Home to two universities, it’s no surprise that the wealth of art students are at the heart of Bristol's thriving creative culture. After the opening of our new Bristol shop, we got chatting with OIivia Beckett, UWE Student Ambassador and talented illustration student.
She gives us a new insight into the city as a haven for inspiration.
What made you choose UWE for your studies?
It was a difficult step from Foundation to choose where to spend the next three years of my life so I tried to find out from as many people as possible where would be best for Illustration and best for my interests. I’d never been to Bristol before applying but when visiting it was overwhelming how much of a creative vibe it had, from the street art to the huge amount of independent shops and galleries. Having grown up in London and studied an Art Foundation in Falmouth, Bristol seemed the best of both worlds – a busy city with a village-like community. Having been here over a year now it still lives up to that reputation.
What has been your favourite part of studying Illustration at UWE so far?
I feel so lucky to have tutors who constantly support and push me to work to the best of my ability. It’s only been a year but they’ve tried to get to know us, help take our work to the next level through new ways of working and escaping our comfort zones. Bower Ashton campus isn’t huge, so it’s great to bumble around and see people on different courses – it’s definitely important to get out of your own bubble and see what the rest of the creative world is up to.
What inspires you most about your city?
Bristol’s a place where people come from all walks of life and no matter who you are people are willing to help each other out. The mass of creatives here is totally evident: from organised drawing nights to independent film evenings, if you’re on the lookout for a little bit of culture it’s never far away. I also find long walks and cycles around Ashton Court and Leigh Woods are a great way to clear my head if the usual city life gets too hectic!
What is your working process like? What keeps your creativity alive?
When starting projects I’ve realised the importance of research; finding one unusual aspect of a subject can be the catalyst to an exciting idea. I don’t have the best memory so sketchbooks and notes on my phone are my most important companions to keep track of any idea, big or small – it’s only when ideas are removed from your mind and put onto paper that successes and problems can really be solved. It could be the tiniest encounter with something that sparks an interesting subject so I try to immerse myself in as many different outlets as possible whether it be film, music or just having a chat with someone about something I know nothing about.
Do you have plans yet for your creative career?
My ideal would be to work as a freelance illustrator and work on multiple projects that cover various magazines and companies, as all I’ve heard from people is that balancing different types of jobs is key to a happy career. At this stage of studying I feel there’s only so far into the future you can plan so I’m constantly building my skills and taking on small commissions so that when the time comes I’m prepared and ready to enter the creative world!
Can you sum up Bristol in 3 words?
Dynamic, individual and eclectic.
Check out Olivia’s work on her blog, and stay tuned for more features on a city after our own hearts.
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Find out more, including the exact location, of Cass Art Bristol here.