“DDM offers a huge range of avenues to explore, and I can recommend it to anyone who wants to try something new alongside their own specific discipline.”
Please tell us a bit about your work and your influences
My work focuses on the idea behind hiding a part of your identity, for fear of rejection or “not fitting in”, in the form of a comic. So much pressure is put on people to assign themselves a rigid box of standards set by society that many can’t or won’t conform to but will force themselves to in order to avoid confrontation by a world still so unable to see the beauty in individuality. I wanted to create this comic as a way of reaching out to those people to let them know that they are seen and heard, despite wearing a mask to conceal what they deem as unfit for these societal standards.
As an illustrator a lot of my influences come from all different directions, such as social media, music, video games, books, and anything I find engaging. I also take a lot of inspiration from other illustrators who’s work I see online or out and about, especially when it comes to my final major project. I find myself drawn to others who write and illustrate from personal experiences, as it adds a significant amount of depth to their work, and I can really feel them speaking from the heart. I think a lot of people these days want authenticity in the material they consume, so in providing said material like my project and bringing it from somewhere personal and meaningful to the creator gives it a much deeper foundation, and I think that’s incredibly valuable and much more rewarding.
How have you found your course and time at Brighton?
It’s been an interesting experience, to say the least! The course itself was both what I did and didn’t expect due to multiple factors, the big one being COVID obviously. The way in which the content was delivered was extremely varied, which proved to be simultaneously a stimulating yet somewhat stressful experience, and definitely unique compared to a lot of others before me. However regardless of all the trials and tribulations of navigating a full-time course during a pandemic, being a part of the Brighton scene has been something I will never forget. This vibrant city has been a place of comfort for me, and I feel myself and at home here, and has been a great source of motivation and inspiration for many of my projects. Our lecturers always encouraged to go out and utilise what Brighton had to offer, and I consider myself very lucky to have had that freedom.
How did you choose your course – why did you choose to study DDM?
Initially I had applied for the Illustration course, but after missing out on that one, I wasn’t sure on where to go as I had been out of education for four years prior, so this was a big step for me. When I discovered the DDM course I was drawn to how open and broad it was, and the possibility of building new skills on top of what I already had was appealing; having something near non-linear is something I view as imperative to art and design, as it helps fuel my creativity and motivation to make what I want and make it good. DDM offers a huge range of avenues to explore, and I can recommend it to anyone who wants to try something new alongside their own specific discipline.
What are your plans after graduation?
Take a break! I’ve had a full on three years, packed with ups and downs, and whilst I’m proud of the work I have produced and my confidence has grown, I need to take some time for myself. I’m also keeping my options open in terms of career paths, as I have no idea who I’ll meet and where my art will take me, which I find quite exciting. I want to stay close to Brighton, or at least have connections here, as I think that will hold some positive prospects for me, but paramount to that, taking some time off will be beneficial for my well-being. Most of this comes from an understanding that so much pressure is put on young people to do things one after the other in quick succession, to get out there as fast as possible and do everything all at once. However, that can be a lot for someone starting a university degree, especially around 18/19 years old. It’s a lot of responsibility to know exactly what you want to do in such a short space of time, and not nearly enough time is given for you to take stock and truly understand where you want to take your life next. My time at Brighton has shaped me into someone a lot more independent and I will be forever grateful for that, and I hope that others that pass through will feel the same, but I also hope that they feel they have full freedom over where they want to go and do what feels right for them. Enjoy what you create and be in the moment, there’s no rush.
Web: www.behance.net/mwoodley – Behance portfolio