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Our Journal

Class Of 2021: Foundation Diploma in Art & Design graduates set their sights on the future

A taste of what to expect from this year’s ambitious Foundation Diploma students as they progress onto a wide range of pathways.

Plymouth College of Art’s one year Foundation Diploma in Art & Design course introduces learners to a wide range of disciplines, helping them to find their creative voice within a vibrant, diverse creative environment. Their annual Summer Show is a celebration of the hard work and dynamic talent from students on the course. From fashion to filmmaking, art to animation, our Class of 2021 worked their way through challenging times to produce an end of year show full of inspiration, imagination and ingenuity. Here’s just a taste of what to expect from this year’s ambitious Foundation Diploma students as they progress onto a wide range of pathways, from moving directly into work in the creative industries to undergraduate level study at prestigious universities around the world.

Maxwell Cockcroft’s work is characterised by a blend of vintage nostalgia and futuristic technology. Describing his style as “Retro Futurism”, it depicts the anticipation and predictions of the future from the perspective of the past.

Maxwell Cockcroft

It is a style he feels is particularly relevant as the world moves forward from the Covid-19 pandemic. The nearby Eden Project was chosen as a backdrop for his photo shoots due to its ethos on sustainability. The idea was to create an exaggerated depiction of his own experience within the pandemic and the displacement it caused in his life.

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“I think we are all hoping for a positive future”, he says. “For many people, the past year has shattered their sense of reality. Myself included. Feeling like I have been thrown head first into an alternate reality, I struggled to recognise even myself amongst the chaos of the world. My final images depict the universal experience of feeling alienated in a world you were once familiar with. Unlike the origins of retro futurism, which saw humanity escaping our planet, I believe a positive future relies on humanity nurturing the Earth and saving our home.”

Maxwell chose Plymouth College of Art to begin his studies because of its excellent studio facilities and positive reputation. September will see him move on to study BA (Hons) Fashion Visual Merchandising and Branding at London College of Fashion.

Connor Phillips' breathtaking triptych of oil paintings is an exploration into his relationship and perspective on reality. The studies use the body as subject mirrors, exploring the limitations of our physical self when perceiving reality.

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The first of the three paintings reflects the struggle against the fear of the unknown, the almost purposeless fight for absolutes and realism. The middle board portrays the confrontation of the absurdity of reality and objective self reflection to the point of surrealism. The final board conveys complete acceptance/ascension, using abstraction to try and make physical the metaphysical experience of the reality we encounter through our senses.

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Connor says of his work, “Painting is the central medium of my practice and I am interested in the physicality of paint and the range of representation of both reality and metaphysical things. The subject of my paintings often incorporate the experience of reality, reflection on the self and consciousness and physical biology.”

He was drawn to the Foundation Diploma at Plymouth College of Art because of the wide range of facilities while also getting the chance to live by the sea. His next steps will see him advance to the University of Cambridge to study BA (Hons) Architecture but maintains “art is my greatest passion and will remain at the forefront of my practice”.

Kal McAulay's work “Curiosity Killed” is an exploration of morbid curiosity. Be it a fascination with true crime shows or an inability to look away from the aftermath of an accident, Kal examines how people can be drawn to taboo subjects.

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'Curiosity Killed' by Kal McAulay

He explains, “I wanted to explore morbid curiosity and how nature (mushrooms in particular) and horror in media such as video games like The Last of Us can be used to spark this curiosity in people.”

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'Curiosity Killed' by Kal McAulay

September 2021 will see Kal stay at Plymouth College of Art and start BA (Hons) Animation & Games. He has been inspired by this year's graduates, saying, “The work that has come out of the course by previous students was very impressive and I want to improve my work the way I have seen others do. I wanted to stay in Plymouth as the city is full of interesting places.”

In the future, Kal hopes the new skills and perspectives he learns will see him go on to work within game arts and specialise in character design.

Daria Soras’ work, ‘METALmorphosis’, shows us the possibilities of living beyond the limitations of our human bodies and explores transhumanism. It looks towards a future where self expression and body modification surpasses biological restrictions, prosthetics are fashion and computer-merging a necessity.

The people at Plymouth College of Art, including the tutors, are so easy-going and friendly. I am looking forward to joining the community.
Daria Soras, graduating student of Foundation Diploma in Art & Design
GARY

'Gary' by Daria Soras

Using the freedom of digital art, Daria created three distinct characters blending the human with androids. Her interest was sparked by her research into simulation theory and the idea that we may, one day, be able to upload our own consciousness into computers, enabling us to live beyond our lifetime.

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'Rayven' by Daria Soras

Daria is looking forward to continuing her studies at Plymouth College of Art as a BA (Hons) Illustration student, saying, “The people at Plymouth College of Art, including the tutors, are so easy-going and friendly. I am looking forward to joining the community.”

Daria doesn’t see herself being restricted to illustration however, “personally, I would like to do many things like fashion design, character design, animation. I just want to learn and design!”

Amy Owen uses personal and family experiences with body image and dysmorphia to shape her final work titled ‘Perception’. Exploring the relationship she has with her own body hang-ups and form, she created a textile representation of how she views herself. Using fabric, embroidery and latex to over-emphasise her perceived flaws, she communicates her own perspective of how she is perceived by others.

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'Perception' by Amy Owen

“We live and shape ourselves by prevalent social and cultural ideals such as the belief one should be a certain way.” Amy explains. “When deconstructed, body image is one's thoughts, feelings and perception of the aesthetics of their own body.”

Amy hopes her work ‘Perception’ will help raise awareness of body issues and the mental health conditions that can arise from our relationships with the bodies we inhabit.

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'Perception' by Amy Owen

Amy is continuing her studies at Plymouth College of Art after being accepted to study BA (Hons) Fashion Communication and says the college's “welcoming nature seemed like the right place for me”. For her, the environment in Plymouth College of Art is best described as “a mass of creativity!"

Once she graduates Amy wants to continue her work in the fashion industry as a visual merchandiser or within social media.

Plymouth College of Art’s 2021 Summer Shows are part of the IGNITE Festival of Creativity, which connects creative graduates, businesses and members of the public in exciting new ways to spark employability, drive community engagement and develop new creative economy opportunities across Plymouth and beyond. IGNITE puts a unique spin on the traditional art degree show model by combining online technology with physical installations and exhibitions in community spaces to showcase work by graduates from Plymouth College of Art and the University of Plymouth.

IGNITE, which has been shortlisted in the 2021 HEIST Awards for Best Student Engagement Campaign or Initiative, is supported by Plymouth City Council as part of the iMayflower project, and by The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, who fund the Cultural Development Fund (administered by Arts Council England).