Art Schooled: Chapter 5
Welcome back to Art Schooled - my blog series all about life as an art student. With each new chapter, I use this series to document what I have been loving, learning and making during my time in creative education. Art Schooled is supposedly a “monthly” blog series but - as you may have guessed as we are only on chapter 5 - it doesn’t always work out that way. This time however, there has actually only been (slightly over) a month since my last update - well done me!
Here are some highlights from the last few weeks…
Image by Eva Legemah
The DJCAD Degree Show 2019
By far my favourite day in May was the opening of the DJCAD Degree Show 2019. One of my best friends Eva Legemah (who created the stunner of a poster above) was amongst the hundreds of talented graduates exhibiting this year. I knew quite a few lovely folk graduating this year and it was so lovely to see all of their hard work be celebrated. We marked the opening of the degree show by staying up until 8am with our best friends partying followed by a very hungover Eurovision party the next day. It was an amazing weekend and I am already excited to do it all over again for my degree show new year!
Mental Health Awareness Week
The UK’s Mental Health Awareness Week took place in May this year and I loved seeing all the creative reactions to the campaign on social media. This year’s theme was body image and seeing my Instagram feed fill up with positive messages about how we think and feel about our bodies reminded me that the internet isn’t such a bad place after all. The conversation surrounding mental health is such an important one and listening to positive voices on the internet can be a brilliant way of reminding yourself you aren’t the only one you doesn’t understand their own brain sometimes.
I wrote a blog post all about art and mental health which you can read here.
Photograph by Danielle Maccine
Building A Business Brain
Art school is mostly about making things so it might come as a surprise that my favourite part of last semester didn’t involve much making at all. As well as my studio illustration module, I also completed a course about creative business which I ended up preferring. I have learnt a whole lot about how businesses works and it’s actually not all as scary as I thought. No one can teach you exactly how to run a business but there are people who have the answers to some of the biggest, scariest questions you have. Through the course, I discovered that I do have an alright brain for business. Now all I need to do is work out the what sort of business I want to launch.
Something else which got me thinking about creative business was the AOI’s #NotAHobby campaign which I also wrote a little blog post about. You can read it here.
Who Does The Moon Talks To?
I recently completed a picture book project at art school in which I created a book call “Who Does The Moon Talk To?”. The book follows a very grumpy, sleep-deprived moon round the world as he visits a bunch of nocturnal animal friends who he is increasingly rude to. I never thought it was going to be easy illustrating an entire book but it turned out to be difficult in different ways than I expected. If I were to do the project again, I would approach it completely differently. My illogical way of working involved designing all of the imagery at once rather than completing one page and then moving on to the next. By the end I was so confused that I was just glad to get it finished which is a shame as I had really been looking forward to the project. Looking back with a tiny degree of hindsight, I have a book which I love the concept of and like some of the imagery in so perhaps I will revisit this project one day.
Illustration by Natasha Durley
Remembering Why I Blog
In May, I also wrote a little blog post about Natasha Durley who is currently one of my favourite illustrators. I popped the blog post up, shared it on Instagram and didn’t really think much more of it until I got a lovely message from Natasha. Her message thanked me for the post and explained how much the support meant to her which was lovely to hear. Blogging is a funny old thing as there isn’t as much interaction as their used to be so reading Natasha’s reaction to the post was really touching. I know how much it mean when anyone shares my work and I loved blogging for this exact reason. This little interaction was a nice reminder of why I do what I do.
You can read my feature on Natasha’s work here.
Let’s Talk Confidence
Another one of the reasons I started blogging was being inspired by all the blogs I already read and loved. One of these blogs was Creative Boom who recently posted one of my favourite articles ever. In the article, the blog’s founder Katy Cowan shared her experiences suffering from a loss in confidence as well as advice on how she got it back. I think this kind of helpful, honest and relatable writing is blogging at it’s very best. Having struggled with confidence in the past, it was humbling to hear that someone I admire in the industry has had similar experiences. I want to share more about my own experiences with the subjects soon but for now I just want to share Katy’s article as I thought it was brilliant. You can read it here.
Years And Years
If you have read this series before or know me in real life then you will know that I am always obsessed with one TV show or another. My latest obsession is BBC drama Years And Years. The cast includes some of my favourite actors like Russell Tovey, Jessica Hynes and Emma Thompson and it is written by Russell T Davies. The plot follows a family from Manchester over several years as the world around them changes drastically. That sounds a lot blander than the show actually is as but trust me it gets crazy in a scarily believable way. The final episode aired a few nights ago and I can honestly say it is the best series I have seen in a long time. Go watch it!
Illustration by Jade Schulz
Onto a slightly more professional highlight - I’ve been published in a magazine! Mincho Magazine is a Spanish illustration and graphic arts magazine and the latest issue includes a whole article written by me. The article looks at the history of hypersexualisation of women in design and contrasts it against modern projects such as Jade Schulz's Video Vixens (one of which you can see above) which empower the women they depict. The deadline for the article was tight but working with Mincho was a pleasure and I very much hope to do so again in future. Writing the article also gave me the itch a little. I have been focusing on my illustration work so far this year but I do miss writing about design and I need to do something about that.
During May I also did a little bit of volunteering at the Dundee Design Festival 2019. Firstly, I helped out at Approaching Air - a project run by Pete Thomas and Clara Weale which aimed to design the scent of the future of Dundee. For the first half of the week, visitors were asked to imagine and describe their hopes for what Dundee would be like in 2039. These thoughts were then matched with smells by scent designer Clara and eventually the smell of the future of Dundee was created. If I am honest, I was a tiny bit skeptical of the project at first because I didn’t really understand how a perfume could smell like the future but smelling the final scent really did conjure up the feelings people had described throughout the week. During the festival, I did a little bit of writing and lots of chatting to people about the scent and it was a pleasure to work on. People don’t tend to engage with smell in the same way they do with taste or sight but once you start properly thinking about the power of scent, the results can be fascinating.
Illustration by Tom Pigeon
The Make Bank
My final highlight for this post is another project I got to know more about during the Dundee Design Festival. Myself and a few friends did a little bit of window drawing for The Make Bank. To be honest, it was mainly my friends doing the drawing as it turned out not to be my strong point but the finished design looked great and I hope it enticed people in to hear more about the worthy cause. Run by Tom Pigeon’s Kirsty Thomas, the social project aims to provide materials and support for young people to enable equal access to the creative industries. You can find out lots more about the The Make Bank on their shiny new website where you can also purchase several exclusive prints designed by a whole load of talented folk. On the website, there is also a section to read the stories of those already working in creative jobs which aims to educate young people on the different possibilities within the industry. The Make Bank is just getting started and I am excited to see the amazing things I am sure it will achieve.
You’re all caught up! I have officially finished 3rd year studying illustration at DJCAD. Next up is my final year which is a slightly scared but also very exciting prospect. Before that however I need to work out what to do with the long Summer ahead of me. I have lots of plans and for the next couple of months which I will reveal more about soon. And one thing I am definitely going to do is keep this series going so I shall see you soon for another chapter of Art Schooled.