Art Graduates: Where Are They Now?

We speak to four recent art graduates to find out what they've been up to since finishing at uni, and what they have planned for the future

Feature by The Skinny | 30 Aug 2017

Alice Chandler

Alice Chandler studied Sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art and graduated in 2015.

What did you do after graduating?
After graduating, I moved back to my hometown of Leeds and got a graduate internship at Sunny Bank Mills, which was two days a week as gallery assistant and funded by the Arts Council. As part of the internship I got a small studio space as well. It's a really small team so the role involved loads of different aspects, which was great. At the same time I got selected for a graduate residency at a space called Assembly House – this was good to meet people and have a focused two months making work.

What have been some of your favourite projects since graduating?
One of my favourite projects after graduating was an exhibition in Norwich with seven other Leeds-based artists called General Studies. We turned the Outpost Gildengate House project space into eight separate artist-designed rooms, available to rent on Airbnb.

What are you up to now? 
I'm still based in Leeds and working at Sunny Bank Mills as arts and events coordinator. I work 3-4 days a week and spend the rest of my time in my studio. I have completed several short courses in jewellery and silver smithing and have built up my own jewellery workshop in my studio – I now make and sell silver jewellery as my second job, which I absolutely love. I'm still making art as well and have an exhibition coming up in October in Liverpool at The Trophy Room.

Is there anything in particular you want to do in the future?
In the future I want to keep developing my skills in jewellery making and design – there is so much to learn! I would quite like to go back to uni and do a masters at some point too.

Any advice to current art students?
My advice to current art students would be take advantage of the amazing facilities and equipment and really learn as many skills as you possibly can. Spend as much time as you can in the studios and organise lots of events and exhibitions.

Kieran Milne

Kieran Milne studied Fine Art at Duncan of Jordanstone and graduated in 2016.

What did you do after graduating?
I stayed in Dundee for the summer but worked various jobs in Edinburgh short-term including as install technician at Summerhall and with Atlas Arts for their exhibition NEO NEO// Extreme Past in the Bothy at Modern One.

What have been some of your favourite projects since graduating?
I enjoyed working with Summerhall and Atlas over the summer of 2016 and making new work for the RSA New Contemporaries in 2017. As of writing this I am currently on residency at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop, which has been such a fulfilling experience and has been a huge boon to my practice and skillset.

What are you up to now? 
As mentioned before, I've been located in Lumsden at the Scottish Sculpture Workshop for the whole of August, but usually I am based in Glasgow and work as a cook at Stereo. I have a studio at Crownpoint in Bridgeton, which I share with my friend Rosie Roberts, who is great!

Is there anything in particular you want to do in the future? 
I have my first show coming up in February at The Number Shop in Edinburgh which should be exciting as I will be presenting new work, which I have made while on residency. I would like to keep up my positive momentum and take part in more residencies and group/solo shows (who wouldn’t?).

Any advice to current art students?
Use the workshops as much as possible because you will regret it if you don’t. Technicians are the lifeblood of art schools, so treat them well because they can teach you so much and have seen it all a hundred times. So shut up and LISTEN!

Alessandra Mostyn

Alessandra moved to Manchester from London to study what was then Design & Art Direction (now Graphic Design) at Manchester School of Art in 2007, graduating in 2010.

What did you do immediately after graduating?
I had my first job interview at a design studio in Manchester the morning of my graduation ceremony! A very hectic, memorable day. I had a short stint there as a junior designer and went on to work at Manchester International Festival on a short contract. Both were extremely challenging, exciting and fast paced learning environments and were opportunities through recommendation of friends and uni tutors – networks after graduating are crucial. 

What are you up to now?
After graduating I started attending zine fairs in Manchester and London and felt inspired to create my own event. In 2011 I launched the Manchester Print Fair with a handful of local designers. I wanted to create a chilled out experience with good music, beer and great design... and hoped that a few people would turn up! Five years later we welcome thousands of visitors, collaborate with creatives all over the UK, deliver creative workshops with our sponsor G.F Smith and have become part of a wider programme of events with Design Manchester. This year we teamed up with our friends at design studio Mogul and are debuting our sister event, the Oxford Print Fair, at Modern Art Oxford this September. 

Is there anything in particular you want to do in the future? 

I would love to expand the print fair's portfolio and work with museums and galleries all over the world. My wish list includes the V&A, Natural History Museum, Musée Hergé, Museu del Disseny de Barcelona, BALTIC... to name a few! 

I've always wanted to work with the National Trust in some capacity. Their houses and gardens have created many memories for me growing up; learning about architecture, design through the ages, plants and wildlife. 

What makes the North of England a good place for jobs in the arts?
Historically, industry and hard graft has been at the heart of the North and this still runs underneath it all. Many of the cities were built for industry yet knew the vital role design has to play; from its early cotton merchants hiring design students to create fabrics to newspapers hiring some of the first female art graduates in their print departments. 

The universities are well connected, giving graduates and professionals a networking platform which enables us to organise and promote new work and events comprehensively. With new events such as Print Stuff in York and Northern Craft Fair in Leeds creating a larger Northern creative network, the cities are communicating more, which is key.

Any advice for current art students?
As the great RuPaul once said: "If you're waiting for an opportunity, be prepared. Know your craft." Always be one step ahead of where you need to be; you never know when your most up to date portfolio will be needed, that showreel ready to ping off to some studio director, your website looking fresh to impress a TV network. Grab hold of life, it is not a rehearsal.

Ant Hamlyn

Ant studied Fine Art at Liverpool Hope University and graduated in August 2015

What did you do immediately after graduating?
Immediately after graduating I won the very first HOPE + FACT production residency to develop a major project in the FACTLab. I worked alongside their technologists, technical and curatorial team for five months to develop The Boost Project, a giant 5 x 5m inflatable orb that inflates or deflates dependant on its social media popularity. The work was hung from the main atrium at FACT for the FOLLOW exhibition in December 2015 for three months.

What have been some of your favourite projects since graduating?
I represented the UK at Mediterranea 18 Young Artists Biennale in Albania in May 2017 alongside five others with The Boost Project. Going to Albania was incredible, the festival was set across the capital city of Tirana in various locations. There were around 230 artists from right across Europe and the Mediterranean all representing their countries. This was a real honour and an unforgettable experience.

Prior to this I showed my work at the Zabludowicz Collection in North London and the Victoria and Albert Museum. I created #TheStrobeGlobe for the V&A and #ShadowSoftware for the Zabludowicz Collection. I converted the Globe at the V&A into a ‘social media hotspot universe’, kitted out with giant pink beanbags and strobe lights. The idea was that if #TheStrobeGlobe was mentioned on Twitter, the globe would light up for a couple of seconds and create a disorientating strobe light starscape reminding the viewer of the looming presence of social media.

For the Zabludowicz, I appropriated the software to create a moment of instant fame. If #ShadowSoftware was mentioned on Twitter the viewer would be surrounded by strobe lights and bubbles in a paparazzi-style performance. 

What are you up to now? 
I've just finished showing some video works in Moscow and Greece and currently have a smaller sculpture on show in Bermondsey in London. In 2016 I won the Cecil Lewis Sculpture Scholarship to study for my MA in Fine Art at Chelsea College of Art, so I am now based in London and am due to complete the course this September. 

Is there anything in particular you want to do in the future? 
I want to push my practice further internationally. I am particularly keen on putting on a solo show and will be developing a new body of work after my masters. I plan to get a studio in London and continue practising as a professional artist, working on commissions and establishing a practice within the contemporary art world.

Any advice to current art students?
Be flexible and take opportunities, usually one opportunity makes another, take it and work out how you will do it afterwards. It's all about consistently working very hard. 

Make it. it seems obvious but procrastination can kill some of the best ideas you can have. That idea you have and you’re not sure about it; if you dwell on it long enough you will put yourself off it. Make it because while you're making it you’ll notice things you didn't before. There is a knowledge that comes from making.

Always try and do something that feels slightly out of your comfort zone. I think David Bowie said this, and it’s true: if you feel nervous about it, or it feels difficult, it's probably where you should be.

FICTIONPIXELS, The Library of The Live or What the Eyes See 2017 by Ant Hamlyn, 8-14 Sep, Chelsea College of Art in London
Oxford Print Fair 2017, 9 Sep, Modern Art Oxford
Manchester Print Fair 2017, 21-22 Oct, Upper Campfield Market