21-year-old Ash Henderson is on Cloud Nine. Fresh from a Sky Award win at New Designers – the London graduate show for aspiring illustrators, artists and designers of the future – the Grimsby-born designer’s eyes are firmly fixed on his own future: in the industry.
We caught up with Ash on the back of his New Designers Sky Award win (which scored Ash £1,000 and a month's internship – as well as a teary mum on the other end of the phone) about Plymouth, aspirations, and life at the college.
Hi Ash. Congratulations on the win! How do you feel?
Thanks! It’s overwhelming. Very overwhelming. I was shocked. I didn’t expect it at all. When they first said my name I didn’t hear it properly but everyone on my course just started jumping on me. It hasn’t sunk in at all. I need to ring my mum. She will cry instantly, guaranteed.
First prize is £1,000 and a one month internship at Sky…
I didn’t have a clue that was the prize to begin with... It’s great! This is exactly what I wanted to do [at New Designers]. I want to get opportunities in the industry. I didn’t expect it would be with someone as big as Sky though – huge! I think I’ll learn a lot on the internship. Sky’s a big company and it’s at their creative headquarters. I’ve done live briefs before and an internship but this is a step up.
Your project is called Now You See Us Now You Don’t. Tell us what it’s all about.
It’s an interactive educational experience for children aged four to 10 that uses thermochromic materials to reveal a hidden message. As a consumer interacts with the piece it exposes the message that then disappears, creating a concept about endangered species. I’m hoping it can be used as an educational tool and I’m in the process of pitching it as a product to zoos around the country.
How have you found life at the college?
The college has been great. You truly get more out of it than you could ever expect. It’s got a lot. You grow a bond with your lecturers and they’re always there to help you out. And the college drives you more.
What I love about Plymouth College of Art is that you can be as creative as you like. You can experiment with lots of different materials and use so many facilities – screen-printing, laser cutting, 3D printing and loads more. Networking with different people is great – different courses within the college. It’s useful to get a different eye on things. And if you need someone like a photographer for something you’re working on, it’s easy to meet them and they’re happy to help. I could go on and on.
And the college is so personal. It’s like a family. Everyone’s always happy to help you.
Plymouth as a city is great because you get the city life as well as the sea life. The coastline is really nice. It’s totally different from my home up North. I was either going to go to Sheffield or I was going to study at Plymouth College of Art but when I had my interview here I just fell in love with the college and the city. It just felt so right.
And how about the future?
I want to do more internships in different areas. Graphic Design is very broad. I want to learn more about what I’m truly passionate about. But firstly I’m just looking forward to the rest of the week – meeting and networking with people. It’s not a bad start for the first day of New Designers!