iAMDA UK Turns Guilford into the epicenter of mobile art

Matthew Watkins

Guilford, Surrey was the epicenter of experimental art last weekend when Guildford College and other local venues hosted a groundbreaking roadshow bringing mobile digital artists from around the world to work together.
The three day event (February 11-13), sponsored by Adobe Sytsems and organised by college lecturer Paul Kercal in collaboration with the International Association of Mobile Digital Artists (IAMDA), began at Guildford College on Friday with a “next generation” life drawing class for art, graphics, photography and IT students in which tradition met technology. Drawing on iPad using fingers or Pogo styluses, students used art apps to create pictures of models from the respected Brighton Life Drawing Sessions team.

The visiting artists, including Matthew Watkins from Italy, Benjamin Rabe from Germany, Luis Peso and Joseandrés Guijarro Ponce  from Spain, Nettie Edwards, Rob Mance, Valerie Beeby, Matthew Hall and Paul Kercal from the UK and Agustin Di Luciano from Argentina, then gave a presentation to students at Christ’s College School, Guildford. A seminar was held at the town’s Rowbarge pub before the day ended back at Guildford College in a skype conference with artists in the US and Europe.

Woking’s futuristic Lightbox gallery was the setting for Saturday’s events with a key seminar from Stefan Marjoram, an Aardman Animations film director and iPad artist, currently specialising in using Adobe Ideas. The roadshow then moved to Chin Chin Labs for liquid nitrogen ice cream and Made in Camden in London.

On Sunday the artists were invited to draw during a church service at St Peter’s Church, in Bellfields, Guildford, before moving to the Bar Des Arts in central Guildford, where an exhibition was held. Celebrated photographer Paul Clarke, whose work is regularly published in the international press, spoke about using an iPhone and apps for the first time during the weekend’s sessions. Seminars on app and machine comparisons, photo mashing and Adobe Ideas into Photoshop were led by artists Valerie Beeby, Nettie Edwards, Matthew Watkins and Paul Kercal. 

Organiser Paul Kercal said: “These are artists who I really respect and have met online but never before in person. To stand in a room with that much talent, and the new talent we at the College are fostering, was an awesome feeling. David Hockney has said that iDevice artwork is the ‘new medium’, one that we are growing into and finding new ways to create with every day. To be guided, inspired, entertained and enthused by all of the artists was a dream come true for me and one that I very much wanted to invite students to be a part of.” 

Last year Guildford College played a leading role in the world’s first mobile digital art conference. Students from the College’s IT and graphics courses met up with BA arts students at Central St Martin’s and then satellite linked to TISCH: the New York School of Fine Art.

More photographs are here on the iAMDA website.

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