Graduates 2022: Kirsty Atek: Illustration

“I’m glad that I chose to study Illustration because an equal amount of realism is taught, as much as ‘fantasy’ is encouraged; all the skills I’ve gained from my time at Brighton can be applied to the industries that I hope to work in and I’m still able to create work that fulfils me creatively.”

Please tell us a bit about your work and your influences

I enjoy making collages in still and moving image in response to subjects that I feel need more attention or awareness. Over this past year, I’ve explored themes such as grief, community, freedom and how this digital age means we’re under constant surveillance. In many ways, art is a tool I use to help navigate this often-polarising world we live in in the hopes of helping us understand each other better. I would say that Romare Bearden is one of my influences because I admire the composition of all his collages – it’s guided me a lot with how I compose my own. I’m also fascinated by dancers and movement, and often make work involving people moving expressively.

How have you found your course and time at Brighton?

The past three years have definitely catalysed the progression of my practice as I’ve been able to explore what it means to be an illustrator today, and the importance of having a diverse range of stories being told. I hope that in the future, more people of colour claim the spaces within art schools because if there are going to be stories made about these communities, it’s only right that it be told by the people themselves. I’m glad that I chose to study Illustration because an equal amount of realism is taught, as much as ‘fantasy’ is encouraged; all the skills I’ve gained from my time at Brighton can be applied to the industries that I hope to work in and I’m still able to create work that fulfils me creatively.

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

I studied Fine Art as a Level 3 Extended Diploma in college before going to University, and I chose Illustration as a subject because I liked storytelling through my work. I wasn’t completely sure of which mediums I wanted to continue using, and I knew that Illustration allowed a lot of room for experimenting with a bit of everything – so I knew it would be the course for me. After telling a few people about my course choice, a lot of them recommended the Brighton course to me because it was known as one of the best ones. I applied, and was fortunate enough to get in.

What are your plans after graduation?

I would like to eventually do a Masters. I don’t think my journey in education is finished as there is still a lot I want to learn and grow from with the help of mentors and my creative peers – but next year, I think I’ll be taking a break before applying. I’ll be moving back to London where I can hopefully get a job to save for my next degree, as well as work on the art I make for myself.

Business email: kirstyatek@gmail.com

Instagram: @kirstydraws

Website: http://kirstydraws.cargo.site

Find out more about BA(Hons)  Illustration

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