Current employer: Lush Limited
Current job title: Supervisor, Visual Support and Regional Sign Writer
Current location: Exeter
“During my second year I went on an exchange to Rotterdam to study at Willem De Kooning Academie for a term, January to April. This defined my practice as I had to build from scratch with my ideas.”
Tell us about your career path since graduation.
After graduation I moved back home for a year to save money so that I could eventually move back to Devon. After a year of working and saving, I prepared to move and put on a big solo art show in my home town, Coventry. I moved to Exeter in the summer and looked for a job. I started as a Christmas temp at Lush and was kept on. I worked my way into the design area of the business. I currently work at the shop in Exeter but also travel around for merchandising.
Has your career path changed since graduation?
I still very much work in a creative environment and I still make artwork to show at exhibitions. I would say that my career path is the same, but it takes time to build. There is a balance between working for money and working for passion. I have yet to bring the two together.
What is the most difficult thing which you have faced in your career?
I think the difficult thing for me is finding opportunities to improve my art practice. I have been fortunate enough to have exhibited my work several times since graduation, but in between shows I find it hard to dedicate time and space to explore my own work.
What is the best, most exciting or fun thing that you have done in your career?
With work (Lush) I get to travel with the design team. I have helped to merchandise new ranges of product and I have been lucky enough to do that in the original shop where all of the co-founders of the company still work and create. With art I took part in an exciting exhibition called DIY in a warehouse with other artists from around the country. It was a month long creation period then a two week exhibition. It was great fun.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to get in to the same line of work?
To work in retail design, you have to put yourself out there and meet the people who already do that job, show them what you can do, offer to help and always say yes. They remember that. With art and exhibitions, apply to anything that’s free, search for something to take part in at least weekly, and keep a circle of creative friends or it can feel lonely.
How did studying at Plymouth help you?
Plymouth taught me to use the resources around me. With regards to tutors, I knew who would be best at what if I needed advice and help. Also there is always something creative to see at the University: I learned to go and see them all.
Did you undertake a placement during your degree and if so, how did this benefit you?
During my second year I went on an exchange to Rotterdam to study at Willem De Kooning Academie for a term, January to April. This defined my practice as I had to build from scratch with my ideas. Also, I realised something simple: other places do things differently. I learned a whole new system and skillset from all the new influences.
What is your favourite memory of studying at Plymouth?
My favourite memory of studying at Plymouth is going into the studio on the weekends to work when nobody else was there. The lifestyle took over and it worked well to teach myself self-discipline.
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