I attended a fairly intimate and thought provoking talk last week, organised by the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, in line with their current exhibition, 'The Developing Process, The Sculptor's Education in Drawing and Photography'.
Richard Wentworth (Head of Department for sculpture at the Royal College of Art) giving the last lecture in the series, was an animated, cool, and amusing speaker who often had is audience in giggles. He mused on the idea of studying / teaching sculpture and art in general whilst touching quite often on ideas of architecture, Britain and cultural identity / the influence of place, especially pre-internet and even pre-television and radio.
His emphasis as I understood it was on the impact of the people around you and there was mention of Tracey Emin, Sir Peter Blake and Ian Dury (RIP) whose geographical proximity at one time could arguably have fostered creative relationships or at least common references. This struck quite a chord with me and two things came to mind quite regarding these artists.
There was a great little Tate video podcast a couple of years ago of Tracey Emin and Sir Peter Blake in conversation. It is a wonderful chance to hear Sir Peter's soft, anecdotal conversational style and Emin talks enthusiastically about what a great influence he had on her contemporaries and herself. Their discussion broaches on some similar themes to Wentworth's lecture in terms of supportiveness and influence. Click here should you want to see for yourself.
The other thing that came to mind was the geographical and social relationships linking Ian Dury, Sir Peter and Chris Gabrin that gave birth to, amongst other things, the fabulous and emotionally resonant album cover designs and silkscreen print for 'All New Boots and Panties'.