Matthew Allpress

Bachelor of Fine Arts student Matthew talks about his first year at Elam.

Bachelor of Fine Arts student, Matthew Allpress
Matthew Allpress

"Growing up, I was involved in the BMX riding scene and so travelled frequently.  It was through my travels abroad that I discovered my passion for photography  which inspired me to apply to universities. Shortly after submitting my application to Elam, I was really excited to be offered a place on the Fine Arts programme.

"I was already a student at another art college when I attended the University’s orientation day. It was not my first visit, as I had attended the Elam Artists Graduation Show the previous year and was inspired by the work on display.

"Meeting the staff was important in my decision, as these are practising artists and not just my lecturers.

"During orientation day, we were taken into a lecture theatre to meet our cohort before shifting into smaller groups. I valued this chance to meet new people and make new friends and be welcomed into a caring and supportive environment. Following orientation day, I visited the other art college to advise them I was leaving to study my Bachelor of Fine Arts here.

"Courses and teaching are very different at Elam. It’s great that while in class, a lot of work focuses on medium and practice rather than technical. That is not to say that the help isn’t there if you need it. The technicians are a great help and are on hand to demonstrate tools and machines to you.

"I was lucky to receive this assistance during my final project this year, having fun turning mundane objects like sponges into bricks. The lecturers themselves are great in that they encourage us to go to art shows, expose ourselves to new works and new people. It’s great getting to know them as practitioners, appreciating that their knowledge is applicable in the real world. Forming relationships with them has benefited me a lot. For example, one lecturer suggested I submit my portfolio for an acclaimed photography prize. 

It’s great that they see us more as artists, rather than students.

Matthew Allpress

"The facilities here are exceptional and accessible at convenient times. As first years, we get to work across multiple disciplines and mediums, exposing us to different styles and resources. I was immediately drawn to the dark rooms which are large scale, with many developing spaces and analogue printing capabilities. 

"The facilities are very accommodating, accessible from early morning to late at night, and the atmosphere is positive and friendly.

"An essential part of what is great about Elam is the multitude of tools on offer. I remember telling my father of our steel fabrication facilities, and as an engineer, he was amazed that we had some tools he’d only ever heard of. As a practising artist, this access means I can explore my art a lot more widely, especially as I am hoping to move into more digital works.

There are no limits to what I can achieve, and no excuses for not coming in and experimenting more.

Matthew Allpress

"Even though I have only just begun my journey into my bachelor degree, I am already considering doing a Master of Fine Arts. After studying across multiple fine arts disciplines, I have come to appreciate the broad knowledge in this school. There are plenty of opportunities on offer, and the support you get can range from more specific programme help to general academic assistance.

"At Elam, we are referred to as the artist and our work as art. It gives you the pat on the back that you need, but also gives you the encouragement to know you’re headed in the right direction."