As the third round of the Sky Arts Ignition: Futures Fund gets off to a roaring start, we caught up with the five previous winners to find out what they’re up to and how £30,000 has changed their lives…
Daisy Evans, first round winner, is an opera director who combines live vocals with pre-recorded music heard through mobile headphones to create Silent Operas.
Sky has allowed us to give Silent Opera a future beyond just [her upcoming show] L’Orfeo. We’re looking at a five-year plan, which is a huge step up.
Yesterday we confirmed the venue: we’re doing it at Trinity Boy Wharf, which is right opposite the Millennium Dome, on the river. It’ll be so atmospheric.
I’ve had a lot more offers of work since winning Sky. Next year I’ll be directing at Glyndebourne, which I don’t think would have happened if I didn’t have the Sky Arts bursary. It gives you much more gravitas, especially as it’s all about you as an individual.
To people applying this round I’d say, pitch a project you want to do anyway, because you have to have such determination. Don’t just think of a project for the application.
Phoebe Boswell, first round winner, is an animator whose winning project is a multimedia installation called Nyumbani (a Swahili word meaning “home”).
The project has moved on a lot. It’s cool to be able to be more adventurous; to buy better equipment and test things on a larger scale. I’ve also been able to make relationships with people in the art world, like Animate Projects, that I couldn’t have before.
My Sky mentor has been brilliant – he’s the creative director of Sky News and is really interested in the whole creative side of it. He’s been to visit me in my studio and been really helpful. I wouldn’t even have a studio like this if it wasn’t for the fund!
Felix Mortimer, second round winner, is a producer and artistic director of the theatre company RETZ, who are putting on three productions called Trial, Colony and Process.
I quit my day job and people seem to take me more seriously. It’s added a credential to my wild and crazy ideas. My Sky watching has gone up about 1000% too.
Last week I was doing a residency at The Barbican. We were in the PIT Theatre and played around with some concepts, some of which we’re going to take forward.
I have a shop on Hoxton Street, which is also the base for the company, so if anyone wants to pop in and share their ideas with us they can.
My advice for people applying is to just keep distilling it down. Make it a diamond, rather than rough.
Laurence Payot, second round winner, is a performance artist who won with her project Backstaged.
Winning the fund has given me the time to think about my practice, put my work in context, buy lots of books, do lots of reading and spend a lot of time in my studio – all the things that you’re not usually paid for.
It’s also opened up a lot of doors – I’ve managed to meet people who maybe I wouldn’t have before. I’m meeting with the Sky directors tomorrow so that’s when the project will really get started.
It’s important to think big and bold. Push what you’re doing; it’s a year-long project that really has to challenge you and feel worthwhile.
Drew Roper, second round winner, is an animator and director whose winning film A-tissue is about a man who changes state from stop motion puppet, to 2D drawing, to CGI.
Since winning the fund I’ve been concentrating on the story – that’s what I’ve worked on with my mentor [Oscar-winning animator] Suzie Templeton. I asked around at Aardman, where I did some work on Shaun the Sheep, and they put me in touch with a story executive on Pirates.
The puppets are made now. I’m blown away by how they look, it was a lovely feeling to finally hold them, although I’m quite intimidated at the thought of actually animating them.
I’ve been overwhelmed by the level of interest this project has gained. Everybody knows about it: the people who do Postman Pat in Manchester, the guys down at Aardman in Bristol and the Rastamouse guys in Cardiff. That’s the best thing: it has really helped to start establishing me in the industry.
Apply for the Sky Arts Ignition: Futures Fund brief here.
To get involved in Silent Opera’s production of L’Orfeo, which opens on the 23rd January, check out their wefund page.