Why should I study Art and Design?

Art & Design offers every person a great opportunity to explore their own and other artists’ ideas, images and creativity. It is a lively and engaging area of study that has great relevance to contemporary life and it is a subject that has also made an immense contribution throughout history to the whole of our culture. Art and Design makes a fundamental contribution to how we think, express ourselves and understand being human. It is an intellectually and emotionally stimulating subject and each person who studies Art and Design at A level directs their project towards an issue or area of interest about which they feel passionate. Practical work is closely linked to conceptual ideas and pupils develop both their visual and intellectual skills over the two years. Art and Design is highly rewarding as it offers people a great amount of freedom to express their views and their feelings.

Studying Art and Design is challenging, stimulating and inspiring, and at Chigwell, traditional artistic approaches are fully integrated with the latest IT and digital technologies. Art and Design is highly flexible with many specialisms and possible future areas of employment. It is worth noting that the creative industries make an important contribution to the UK Economy and currently accounts for 2.9 million jobs in the UK.

What skills will I gain?

The course encourages a broad approach, which allows candidates to develop a sound grounding in a number of skills while still exploring the subject in depth. Over the two years you will learn a variety of practical skills in the areas of drawing, painting, sculpture, photography (both digital and analogue), printing and collage. In each of these disciplines you will develop skills that relate to observing and recording visual stimuli and developing and experimenting with a range of ideas and methods of making art. You will also become adept at analysing art from contemporary and historical sources, and at discussing with confidence and authority your own and other artists’ work. A key area of focus is using iMac computers to develop a range of IT skills and using digital manipulation tools such as Photoshop to create artwork.

What will I learn?

Essentially, you will learn to work independently, think critically and increase your own artistic abilities whilst expanding your knowledge of Art and Design. This will, in turn, increase your confidence. Ultimately, the A level course will enable you to relate to and participate more successfully in the ever changing and ever exciting, visual world. Throughout both years of the A level course you will interact with and respond to the work of artists and designers and incorporate elements of their practice into your own project.

During A level, you will have the chance to choose the theme for your own project. This project will form the core of your work for the academic year. Previous examples have been based around topics such as, ‘Alien’, ‘Urban’, ‘Hybrid’,‘Control’ and ‘Inside’. From these starting points previous pupils have produced bodies of work that have been influenced by areas as diverse as; Victorian spirit photography, microbial life, mannequins/gender stereotypes, female beauty/cultural transgression, and Japanese popular culture. In the A level year you will have the opportunity to produce a portfolio of work that greatly reflects your interests and develops further the skills you will have already covered at GCSE and AS level.

Entry requirements

You should ideally have an 8 or 9 grade pass in GCSE Art and Design (or any relevant Art and Design subject specialism) or DT.

Examination Board: OCR

Mr E Aitken
Head of Department