Jeni Allison

Having studied at the Glasgow School of Art for almost four years now, my thoughts are beginning to turn to life after graduation.  We all know that there is next to no funding in the arts, and for an individual leaving what can only be described as ‘the Art School bubble’, the future looks deeply uncertain.  Without the pressure of the degree show, or various student-run exhibitions, many graduating Art School students can feel like there is no outlet to make their workpublically available. This is where the various collectives and organisations come into play, most of which have been started by former students. In effect, what these offer is an environment which allows artists an opportunity to produce work for a specific cause, rather than idly working towards an nonexistant exhibition.

Glasgow are currently hosting ARCAN MELLOR for the second time.  ARCAN MELLOR was set up by former students and Glasgow-based artists; Simon Gowing, Tomas Poblete and Leo Bruno Todd, with the intention of promoting Scottish and English artists in both London and Glasgow.  Currently they are showing work by recent Royal College of Art graduate Samuel Nias at The Dutchy.  The exhibition, A PRISM APPLIED TO THE EYE GLASS OF MY REFLECTOR, charts Nias’s fascination with natural phenomenons such as the Northern Lights.  The exhibition shares a lot of its aesthetics with what I would term Retro Futurism, with nods to the geometric psychedelic forms of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.  Nias sites ARCAN MELLOR’s input as being the driving force behind his post-university realisation that he needed a studio, as having something to work towards makes this financial and time commitment worth while.

We speak to Tomas Poblete, the founder of ARCANMELLOR.

Firstly what is Arcan Mellor and what do you hope to achieve?

ARCANMELLOR are Tomas Poblete, Leo Todd and Simon Gowing, all as one mind and project commissioner ,coordinator and curator. What we hope to achieve is the ability to present work to a greater audience, be it artwork or design,  from  young and up-and coming artists in solo shows here in Scotland, London and even internationally.

Obviously you and Simon have lived in Glasgow, what is it about Glasgow which makes you want to put exhibitions on here?

The choice of Glasgow comes as second nature. Having had lived and worked in the City obviously helps but Glasgow’s great ability to facilitate good art and projects is part of its appeal.

Do you think there is a benefit in exhibiting both in London and in Glasgow?

As for now we haven’t one particular show coming up next here, we are working on a show in Sao Paulo, Brazil and we focused on that just now, but certainly in the near future we will hopefully have more shows here in Glasgow, as well as being able to work and present more Scottish artists in London. I guess ARCANMELLOR did at first try and make a commitment to presenting Scottish artists in England and vice versa, but that now has evolved into a more open idea in the sense that if the work or project  works as we want it to work, it wont matter where the artist is from.

How do you choose the artists you exhibit?

The way we choose an artist  has all to do with the individuals work, and if  we agree on him or her being someone we would like to work with we contact them and beguine a dialogue that could lead to a commission by ARCANMELLOR or even a collaborative project between us and the artist.

Samuel Nias is showing at The Dutchy until 12th March


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