Platform Alumni Artist Focus – Annie Le Santo
10th Oct 2019
Annie Le Santo was selected for the Platform Graduate Award in 2018 by Modern Art Oxford. For
four years she lived and worked in Oxford before recently moving to Hackney, London. Immediately after graduating she managed the Glass Tank gallery at Oxford Brookes University and now is the Assistant Editor of the magazine Ceramic Review, alongside continuing her artistic practice.
“Platform acted as a powerful engine to continue my practice after graduating. At a time when it’s possible to lose touch with your art due to employment commitments, relocation and lack of studio space, it allowed me to maintain the momentum of a project which had occupied me for over a year prior.
“One of the best outcomes is that this momentum continued even after my exhibition, Lying in Wait came to a close at Modern Art Oxford. I applied for a studio space at Magdalen Road Studios using the new documentation that Platform provided for my portfolio and to my delight was selected. It wasn’t a huge space, so I was not able to create installations on the same scale of my degree show work, but it was more than enough to continue making, experimenting and using clay. In this time I revisited my painting background and my interest in natural history. I made visits to Oxford Museum of Natural History Life Collection archives for research, which I then took back to the studio. I also continued to work with ceramics, thanks to the kindness of staff at Oxford Brookes University who allowed me to use the kiln.
“Although it was a huge learning curve to get a studio of my own, the work that I made for my degree show and Platform felt resolved and I found the endless possibility of where to go next daunting. My advice to graduating students is to consistently stay connected with local artists and other graduates. I found comfort in ad-hoc ‘tutorials’ with these artists, some of whom also had studios at Magdalen Road, and resulted in valuable creative friendships.
“Since moving to London, I am working in a much smaller space than I am used to, meaning that I have had to adapt my practice and simplify my mediums and materials. In this time I have been focusing on drawing, observation and writing. I have learnt that it is important to be adaptable when striving to continue developing your practice outside of university. Once I feel more settled in the city, I intend to expand my local creative network, and possibly revisit interventional artmaking processes which I have worked with in the past by taking my practice outdoors. My priority for now is simply to stay making and most importantly to enjoy the process.
Image: Studio work, installed at Magdalen Road Studios. Courtesy Annie Le Santo.