Graduates 2022: Rosie Penny: Illustration

“The flexibility offered on Illustration is one of its strengths. Across the course people are engaged with animation, drawing, printmaking, moving image, collage, 3D rendering and in my case writing.”

“I am a visual artist, writer and researcher. My work revolves around trying to understand myself, and my relation to others, by examining visual culture. This has led to a keen interest in representation, specifically the representation of identity, reality and knowledge, otherwise known as truth. I write about topics such as mental health and intersectional feminism using art as a lens to interrogate the authority of knowledge accepted as truth in society. Bell Hooks, Audre Lorde and Sara Ahmed are key authors who have inspired me to create.

When illustrating I am drawn to collage as a medium. The reimagining of pre-existing materials plays on the power of symbolism and context in image making. I have a love of vintage aesthetics but the process of my practice is more consistent than the style of my outcomes. The project guides what I produce and the visual cultures I reference. However, each project will be thoroughly researched and considered holistically across theory, visuals, text and community.

How have you found your course and time at Brighton?

The three years I have spent at Brighton have been transformational. My start was miles away from my ending on Illustration. I did not step into writing until third year, now I have a 9000 word dissertation completed and a workshop on the way based on my research into sexuality. The flexibility offered on Illustration is one of its strengths. Across the course people are engaged with animation, drawing, printmaking, moving image, collage, 3D rendering and in my case writing.

Brighton is fun. The city is full of students and full of pubs. The university pushes autonomy which forces you to become the driver of your own practice. There’s a huge social network here. It feels like everyone knows everyone through one degree of separation. This is a blessing and a curse but it is hugely beneficial for collaboration.

How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study Illustration?

I remember choosing Illustration at Brighton based on the grad show. The course had a wide range of work on show that felt like each student had a voice and ownership of their projects. Illustration can host quite a cliche pool of imagery but Brighton fosters original approaches to the field. The applied aspect of illustration versus fine art appealed to me too. The awareness of how an audience will interact with your work and the range of work available within illustration is alluring.

What are your plans after graduation?

In September I will be embarking on my Writing MA at the Royal College of Art. I wish to pursue my research into identity, sexuality, knowledge and power. In an expanded sense I want to work with groups of people to critically engage with ‘difficult’ topics via art. This could involve curation, workshops, facilitated conversations, continuing my own visual practice and potentially writing a book. I want to construct a space that connects visual culture, art therapy and art practice.

Rosie’s portfolio: rosie-penny-portfolio.squarespace.com

Instagram:@rosie_alind

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Find out more about BA(Hons) Illustration

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