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Sam studied Art & Design at our North Devon Campus and is now a Camerman/Editor with creative agency AB’s film and production unit, AB Content, in Exeter and London.
Then: First Diploma and National Diploma in Art & Design from 2007 to 2009.Campus: North DevonNow: Camerman/Editor with creative agency AB’s film and production unit, AB Content, in Exeter and London.Former school: Budehaven
How do you feel college prepared you for what you went on to do next?
I think college in general, for me, was a really nice transition into university. I felt independent enough that university seemed less overwhelming, but not so much that I didn’t feel like I couldn’t talk to my college tutors or anything like that. University almost just felt like an extension of what I’d learnt at college, in terms of the work and growing up and that kind of thing.
Did you get involved in any extra-curricular activities (academies, societies, trips, events etc.) whilst at college?
We were given the opportunity to complete a university-level brief on our course. It wasn’t compulsory, but I thought I’d do it just to double-check that university was definitely for me. Despite trying it, I actually ended up not getting such a good grade, but that just made me want to go to university even more, to prove that I actually could do it!
What are your highlights from your time at Petroc?
The main thing I took away from my time at Petroc was the atmosphere. It’s so rare that you’re ever in a situation where everyone in the same room is studying and passionate about the same thing; art or “creating” in my case. Everyone on my course was creative, and had an interest in what everyone else was doing as well; no matter what discipline that was. It was awesome! The tutors were always part of the conversation too, whether it was about work or not. Despite the hundreds of students that have come and gone since I was there; my tutors still remembered me when I came back (nine years later) to make the cinema advert, so we had a good relationship!
What are your highlights since you left?
Online video is so accessible now; it’s in everyone’s hands, every single day, but television (and cinema) is still that sort of “daydream” or goal to work towards, and so seeing anything I’ve been a part of on a bigger screen has been a cool experience. That, and getting to see and learn how certain things are done behind the scenes. That was constantly on my mind when I was watching movies growing up, “how did they do that?”, and now I know the answers to some of those questions; either through seeing it first-hand or through people I’ve met.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to follow a similar career path to you?
Make your own experiences. Plenty of students, every day, no matter what they’re studying will approach a company to gain experience; but without any of their own experiences or work to back it up. Everyone has a camera now, so there’s really no excuse not to make your own content; no matter how “pointless” you think it might be. When I went to my university interview, most of the “work” that I showed them was videos of me messing around with my friends! If you’re an illustrator, you can imagine anything and put the pencil to the paper; but with video, you need something to film. Those things don’t just come along, you have to go and find them.
What’s the long-term plan (dream job, location etc.)?
It’s not uncommon for a filmmaker to be extremely capable in most aspects of production; filming, editing, lighting, etc. and it’s not uncommon that I have to juggle two or more of those roles at one time. What would be great would to get the opportunity to just direct; to say “this is what I want to do”, and to direct a team, each with just one responsibility, to make that happen.
I’ve been lucky enough to do this for work since I left university, and I now work for AB Content, who have some great clients which means that I’ve seen a variety of different sizes and scales of video production; but as much as I enjoy the creativity that goes into adverts, I guess my personal "ultimate dream” would be to make a movie or a short-film. I’ve only been to Hollywood on holiday, so far…
Bronwyn is studying Art & Design at our Mid Devon campus.
Bronwyn Ayre is studying the BTEC Extended Diploma in Art & Design Level 3 at our Mid Devon campus.
Bronwyn, 18, has been local to Tiverton all her life and attended Tiverton High School. Like many school pupils, she had little or no idea what she wanted to do as a career but she did develop an interest in the Arts (mainly photography) in classes taught at the High School by Petroc lecturer, Sharon Hawkins.
Over the course of Year 11, Bronwyn was invited over to the college campus to check out and get a feel for the facilities available on their range of art courses. Bronwyn was hooked and applied for a place on the BTEC Art & Design with a view to making photography her career.
Petroc was the obvious choice for Bronwyn because of its location and the career pathways offered – a BTEC from Petroc would enable her to progress to university to study photography at degree level. She also found that the familiar surroundings, smaller class-sizes and pre-existing relationships she had here meant that she received strong encouragement and support from staff and made new friends on her course.
While studying at Petroc on the BTEC Art & Design, Bronwyn has developed a strong interest in the history of trends and influences upon contemporary photographic art, gained reat technical knowledge and a flair for conceptualization.
[Photo- Bronwyn’s project work while studying at Petroc].
As Bronwyn approaches the completion of her course, she has approached a range universities and has offers from both Falmouth & Bath Spa Universities to study Photography and Plymouth University to study Media Arts. Bronwyn’s dream is to own a photographic retail outlet and be a freelance photographer.
Bronwyn’s advice to herself (three years ago) would be: "Push yourself and keep experimenting to find out what it is you want to do with your life!"
She is predicted to pass her course at Petroc with a ‘triple distinction’, which would enable her to progress to university and move her a step closer to realising her dream.
Poppy Loader is a student at our Mid Devon campus.
After A Levels, Poppy (18) initially began a graphics for print-based media course elsewhere, but found it didn’t suit her and the daily commute was challenging. Poppy became aware that Petroc offers a BTEC in Art & Design and took the leap of faith in switching courses.
Poppy said: “Since I joined Petroc, I have felt a lot more settled and life is better. My course offers me more flexibility and I feel that I am on the right path. Petroc has been so friendly and welcoming and I have made some really great new friends here. In the future, I want to get on an Apprenticeship in Fashion & Textiles (possibly in London) and, given that Petroc supports so many apprenticeships, I feel more reassured that I have made the right choice. In addition, I now don’t have to spend so much time commuting!”
Carl is on the Foundation Degree in Fine Art at our University Centre in North Devon.
Foundation Degree in Fine Art
North Devon Campus
“I started the Level 2 art and design course as a bit of a risk. I’d been working for a while but knew art was what I really wanted to do.
My first tutors were wonderful - really supportive – and they spent a lot of time teaching me what it means to study art and become an artist.
After the Level 2 course I moved on to Access to HE, before applying for the Foundation Degree in 2014. I was really nervous – what if I wasn’t good enough? However, it sounds odd but it felt like this was calling to me! It was a strange moment in my life, and I felt quite lost, but I knew this was what I should be doing.
Originally I interviewed for Illustration, but after meeting Pete (Fine Art lecturer) I changed my mind. He said he could see real promise in me as a fine artist and encouraged me to take that route instead. Pete has been awesome, actually, giving me lots of advice not only about the projects I’m working on but also my career as a whole.
As a child I was always writing stories and illustrating them. I was quite introverted growing up, so this was my way of expressing myself and documenting my feelings. With art I can tell people how I feel in a subtle way – it’s the same even now. I find it very poetic and therapeutic.
In terms of my career, I’m still not sure what the next step will be after I finish my degree. I like the idea of working on album artwork, and have already worked with someone in America to produce their album cover. Either that, or producing promotional artwork for theatre productions.
Both last year and this year I’ve also done work experience at a school, working 1:1 with a young boy. I worked with him to bring out his artistic side, using art as a form of therapy. It was fascinating to see how creative and imaginative he was – as Pablo Picasso once said, ‘every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up!’ I did enjoy working in this teaching/therapy environment, so again this is another possible career option for after I graduate.”
Beth is currently in the second year of a Foundation Degree in Illustration, at our University Centre in North Devon
Foundation Degree in Illustration (Year 2)
“After completing my A Levels and the Art and Design Diploma at Petroc, I took a year out to have my daughter.
Initially I wanted to go into construction, and took Engineering and Design Technology at A Level. I also took Graphic Design at A Level, and soon realised that I was actually more suited to the artistic route.
I’ve always preferred producing artwork by hand, rather than on a computer, so I think this is why I was drawn to illustration. The Diploma gave me the opportunity to try many different styles and techniques, which really helped me prepare for the Foundation Degree.
Studying a degree alongside raising my daughter isn’t easy. However, although the course is full time we are actually only in college three days a week. I work hard in the evenings, once my daughter is in bed, and have to be very organised to manage my time effectively.
During my time on the Diploma I did a project based around a children’s book, which I really enjoyed. And, since having my daughter, I’ve developed a real love for children’s books, so much so that I now think that’s the career path I want to follow.
Being an illustrator will, hopefully, give me the flexibility to work for myself and manage my own workload, which will suit my lifestyle. It’s also a profession that you can do anywhere, so I won’t need to move away to find work.
However, I do need to concentrate on getting myself ‘out there’. I plan to set up my own website to showcase my work, and gradually get my name known. I’ve already sold a couple of my pieces to friends and family, which is a start, but I know I now need to be more proactive in attracting clients.
The facilities at the Brannams Campus are excellent. We have lots of space to work and, most importantly, we have our own desk so we don’t have to pack up all our stuff at the end of the day. Plus, if we ever want to come in and work on our days off then we can.
The support from the tutors has also been great. I know, from speaking to friends at university, we get far more tutorials than many other illustration students, and all our lecturers know us personally and have a real, genuine interest in what we’re doing and are always keen to share their advice and expertise.”
Georgia is on the second year of a Foundation Degree in Illustration at Petroc, and plans to complete her final year at Plymouth University.
“I completed the Level 3 Diploma in Art and Design at Petroc, before moving onto the Foundation Degree in Illustration.
Kim – the illustration lecturer – came up to the main site and talked to us about illustration, and I thought it sounded really interesting. I’d already done some illustration on my course, so knew I enjoyed it, but until that point I’d never really considered studying it full time.
I’ve always loved fashion, and did textiles at GCSE, and try to incorporate vintage designs, when I can, into my illustrations; something which I think/hope is quite unusual, and will help me stand out when looking for work in the future.
I’ve been fortunate enough to already secure some paid commission work, whilst still on my course. Through a contact at the Barnstaple museum my name was put forward to produce a series of illustrations for the information boards at Combe Martin silver mines. I had to produce six characters – some in period dress and some in modern day mining outfits – as well as landscapes and maps.
It was actually quite scary doing the commission. I had to go and meet the client and take a brief, and then hope that he was pleased with what I produced. Fortunately he was, and the boards went on display at Lynmouth Pavilions and are now at the silver mines for visitors to look at and read.
After I complete my Foundation Degree I’ll be moving to Plymouth to gain a full honours degree at the University. I’m hoping that, during my final year, I’ll really be able to develop my own individual style and start to work out where my work is going to fit.
I understand that so much rides on being able to market yourself, so in my final year I’m going to focus on getting my name known and looking for more potential commission projects.
The long-term goal is to eventually own my own shop, producing commission pieces and selling my own work.”
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