing physiotherapy.
00:03:21 I put my energy into establishing a national organisation with a group of other artists and people who support artists by providing studios for them to work in, and spent the last the last three years making amazing things happen for other artists, and people who support other artists, so I haven’t wasted the time, but I’m just dying to get back to, to what I love most which is, yeah, making things. ENDS