Talent Spotters: Hull School of Art and Design

s part of our Talent Spotters series of guest reviews of this year’s degree shows, Sean Alton visits the 2014 Grown Degree Show at Hull School of Art and Design


As part of our Talent Spotters series of guest reviews of this year’s degree shows, Sean Alton visits the 2014 Grown Degree Show at Hull School of Art and Design.

As a fellow graphics student coming from the sister college (Park Street) now studying in the same building, I get to see what awaits me in two years time and match the quality in this degree show. The Hull School of Art and Design has slipped under the radar in previous years, despite its success, but now Hull has become the 2017 City of Culture, you will be hearing from us a lot more.

Along with the self-initiated projects, the show was welcome to competition briefs from YCN and previews of D&AD work (before they make their journey to the New Blood at Spitalfields Market in July) and outside work to ‘show off’ what Hull has kept secret all this time. Our school maybe small but it produces big things, so watch this space.

Talent has been found with Tracey Birnie and her wonderful self initiated project Green Fingers. Tracey has had an allotment for over 8 years, spending her time here and at the Hull School of Art and Design in the heart of the city. Tracey said – “I love it, I love to grow plants, I get excited when a seed germinates! It can be hard work keeping everything alive and well cared for but it gives me a lot of satisfaction.” The collection on display is called ‘The Allotmenteers’, an interesting name with an interesting outcome.

Taking inspiration from people like Sagmeister, Bantjes and Lettman she did a series of experimental pieces which developed into a Gillian Wearing-inspired personal documentary of her allotment colleagues in Kingswood. Along the way she touched upon other related areas such as vegetables, nutrition, hobbies, and escape.

With 72 plots on the allotment site, she interviewed the people about why they had an allotment. With this information, Tracey reflected the interviews onto signs in the traditional painstakingly hand-painted type. With thier personal signs, Tracey then photographed each of the ‘allotmenteers’ on their plots. Her work has a family album quality as a whole, along with the display of all the painted signs. There is something comical about the photograph featuring the “It’s my own space” sign, I simply love it, it’s wonderfully set up with a little touch of Martin Parr. After studying for 5 years part time at HSAD, the time there has surely paid off.

The collection of finals was outstanding, with the Purdy’s Vitamin drink by Liam Wells to the El Salvador Coffee Bean by Alice Robinson (both pictured above).

Above:  Posters by Sally Logan, created in reponse to an International Society of Typographic Designers brief for MONOTYPE, where two typefaces had to be compared in such a way that they would appeal to people who buy them. The vehicle i.e her ’round the world’ subject matter was her creative input.

As I made my journey around the show I was let down by the quality of the printouts produced for the show – but I blame the lack of printer ink rather than the students. I feel that something was missing, was it that they ran out of time or money? I just can’t put my finger on it. But overall HSAD has pulled it out of the bag with select pieces of work. Who knows what the 2015 and 2016 show will bring. I wish Tracey and all the members of the BA (Hons) Graphic Design all the luck in her future in the industry.

Visit Sean’s website at http://seanalton.wordpress.com

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