Michael West

Artist turns back on glitz and glamour to become student

Somerset College fine art degree student Michael West has turned his back on the bright lights of films to re-launch himself at this years Appledore Visual Arts Festival as a sculptor.

Michael, from Street, has worked for Shepperton and Pinewood studios making sculptures for films including Wimbledon and Phantom of the Opera. Michael has also worked for Bristol based Aardmann Animation on Wallace and Gromit film Curse of the Were Rabbit, and has even created a sculpture for elusive street artist Banksy in London.

But Michael has turned his back on the glitz and glamour of film work and has created a more personal vision that encompasses a large installation that will be installed as part of the students' exhibition called ‘Entity'. The installation includes a stunning black mirror made of oil and three people on crosses.

Michael said: ‘I really enjoyed working with these illustrious organisations and artists, but I decided now was the time to work for myself. So I enrolled on the Fine Art degree course at Somerset College and will re-launch myself at Appledore with a new style and direction.

‘My installation is simply stunning because the black mirror reflects everything that is placed above it, and the figures are really striking. The theme for the festival is ‘Fire and Fury' and my whole piece reflects this, especially the giant orange disc at the back of the installation.'

Michael's work revolves around human interaction with the natural environment. He takes man-made materials, creates pieces of art from them and exposes them to the natural world, often leaving them for months at a time at assorted locations across Somerset.

This year will see nearly 20 students from Somerset College display their collections at Appledore in their exhibition called ‘Entity'. For the second year running fine art students will open the Appledore Visual Arts Festival in a special exhibition on Wednesday 27 May. Students have created paintings, film, installations and sculpture to display in the exhibition at the Glove Factory in Appledore.

Appledore Visual Arts Festival takes place between Thursday 28 May and Sunday 31 May in Appledore, North Devon. For further information on the festival visit www.appledorearts.org.

For further information on university level courses delivered at Somerset College, including FdA and BA (Hons) Fine Art. Alternatively contact (01823) 366 331. Somerset College offers degree level courses in partnership with the University of Plymouth.