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2019 Platform Artist – Imogen Marooney

27th May 2020

We spoke to 2019 Platform Graduate Award winner, Imogen Marooney about life as an emerging artist and the challenges that have been faced since graduating.  Here is what Imogen had to say: 

Graduating from University was a hard experience for me, because more than anything I had found a community of likeminded people at Winchester School of Art whom I had developed bonds with which propelled me forward to make work and hopefully I did the same for them. 

In this way I think creating is often a dance of artists, and at my University this was easy because we were able to easily weave between each other jogging each other’s creative flow, whether it be smooth or jagged, and turned each other to different directions, stretching over common ground and never truly reaching a destination, only to keep on making. It was a movement done five days a week and seven if you found great people to spend the quieter days with. Simply looking around at your peers working could create fluctuations in the dance and spark new actions. A conversation in a corridor could be the lift we were all waiting for within the slow-paced steps you would take. And as a group together there would be conversing, reacting and contemplation, after which the cogs of linking fingers have never clicked so easily together.

My thought of there never being destination was changed after graduating.

I remember thinking to expect a sense of loneliness when I graduated, but more than this there became frustration of not being able to do what I previously did for the past three years, which was to make uninhibitedly.

I realised more, being away from others, how much my practice is fuelled by people and then I realised being away from my practice, how precious it is to me. I find myself looking for a community likeminded folk.

It is hard to create new bonds.

Slowly something is forming.

I am searching, finding, forcing, understanding, being, acquiring. Patience. I move on from the destination, I was never really stuck there.

Since graduating I have moved back to my family home near Oxford.

My first months were spent trying to find a job (and winning a very lovely award!). It was incredibly tiring and often brought me down and I did not, therefore, spend the time I wanted to on my practice. I now work several jobs that all serve my interests in different ways, I work at an art bookshop, a library and I create art workshops for children. But getting used to this new structure, and not having a true space to myself, left me not much room for the freedom of developing my practice.

Building confidence to find a way to put my practice into the structure was hard. It meant taking myself into the impossibly wide art world and putting myself forward for people to see and talk to. I am finding these places and beginning to build communities. At the Oxford Printmakers I am doing just that, a wonderful space with such knowledgeable technicians, it became part of my structure and being there made me want to make and finding a dedicated time and space to do so made it so much easier. Building this structure is hard, but Rome was not built in a day.

I find myself traveling distances of many hours for moments of art discussion, but in this way I am finding organisations, people and events which bring me joy such as; Aspace in Southampton in which I am a part of their ‘Ripe’ program, Magdalen Studios in Oxford with their quarterly crit groups and Oxford Brookes Glass Tank art gallery with their informative and intimate talks and readings.

This exploration is now part of my building, and my structure is now the dread of any architectural engineer.

Since winning the Platform Graduate Award, Imogen has received mentoring support from artist Emma Smith. You can see Imogen Marooney as part of the Homemade Mango Chutney online exhibition at Aspace from Friday 29th May – Wednesday 29th July.


Work credit from left to right:

Green, monoprint, 2019 ©The artist.

Folded and Ripped, embossing, 2020 ©The artist

Craggy Blush, carborundum, 2020. ©The artist

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