Hello and happy New Year! I can't believe it's already February - the first twenty-four days of January are sort of a blur to me since I was writing my dissertation every waking minute. Thankfully, that's all over now, I just have to wait and hope that it's all right... Now all I have left to do is finish my final major project and, well, find some sort of job! Students from third year graphic design and illustration were also asked to pitch to be in an exhibition about printmaking in Hackney Wick and twenty or so of us were selected, myself included, so that's another good thing to be happening in the next month or so.
Last weekend we went out in Kingston for a friend's birthday, which was great until I realised I had forgotten my ID and couldn't get into the club. Some things never change! Yesterday was slightly more successful; I went to some charming exhibitions and, even better, they were all free. I love London's free museums and art galleries and I'm always quite taken aback when I go to other cities where you have to pay up to ten pounds a pop. It's definitely a good reason to study art and design at Kingston - all those resources just waiting to be enjoyed. I went to the Rabindranath Tagore exhibition at the Victoria and Albert museum, which, although small, was so inspiring. It's tucked away in a little room and every illustration is intriguing, especially when viewed alongside his quotations. After this, I grabbed a falafel and humus pitta from Gaby's in Charing Cross road, after being saddened to hear that they're being evicted, and continued to the Whitechapel gallery. There I saw a pretty depressing exhibition of photographs by Zarina Bhimji. I'm really picky about photography but this was beautiful and I thoroughly recommend it.
Tonight we're having a pretty belated Chinese New Year celebration (can't believe it's been a year since the last one) and my housemate Xuan is orchestrating a food bonanza of near-banquet proportions. I'm not going to eat today I preparation for it. This year I spent (English) New Year's Eve in Kingston for the first time since I've been living here and it was much better than my previous two attempts in my hometown. Plus, now a lot of my friends aren't around there, even in the holidays, because they've gone to live in far flung places like Australia or they're being chalet hosts in Switzerland. It's very odd and makes me tempted to drop everything, get a qualification in teaching English as a foreign language and run away to Belize. I was sad that I'll have no money to travel this summer but luckily, my Italian housemate is hosting me in Rome at Easter, meaning I only have to buy flights, so that's a cheering thought. I suppose that's another good tip for university: make friends with lots of international students, not just because of the free holidays but because you get to encounter lots of interesting cultures - and if you live with them, you don't even have to leave the house to experience this enrichment!
First of all, well done to the fundraising team for topping £50,000 in their latest campaign! Unfortunately I could not work on this campaign as I had too much work on, it being third year, but I'm really happy for the University as it has such a great, dedicated team for fundraising. In the past couple of weeks, we've been doing another live brief, this time to encourage people to sign up to the Anthony Nolan register. It's actually made me really passionate about the cause: 35 years ago, the charity set up the first register of people willing to donate their stem cells to those desperately in need of a stem cell transplant. The main people that need these transplants are those with blood cancer, and signing up to the Anthony Nolan register means you can potentially save someone's life, no matter where they live in the world.
With blood transfusions, there are only a handful of different blood types to match to each other but there are thousands of types of tissue, making it much harder to find a match for someone in need of a stem cell transplant than it is for someone in need of a blood transfusion. Saying that, if you are called to donate once you're on the register then for 80% of people the extraction process is only a tiny bit more complicated than giving blood. They're in desperate need of male donors aged 18-30 so take a peek at their website at www.anthonynolan.org to find out more.
Tomorrow I'm going to a private view at the law firm Collyer Bristow because House of Illustration's What are you like? exhibition is there this year. Great illustrators like Eric Carle and Sara Fanelli are asked to contribute illustrations of their favourite things, or the thing they love to hate and this year the exhibition is being combined with Collyer Bristow's commissioned Christmas Tree. We all pitched in groups to Collyer Bristow to make a tree out of something that isn't a tree and the group that won contains three of my housemates, which is very exciting! They went up there on Saturday to set it up and it looks great. Quentin Blake is opening the private view and there's going to be a whole host of amazing illustrators there so it should be good.
The Snow Ball is only a week away and ticket sales are going okay. I can't believe it's the end of term (aside from one more crit, a dissertation tutorial and an end of term tutorial!) already. We have to hand in our proposal for our final major project tomorrow and then in January, we start it. I only have a few months left here at Kingston and this term's gone so fast - I can only imagine that next term will go even faster. I wish it wouldn't, I completely do not want to leave yet! I'm going to an open day on Thursday for an MA, so maybe I won't have to leave the comforts of education quite yet...
Hello! I can't believe it's a month until Christmas, how exciting. I've just booked a trip to Edinburgh for a few days and at the moment the internet is saying that there's a 40% chance of snow, so keep your fingers crossed. Edinburgh's meant to be great at Christmas, with ice-skating in the park and all sorts (I'm hoping to see some cold pandas in the zoo, too).
Before that, my housemates and I are having our annual fake Christmas festivities - that's fake Christmas eve with stocking filling and The Muppets Christmas Carol and fake Christmas day with more meat than you can shake a stick at. I'm also looking forward to going to Fabric on the eve of fake Christmas eve! This weekend I'll be heading to central London to buy special paper and bookbinding supplies from a lovely shop called Shepherds Falkiners in Holborn. I'll also be heading to Oxford Street to check out the Christmas lights (I really like Christmas, can you tell?).
Another exciting thing which is also festive-season related is that we are putting on a Snow Ball in collaboration with BA(Hons) Graphic Design. It's an annual event and each year uses it to fundraise for their degree show. We've also had another cake sale since the last one, which raised a great amount of money and if we keep going like this, we'll have loads to use for our exhibition.
At the moment, I've just finished working on a project for the 2012 Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships and am continuing to work with another illustrator and an animator on a collaboration brief. We have to pick a character from literature and make an animated sequence of them performing an everyday task that lasts for a second and can be looped for ten seconds. We have chosen the character of St Anthony, one of the first Coptic monks, who lived in Egypt. The stories around him rely a lot on his resistance to temptation. There are famous depictions of him being plagued by demons, which is what we're using in our loop. The crit for this project is in a few days' time so this week's workload will be interesting to deal with!
I've also been chipping away at my dissertation. I've actually started writing my draft now, which is quite a relief as I thought I'd never be at that point! I'm writing it about silence in graphic novels and it's proving to be really interesting, except that I keep forgetting the important things I've read and where I've written quotations down but that's just me being disorganised. I have a seminar on Wednesday where I'll hand in a draft of my first chapter and introduction. I think I'll make it, hopefully. I probably should have got more work done on it over the summer but I had a great time travelling instead so I think it was probably worth it. I'm going to do some image analysis now, so I'll say goodbye. Goodbye!
Course: Illustration and Animation
Level: Alumni 2012
Other information: I came to Kingston straight from school. I undertook a work placement at MRM London for a few weeks in April 2011. I am a Kingston University student ambassador. I chose Kingston because... It has a very good reputation for Illustration and Animation, with good industry links. It is also close to London, which is full of amazing galleries and nightlife. I got to where I am now... I went through several career choices before I settled on illustration. From the age of about fi...