Issue date: 24 June 2002

Sunday 30 June to Tuesday 2 July 2002
Bower Ashton Campus, Kennel Lodge Road

A spoof genetics company, medical phobias, lonely hearts ads and Wee Willie Winkie are the source of inspiration for some of the art works exhibited at the University of the West of England's Degree Show 2002. The annual exhibition showcases the work of all final year undergraduates and includes work in the categories of fine art, textiles, printmaking, graphic design, illustration and multimedia. The Show opens on Sunday 30 June 2002 and runs for 3 days until Tuesday 2 July 2002.

Professor Paul Gough, Dean of the Faculty of Art, Media and Design said, “The annual degree show is a must in the city's cultural calendar. From photography to fashion, textiles to time-based media, the Faculty will be buzzing with over 300 student shows. Don't forget that the Degree show is only one of a menu of visual events staged by the Faculty – these include the Foundation Show, the Masters' exhibition, a screening of video and multi-media at Watershed and participation in London Fashion Week.”

The Degree Show is sponsored by a number of regional firms including Alexander Workwear, Crest Nicholson and architect David Innes Wilkins.

Kevin Jackson BA(Hons) Time Based Media

Kevin has based his final degree show project around a concept that works across all media. He has created a spoof genetics company called Genobaby.com that engineers children for childless couples.

“I wanted to encompass everything I had learned into this project so I approached the work as though I was doing an entire marketing campaign for a fictitious company. I initially built a web site which broadcasts video and film over the web and backed this up with an advertising campaign, a radio programme and a corporate style video.

The spoof company, Genobaby.com sells manufactured children and prospective parents can choose to have children with engineered personality traits such as sporting prowess. The web site features videos of proud, satisfied customers with their engineered offspring and prospective parents making personality selection.

“I've looked at borrowing old media ideas and incorporating this into new media. For example advertising campaigns often have a dual perspective to take into consideration such as how any campaign matches up to a competitor. To illustrate this I have also invented an activist organisation called antigenobaby.com who campaign against genobaby.com.

The activists run a poster campaign which plays on the language of the genobaby.com billboard posters.

I have deliberately elected not to specialise in any one media production area because I want to fine tune my abilities across the media spectrum in order to achieve a consistent level of expertise. When I leave university I want to work in the creative industry and use my abilities across all platforms.”

Katie Took BA(Hons) Illustration

Katie's illustrations are influenced and inspired by the work of Pop art artist Peter Blake. Her illustrations use collage as a means of expressing a subject by using materials which are associated with the subject.

“I'm currently working on a project based around a Lonely Hearts ad which states 'Lady in her 50's wishes to meet a gent like an old boiler'. From this starting point I have worked towards producing an artist's book which uses materials used for boilers like piping, old boiler manuals and Pyrex. The book is encased in Pyrex. It is possible to view what is inside by peeping through the Pyrex in the same way as you peep through the Pyrex spyhole to see if a boiler pilot light is lit. The book acts as a kind a metaphor for the advert. You have to look quite hard to see what is inside in the way people try to read more into lonely-hearts ads. In another project I made a series of collages of cars using MOT certificates”.

Katie wants to gain work experience in art direction and says she could possibly work in magazines, exhibition design or go freelance. “I'm sure that I will have to adapt work when I leave university as the commercial audience demands more control but I do think that I will continue to work in collage because I think it is good way to communicate.”

Celeste Upshaw BA(Hons) Illustration

Celeste's illustrations concentrate on the theme of phobias. She has focused on the phobias such as fear of medical history, fear of washing and bathing and the fear of shadows. Working in very dry acrylics on a gesso ground her minutely detailed work has an almost surreal quality and draws on influences of Lane Smith and Brad Holland. She distorts and enlarges the subject of the phobia to highlight its domination of the figures in her illustrations. In one picture a figure is hunched up in a corner of a huge bathtub so that the fear is accentuated. The illustrations have a stark quality which is emphasised by a recurring use of institutional looking floor tiles in much of the work. Celeste said, “I'm developing my own style by messing around with realism and I'm finally getting to grips with the compositional elements of achieving this. I've been influenced by the way the cubists used distortion and by African masks. My work has quite a sterile appearance and I've achieved this by creating a clinical atmosphere through a subdued palette and a recurring appearance of sterile looking tiled floors.”

Katherine Russell BA(Hons) Illustration with Animation

“I am working at producing a book and an animated film based on the nursery rhyme Wee Willie Winkie Runs Through the Town. I noticed that the illustrations in many old nursery rhyme books were quite scary and I've tried to emphasise this by building a set which depicts an ominously sugary coloured street which is lit up at night with dramatic light to emphasise Wee Willie Winkie's shadow. Everything is quite gentle looking apart from an unusually tall Wee Willie Winkie who taps on the windows and scares the children.” The set for the animation is built using pastel mounting board, cardboard and paper. The figures are all made from folded and glued paper and card.


Editor's notes

Jpeg files of all the work described in this press release can be obtained by calling Jayne Andrews on 0117 344 2874, e-mail Jayne.Andrews@uwe.ac.uk

Opening times are Sunday 30 June 10am to 6pm
Monday 1 July and Tuesday 2 July 10am to 8pm

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