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The Courtauldian

c/o The Students’ Union

The Courtauld Institute of Art

Vernon Square, 

Penton Rise,

London

WC1X 9EW

the.courtauldian@courtauld.ac.uk

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humans of

the Courtauld

by Lissie Mackintosh

January

SUSAN HORSFIELD

Everyone’s favourite receptionist and possibly the most comforting face on campus, Lissie Mackintosh sits down with the woman without whom (let’s face it) the Courtauld would be in bits.

When did you join the Courtauld?

Ages ago, too long. I can hardly remember. I came quite shortly after I left art college, which has meant I’ve seen the Courtauld change for the better. I’ve really seen the Courtauld evolve in an incredible way, and the Research Forum in particular is such an amazing department. In my opinion, it’s helped make the Courtauld ‘cool’.

Being here so long, you must have seen so many people- staff and students, come and go. How has this felt?

It’s a strange one with the students because it’s a relatively small institution, so I get to know them well and many of them are still my friends today. When you build a relationship and then people move on, yeah, it is definitely sad and I miss people. At the same time, it’s so exciting constantly meeting new batches of students and see the student body become more diverse.

Having seen so many new students come in, what’s one piece of advice you would give a Courtauld fresher?

It’s really quite simple, perhaps it sounds too simple: be in the moment and enjoy it. Relish every second and make friends.

Do you prefer Vernon Square or Somerset House?

You can’t compare the architecture of the two, so no problem there. But for me, it feels conducive here and it has been really interesting to be in a building that solely focuses on the faculty and the students. It’s a very sociable building and it really is fantastic. The building is also so connected in terms of the map of London, it’s amazing. 

What’s the funniest delivery you’ve ever signed for?

I wish I had an interesting response for this, but luckily, there hasn’t been anything too weird… Touch wood!

What’s your favourite thing about the Courtauld?​

The level and depth of expertise we have in this building. It makes me proud to be here. We have some names here, for sure. 

December

FRANKIE JENNER

Meet Frankie Jenner, a second-year with funk, humor and one of the most down to earth personalities you’ll meet. Energetic and effortlessly cool, Frankie shares her thoughts on the art world and lets us into her 10-year plan (Spoiler: It includes salt beef sandwiches).

Why did you choose to study at the Courtauld?

It was a very last-minute decision of mine to even study history of art. Of course, there was its reputation. But ultimately, the Courtauld seemed mysterious and ‘exclusive’ and this excited me. Looking back, I think this is one of the things I dislike most about it now. It really is its own little bubble, often impenetrable by the outside world.

Do you ever feel pressured to go into a career in the arts?

The Courtauld prepares you for a career in the arts, there is no doubt about it. It often feels as if there is no life outside the art world; the endless emails about Christie's events and reputable gallery internships. Careers and Research Forum talks present it as the only viable option, a one-way road to success and prosperity. I think the pressure comes more from me wanting to break out of this systematic pattern that many seem to follow.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Having found the world’s best salt beef sandwich.

Do you have a secret escape in London?

121 Fenchurch Street (not the Sky Garden). A roof terrace in the midst of this concrete jungle, nestled between the skyscrapers. It offers a cradle of calm- high enough off the ground for the sounds below to fizzle out, but still close enough to the surrounding buildings to form a web of comfort.

The view from the Roof Terrace at 121 Fenchurch Street (Photo by Frankie Jenner)

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Coming to the Courtauld from a less privileged background, compared to a lot of its students, has been challenging in many ways. I was told to never be ashamed of where I come from and to never be ashamed of my life experiences compared to others. My roots are what make me and without them, I wouldn’t be me.

What’s been the happiest moment in your life so far?

I used to play football and went on a sports tour to America. I scored the winning goal against the Bronx in New York. I’ve never felt so cool.

November

CAROLE NATAF

Meet Carole Nataf, the Courtauld’s very own 'Plein-Air' painter who is making waves in the art world, presenting her work in various galleries in London and generally killing it as a budding art historian.

Tell me about your artistic story.

I never really went to art school; one day I just started drawing and I never stopped. My cousin taught me how to use oil paints when I was 12, which was great fun. I hesitated over whether to study art as an academic practice, so I went to a summer course at Parsons, but I didn’t like having a professor tell me how to design things. I started working in tech, but I never stopped painting. It was only when people started asking me how they could access my art that I started exhibiting with different groups and selling my work online. I love painting portraits, landscapes, and still-life. I love to paint from life, so you can often see me wandering around London with an easel strapped to my front!

(Image courtesy of @carole.nataf.art)

Who’s inspired you along the way?

It sounds cliché, but I’ve always felt inspired by the Impressionists. I like the textures and how they focussed on creating paintings based on what they see.

Why did you decide to study at the Courtauld? What has it done for your journey, artistically and personally?

Well, for years working in tech I felt very frustrated that I wasn’t honouring my love for art. Joining the Courtauld helped me develop the skills I would need to work in a museum, and it developed my love for research and the history of art. I love being able to use my artistic background to understand further how paintings were made, in terms of technique especially.

What’s your favourite thing about the Courtauld?

The quality of the knowledge here. Everyone you meet here is passionate about something, anything. We’re all interested in different areas of art, and it means that the discussions with students here are incredible. When we all start talking to each other, we can learn so much because of the breadth of knowledge floating around.

(Image courtesy of @carole.nataf.art)

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?

Make, make, make. Create as much as you can. It’s the best way to learn. Sometimes you’ll only have half an hour to do it a day, but you have to make the time. And don’t be afraid to show people your work; the most important thing is to get your work out of your mind and share your ideas. Exhibiting my work has helped me focus less on how they look and has freed me from being too obsessed about how people would perceive them. It allowed me to give my works a life of their own.

Carole’s works are available to purchase on Etsy, and you can follow her instagram to see more of her works at @carole.nataf.art

lissie mackintosh

Events Editor

Lissie Mackintosh is the events co-editor for the Courtauldian. An accidental advocate for trash TV and over-priced coffee, she isn’t afraid to say what she thinks and packs a punch with her writing. Lissie has previously written for Tatler and is recently interested in the study of political art and photographic responses to historical events. She hopes one day to be working at Vogue, despite the fact that she thinks spending all her money on clothes is a good idea. Always up for a laugh and a good event, Lissie has got you covered with the best and most unmissable events of the year.