Categories
Fashion Photography

KAYLEIGH GRESTY [@kayleighgrestyphotography]

Kayleigh Gresty is a Bristol-based fashion photographer, working specifically with influencers and brands on their social media campaigns. After battling with her mental health Kayleigh set up her business two years ago, whilst completing her foundation degree. Her work has featured in several magazines and she has photographed global fashion weeks. During lockdown, she has started a new project to keep herself creative and to remind others of this historic time.

You’ve worked as a photographer at Miami and London Fashion Week, can you tell us more about how that opportunity came about? 

It’s a pretty long story! I didn’t have a clue how to shoot a runway before my first show, I sat at home and researched through YouTube videos and Instagram pages before applying for a press pass for a show at London Fashion Week. I still had no idea what I was doing when I showed up but I managed to get through the show and it really opened up a new passion and line of work for me. After that I emailed a local shopping centre and asked if I could photograph their “Bristol Fashion Week” they said yes, and I spent 5 days there practising runway shots and backstage shots. Because I reached out to people and pushed myself passed my comfort zone I got more opportunities, because of these two shows I got the opportunity to photograph Miami Fashion Week, my lecturer at University at the time put my name forward to a company who were heading out to photograph the shows and needed a photographer, I had a couple of interviews but made it through and had one of the most incredible weeks of my career. Then I carried on doing a few more London Fashion Weeks and most recently shot at The Strand during London Fashion Week for Getty Images. All of these opportunities came hand in hand, because I pushed myself to go beyond my boundaries in the first place, all the other opportunities followed. 

You’ve recently started a new project called “Stay Home”, taking photos of people on their doorsteps. Can you tell us more about the motivation behind starting it?

 Since being in lockdown I can’t go out and photograph my clients, I wanted to keep creative and do something that I will be able to look back on in years to come. I asked the community where I live via social media if they would be interested in participating and I got over 60 responses. It’s really given me the motivation to stay creative and carry on photographing and documenting during this time. I’ve of course been sticking to government guidelines, taking the photographs during my daily walks and been keeping to the 2 meters when taking the images. It’s been such a great project and I can’t wait to keep working on it! 

“I took every opportunity that came my way whether that be big or small…”


In regards to qualifications, would you say it is necessary for aspiring photographers to attend university/courses etc? 

I think it really depends on the individual, but I wouldn’t say a degree is necessary to be a photographer. Certain jobs may require a degree but they may also require a certain amount of experience. Having an amazing portfolio of quality work and experience may be just as effective as having a degree in some cases. If you have the opportunity to study photography though and get a degree from it I would 100% recommend, I only got a foundation degree in photography but I’ve still managed to get big jobs.

For those who would like to know a bit about post production, what is your go-to editing software?

 My go-to editing software is Adobe Lightroom Classic 100%! I don’t use anything else, unless I need to get rid of something distracting in an image, then I’ll use Photoshop.

During this time of isolation, you’ve resorted to FaceTime photoshoots, how does this work in comparison to your normal set up? 

FaceTime photoshoots are fun, but they’re no where near the same! I miss being in control, you have no control on the positioning of the camera apart from directing your model to put it in certain places. I do think they are a great way for you and your model to be creative together and figure out shots in a more constructive way! It’s also been a great way to network with new models and meet new people during this time.They’re also great fun, but you feel like you’re not doing as much work at all.


Do you have any side hustles alongside your photography company? I have a job one day a week at my local coffee shop, and I also have an online PDF course for sale on how to take street style photographs. I created this during the first few weeks of lockdown to help me with an income but also to spread my knowledge to people who might need to keep their feeds up to date during this time at home.

In regards to putting your work out there to get to where you are, can you give us an insight to some of the challenges you’ve faced behind the scenes? 

To get where I am now I’d say I’ve face a few challenges both personal and within my business. I have struggled with my mental health massively over the years, I went to university straight from school and wasn’t doing something I loved. Dropping out to pursue photographing was one of my biggest challenges but it was the best decision for my career and my mental health. If I hadn’t made that decision I wouldn’t be in the position I am today! In business though there are always challenges to over come, when I first started I had to figure out how to get into the niche that I wanted, I took every opportunity that came my way whether that be small or big, paid or unpaid. Without the challenges we face in both our personal and business lives we wouldn’t get to where we are, they’re all part of the journey, that’s how I like to look at it! 

Categories
Music Radio

KAYLEE GOLDING [@kayleegolding]

Kaylee Golding is a DJ and award-winning radio presenter. She is originally from Birmingham but is now living in West London. Hence why she follows the slogan ‘Your favourite Gyal From Brum’. Kaylee is gradually building a great reputation in the urban music scene across both Birmingham and London. She has previously DJ’d at some amazing locations including Birmingham Pride, Notting Hill Carnival, and the O2 Institute Birmingham on multiple occasions. She has also done guest mixes on a range of radio stations including Capital Xtra, BBC 1XTRA and Rinse FM. In addition to DJing Kaylee Golding is an award-winning radio presenter. She won “best specialist” at the student radio awards 2018 and 2019. In addition to this, she won the gold and silver award for the ‘best interview’ category in 2019. Kaylee Golding was also selected as one of Radio 1’s Christmas Presenters. With that, she covered Adele Roberts early breakfast show on Radio 1.

You graduated from University of Westminster in Radio and Digital Production, what impact did your university degree have on where you are today?

 I would say the actual experience I gained from university helped me develop more than the actual degree. Being able to use the equipment at university and student radio was a great place for me to develop my skills and practice and make the important mistakes I needed to make to be better!

Did you always know you were going to pursue a career in radio and the music industry?

I always knew I wanted to work in music radio. It has been my dream for a very long time.  I am very thankful that I knew what I wanted to do from a young age because it has given me a lot of time to plan and work towards my career in radio.

What was your route for landing the job of one of Radio 1’s new DJ’s last Christmas?

So I applied for the radio 1 show online. As soon as they put it out, I started to work on a fresh demo. But I didn’t hear anything back and I was gutted! And then at the student radio awards 2019 I won 3 awards, and my student station won best station. Part of the prize of winning was to do the shows on Radio 1. It was incredible!

You’ve interviewed some mad artists, including Krept & Konan, Afro B, Young T and Bugsey to name a few, what new or emerging artist would you love to interview?

 I am very very lucky to say that I have interviewed many of my favourite UK artists. But I would love to interview Tion Wayne. I love his vibe and I have been a fan of his music for a long time.

You also DJ, what music genre has had the biggest influence on you?

I would say UK rap has had the biggest influence on me. I have grown as a DJ and presenter as the UK rap scene has developed. It’s been amazing to watch everything grow.

In regards to networking and putting in work to get to where you are, can you give us an insight to some of the challenges you’ve faced behind the scenes?

The biggest challenge I think is how much volunteering has to take place before getting where you would like to be. Yes the hours are investing in yourself and your experience. But it did use to be challenging balancing, working, education and then also volunteering everywhere I could. But it really was all worth it!

When winning Best Interview at the Student Radio Awards 2019, you mentioned mental health, do you think this is a challenging subject amongst rappers?

Mental health is a very sensitive subject for many people, let alone people in the limelight. In the past couple years we have seen quite a few UK rappers struggle with mental health. Most rappers try to be private about this until they really reach breaking point, and to the point that it is affecting their work rate. It’s a shame that they feel like have to get to that point before speaking out.

“It’s all about networking, if you don’t ask, you don’t get.”

You present on a The Beat London 103.6FM and have presented on variety of other radio channels, how did you go about getting these opportunities?

It’s all about networking if you don’t ask you don’t get. I spend a lot of time making demo’s and making sure my work is EVERYWHERE. And then even more time emailing programme directors asking for opportunities.

What would your advice be for any young person wanting to get a kick-start in the radio industry?

My advice would be to network, network, network. If you really love what you do, and master your craft, someone will spot it and will offer a helping hand.

Have you got any suggestions on where to look for jobs within the radio industry? Websites/schemes etc?

Definitely check out local community stations, they need you as much as you need them. Radio Today is also a great site for both the latest radio news and jobs!

Categories
Visual Merchandising

ANNA SMITH [@akat_creations]

Anna is a visual merchandising assistant for Selfridges & Co, a retailer that has been awarded “The Best Department Store in the World”. She went from intern to full time with Selfridges alongside delving into other areas of the creative industry along the way.

You currently work for Selfridges & Co. as a Visual Merchandiser, could you give us an insight to what a day at work would look like?

My usual day at Selfridges starts at 7/7:30am quick morning briefing of actions that needs doing from the weekly floor walk, such as mannequin changes, suite movements, window feedback and extra cleaning. We try get most of the jobs done before store opens at 10, mid morning break with a
tea and catch up on progress with jobs list. Then depending on how far we are along with scheme we will be doing research, creative meetings organising the void/ storage spaces and making suites for the new scheme. – the days go very fast!

As a graduate in Design for Performance, what did uni do for you in regards to where you are now in the creative industry?

The course I did at uni was very broad which allowed me to explore lots of topics before I landed on VM, I was given the work experience opportunity at Selfridges through uni, as the VM manager did the same course. Tutors had a broad knowledge of design and helped me with the degree as much as they could but anything specific to VM for my research I used books in the library.

“Throw yourself into any work experience you get and be patient when you leave uni…”

Have you taken part in any internships/work experience? If so, where and what did you get out of it?

Yes I have done 4 different types of work experience fiction foundry (film set), 2000 Trees (festival), Shiny People (events) and Selfridges (VM). They were all very fun, hands on and creative. I’m a very practical person so I got a lot of practical building and craft skills also a background knowledge on how different industry’s work.

Where do you draw most of your inspo when coming up with the window and display ideas?

Pintrest is a great way to inspire new ways to design, when we get our pack briefing from London
for schemes they have some funky pictures from artist to draw inspo.

Any advice for young creatives/graduates wanting to pursue a career in visual merchandising?

Advice I’d give would be to throw yourself into any work experience you get and be patient when you leave uni your career wont start straight away it takes time to build.

Your dream brand/retailer you’d love to design a window for?

Dream retailer I either Selfridges or Louis Vuitton – based my dissertation on their windows.

Categories
Photography

MICHAEL MWANGI MAINA [@_.zuluu]

Michael Mwangi Maina is a 23 year old creative based in Nairobi, Kenya who majors as a photographer and creative director. 

How has growing up in Nakuru, Kenya influenced your creativity when taking your photographs?

I’ve always been drawn to nature ever since I could remember, I loved the outdoor especially when it was green, the sky blue, that perfect sunlight that makes colors pop, people about their day, people together. This automatically transpired in my creations when I started out photography, it is what drives me and is the base of my creations.

Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

I draw my inspiration from everyday life, the Kenyan narrative is what the aim is, infusion of this and fashion as a narrative is the ultimate goal. I also source a lot of inspiration from film.

You’re the creative director for 199xKenya, what sort of thing does your role include?

199xKenya is art induced company that majors on film and apparel. My role has been to mould the image and output of the company in correlation to the two head sections.We have great things in store in the coming days and we’re really excited for the things we’re about to do.

“We’re putting Kenya on the map through our creations and the aim is to inspire the same narrative to the young on the come up.”

Is there anything you particularly want to capture through your photos?

Emotion, activity, in abstract portraying the normal. Just to sum it all in one sentence.

Is there anyone you’d love to photograph? Or, any specific brand?

 I have dreams of shooting for Gucci.

What can we expect from you in the next year or so? Have you got any exciting projects coming soon?

I’m really excited for this stage of my craft and the vision is clearer. A couple of beautiful projects to be released soon via 199xKenya. Like I said, we’re about to change the rhythm of the music we’ve been accustomed to in the creative industry. We’re putting Kenya on the map through our creations and the aim is to inspire the same narrative to the young on the come up.

Categories
Music

MARY SHO [@marysho]

Mary Sho is a singer/songwriter from South East London born and raised off Walworth Road, of Nigerian descent. Mary has provided backing vocals for a few artists to satisfy her hunger for singing and continued to write song. Trials and tribulations followed, whilst also relseasing 2 EP’s between 2014-2016 named Heart Trip (produced by Dotnic) and Lightlife (produced by Team Salute) which was played by BBC London Introducing.

Your song No Time is your most recent single out, what was the inspiration behind the track?

I wish I could say this track was about love or a situationship  but No Time it’s different it was written as part as my Album, during that time a lot of my friends where getting married, having babies and getting mortgages etc. At the time I wasn’t in that mind frame, I was in a relationship but not at that stage yet. So when I was hanging around my friends at the time I felt we where on different pages, we wanted to do different things and I had no time for the things they wanted to do and vice versa. That’s essentially what inspired me to write the track.

In your Spotify bio, it mentions you were shy as a child when it came to singing, how has music had an impact on your confidence growing up?

I think music helped me express what was always inside me and I did it long enough that I became who I was always meant to be. Confident.

How has growing up in South East London and being of Nigerian descent impacted your music style?

Yes, being originally from Nigeria and growing up in south London definitely has influence my music, most of the music I make has influences from everywhere from RnB, Pop , Afro jazz. You’re taking in the culture of London but also soaking up Nigerian culture from my parents.

“…work on your craft, find your voice, know what you want to do with music…”

What advice would you give to young musicians wanting to pursue a career in the music industry?

Advice I would give would be work on your craft, find your voice, know what you want to do with music and try to stay up to date with the business. Also there is funding available for new musicians a good place to start it’s PRS foundation.

Dream artist to collab with on a track?!

Solange! And Tame Impala.

After the pandemic is over, can we see you going on a tour any time soon?

Yes definitely planning to gig and have UK tour, that’s something I’m really looking forward to, you know connecting with fans and music lovers. I would love to gig outside the UK, definitely going to make sure that happens.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m dropping a new single on the 31st May called ‘All My Girls’ it’s a fav so keep a lookout for that.

Categories
Graphic Design Merchandise Design Photography

JULIA FLETCHER [@juliafletcherphoto]

Julia Fletcher is a music-based designer and photographer based in Manhattan, NY. She is a merchandise designer for Second City Prints, a photographer for AdHoc Presents, a Brooklyn event promoter and print publication, and an editorial intern for Alt Citizen, an online music publication for NYC music & culture. Inspired by the colors and artwork of 70’s/80’s new wave/post-punk album artwork, she brings a fun, colorful, and nostalgic feeling to musician’s identities through poster design, album artwork, and merchandise. Her personal work explores internet culture, online perception, and appropriation, usually through the lens of humor and personal experience. 

TRIGGER WARNING: This interview talks about substance abuse and emotional/domestic abuse.

Absolutely love your collection of writings ‘Private Show’ you shared on your Instagram. Can you tell us a bit more about the inspiration behind creating this?

My senior year of college I was dealing with a lot of emotions and trauma I couldn’t even begin to process. I knew I wanted to make work about it but didn’t know how to go about it. I thought long and hard but nothing really seemed to click, but sometimes things that are meant to be come out naturally. One night I just thought “well what if I put my writings about alcohol on a liquor store receipt so the presentation matches the subject matter?” and from there everything else was easy.

Receipt from ‘Private Show’ by Julia Fletcher

You‘re a photo major, what did art school do for you in regards to finding who you were as a designer?

I graduated with a BFA in photo from art school thinking I was going to get a job as a photographer. I quickly learned that’s a lot harder than I thought, so I adapted to the job field around me and picked up more of those multidisciplinary jobs that allow you to do design, video, photo, animation, etc. for social media. The NYC job industry hasn’t exactly been kind to me, so I got sucked into healthcare to help me pay rent in the city while I looked for something else. While I accepted a corporate job, I started designing after I got home from work to give myself something to do. I found that I liked it a lot more than I thought, and created a brand new portfolio for myself and started pursuing that more. Art school didn’t do much for me as far as me figuring out who I was as a designer because I figured that out by myself post grad! 

Young creatives often find a lot of pressure to know “all” the design programmes, is this something you think is overrated? And for those wondering, what are your go-to design programmes to use?

You definitely don’t need to know all the design programs. I find that it’s easy to cheat your way to the top — all of my work is creating in Photoshop and sometimes people think I use Illustrator but to be honest I don’t know the first thing about Illustrator. If you can get the work done on your own terms, don’t feel pressured to learn how to make things another way.

What advice would you give to someone trying to find their “style” within design?

As designers I feel like our style comes out subconsciously whether we know it or not. What we make is inspired by every single piece of media, advertisement, and graphic we’ve ever seen and admired. So even if you don’t think you have a “style” yet, you definitely have styles you gravitate towards. The best advice I could give is find work you really love and try to figure out why you love it, and just keep making stuff because you’ll find out quickly what you do like do make and what you don’t like to make.

You love music-based design, where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

I draw almost all of my inspiration from album artwork and music itself! Specifically 70s/80s punk album covers and posters. Sometimes I’ll hear an album that will inspire a certain graphic style or color palette, based on how the music makes me feel. When I’m designing for a specific artist, like a commission for example, I’ll listen to that band to get a better feel for them as artists, to see what about them inspires me. Also constantly inspired by the internet and small artists I follow on Instagram.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Create work for yourself! Not for other’s approval — there’s that saying “If someone else likes it, that’s just a plus” and I stand by that every day.

Categories
Fashion

JESS LENEY TILLETT & NAOMI WATKINS [@j.a.m.studios]

“We are J.A.M Studios; Jess Leney Tillett and Naomi (Nam) Watkins. We went to Kingston University together where we met and our story began. By second year we were living together and the more we worked around each other we realised how similar our design aesthetic and morals were as well as growing a huge appreciation for each other’s work. We’ve lived together ever since and we’re now based in Tooting, London, in a small flat/studio (much to our tidy boyfriends’ dismay). We make everything we sell with our own four hands, sewing every stitch and VERY patiently threading every bead ourselves. Imagine us as your older, slightly eccentric sisters sewing you fucking steezy pieces of clothing to match ours. Part of what we think makes J.A.M so great is that we recognise that fashion is not sustainable and that something needs to shift. But everyone wants clothes that make them smile when they look at them. Our response to this is to
use discontinued fabrics and trimmings whenever we possibly can, which comes at a price – it takes time, effort and money to source and the quantity and choice is limited, sometimes affecting the designs of our pieces. But we also believe this is what makes us so special; every decision
regarding materials has been deliberated over (with a glass of wine to help decide) to make it right for the environment and our customers.”

Starting your own fashion label is a huge step to take, what motivated you both to start J.A.M? What have you learnt throughout the process?

We have always talked about starting our own brand together since the start of Uni, but never had the opportunity or balls to take the plunge. We are now both at the right time in our lives to have a J.A.M baby. We have such a huge appreciation for so many fashion brands that we love, however we’ve always felt we would like to put our own spin on it. Finding a fashion brand to work at with the same aesthetic and morals is hard, so we are filling that hole with J.A.M! This gives us the freedom to do whatever we want, in a way that suits us and our ethics. There is a gap in the market for J.A.M, for clothing and accessories that are fun and environmentally conscious, without using hemp all the time. 

We are still learning so much, we feel like we have barely started and have a lot to figure out still. But so far we are staying afloat and having a great time doing it. It’s the skills we didn’t even consider that we are really pushing ourselves to get savvy at; for example, Instagram marketing is a lot harder than you think. As people, we are relatively modest about our work so trying to push and market our brand has been a big confidence lesson, we don’t like being pushy but apparently that’s what you need to do to sell, sell, SELL! Another thing we have had to adapt to is juggling a full-time job with J.A.M, there are simply not enough hours in the day. We would love an extra few hours a day for J.A.M please. 

J.A.M’s Handmade Flower Bead Necklace

Where do you draw most of your inspiration from? 

We start with individual visual research around a vague theme, then come together with our separate takes on the buzzword themes. We seem to spiral into a frenzy of inspiration, bouncing imagery ideas off each other and getting more excited with every juicy new picture. We both contribute different things and have our own unique way of approaching the theme and mood- board. Jess focuses on photographers from all eras that she’s drooled over as well as historic fashion garments, and Naomi offers incredible artists that are more textural to inspire the fabrication and heel-clicking textile techniques. Although we try to keep our research authentic by basing it on photography and design textbooks, we have to admit that Instagram is a massive influence; we all know that social media has its drawbacks but it’s also a great source of visual imagery. And we get very excited when we’ve both screenshotted the same post. #inspo.

As J.A.M is a relatively new label to the world, do you have any additional side hustles?

We both have full-time jobs so this is our side hustle at the moment, it’s our little baby. Naomi is working and currently looking for a new job in all this quarantine madness, and Jess is working as a freelance junior designer for Mira Mikati in London. We have to pay the bills and the cost of getting this company going, but we put most of our free time into this so that hopefully one day it will be our main bae.

Where would you love to see J.A.M in the next five years?

In five years’ time we would love to see J.A.M standing on its own four feet running around in beautiful clothes with all its little fashion friends. It would be great if this could be our full time job by that time, with a cult following and loyal customers that love everything as much as we do. It would be a dream to have a proper studio so we don’t keep covering our carpets in thread and maybe even an employee of our own.

“We’re not big and glitzy but want to keep it for the homegirls.”

If you could have any celebrity to be the face of J.A.M, who would you choose and why?

We don’t really look to celebrities as idols for our brand. We’re not big and glitzy but want to keep it for the homegirls. We do however love a lot of influencers on Instagram, especially the Copenhagen babes. Some of our favourites are @annawinck and @simonenoa. They wear a lot of the same brands that we align with as well as having a very playful, colourful style that we appreciate. Their lifestyle as a whole we adore, from their pink patterned plates to the funkiest of hats, we love it all.

Which were the most useful skills you acquired at Uni?

The main skill we both think we learnt from Uni was time management. You have to plan things and set realistic goals. Learning to juggle and be proactive in setting your own path is key to making any business work. A huge part of Uni for both of us was how much it built our confidence and stretched our minds with creative ideas. Working alongside so many inspirational people and tutors taught us about how important community and collaboration is. We learnt so many practical skills while at Uni, from pattern cutting, to knitting, to all-nighters on illustrator. We are hugely thankful for our Uni experience because it’s enabled us to do what we are doing now, as well as provide the foundation for our business – we met on the first day of Uni and have been best friends ever since.

J.A.M’s Sterling Silver Handmade Flower Bead Earrings

Have either of you taken part in any Internships/work experience? If so where and what did you get out of it?

We have both dipped our toes into the mad world of internships, and have more than a few under our colourful belts and a few stories to tell. Jess’ most influential internship was with Victoria Beckham… Spicy. Although we were always told to be creative in Uni, internships open your eyes to the business side of the industry and you have to reign it all in again and the whole experience can be quite intimidating. But Jess’ boss became more of a mentor figure and told her to be creative, drape, draw, enjoy fabrics, jump on a train to another country to do interviews, do whatever it takes to keep fashion an art form instead of losing it to the corporate bureaucracy. Naomi’s craziest internship was with Chanel in Paris as a textile designer, which was super exciting and pinch-yourself mad to be around people she had looked up to for so long; what she learnt most is how to deal with big egos and scary office politics though. Devil Wears Prada isn’t fictional ladies and gents.

Is there anything you’d both like to add?

Making this company work so smoothly is mostly down to that fact that there are two of us. When one of us is busy or life gets in the way, the other is always there to pick up the slack. We get so excited about what we’re doing and we hype each other up even if it’s just a small thing like making the perfect flower bead or stamping a label perfectly… We go crazy. Also a bonus is that we get to spend every day together making cool shit and laughing through the whole of it. It’s not easy, cheap or as glamorous as you’d think but boy oh boy it’s sweet, like jam. 

Categories
Graphic Design

LAETITIA ARNOLD [@_lae_art_]

Laetitia is a self-taught creative originally from the French part of Switzerland currently living in London. Her music driven graphics and funky fonts make an eye catching insta feed waiting to be noticed by main stream pop artists. We believe she is one to keep an eye on.

Music seems to be a huge inspiration for your designs, Little Mix especially (!), what is it that motivates you to design graphics for musicians?

Music is a big inspiration to me, it’s like the brief and I create from that brief. Little Mix are one of my favourite artists if not my favourite! Pop music is very inspiring for me visually for some reason. It motivates me to design graphics for musicians especially because I think that the visual part is very, if not, as important as the content (the song, the music video). Nowadays, with social media and the digital world, we count a lot on images and the visual aspect. So associating an album, an artist, a musician, a song, a music video to an artwork is something I love doing. The fact there are “no rules”, no brief, it gives me more freedom to create these concepts, fan-art works.

What advice would you give someone wanting to teach themselves to create designs for artists?

One advice I’d give to someone wanting to teach themselves to create designs for artists, is definitely the Internet of course. For some designs, I do a lot of research about a theme in particular – i.e let’s say I’d like to create a vintage poster, I’ll look for different posters online, popular and known works and get inspired by the recurring elements, colours, shapes, typography styles. I also watch a lot of tutorial videos, step-by-step videos and then add my personal touch. I am a “go with the flow” person too, so I’d try different things and see what works, looks the best.

Did you attend any art colleges/university? If so, what skills did you learn that you have been able to transfer into your work?

I never attended university. I did business studies in Switzerland before moving to London. I took some Media and Art classes within my International Language campus course when I came to London a few years ago. I gained skills in Marketing, Journalism, Photography and Screenwriting even, which were quite different than just Graphics. I think the interest became stronger as living in London and my love for pop music in general.

What are your go-to programmes when designing a print?

My go-to programme is Photoshop. I have used Illustrator once for a couple of designs. I liked it but it was more complicated for me. I like learning new skills on Photoshop and getting to know it better.

“I think that the visual part is very, if not, as important as the content (the story, music video)”

Where do you draw most of your inspiration from?

I draw most of my inspiration from other creatives on Instagram. Behance is such a great platform too. I sometimes have a glimpse on Pinterest. I also go with trends. Another form of inspiration would be a music video for example. I love a photomontage, collage, and adding a strong typography to the piece. So I’d say musicians obviously are a big inspiration for my designs.

Apart from Little Mix, who would be your dream artist/s to design an album cover for?

I’d love to design an album for upcoming artists maybe. I don’t have anyone in particular in mind. But the idea of creating a whole brand, image is very interesting I think. With Little Mix, I use this base (fonts, photos) I have and work around it. I would certainly love to work on an album cover with them (dream!!). Someone else I’d love to design an album cover for could be an artist doing a comeback and needing a rebrand. It would be quite challenging!

I’m not professionally using my art (yet) but would love to turn my “fan-art”/concepts into reality and work in the creative industry maybe. For creatives. it’s now easier to get your work out and seen with the different social media platforms. However, I think there might be too much going on sometimes and it gets messy. So it’s great when there’s a (new) platform just for just creatives and I do support new creative businesses, brands and magazines, etc.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Something I’d like to add is: creativity is therapy. For me it’s a form of getting your mind out of things. Focus on a particular artwork helps. Learning new ways, new skills. Also, the feeling of accomplishment, achievement when your work is seen and appreciated. 

I recently took part in this campaign with “Creatives Against Covid-19” – creativesagainstcovid19 on Instagram – where creatives, anyone, could submit a poster with the theme “Soon” and a small brief. This was something I’ve never done before so I had to look on how to have the right size and margins etc. for my document. Then posters being sold via their website and funds going to two different organisations. 

So with that, knowing your work has some sort of impact is amazing. Contributing, taking part in something like that was excellent and new for me. I got very inspired by others! 

Another thing is when the artists themselves appreciate your work, it feels like an achievement. The goal with social media and creatives is obviously your work to be seen and have an impact somehow. So when it happens, it’s a lovely feeling. It also reminds people of the good side of social media and how people can support each others.

Categories
Film TV

MOLLY CRAGGS [@mollycraggsdesign]

Molly works in Film and TV, currently as an art department assistant for Coronation Street on ITV. She graduated from Birmingham City University in Design for Theatre, Performance and Events. Since then, Molly has undertaken work in both feature length and short films, as well as TV and visual merchandising.

You currently work for ITV as an Art Department Assistant for Coronation Street, could you give us an insight to what a day on set would look like?

For this role I do a range of: prop making, set dressing, graphic design, CAD & general admin. My usual day varies a lotttt, some days are more office based & others I’ll spend all over site, including in the prop store & paint workshop, occasionally I get to go to locations too! We get jobs from art directors & standby art directors for each block of filming and largely work from this. In terms of prop making, this includes creating art work/drawings that a character has supposed to have done (including children’s art work), making decorations for themed sets (eg Valentine’s Day events), and creating posters (to name a few!) We also design/make the seasonal window displays for the street’s flower shop.

Graduating with a First Class BA (Hons) in Design for Performance, what did uni do for you in regards to finding who you were as a designer?

Uni really helped me narrow down which part of the creative industry I wanted to enter. When I started the course I was very confused about what I wanted to do (in first year it changed week by week), but through trying different practices in modules I found that I had a specific interest for design for tv & film. In third year I focused on this and because of this I did a lot of research around the tv & film industry and common practices in it. Uni also helped me to experiment a lot, but I’m definitely still trying to work out (hands on) how I work best as a designer and what my style is.

Have you taken part in any internships/work experience? If so, where and what did you get out of it?

I have worked on several unpaid film shoots which I guess count as work experience. This topic is rather controversial regarding the low/no pay of assistants/students/newbies, and I was very privileged to be in a place where I could just about afford to work for just expenses, but this is not true for everyone trying to break into the industry which makes it difficult. But yes, I worked on four films unpaid as an art department assistant, I then (on the NFTS volunteer database) volunteered for a day shoot as an art director.

“I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn from being hands-on, watching others, and most importantly, by making mistakes.”

I also acted as production designer (it’s easier to get higher ranking roles if they’re not paying, again sadly) for a few days for part of a feature length film. This last one got me a contact for three paid feature length films, which was fantastic. The main thing I got from this was on-set, real life experience (bit cheesy I know), but for me, uni doesn’t come close to being on set and learning by doing; I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn from being hands-on, watching others, and most importantly, by making mistakes.

In regards to networking and putting in work to get to where you are, can you give us an insight to some of the challenges you’ve faced behind the scenes?

One of the biggest challenges for me has been self confidence, trying to convince myself that I was good enough for opportunities has been hard. Also dealing with rejection, I had a three month period where I just wasn’t getting anything back from applications/emails etc. and it definitely takes a toll on you mentally. Also getting to a level where I’m paid (properly) has taken longer than I wanted it to, but I’m very grateful for the experiences I’ve had.

Have you got any suggestions on where to look for jobs within the TV/Film industry for someone graduating?

There are so many Facebook groups that constantly have job adds on, a few I’m on are: – art department film & tv industry- art department- northern freelance tv production staff- crew me now- art department uk- female film crews – London Screenskills has an annual “trainee finder” which opens for applications November/December, you can put in an application for the role you want (select from a list) and if you get through, it’s a year long paid internship within high-end film/tv.Also find designers/companies you want to work for and EMAIL them! Don’t be disheartened if they don’t reply, but it’s definitely worth doing as they may get you in for experience/hire you/consider you for future jobs. Also use all the connections you can, if your mum’s friend’s husband’s brother works at a company (etc.) you want to work at, talk to them!

“Always act as though someone’s watching, because they probably are, and you want to be recommended…”

Do you find actively networking helps you find new opportunities?

Personally, networking on sites like LinkedIn has done nothing for me. The best networking I’ve done is by making friends/being friendly with people on jobs & getting recommended for future jobs/being known for being reliable/hard working etc. So basically always act as though someone’s watching, because they probably are, and you want to be recommended, not talked negatively about.

Have you always wanted to be involved in TV/Film, or have you thought your passion for design would take you down another route in the creative industry?

I originally thought I wanted to go into theatre design! I’m still not against taking on creative work that’s not film/tv based, but that is my preference (and I absolutely love it).

What would be your dream TV/Film to assist with in regards to set dressing/design?

Absolute dream shows to work on would be: Brooklyn Nine Nine, Sex Education, Stranger Things and just any big budget film, like it would be a literal dream to be able to go to the cinema and see my name somewhere in the credits!