‘Nosophobia’ is the phobia of oneself becoming ill.

At the beginning of the IB course it was challenging deciding what I wanted to be the subject of my exhibition work.

Basing it on the fears I face daily was personal yet it made me realise that I could convey so much symbolism and deeper meaning behind my work.

Marc Quinn and Mona Hatoum were the main artists that drove my inspiration for ideas towards my pieces.

I learnt so much and gained many new techniques along the way.

With the title being about my fears of becoming ill, this phobia of mine also brought out many ideas to help me reveal emotions through my art.

As a lot of my works so far have been installation based I experimented with many different processes and learnt new skills.

Creating a face cast was a highlight of mine as I had never tried anything like it before.

What I thoroughly enjoyed about taking Visual Arts as a Higher Level subject was the independence.

I could attempt to create whatever sprung to mind without hesitation.

I learnt so much and gained many new techniques along the way.


Our topic choice was one of three: Landscape, Portraiture and Architecture, however as I began in Lower Sixth by studying Design  I could only choose from the latter two so I chose Architecture. After choosing our topic area we were encouraged to explore any artists, architects and objects that related, in any way, to the topic in order to research as broadly as possible.

I was really inspired by Ben Krafton and Nathan Coley. Krafton’s work caught my eye as I really liked the way he produced prints that look like architectural drawings. Coley, a contemporary British artist, creates work which questions the way we relate to public spaces and architecture and it was partly this idea that led me to consider how our personal life experiences allow us to see buildings, and groups of buildings, very differently as individuals.

I particularly enjoyed the exploration and development of my work; being able to change ideas and see what worked and what didn’t. In many ways I enjoyed the fragility of my work although it caused obvious issues.

Using such thin clay posed the problem of it crashing and breaking whist drying or when being moved in and out if the kiln; overall I estimate to have had a less than 30% success rate from ‘slip’ to finished work.

For my ceramic houses there was much trial and error, changing colouring by using different oxides as well as changing glass types for different effects. Working with such fine clay meant I learnt to be very patient and accept that many pieces would break. I had to plan my time carefully and persevere until I had enough pieces that were right for my final piece. Luckily many of the rejected pieces have retained their interest and work well as standalone sculptures.


The A Level Art course proved to be a big step up in workload and quality from GCSE but, to anyone thinking of studying it, there is even more opportunity to explore your own creative expression. I had a great deal of creative liberty to conduct my own research into artists who inspired me with the aim of completing a final piece at the end of the course.

To gauge a wider understanding of subject matter and artistic technique, in the Lower Sixth I completed sketchbooks and studied artists related to landscape, architecture and figure.  I chose to continue studying figure as I have been passionate about portrait painting since my GCSE studies.

The inspiration for my project stemmed from my teachers assigning pages specific to an artist for homework, consisting of an analysis of their work and our own copies. Ranging from Giacometti replicas to life-sized self portraits, I obtained a great deal of inspiration in the classroom. However, books in the library and exhibitions  out of school also played a role in selecting artists to study. My project includes almost exclusively portraits of my family, including my final piece. I found a great deal of inspiration from them, particularly during lockdown.

To refine my final pieces I experimented with many formal elements in my work such as colour, composition, scale and material. It was helpful to refer back to artists for inspiration, by watching documentaries or even contacting them directly. My chosen artists included Jonathan Yeo, Gerhard Richter and John William Waterhouse. After finding them all separately, I noticed similarities in their depictions of young women they use as muses. I decided to explore this further in my project and concluded that the presentation of women represents the artists’ perspective of popular opinion in their time period. This included themes such as beauty and vanity, war and sacrifice.

I practised my final piece many times before its completion and surprisingly the detailed portrait painting was the least complicated part. Practising final pieces is crucial; as with all practical endeavours, errors in the plan are often missed until the plan is executed. My background and composition changed many times, from portrait to landscape to square to elongated, from two figures to one and back to two again. A range of colour palettes was considered and mountains of white oil paint were sacrificed in the process before settling on a painting

I was happy with. It taught me that change is necessary and welcomed throughout the process and I hope my piece reflects the ideas and effort used to produce it.