Class of 2020: Ones to Watch
At Plymouth College of Art we explore new horizons and push the boundaries of creative practice, encouraging students to think of themselves as creative professionals from their first day on campus. We believe higher education is a catalyst for personal, professional and cultural transformation, and now more than ever, creative innovation plays a vital role in global society and industry.
Featuring bold concepts and fresh techniques, across an eclectic range of mediums, the Class of 2020 already boasts a wealth of experience, including international prizes, industry briefs and collaborative exhibitions.
In no particular order, we are proud to introduce ten of this year’s graduates, selected for their refreshing creative perspectives and industry-ready technique. This is just a taste of what can be achieved on a creative degree at Plymouth College of Art, and limited places are still available on courses starting in Autumn 2020. For more information visit our Clearing pages.
For more information on this year’s graduates please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lorna Yabsley, based in Salcombe, South Devon, is a multi-disciplinary creative, having worked as an author and a professional photographer for over 35 years. Now in her fifties, she is pursuing her life-long love of making and developing her skills as a ceramic artist.
Drawn to the figurative, she is heavily influenced by her experience as a photographer of people, interested in re-interpreting established iconic themes and ideas through the medium of clay, making statement pieces, one offs and short run limited edition pieces that challenge the viewer's perception.
Lorna continues to explore and expand her practice, with her bronze work winning her Second Grand Prize in the British Arts Medal Society Student Medal Project in 2019. Her piece ‘be breast aware’ drew on her experience as a photographer while developing her skills in making and embracing traditional materials, utilizing highly technical methodologies.
Hot Glitch Jasper (left) & ‘be breast aware’ (right) by Lorna Yabsley
Molly Erin McCarthy aka molly.erh is a visual artist working in 3D and new media, producing GIFs, film, images, sculpture and installations. Molly uses a range of digital and material processes to explore the hidden worlds and shattered realities that characterise modern life. She is deeply interested in the relationship between technology, power and perception, and uses her work to wrestle with the lingering, techno-utopian narrative of the early 00’s. By employing world building techniques and Y2K aesthetic references, Molly draws audiences into alternative realities that speculate on themes of existence, agency and lost futures.
Molly demonstrates a fierce commitment to her life as an artist. This year, she has been involved in multiple professional practice opportunities and digital residencies including Notopia and residencies with ORBIT and Digital Artist. She is currently working with a curator in the US on a research project called Foreign Objekt and was the first artist featured in Silicon Valet, a parking lot for digital art and expanded practice that functions as a virtual gallery and online exhibition space. More recently, Molly was awarded a micro commission by The Box Plymouth. She is also one part of the art collective dOgMiLk, and continues to explore online and physical exhibitions and digital artist residencies.
Video above: ‘western approach to paradise’ by Molly Erin McCarthy
Patryk Swiatczak is an international artist, actively practicing filmmaking and photography. Patryk has spent the three years of his degree developing his professional and creative practice, with skills such as creative writing, directing, performing and editing. He has explored roles from cinematographer to writer and director, but still maintains his eye for the perfect image and highly cinematic camera techniques.
Patryk has won numerous nominations and awards for his short films during his time at Plymouth College of Art, including winning Best Cinematography at UKCineFest in Middlesbrough and earning Highly Commended at the Royal Television Society Student Television Awards as well as securing Semi Finalist at the Hollywood International Independent Documentary Awards.
A still from Ocean, a film by Patryk Swiatczak, made for hip hop artist Pachamama Family
Charlotte Leadley is a 22-year-old freelance illustrator from Truro whose portfolio ranges from magazine cover to mural, from picture book to editorial and from painted sculpture to moving image. Her practice explores how illustration is a universal language and can be used as a tool to ignite social change and reframe discussions on global issues.
Charlotte’s image making is defined by playful colour, shape and texture. She is inspired by connections between people and environments, exploring her narratives through dynamic composition and energetic movement.
Charlotte was one of three Plymouth College of Art illustration graduates to win first prize in the Toys category at the Mojo Nation Student Design Challenge in London, beating over 150 other students from universities across the country. Charlotte has also previously featured on New Designers and was recently included in the Association of Illustrators’ Graduates to Watch in 2020 as an illustrator who has demonstrated incredible creativity in the face of adversity.
The Power of Political Illustration by Charlotte Leadley
Izzy Orpin is a visual communicator working across publishing, animation and film. Joining Plymouth College of Art from her hometown in Conwy, North Wales, Izzy works flexibly across a dynamic range of digital outputs, including graphic design, gifs, collages and layouts. Izzy enjoys creating work that feels energetic and fun, using bright colours and bold shapes, mixing mediums such as illustration with live action photography and film.
Izzy has also explored screen printing, embracing the process of transforming a digital piece into a physical artefact, and plans to explore other types of prints in the future such as risograph.
She was recently selected for the Size? x Converse Multipatch project as part of her final year, transforming a pair of Converse Allstars with doodled designs, beaded patches and embroidered appliques.
A collage piece & ‘The Future is Female’ by Izzy Orpin
River Smith is a fashion designer based in Plymouth inspired by clothing’s relationship to gender expression with a focus on menswear. Media representation of masculinity provide a foundation for his recent collection, while visually he’s drawn to elements that are dark, provocative and humorous.
22-year-old River’s work is deeply personal, and reflective of his tongue-in-cheek perspective on themes such as voyeurism and objectification. River opts to work with fabric that has traditional significance in the menswear industry, including wools and shirtings, as well as unconventional materials such as tyvek and latex.
River, who first completed an Extended Diploma in Fashion & Textiles at the college before progressing to undergraduate level, was also chosen to represent Plymouth College of Art at this year’s Graduate Fashion Week and recently took part in a five-day residency in London hosted by the Graduate Fashion Foundation and social media platform TikTok. River was one of thousands of fashion students from 38 member universities to take part in designing the first ever range of European merchandise for TikTok - a video sharing app which has now been downloaded over 1.5 billion times worldwide.
River Smith modelling his final collection
In addition to being an emerging costume designer, Tabitha Carter, aged 22, has also explored theatrical set design during her final year, culminating in the creation of a scale model box - a challenge both creatively and technically. Her set design models are made to a 1:25 scale, with intricately laser cut furniture, digitally printed backdrops and a working projector for animations.
Technical and creative challenges are a theme throughout Tabitha’s costuming work, combining her interest in historical silhouettes with modern materials. Valuing practical skills as much as creative concepts, she plans to further elevate her technical capability, while applying her own unique aesthetic to the professional world of costume design.
Throughout her studies, Tabitha, from Paignton, Devon, has assisted in the wardrobe department of Manchester’s prestigious Royal Exchange Theatre and has designed sets and costumes for a large-scale production of Amadeus at Theatre Royal Plymouth. Tabitha’s skillful designs have also been validated by the respected theatre designer Paul Farnsworth.
A model box piece and costume design by Tabitha Carter
Maha Taher is an ambitious 22-year-old graphic designer, who often challenges herself to venture outside her comfort zone and add to her repertoire. Born in Bahrain, Maha decided to pursue education overseas, beginning her artistic journey at the college on our Foundation Diploma in Art & Design, revealing her passion for graphic design.
As an individual shaped by two contrasting cultures, Maha prides herself on her diversity. She has worked internationally with clients from the UK and the Middle East, utilising her bilingual capabilities to make bonds with consumers in both regions. She has engaged with projects ranging from translation work and community initiatives to creating commemorative medals and key ring designs for the 50th Anniversary of the Bahrain Defence Force Royal Armed Division.
Her interests in design lie in branding and copywriting, executing strong visual and verbal identities that create meaningful connections between brands and their audience.
A re-imagining of Penguin classics (left) and Maha Taher's personal branding (right)
Michael Hanrahan’s overwhelming force behind his creative process is a pure desire to paint. His work is often caught in the whirlwind of the carnivalesque, motifs of absurd exaggeration and contrasting subjects, providing a mental space in which his poetic imagery can emerge.
Michael’s work is dictated by almost anything; a fleeting thought, an old painting, a song or a poem, the mess in his bedroom, a crack in the wall, a jovial conversation with friends and everything in between. Within the disorder of life, Michael waits for the windows of opportunity to open, and once they do, he meanders through, escaping from his day to day. Then he paints.
Michael primarily works with oils on wood, preferring the robust surface of timber to canvas along with the application of paint more suitable to how he handles the brush. Michael also practices drawing and writing, penning short stories and prose, noting writing as sometimes just as important to him as painting..
Michael was recently selected as one of eight painters to be featured in the prestigious Freelands Painting Prize 2020 exhibition.
Paintings by Michael Hanrahan
21-year-old Heidi Wakeley’s textile practice breathes new life into the traditional medium of embroidery, demonstrating innovation through unusual material choices. Producing embroidery collections that feature imaginative and eccentric pieces, Heidi, from Totnes, often explores the use of bold colours, intricate detail and progressive design sense.
Using mixed media embroidery as a design technique, Heidi’s work explores a range of materials and fabrics, interrogating how they interact with one another, whilst testing the boundaries of considered textile design. Focusing on small details, Heidi aims to draw the viewer in, making you stop to look closer and appreciate the finer intricacies in each collection.
Heidi’s individuality continues to inform her work and beyond graduation she is set to to find success as a Mixed Media Textile Designer.
Embroidered pieces by Heidi Wakeley