The Art School, named the John Piper Building, is a lovely space that encourages creativity. It is light and airy, and with some of the best views across the College, pupils enjoy working here. Art is valued highly at Epsom and we enjoy a long tradition of excellence at the College.
Notable former pupils
Our most notable OEs are John Piper, Graham Sutherland and John Wells, and today the College continues to encourage creative freedom and expression.
The John Piper Building is a lively environment. Pupils employ a wide range of materials and techniques, learning to handle them with expertise and confidence. We work hard to help pupils develop confidence and fluency as they progress through the College.
Enjoyment and personal achievement
Whether or not pupils opt to study Art at GCSE or A-level, our aim is that they should enjoy the subject and should feel a sense of personal achievement.
Pupils benefit from a lively co-curricular programme of workshops. While success at GCSE and A-level is valued, pupils are encouraged to take risks. We want our students to investigate, explore and refine practical skills while developing a creative response to the world that surrounds them.
Pupils develop skills that are of immense value within the subject, but also far beyond it.
Follow the links below to learn more about Art at Epsom College.
Pupils are taught in groups of 15, coming into the specialist environment of the Art School for their weekly lessons. Sharing the Art School with older pupils encourages a more aspirational and experimental approach from our younger pupils. They develop an understanding of how progress is cumulative, establishing skills, revisiting them, challenging them and extending them.
Traditional skills run parallel to less conventional approaches, the process of experimenting with techniques and materials is vital, so that the creative and intellectual curiosity of our pupils is captured.
Pupils will begin to develop confidence as they enjoy taking risks, they are not inhibited by the fear of mistakes, but instead understand that resolving difficulties and the subsequent learning is an ongoing process, rather than a conclusion.
Pupils discover that progress in Art is not simply the process of creating work that is recognisable, but that investigating skills and materials, developing creative thinking and problem solving, expressing and communicating opinions, are all of enormous value.
Whether pupils are building on the skills that they have already developed at the College, or joining us in Year 9, all are welcomed into the Art School.
To ensure pupils are fully aware of the possibilities of the subject, we run this year as a foundation course.
Our commitment to Drawing is central to all practice. As a core skill it is developed through painting, mixed media, printmaking, photography and sculpture.
Pupils are encouraged to see the diversity of Art and the possibilities that it offers, both as a GCSE subject and in terms of future employment.
Year 9 pupils are taught in groups of approximately 15, this ensures that they have space, time and attention to develop their potential fully.
Beyond the timetable, the Art School provides further opportunities for pupils in the creative art carousel, pottery and Art Club.
We follow the Fine Art GCSE, which is split between pupils building a portfolio of their work throughout Year 10 and into Year 11 (worth 60% of the final mark) and an externally set task sat in Year 11 (worth 40%).
Pupils are encouraged and assisted as they structure and organise their practical work and develop creativity, as well as working to establish sound study skills.
GCSE Art allows pupils to develop their practical skills and opens the door to an incredibly wide range of creative careers. Over the two years, pupils will develop critical and academic skills, as well as a creative approach to problem-solving.
The new A-level Art specification allows students to experience a really wide range of skills and techniques, allowing individual expertise to develop to a far greater depth. Students must also exercise personal judgement as they select, curate and present a convincing and sophisticated body of work.
We follow OCR GCE Fine Art (code H601), because it is the broadest and most inclusive specialism under the Art and Design umbrella, offering the greatest opportunities for our students.
Students can refine the traditional skills of drawing, painting and printmaking, but they can also work in photography, film, mixed media, installation and three dimensions.
Students are required to find personal direction and develop individual specialist skills. The resulting work will inevitably be original and highly personal.
The course is made up of two units: The Personal Investigation (coursework unit) and the Externally Set Task (the practical exam).
The John Piper Art School was renamed in 1990 after the prominent artist who was an Old Epsomian. Other OEs include Graham Sutherland; the St Ives painter, John Wells; and the art critic, Peter Fuller. Many OEs have and still do go on to study and work in the visual arts and architecture.
The Art School is a lovely, light and spacious environment. With well-equipped studios over four floors, creativity thrives here. Facilities are excellent and the range of materials and techniques available is very broad.
Where possible, year groups have their own specialist areas. The entrance provides us with an exhibition space.
There dedicated studios for screen-printing and pottery; two studios for Sixth Form students; two further studios for GCSE and Lower School pupils; plus printing presses on two floors.
We have an excellent department Library which is housed in the Department Office and is open to students of all years. Learning in the Art School is supported by 14 PCs and 24 iPads.
Art students enjoy inspiring trips to stimulate their practice and broaden their horizons. Recent trips have included a cultural tour of Italy, visiting Florence and Arezzo. looking at significant examples of Renaissance art and architecture, including works by Fra Angelico, Piero della Francesca and Michelangelo.
Students also visited Paris for three days, visiting the Louvre, the Pompidou Centre and various other architectural sights of interest.
The students experienced a varied range of artwork from Nike the Winged Victory of Samothrace in the Louvre, to Olafur Eliasson’s light installations in the Pompidou. The group also enjoyed a trip to Montmartre, the artist quarter, Sacre Coeur Cathedral and spent time drawing in the peaceful cemetery at Montmarte.