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I was encouraged to follow my interests and obsessions by my tutors

Student spotlight | Jasmine Forbes

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Illustrator and animator based in Durham. I use systems of objects to make pictures and type in watch parts and metal-detecting finds. Using what’s at hand, overlooked and ordinary, but unique in shape. Influenced by bricolage, folk art and its revival by modernism.

  • BA Graphic Arts and Design: First Class, 2020

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you've been doing since you graduated

I’ve been taking it slow since graduating and making purely for joy as I pick up freelance bits that come my way. I’ve also been making and planning more narrative animations like a metal detectorist constructed from metal-detected finds, another about a clockwork girl that eats a butterfly and turns into one herself and wakes up in a bug world. Additionally, I’ve been playing with AR using short animations of a Calder-esque mobile and scarecrow using Adobe Aero. I’ve also produced some carved Brancusi-inspired wooden toys and spoons, and most recently I’ve been playing with 3D printing and learning Blender software so I can make my mechanical / articulated figures using my watch part shapes.

What have been the highlights and challenges of your career so far?

Just after graduating, my Horsemen of the Apocalypse illustration was chosen for the nationwide degree show billboards in London – it was nice to see my work at that scale and was a welcome confidence boost. I’m most proud of the collaboration with my tutor Mick Marston on an illustration for IMA Studio, which was about a university student entering the real world after graduation, which was a fitting project. Mick illustrated the student as Dick Whittington with his cat and their journey into the real world. I illustrated the real world as a Calder-inspired mobile city where the buildings were also the difficulties or what they had to learn. My animation of a pinball portrait was selected for the animated women AR billboards at Animateka film festival in Lithuania – I was really happy to see that even during Covid-19 people could interact with my work. Graduating in a pandemic is hard and adjusting to social media and having to sell yourself has been initially challenging but I’m getting there and finding my way.

How has your experience studying at Leeds beckett influenced you and your career?

It was such a supportive environment to learn in and I’ve gained a network of peers and mentors that are all rooting for each other. I was encouraged to follow my interests and obsessions by my tutors. I was rewarded for making interesting work instead of making more of what already exists, which I really appreciate because my practice is a true reflection of myself and not a ‘course style’. I developed a sustainable visual language and the rules / constraints in which my creative practice operates. University has shown me what makes me tick and what I truly appreciate – whether that’s an artist / sculptor / animator / illustrator / filmmaker or processes of making, animating, drawing, sculpting, collecting, woodworking, printmaking, bricolage, etc. I took advantage of all the facilities and learned everything that I use now; the 3D workshop where I made toys, laser-cut mobiles and rocking horses; the Printmaking Studio where I did screen prints, Riso-prints and photo etching; and the Photography Studio where I took photos of the 2,000+ watch parts I illustrate with and photographed all the mobiles, toys and prints for my portfolio.

What advice would you give someone thinking about studying this course?

I remember before uni I was looking for a course where I wanted to do graphic design that wasn’t boring. If you want to do graphic design – and everything that’s under that umbrella and outside of it – then this course is exactly that. The course pushes you to test and consider the boundaries of what graphic art and design are – for me it was sculpture as illustration, using the idea of using harsh constraints to make a system to illustrate with and when does folk art become design? The tutors are all working practitioners and are genuinely excited to support and collaborate with you even once you’ve left.

What's next for you?

As for what’s next, I’m going to further my practice and pursue a stop motion / animation Masters in the new year as it suits the multidisciplinary nature of my work and my obsession with films.

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