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19 June 2017

From thinking linear to ‘doing’ and experimenting: Elle Bulger’s undergraduate journey

Part of our Degree Show series

To celebrate our Degree Show, we’re focusing on the stories, inspirations and learning experiences of some of the 1000 plus artists and designers who are exhibiting work.

Previously, BA Illustration with Animation student Eva Akesson discussed her stop-motion update to the British folk tale ‘Black Shuck’. In this instalment moving image artist Elle Bulger discusses the art school experiences that influenced her practice and work.

Elle’s work ranges from film footage to abstract motion graphics, and in her final year, she has focused entirely on 3D animation. The result of this is her Degree Show piece, a 10 minute video and audio piece, made up of 3D animation and found footage. It is titled LAZARUS and was created in collaboration with Leeds-based music produced, Ben Broughton.

How do you think your creative process has developed throughout your time at Manchester School of Art?

‘I actually entered my course after having already done one year of BA Illustration in London. I felt really constricted by the briefs I was being set there and decided to leave to find a course that better suited my need to explore and experiment.

Throughout my time at college and in London, I had been taught to create work in a very linear method; think of a concept, research, plan a piece, then finalise that piece. I’ve learnt that this is not the only way to go about creating work, and that creating a final is not the most important part of the process.

Having the space to try a huge amount of different things, and feeling like it’s okay for those things to fails has been invaluable to me during my time at the School. I generate a lot of work through experimentation now, I’ve learnt that this helps me to move forward with my work in a way that things like research and planning might not.’

What would you say has been your most influential learning experience?

‘In the second year of Interactive Arts, we made the switch from term-long single units to one “double unit” which spans across two terms. We had twice the amount of time as normal to generate and experiment, and I found myself feeling really overwhelmed.

It was during this unit that I learnt the value of simply not thinking and just “doing”. I got so wrapped up in this panic of having to think, research and plan that I began mindlessly creating pieces simply to escape the panic.

It was this work, that I just “did”, that went on to form the bulk of my work for that unit. Since then, when approaching my work, I’ve made sure to not stop experimenting throughout the process of developing a project.’

How have Manchester School of Art staff influenced you throughout your studies?

‘The member of staff I would say has been the most helpful and influential to me, and my practice, would be Jane Brake.

Although she has only been my tutor for this year, she has always been willing to make time to listen and talk to me throughout my time on the course.

 I’m grateful for this, as Jane has made me consider and view my work in ways I never would have without her input. I also feel she has pushed and challenged me and my work in ways other tutors would not have. I have a great deal of respect for her, not only as a tutor, but as a practitioner. I can truthfully say a lot of her feedback and advice will stay with me long after I leave the course.’

You can see Elle’s work in our Degree Show until 21 June.