So I went down to take a look at this years inspirational creatives at the D&AD New Blood Exhibition in Spitalfields Market. I was excited and keen to see what was on show this year, even if it happened to be the hottest day of the year. When I walked into the exhibition I saw something different to what I saw last year. Last year I felt like I witnessed raw, unrefined talent, that was more about creative thinking and not execution. This year I felt the standard was professional, that’s quite a statement but that’s my impression of the work on show.
As I wondered through the exhibition “the hot box as I called it on the day”, I got to meet some incredibly friendly and extremely talented creatives who were offering anything that could be turned into a makeshift fan, it really was that hot. Most of these talented people were standing by their work, eagerly waiting to take you on their magical journey they have been on to get to their finished piece on show. While being taken through the work it has become apparent that the students of this year truly understood the importance of process, relevance and the art of story telling. Even the depth of the work and some of the subject matter was hard hitting stuff.
When looking around the exhibition I was thinking that seeing this new breed of talent made me feel privileged to be able to speak to the future of the creative industry, gaining an insight of what and who inspires these beautiful young minds. Strangely enough I found quite a few people inspired by the same artist, designers and illustrators as I was back when I was at university, that was some years ago now. I found this to be incredible, this new generation of creatives developing such different concepts, skills, styles and techniques, but still inspired by the same people as I was inspired by years ago. That is truly the beauty of creatives, that no two creative minds will take you through the same journey even with the same brief & inspiration, they will both take different roads in thought process giving them both very different results.
An illustrator who caught my eye this year was Aidy Brft an extremely talented and friendly chap who’s work literally stopped me in my tracks. We got talking about his work on show, I asked him “were you inspired by street artists and the skateboarding scene”, he said yes to which I mentioned that his work resembled a big street/graffiti artist in the states called ‘Andy Howell’ who is deeply involved in skateboarding. Aidy then steered me away from labeling his work into one style and explained how he was also inspired by some heavy weight illustrators from a well known consultancy called Big Active. All I ever wanted to do at university was to create works like the greats at Big Active. Anyway at first Aidy names one of my old time favorites David Foldvari who’s work I wanted to emulate back in the day! He went on to name a couple of other illustrators and quickly I realised the direction Aidy’s work is heading in. With a strong influence in illustrators & designers who work closely with the music industry, I would say Aidy will have little trouble following in the foot steps to those who influence him.
As Aidy was inspired by such a variety of creatives I asked if he had any other work of his on show, then came out the iPad. I noticed his work varied as well as his variety of inspiration, I referenced that some of his work had similarities to some of the other greats at Big Active such a Kate Gibb. Then Aidy looked at me and said “Kate Gibb is my lecturer” I was taken back, then said in an excited but slightly jealous tone “you were taught by Kate Gibb, the same Kate Gibb that produced cover artwork for The Chemical Brothers”. I said how that must of been great to have the insight and guidance of such a talented illustrator. To have a Lecturer who has created works that are truly inspirational, with a creative imagination and that works in the industry at such a high standard. Aidy said that he felt very lucky and appreciated the real world preparation he felt he was given before finishing his studies. What great a guy, humble and talented.
I found that Falmouth university again had produced some truly creative professionals this year, the work on show at the Falmouth stand was incredible. Last year I was extremely impressed with David Doran, a talented young Illustrator I have previously written about. This year I was blown away by all the work on show by Falmouth university, they had a great range of talented illustrators. Thomas Pullin’s work (as seen above) reminded me of the work on show last year by David Doran, the two illustrators share a similar style but that shouldn’t take anything away from Thomas’s work. His illustrations had so much life and soul about them, the talent to produce work at this level was admirable. It was hard not to compare the two illustrators, especially both coming from the same university just a year apart, but at the end of the day Thomas’s work showed strength, skill and a professionalism in his work, certainly an illustrator to look out for in the future.
Another great illustrator from Falmouth is Ana Jaks, with her simplistic and vibrant vector illustrations representing the letters of her name while reflecting her personality. Ana’s illustrations truly gave me that 80’s feel with her bold use of colour and shapes, it actually reminded me of the fashion illustrations from the time but with a lot more depth to them. Another strong illustrator to look out for.
This time round at the D&AD New Blood exhibition I got to appreciate the work on show a lot more. By being able to speak to the creatives I gained more of an insight and understanding into their work and what their inspiration behind it was. I found that conversations with other creatives sparked mostly because of one’s appreciation for the work on show. This is something I love about the experience you get at the D&AD New Blood exhibition, the common ground we all share, a passion for creativity.
These highlights are just a fraction of the talented work that was on show and will be looking to share more of the work captured in a second segment, so please keep an eye out.