What distinguishes the University of Brighton illustration course from it’s competitors is the delightful lack of a defined house style. This is evident in this year’s degree show which presents a multitude of approaches, styles and attitudes. What follows is my personal selection of work by some of this year’s best graduates.
I was immediately drawn to Andrew Morley’s colourful display of striking physical 3D pieces (above and top) along with some humorous film and print based work. His subject matter evolves around mundane everyday objects and the banality of consumer culture. The decidedly retro low polygon digital 3D illustrations and crafty sculptures will surely appeal to many. The claw that holds his business cards was a nice touch!
At the more traditional end of the spectrum we have Angela Wallace-Hadrill, who cites her interest in Norse and Japanese folk tales as the inspiration for her 2D and 3D pieces. Her work is woven with dense decorative patterns depicting nature and plant life. Her use of colours together with the effects achievable with her media of choice: gouache and watercolours create a pleasant visual world.
Among the many graduates who have chosen to explore sequential image making is Tomas Rooney, whose film noir like broken narratives employ effective use of both line work and chiaroscuro. His illustrations are populated by strange characters and creatures set in dark and intriguing scenes. They are like glimpses into an imaginary film or a graphic novel. By looking at the plethora of individual pen and ink drawings on display the viewer can construct multiple narrative sequences.
Leandro Stafford is a multidisciplinary visual artist who has chosen some current hot topics like immigration and homelessness as the subject matters of his documentaries and photos. Instead of offering a clinical analysis on the issues per se he lets the subjects speak for themselves, thus giving them the voice they often lack in the public discourse. It is evident from his films that he has a real ability to connect with his interviewees and thus allowing them to express themselves freely.
Another example of a graduate whose first hand research is vital to her practice is Kathy McConnell. She has chosen to exhibit work created as a response to her interviews with sight impaired people in specialised care homes in Brighton. Her main piece is a book that catalogues these encounters and showcases her delicate pencil drawings and tactile portraiture. Her display stood out with its subdued tone: the portraits which are executed with a soft touch don’t immediately scream for attention but rather invite one to take their time and question the way we perceive things. She has embedded her academic research seamlessly to her visual work with very interesting results.
Check out more Brighton graduates’ work here
If you’d like to volunteer to be one of CR’s Talent Spotters at this year’s degree shows, please sign up here