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Posted 14.12.17

Chasing creativity with Aardman Senior Designer Gavin Strange

By Kat Peberdy

Gavin Strange (centre) with students following his talk

By day, he's a senior designer for Aardman Animations, by night he's a designer and director under the alias JamFactory. Gavin Strange is a man of many creative talents, from filmmaking to illustration, public speaking to toy design - enthusiasm for which he discussed with students during his career talk as he encouraged them to follow their passions. 

Full of contagious energy for all things creative, Gavin was a natural choice to lead a career talk with students from across the college, including Graphic Design, Animation and Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern.

His day job at the Academy Award-winning studio Aardman Animations in Bristol sees him working on anything from website design to motion graphics and art direction, with his spare time being taken up by any number of side projects including running a lifestyle store, Strange, and producing a series of Droplet vinyl toys. 

"Work is to be enjoyed, not endured"

– Gavin Strange, Senior Designer

His latest venture saw him take a step into the world of books, and he can now add published author to his extensive CV. Do:Fly written by Gavin and featuring his own photography and graphics, is a book that encourages the reader to explore their creative potential and urges people young or old, to find a fulfilling vocation, to be stimulated and inspired every day. 

The talk, arranged by the Careers & Enterprise team, is just one of an on-going series featuring key figures in the creative industries. Becky Moore, Careers and Employability Manager, spoke of the importance of introducing students to a variety of paths into the workplace.

"It was great to have Gavin Strange speak to our students and take time to chat with them about their plans for the future. It is so important for them to hear first-hand from people who have been in their situation and are making successful careers with their chosen practice.

"The speakers, like Gavin, are always willing to share the ups and downs they may have experienced on their professional journey, as well as hints and tips that students can consider to help with life after graduation. The feedback we receive from the students is that the Industry Talks are really inspiring, and it can be beneficial in so many ways, for instance, we're now discussing with Gavin the opportunity to mentor one of next year's students."

Copies of Gavin's book Do:Fly were made available to students, alongside other editions in the Do Book series from various authors

BA (Hons) Game Arts student Hayleigh Byers said "the talk was incredible, Gavin was so inspiring and so energetic - everything I want to be when I'm older! I learnt that I shouldn't lock myself into one creative discipline, be open to collaborating with people with different specialisms and to not be afraid to experiment.

"In Game Arts the learning is very open, you can work on 3D or 2D art, you can experiment with animation, storyboards, anything that you're interested in. Gavin encouraged us to apply this way of working to the rest of our lives too."