We went down to the KK Outlet (in Hoxton Square, Shoreditch) to check out current exhibition, the KK Job Centre, which showcases the work of recent graduate collective Just Us. For the show, which runs till the 27 July, the KK Outlet has been kitted out to look like a job centre playing on the fact that all the graduates are seeking jobs. Some of the work exhibited highlights their fears leaving college (see above image).
Actually, Just Us competed with other graduates for the chance to showcase their work at the KK Outlet. “We wanted to do something concrete to support young graduates,” says Chris at KK Outlet. “It’s a difficult industry to break in to, and especially difficult for students straight out of college. Sometimes the industry can exploit that, so really, we just wanted to give a forum for graduates to present their work to people in the industry. It can be very expensive to hire a gallery in order to show work, and in the end, that’s what quite a few students do, especially round here in East London. Our proposition was simple; staging and promoting the exhibition was all free. We just wanted to see a proposal for an exhibition that was unique to our gallery, and that we liked.
“We ended up selecting Just Us, because they came up with a really interesting idea. They chose to present their work in the form of a job centre. We also really liked the fact that they had formed their own group, with contributors from several different institutions. Lastly, they had a really good understanding of the space. It’s quite small, and they really knew how to make it work well. “
Illustration by Jessie Douglas
Chit Chat by Sean Clarke explores the art of conversation
This sign was created by Joe Hinder
Illustrator Alice Gabb also creates stuffed toy
Illustration by Jack Teagle
CR: How did Just Us come about?
JUST US: Just us came about after much discussion about how we could get something more from our experience at uni and how we could expose ourselves alongside other creatives in the same way that big universities like UCL and Brighton do. Coming from a relatively small college we saw the talents of previous years’ students go to waste at small graduate shows and then after talks with the graduates we found that the prospects after leaving university from our small college were almost non existent. We felt that there needed to be a place where students could showcase their work as part of a collective, and help them to network with other universities and collaborate.
CR: What made you want to set up Just Us?
JU: We wanted to bridge the gap between lesser known universities and greater exposure which would hopefully create further opportunities for us and the other members. We also wanted to create a place which would enable us to network with other creatives in the same situation as us, as well as create opportunities to collaborate with each other and share design related opportunities.
CR: How did you find/select all the artists involved?
JU: To start with we searched design blogs, Myspace profiles, Indexhibit sites as well as lots of other places to find art and design students. This was particularly hard as we hadn’t yet got a name for ourselves, so people didn’t know us and we didn’t know exactly how we could get the students that we needed to find to make Just us successful. In April we ran a project called “project 15” where we contacted fifteen creative courses across the UK, advertising the opportunities we were offering. This was really successful and it started a flow of students contacting us.
This year we plan to run a nationwide project in order to gather a new batch of student designers. We intend to contact every university with creative courses in the UK, showing them the opportunities we offer. We will then hand pick a number of student designers and illustrators to be showcased on the site with possibilities of exhibitions around the UK as well as creative collaborative opportunities.
CR: What positive outcomes have you had since starting up the company?
JU: The response from what started as a university project has been amazing. We are really grateful for all the help that the members have put in as well as all of the press we have received. At the moment we are in talks about collaboration on a few exciting projects, which will come to the light soon. So far Just us has helped all of the members meet new creatives and get an insight to what is going on at other creative courses, as well as placement opportunities. At the moment we are doing a project with the design blog Kitsune Noir where a desktop wallpaper is featured every weekday each one from a different member of Just us.