How did your career journey start?
I grew up in Canterbury, Kent which is where my artsy journey began! I left school and applied to do Psychology and Photography at A levels, but I had no GCSE’s, literally ZERO, so that did not go as planned. My only option was to do a level 3 BTEC so I took up Graphic Design instead, and I am incredibly grateful to the universe for how things ended up. Nowadays, most of the skills I learnt there I still use today in my practice.
After college I wanted to go onto Uni (despite not having my English or maths somehow I still got in!) so I ended up moving to London in 2015 to do Graphic Art & Design at Camberwell college (UAL) where I soon realised I hated the idea of being a Graphic designer. But what did peak my interest was when I found out my Tutor designed and directed album covers for a living and that’s when I thought to myself “okay wow! That is actually the coolest thing I’ve ever heard of!”I never thought that was a real job! I loved the idea of it, but I was really struggling to keep up with my graphic design work as a whole and I began to realise that I had very little passion for kerning and magazine layouts, which led me to almost failing out the first year.
My tutor realised my dissatisfaction and said “Have you heard of Creative Direction? I think this sounds like it could be the path you would be good at”…I think this is the exact moment that propelled me to become obsessed with the way movies are designed, Before the year was up on my course at camberwell I desperately looked for another UAL BA course that fit with my new pathway, which is how I then ended up at Central Saint Martins.
CSM was an experience! I loved the idea of creating conceptual environments, that was and still is so exciting to me, It’s what really drew me to CSM. I loved the idea of having a hybrid of roles, I really wanted to experiment with Production design & Direction for Film.
We always had time to play around with crazy conceptual ideas that I wouldn’t have been able to do at some Art schools. It is a place where anything could happen, they made you think that anything is possible, which I, and my idealist semi-what unrealistic nature resonate with hugely!
One of my favourite things about being at CSM was that we got to see the white show, which is a yearly fashion show that BA fashion students put on. I miss being surrounded by that much creativity.
There is however, a big part about art school that I think most don’t brave up to speak about. Most people think the fashion industry is glamorous, but it isn’t all that. There was a lingering prestigious narrative, like we were all part of an elite, selected few, and in that, I felt a lack of diversity, and inclusivity. One thing however, that I can say is that CSM is full of eccentric characters that walk the halls. It was refreshing and inspiring to see bold fashion choices, it was not something I had ever seen before growing up in the small city of Canterbury.
My BA Degree was in Performance Design & Practice which was; Directing, Producing, Set & Costume designing and making for Film, theatre and performance art. It was the first time I had ever really been exposed to performance art, its quite a fresh approach to theatre in my opinion. I love the freedom that is within that.
I created this project while I was there… and its hilarious, really, let me tell you… some friends and I created a faux butchers shop in a busy part of the school where we sold ‘meats’ made from stuffed toys that are typically seen as pets such as; cats/dogs/rabbits etc. We stuffed them with prosthetic organs and fake blood, customers would line up and order while (i am cringing as I say this)“meat is murder” by the smiths played in the background.
With each customer’s waiting number we’d proceeded to package up the ‘meat’ they’d ordered and while doing this we’d be wearing white masks with no facial expression as a metaphor for the cold corporations. Each package of ‘meat’ had a story of the animal’s life previously before it had ‘died’. If you haven’t already guessed it, I’m vegan!
The idea was to start the conversation around why there is a made up hierarchy of animals which are socially acceptable to eat and others that are not? Why does aesthetics come into play when deciding what animal is more deserving of life?
What does your career look like today?
I am a Freelance Fashion Photographer and Creative Director mostly. I began to work in fashion but I’m trying to divert more into the music industry in attempts to direct more videos! So watch this space! My aim would be to direct a Gucci Film or my own feature film.
Who or what would you say is the inspiration behind your artwork?
I love to find stories in everyday life. It’s cliche but my concepts take inspiration from life in general.
I take my aesthetic inspiration from cinematic films especially regarding the colour grade. Artistically I love the worlds that; David Lynch, Tim Burton, Wes Anderson, Tim Walker, Peta Collins & Phillipa Price create. I’m obsessed with anything that’s both surreal and fantastical with a big hint of dark and twisted.
How would you say being a woman has affect this journey? Positively or negatively?
Being a woman in this industry means we’re constantly overlooked, it’s hard to navigate the creative industry when so many “higher up” roles have always been dominated by men, so many of the people I look up to are men because they are who I see have accomplished a career in what i do.
That’s not because there aren’t great woman and non-binary people doing work that I can admire but because they just aren’t ever seen or celebrated as much? However I’m lucky in that I know lots of woman and non binary creatives who I am blessed to work with, I love instagram for that reason I have found so many peers and other woman and non binary creatives I’m starting to widen my view of people to look at for inspiration.
So it’s clear that you’d had an extraordinary journey, Is there anything you would have done differently?
I don’t think I could have done anything differently, I don’t like to have regrets really, I am grateful for all positive and negative experiences I have had up until this point, both have made me, me.
If you could give any advice to your younger self, what would it be?
Words by Emaela Jones
Edited by GLITCH Team