Chris Aerfeldt

Chris Aerfeldt

Chris Aerfeldt

Future Map 2007 exhibitor
Chelsea College of Arts, MA Fine Art alumna

UAL catches up with a former Future Map participant on her experience in taking part in the show and finds out what she’s up to now.

Submitting work to be part of an exhibition is a key skill for emerging artists how did you go about making sure you stood out for Future Map and in fact, at any group exhibition?

Of course I want my work to stand out, but for its quality of ideas and execution. I focus on making the best work that I can and try to be true to my own vision., hopefully the work will then stand out because of its merit and because it's not copying anyone else. Of course, it's also a case of selecting the right work to submit for the particular group show and being able to discuss and contextualise it clearly in writing.

How do you think being part of Future Map helped you establish yourself in the early stages of your career?

Future Map provided a major kickstart to my art career. The large piece I had on show was acquired by a major collector (David Roberts), and several other high profile collectors also made contact and bought other pieces not on show. These collectors continued to support my work in the following years and I am still in contact with them today.

Having important buyers supporting my work gave me a great deal of encouragement and boosted my confidence at a vital time in my career.

Do you have any tips for this years Future Map artists on preparing for the exhibition and making the most of it?

I remember being terribly nervous and a bit in awe at the opening of Future Map. I would tell this year's artists to relax and enjoy the experience, as well as to make an effort to talk to visitors and not be too shy to introduce yourself when you see people obviously engaging positively with your work.

Learning how to network at your own private view is a skill that needs developing. It's much easier to hang out in safety with your own friends and family, but it's important to get out of your comfort zone and talk to people you don't know.

How did UAL help you prepare for your career beyond college and is there anything else it could have done?

Whilst doing my MA at Chelsea a career beyond college didn't get much, if any, air time. Researching ideas, making the work and writing the theory paper took precedence.

Only in the final few weeks when UAL staff started coming around to help us prepare for our graduate show did I start to consider life after Chelsea.

I moved to France soon after I finished my MA so wasn't in a position to take advantage of the many seminars available to recent graduates, but have found the Artquest website to be an amazing resource.

What advice would you give to students wanting to start out at UAL?

Just do it!

If you could travel back in time to your first day at UAL, what advice would you give to yourself on the first day of your course? 

I would tell myself to be more proactive and make things happen, to take the lead more often. To let myself play and make more messes and mistakes and not to take myself too seriously or to be overly results oriented but to work hard, experiment and try things.

Whats been the greatest achievement of your career so far?

This question is so hard to answer! Careers develop in small increments and, I am now lucky enough to be continuously working towards gallery shows, and actually having to say no to several opportunities as I can't produce enough work.

Having a solo show at the Melbourne Art Fair in 2012 and showing at Volta Basel last year provided great exposure.

Whats next for you/what projects are you currently working on?

I'm working towards a solo exhibition at Berloni Gallery in London for early 2015 as well as making pieces for my Australian gallery to show during the Melbourne Art Fair this coming August.

What do you think arts education will look like 100 years from now?

That's a mind blowing question.

It's tempting to imagine a super advanced science fiction world where technology continues to dramatically transform everything, including arts education, but I am not so sure that's the way it will play out.

I am certain there will be some surprises and hiccups along the way. It may sound regressive, but I think that in 100 years there will be more emphasis on skill development, which I think is already starting to happen.  I think that there will be increasing diversity and variety between institutions offering fine art degrees, with specialisation in particular media or different approaches to the learning process.