Thursday, 24 November 2011

Lord Whitney

November 21st

Lord Whitney Talk

Lecture Theatre B. Stockport College

Lord Whitney is a two piece collaboration act comprising of two female creative’s, graphic art and design ex-graduates from Leeds. They are labelled as art directors but consider themselves as more 3D illustrators. Their undergraduate course covered a broad spectrum of art specialism’s including photography, typography and illustration. Amy preferred the photographic route whereas Bex was more of an illustration geek. Both are hands on and are heavily influenced by literature and theatre, in particular things that make them laugh, Spike Milligan and Dali and both favourites.

Their talk was an informal explanation of their journey from leaving university to where there are in the creative industry currently. They spoke of the importance to keep on working after uni and keeping in contact with creative friends and peers. This is especially so because the once shared studio will be missed and the support network of tutors and peers. I can personally imagine the loneliness of the situation leaving university and not sharing that with somebody else. At least if I have somebody to moan to every now and again, even if it is only in the pub, it gives you the reassurance that you are not alone in that situation.

For the first year or so after uni, the girls were temping, with jobs moving in quick succession. Both however didn't feel happy in the work they were doing and they finally decided to collaborate properly because they mutually felt that there was no job out there to meet their specific needs and requirements. Originally, they started making business cards to make the idea seem like the reality, these were from scraps of paper and cheaply produced as a lack of funds made it difficult to get them produced to a high standard. However on the plus side these cards will have been much more authentic than the mass produced numbers from firms such as Moo etc. I have just sent off for my free pack of 10 featuring a couple of my own designs but they lack the uniqueness that the cards Lord Whitney no doubt were crafting.

It was endearing to listen to their financial struggles when first setting up their business because it not only shows that it can be done, but you're not the only on in that boat, there are lots of people out there who struggle at first. Logically, because they had a lack of funds for their projects their work was not too precious or overly thought, they had a rough raw feel which makes it much more accessible. Apart from this accessibility it also makes it much more personal and engaging to a student audience particularly.

The setting up of this business made them realise just how much they loved doing what they do. They look at other outlets to broaden their market and client base and currently look at events too and have found that their skills can be applied in all different arenas. A recent event they were asked to collaborate on was The House of Fairy Tales where they made environments for people to become a part of.

They acquired a lot of voluntary work experience to get their name out there and to show what they can do, but the advice was not to do anything for free more than once. If a company asks you back they obviously like your work so to ask you to come back they can afford to pay you.

Also, they have noticed that undergraduates currently spend weeks researching projects and ideas rather than jumping in at the deep end and producing work straight away. They wanted to show that work can be produced really quickly and it doesn't have to take weeks and weeks. They have set the group a week long project to show how quick work can be produced if you apply yourself efficiently.

For them, finding a studio was the kick they needed to properly start working and it provides them a base for more work and commissions to come in. Blogging, Tweeting and using Facebook generates interest from potential clients and they update each constantly to keep interest and their image fresh. To keep money rolling in whilst they are still working on getting their business up and running, they do event styling and window dressing, though it is clear that their creative flair and passion is in their own business.

Finally, inspiration doesn't have to necessarily come from art, look at things around you, things that interest you, your hobbies and passions outside of the art world. It could be a toy shop or things that you love.

What I have gained from this talk is to stay true to myself. If I don't enjoy a particular brief then I need to take from it what is important and make it my own. When Amy and Bex came round our studio afterwards, they commented on my work for its colour. This is something that has been a subject of much criticism lately especially from tutors, however they think that it is this vital element that makes my work mine. I now need to find a vehicle to apply this to any brief that I am issued. It is the colour that could give me the consistency to my portfolio that I have felt it has been lacking previously.

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