Introducing…Jamie Holman

18th May 2020

British Textile Biennial Artist in Residence Jamie Holman talks about some of his favourite artists and projects

We’ve been working with Jamie since 2017 on a long running commission for The British Textile Biennial, Transform and Escape the Dogs. Following that we’ve worked with both with Alex Zawadzki and Jamie Holman on Flashback Successfully launched on April 24, Flashback is a new archive that has captured the oral histories of the individuals who attended the Acid House parties in Blackburn between 1988 and 1991.

What is it about working in East Lancashire particularly informs the way you work?

I like the geography of Lancashire, the fact that it’s rural, coastal and industrial. It has everything I need in terms of a place to live. My work is increasingly informed by the heritage of East Lancashire, in particular the architecture of the industrial revolution and the cultures that have emerged as a consequence. I’m interested in “who we’ve been, are now and may yet become.”

Which artist do you admire and why?

That’s a really tough question, I tend to ‘admire’ artists whose work is very different than my own. I am drawn to artists with a singular vision, those artists who pursue their own work regardless of external pressures, fashions or factors. I am influenced on a day to day basis by the British conceptual artists of the late 1960’s, artists like Keith Arnatt, Bruce McClean, Susan Hiller and Richard Long. Also Bas Jan Ader, John Baldessari, Kevin Atherton and Sophie Calle. They are often in my thoughts. I really admire (in the true sense of the word,)  the groups of artists I encounter in East Lancashire – From Lubaina Himid, Turner Prize winner to the artists in Prism Studios, Blackburn and the MAC in Morecambe. I admire them all for making it work here in Lancashire, in places where no one expects artists to be and for the community they provide. It keeps me going.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your work?

I lead fine art at Blackburn College University Centre and I have a studio in the town centre. I’m a director of Prism Contemporary gallery in Blackburn and a non executive director of The National Festival of Making. My work is multi disciplinary and is often fabricated or made in collaboration with either industrial processes or with heritage crafts makers and artists. I’m interested in making contemporary works with heritage references.

Could you tell us what influences/inspires/drives you? 

I enjoy collaborations. I like working with people to realise ambitious works and unexpected outcomes. I am research driven and interested in making visible small memories, or overlooked moments or events. At the moment, much of what I do is located in class, and narratives regarding post industrial spaces in Lancashire, and indeed across the country.

Is there a piece of work you’re particularly proud of and why?

‘Blackburn to the fore!’ was a choral performance of a poem by William Billington – ‘The Blackburn Poet’ that I made for the first series of Art in Manufacturing residencies which were a co-commission between the National Festival of Making and Super Slow Way. It was an important piece for me in that it was a public art work, was challenging in terms of collaboration and delivery and was successful. It was a large scale work that gave me the confidence to develop the work I do now, and as a result I became very involved in the National Festival of Making. It was a turning point in my practice and my career.

What is your dream project?

I’d like to work on a permanent public art work for Mitchel and Kenyon and the first western ‘Kidnap by Indians.’ It keeps me awake at nights.