Like the large majority of my generation I spend a disproportionate amount of my daily life on the internet, but probing the way that digital spheres function within our actual lives is a task which requires a very specific – and hard to come by – kind of creative brain. Cue the arrival of Alice Stewart, a digital and interactive illustrator from Kingston University whose handle on internet-driven concepts is second to none.
Alice explores the connections between traditional crafts and digital media, from a digital cross stitch to a guide to coding for politicians made in gif form, and an 11 layer linocut reinterpretation of the default Windows XP desktop image, the most viewed digital image in the world. We were blown away by the strength and originality of her ideas and her focus on internet-related art, delivering projects of an incredible quality – prepare to see the online world in an entirely new way! We can’t wait to see what Alice has in store next as she’s one seriously talented Grad.
Why or who or what made you go to art school?
I come from a very creative family – my dad is a photographer, mum is a textile artist and my brothers are into moving image, so there was barely ever a question of whether I was going to do anything else. I was lucky enough to always be encouraged to pursue what I really enjoyed doing, which made the decision to art school very easy to make.
Tell us about your best project
My final project from this year, the digital cross stitch, is probably the most resolved thing I’ve done and therefore one of my favourites. The project was inspired by Mark Prensky’s 2001 essay Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants and it was the first time I’ve used a piece of writing as a starting point. A lot of my work attempts to connect traditional mediums to the screen and I have been experimenting with various technologies like Arduino and Bare Conductive paint since this time last year, so it’s nice finally to have a piece of work that encompasses all of my interests and techniques that I have amounted for the duration of my degree.
Tell us about your worst
For my final self-initiated project at the end of my first year I decided to do it on the subject of “choice” which in retrospect was far too broad. I got so overwhelmed by my research and the philosophical nature of the subject that ironically I became cripplingly indecisive and couldn’t choose what to do for my final piece. That project got me pretty stressed out – I still can’t visit Sainsbury’s without having a break down in the middle of the bread isle because there are simply too many options to choose from.
If you could show one person your portfolio, who would it be and why?
As most of my work has an emphasis on the internet as a subject, it would be an honour to show my portfolio to the man who made it all possible: Tim Berners-Lee.
What was the best moment of your three years at uni (extra curricular included)?
I have had too many great moments within actual university to choose from, so I’m going to go with my holiday to Orlando last summer. I was researching for my dissertation at the time which happened to be about the theme park experience, and so it was one of the most interesting and thoughtful trips I’ve ever been on. I went to Disney World and Universal Studios, but the real highlight was visiting the “Holy Land Experience” (for research purposes only) which is a Christian theme park around the corner from Disney. It was the most surreal place I’ve ever visited and I even got a photo opportunity with Jesus. I loved the picture so much that I put it on the front of my business card!
A lot is changing – would you recommend art school to someone who is considering going?
It’s easy for me to recommend art school from my position as I was part of the last year that paid the lower fees – I didn’t really give it much thought when I was applying. If I was thinking of going now I would really have to evaluate what I wanted to get out of the experience. Everyone has a different motivation for wanting to go to art school, so it’s a very personal decision that should ultimately be left with the individual. I would recommend it for the support system of amazing students, tutors and friends that you leave with; that’s something quite difficult to achieve without going to art school. Having said that, it isn’t the only way of pursuing a creative path and perhaps if more people went off the beaten track then it would become more acceptable and normal to do things a little differently.
Finally, if your dreams come true, where will you be in a year’s time?
This is very difficult as right now I can’t even imagine what I will be doing this time next week! In a year I hope I will be on my way to working out what I really want to do as I am currently still interested in a lot of different avenues. Hopefully I will be able to keep experimenting with technology and making real-world projects out of my interests. I’m very excited to have lots of conversations with interesting people, and to get to know graduate life in all its glory!
Supported by Represent
We are very pleased that The It’s Nice That Graduates 2014 will once again be supported by Represent Recruitment. The graphic design recruitment specialists have developed a peerless reputation working with designers of all levels and matching them up with the right positions in some of the top agencies around. Represent’s support has helped us grow the Graduate scheme over recent years and we are thrilled they have partnered with us again in 2014.