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Posted 08.06.17

Degree Shows 2017: Ten to watch

By Sarah Packer

With 2017’s Degree Shows open 10-22 June (see our event page for opening times), our graduating BA (Hons) students proudly present their final major projects – the culmination of years spent studying, experimenting, growing and making with us.

Below, we feature ten must-see works from a new wave of makers ready to take over the creative industries – so expect bold concepts and fresh techniques across an eclectic range of mediums, both modern and traditional. In no particular order…

Ben Lintell

BA (Hons) Contemporary Crafts

‘Free Fall’

Since Ben discovered his passion for glass during his degree, he has regularly travelled to Paris, interning with glass artisans Studio Le Four under the tutelage of Jeremy Wintrebert. It was here that he developed an interest in detailed filigrana cane work, a technique that he began incorporating into his own work.

Speaking of his most recent collection ‘Free Fall’, Ben said: “For the Degree Shows at the college, I knew that I wanted to progress these ideas of cascading intent that I picked up in Paris. Throughout nature, there are beautiful patterns of movement, emergent twists and vortexes within the flow of group movement. Layers of contrasting direction interact with each other within a murmuration to create these effects, bringing the form to life. It is the individual paths within that are integral to describing the form as they travel from sky to ground.

“These new pieces explore the relationship between the form and the emergent pattern constructed from these individual paths of flowing movements. The forms cast a curving path through space that suspends the twisting and compounding pattern as they glide in a free fall.”

Watch our film of Ben in the studio here. // @blintell

Ben Lintell, BA (Hons) Contemporary Crafts  'Free Fall'

Penny Chan

BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing


From internships at Dazed and Peter Jensen to Freelance Fashion Assistant at GQ Style, Penny is set to graduate with a number of big names in her portfolio. In the past few months, she's worked as styling assistant on exclusive shoots for:

Topman Suit and Topman A/W17 international campaigns, a Topman blog feature & campaign with model Lennon Gallagher, for Dr Martens S/S18 international campaign, with British GQ in partnership with Next and prepping and styling for Take That's Wonderland tour.

Penny has combined her love of graphic design with her magazine-house experience to create the zine ‘GIRLHOOD’. Penny said of the project: “The concept behind the zine is to “disrupt the system,” inspired by the punk movement and in protest against the highly polished photography and film in the fashion industry. I’ve networked with different photographers at the college to curate work for the zine, and have been able to really develop my graphic design skills.”

Named as Best Graduate outside London by Creative Bloq.


Penny Chan, BA (Hons) Fashion Media & Marketing

Maciej Krzyminski

Foundation Diploma in Art & Design and BA (Hons) Photography

‘Seven Trees’

Delicate and deeply insightful, just some of the words that have been used to describe Maciej’s photographs. His graduate series ‘Seven Trees’ explores themes of memory and nostalgia and will exhibit at our Degree Shows and the full series unveiled at Free Range Shows in London.

Maciej explains the thinking behind the series: "This body of work explores the pursuit of reconnecting with the author's earliest childhood memories. The attempt describes the sentimental longing for a period of time, from the past, or perhaps longing for something that never was.

“This experiment is a way of trying to heal a wound or maybe go back in time, a way of reconnecting to a moment. Each image represents a memory, which on first glance seems simple, but everything within the frame has been carefully thought through. There is not a single object within the image that the author has not made a decision on. The simplicity allows the viewer to interpret the photograph in their own way."

Read Aesthetica Magazine's interview with Maciej here. // @maciejkrzyminski

Maciej Krzyminski, BA (Hons) Photography

Sarah Court

Foundation Diploma in Art & Design and BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern

Sarah has already proven herself as a dynamic designer, recently winning a Mercedes-Benz smart car competition for her design work (the car will be debuted at our show), and recognised for her colour work by the Society of Dyers and Colourists (SDC).

Focusing on the theme of waves and aquatic life, Sarah’s work culminates in a collection of luxury interiors, including an extravagant king size bed, a result of Sarah’s collaboration with globally renowned bed manufacturer Vispring.

Sarah said of the inspirations and motivations behind her work: “I’m interested in exploring the concept of a contemporary heirloom: durable, experiential products are what I hope to design, intended for a long life span and a provider of rich emotional experiences for multiple users. Focus will be placed on natural materials, long lasting products and meticulous making, which resonates with the heritage and values of Vispring.”

“An early painting from this project of an estuary oyster farm served as my original colour palette inspiration, which was developed to include the warmth of a recurring orangey tone found throughout my visual research. Multi-tonal light pinks work gently with chalky white and grey-blue notes, cool painterly dark greens and black dominate but are instantly warmed and balanced by glimpses of corally washed out orange.”

Sarah Court's collaboration with renowned bed manufacturer Vispring.

Jake Williams

BA (Hons) Illustration

‘Resilient Reptiles’

As an illustrator, designer and animator, Jake’s shape-based vector illustrations incorporate bold, vibrant colours in a balanced and considered manner. He draws inspiration from several different areas, from culture and nature to film, TV and science.

Demonstrating his strong use of characters and concepts, Jake’s graduate project ‘Resilient Reptiles’ culminates in a fully-illustrated 26-page nonfiction children’s book focusing on the unique ways that reptiles of the world have adapted to survive.

Named as Best Graduate outside London by Creative Bloq. // @jkwilliams_

Jake Williams, BA (Hons) Illustration

Sarah Damo

BA (Hons) Game Arts

‘Wonder Seekers’

Hailing from Italy, game artist and illustrator Sarah Damo invites visitors to step into a world of virtual reality with her graduate project ‘Wonder Seekers’.

The story focuses on a girl in a near-future, post-apocalyptic world, who runs a robot repair shop and takes part in adventures with her companion, a large mutated parrot. Together the pair collect materials that they use to fix robots, working towards finding a clean energy source that can make the planet habitable by humans again.

Sarah’s work is truly unique, merging traditional and digital illustration styles with 3D and VR to create concepts for environments, assets and characters including 3D models for characters and machinery within the game.

Sarah said of her personal style: “I’m greatly influenced by Renaissance art, in the use of composition, colours and imagery, and Impressionism, in the use of light and different types of brush strokes.

“For ‘Wonder Seekers’ I combined these influences and tried to add more vibrant tonality to the colours, alongside restrictive palettes for certain environments. I hope that the end result communicates a strong story and mood with the viewer.”

Named as Best Graduate outside London by Creative Bloq. // @damosarah

Sarah Damo, BA (Hons) Game Arts 'Wonder Seekers'

Alex Lee

Extended Degree and BA (Hons) Painting, Drawing & Printmaking

“The mind of the painter must resemble a mirror, which always takes the colour of the object it reflects and is occupied by the images of as many objects as are in front of it.” – Leonardo DaVinci

Citing the words of Leonardo Da Vinci as a way to understanding his work, Alex uses psychological self-portraiture as a vehicle for the exploration of paint, undergoing a cathartic process to deal with personal issues of identity and loss, resulting in vibrant works steeped in personal symbolism.

“I like Basquiat’s philosophy, which is: “I don’t think about art when I am working, I try to think about life”. This rings true to me, whilst I don’t abandon consideration for formal qualities whilst I paint, I do find myself in a semi-meditative state when all my thoughts, dreams, ambitions and regrets are all present.

“By painting myself, I am giving myself a vehicle to explore my materials with freedom and from this freedom, the work either arrives at a resolved state or fails completely. I would go as far as to say the paint is actually the ‘real’ subject. The paintings themselves sit somewhere between representation and non-representation.” // @alexleeartist

Alex Lee 'i can still hear it in my room past midnight'

Alice Shilling

BA (Hons) Costume Production & Associated Crafts

‘Burlesque Beyoncé & The Polypus Human’

Each year, our Costume students put on an incredible show with actors in extravagant costumes welcoming visitors on opening night. Fascinated by the glamorous world of Burlesque, Alice’s first costume interprets a design for Beyoncé, Mrs Carter Show Tour by Hayden Williams. Exploring Burlesque for her dissertation and creating this costume has allowed Alice to gain an in-depth understanding of the art form while developing her technical skills.

Alice’s second costume is an entry for the World of Wearable Art competition in New Zealand. Embracing the theme, Science Fiction, Alice has designed a creature for planet Earth in year 3446, which she believes will be submerged under the sea, resulting in the evolution of humans. From her design Alice has used her passion for creating creatures, headpieces and working with plastazote, to broaden and develop her technical skills to create her fascinating octopus human…The Polypus Human. // @alicerosecostumes

Alice Shilling 'Burlesque Beyoncé & The Polypus Human'. Photos by Dom Moore

Sam Turner

Extended Degree and BA (Hons) Fine Art

Being struck by the physicality of reality and an abundance of materials, Sam Turner has a compulsion to physically engage with the materials and objects that surround us. His work explores and examines our relationships with the overlooked aspects of the physical world and how they can reveal new or hidden connections.

Speaking of his graduate project, Sam said: “The seemingly incorporeal nature of digital media is only ever accessed through physical means; that of interacting with screens. We can be absorbed by these screens in a way that is reminiscent of transitioning into a ‘zoned out’ space when staring into a fire - reenacting, in some ways, how ancient tribes would have gathered around fires to commune and pass information.

“In contemporary life, digital media is becoming the most prominent and prolific contributor of information. But when the screens stop omitting digital information they become just another object to discard. In salvaging broken screens, what arose through repeated processes of deconstructing, examining, experimenting and reconstructing, was an alternative display of information. The physical presence of screens that always exists has been reconfigured, so that new, hidden or forgotten potentials can emerge.” //

Sam Turner, BA (Hons) Fine Art - see the full installation in Studio 45 during the shows

Josh Fathers

Extended Degree and BA (Hons) Graphic Design

‘Social Fabric’

In ‘Social Fabric’, Josh has examined the ways people communicate in the situations when talking to other people is a choice and not a necessity. Travelling around local communities he recorded anonymous conversations, putting himself into unfamiliar situations, resulting in a journal of communication in everyday life.

Speaking of his motivation in creating ‘Social Fabric’, Josh said, “I wanted to document the everyday, the quirks of how people talk in the real world and all of the little things that aren’t remembered.

“I’ve created a journal, something physical and tactile, that I hope will evoke the spirit of the time it was created within. I’m passionate about typography, but I knew that ‘Social Fabric’ couldn’t rely solely on words, so I’ve also used a very rough and raw form of photography to catch glimpses of the kind of everyday environments that I wanted to capture.”

Named as Best Graduate outside London by Creative Bloq. // @jfathers

Josh Fathers, BA (Hons) Graphic Design

See all of the fantastic work from our 500+ talented students across all levels at our Degree Shows 2017, 10-22 June, free and open to all. See our event page for opening times.

But it's not all about third-year work from our Undergraduate degree programmes. You can also see work from our Foundation Diploma in Art & Design students and Young Arts courses, Short Courses and the groups of our charity partner Jeremiah's Journey.

The public can get involved too, with many pieces of art available to purchase, film screenings and live presentations running throughout the duration of the show – including our Media Showcase at Vue Cinema and our unmissable Graduate Fashion Show.

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with #BreakingThrough17

Press? Contact for high-res images, artist statements, press releases and more.