Elisa Artesero is a recent Interactive Arts graduate from Manchester School of Art. She uses photography, installation, glass and film to capture the essence of light.
I’m fascinated by the essence of light, its physicality and its transience. I feel this is an ideal medium to address themes of transience, the nature of happiness and hope in a visual way. I often use light to activate the meaning of a line of poetry that deals with these themes, for instance.
I put a lot of research into my work. Some of it revolves around investigating the science of light, which I will use as inspiration for an idea, or just as a technical pointer. I think it’s important to know the medium you are working in from a technical point of view as well as a theoretical and more artistic side, it ultimately gives more creative possibilities.Aside from that though, I often just play around with materials and inspiration strikes then and there. I’ll then use the knowledge from my research to help to refine the piece.Firstly, I check that the technical side of a piece functions as intended; does the light shine or reflect appropriately? Have I manipulated the material used in conjunction with the light (usually glass or Perspex) to a high standard craft-wise?
Firstly, I check that the technical side of a piece functions as intended; does the light shine or reflect appropriately? Have I manipulated the material used in conjunction with the light (usually glass or Perspex) to a high standard craft-wise? I then move on to the more difficult task of
evaluating whether the work communicates the ideas I want it to. You’ll often find me hanging around near my work when it’s on show, as that’s normally the best way to hear people’s honest reactions to it. Most of the work needs to be experienced ‘live’ so to speak, and in the case of my sunlight works, sometimes the conditions aren’t perfect (which is a part of the work, too). This means visitors won’t always get the meaning straightaway, so might not react favourably or dismiss it completely. I view this as a kind of success; because the moment the work is not communicating something with light, it is revealing something else. This has the potential to reveal more about the audience’s attitude about viewing art than when the sunlight is on the work.I think it’s also important to live with my work for a bit as well, as it’s usually during these times when I find out things about it that I didn’t consciously intend when first making it, some successful, some not so successful. It’s a personal judgement.
Easier than I imagined, actually! I was convinced that I’d be pretty lost outside of university, but since getting a studio and meeting other graduates from across the UK as part of the DIY Art School, it’s been exciting! I’ve managed to show work and meet interesting curators and commissioners in my field. I just hope the momentum continues!
Join something like the DIY Art School. It’s really important to keep in contact with other artists in a similar situation. It helps to keep you motivated, meet regularly, and plan for things with a similar collective enthusiasm and power you have at university. Make your career as an artist your priority. I know that it’s easier said than done, especially when the artistic side won’t necessarily pay your rent straight away; but keep at it. I personally feel that if you can pay your bills with only part-time work, then this is preferable. I’ve had to keep myself free in order to take up commissions, exhibitions and other opportunities I wouldn’t have been able to do had I had a full-time job. You might not get success straight away. Be tenacious, and what might seem like good luck to some, is more likely to be effort paid off. There are lots more things I’d advise, but I think they’re the main ones.