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Graduates 2009: Chris Pell

Posted by Will Hudson,

Today’s graduate is Chris Pell who has just graduated from The University of Brighton with a degree in illustration. His work really strikes a chord if you get the opportunity to see it in the flesh, with large scale worlds and narratives unfolding before your eyes.

Raised in Shepshed, a small East Midlands town where – Chris explains – nothing really happens, so escaped at the first opportunity to study in Brighton. “I was never really into a lot of art when i was growing up, the school I went to was awful, but I got heavily into fantasy art, which I still love and draw inspiration from now.”

This mysterious undertone is evident throughout Chris’s work, especially in the story of Hoku’vale, created and illustrated for the Brighton Degree Show and Witch, a record sleeve designed in collaboration with Joe Porter. An illustrator with bags of talent, we’re excited to see what’s next.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I think I remember wanting to get into drawing from when I was in primary school, I drew a great ptrodactyl and the teacher told my mum and dad I should do that. I got a lot of support from my family to come to university and do this so I guess i’ve never really been tempted to do anything else.

In reflection, how bad was your work in the first year?

At the start of the first year I thought I was making great work, I look at it now and I wince a little. I think my work has changed a lot but I think the evolution wasn’t forced at all. I still like some of the things I did, for me it was the transition to a great city and great tutors that led me down the route I wanted to go.

If you could show a piece of your folio to one person, what piece would you choose, and who would you show it to?

I’m not too fussy about who sees it, If I had to choose someone in particular I think I would want to show artist Boris Vallejo. Not for any job opportunity or anything but just to see what he thinks of it, im sure he’s getting quite old now so I better get on it. I grew up with his work and I still think its great, I would show him any of my drawings, probably the most detailed one because I bet he’s into that.

If you had your own business, who would you employ and why?

I was thinking the other day about how great it would be to bring back elaborate stage designs to live shows. I would employ bands and artists to work along side each other and pair music and visual arts together for gigs, I think theres has been a bit of a shortage in bringing the two elements together in recent times.

If you’ve got any left, what will you spend the last of your student loan on?

None what so ever. If I did I would invest in either having a short break in Berlin or use it to save up and move to America, but im sure I will get my money right when I leave uni with no funds, at the peak of economic breakdown and without a job…oh. 

Where will we find you in 12 months?

Hopefully preparing to move somewhere exciting, I don’t like to plan ahead this far but I guess it’s important to have something in the pipeline.


Posted by Will Hudson

Will founded It’s Nice That in 2007 and is now director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded. He is a regular guest on the Studio Audience podcast.

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