• Top-2

    Alice Stewart: Coding the Cabinet

The Graduates 2014

Meet Alice Stewart, the talented Graduate with a new perspective on the internet

Posted by Maisie Skidmore,

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.

  • Google-1

    Alice Stewart: Google Tapestry

  • Google-2

    Alice Stewart: Google Tapestry

  • Google-3

    Alice Stewart: Google Tapestry

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!

  • Coding-1

    Alice Stewart: Coding the Cabinet

  • Coding-2

    Alice Stewart: Coding the Cabinet

  • Coding-3

    Alice Stewart: Coding the Cabinet

  • Distraction-1

    Alice Stewart: Digital Paper

  • Cross-stitch-1

    Alice Stewart: Digital Cross Stitch

  • Cross-stitch-2

    Alice Stewart: Digital Cross Stitch

  • Cross-stitch-3

    Alice Stewart: Digital Cross Stitch

  • Cross-stitch-4

    Alice Stewart: Digital Cross Stitch

  • Bliss

    Alice Stewart: Desktop

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.



Posted by Maisie Skidmore

Assistant Editor Maisie joined It’s Nice That fresh out of university in the summer of 2013 and has stayed with us ever since. She has a particular interest in art, fashion and photography and is a regular on our Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: The Graduates 2014 View Archive

  1. Jj_judge

    It was something of an honour to have illustrator Jean Jullien in the studio to help judge this year’s It’s Nice That Graduates. Not only is he a really nice guy, but he’s also one of our favourite artists who – in our eyes – can do no wrong. His style is effortless and full of humour, grinning at our modern world through a wry squint – an ability that most of the great illustrators through time have nearly all had in common. Another thing we can all learn from Jean is that he works harder than most people we know and rarely says no to a project, making him in-demand and always on everyone’s radar. Here he is on what he learnt from helping us judge the It’s Nice That Graduates 2014.

  2. Michael

    Graphic designer and Manchester School of Art student Michael Crook is the 15th and final of our Graduates of 2014, securing a spot up there with the best of ’em with his incredibly sharp and effortless-looking design. The projects he won us over with include an identity for an event called The Science of Fashion in which he used thermochronic ink to create a disappearing design, a book about American hobo culture and the secret written languages nomads use to communicate with one another, and an original take on book cover design, in which he made Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 look like a book of matches ready for the striking. Read on to find out about his favourite project to date, and the perfume-soaked tab he’s hoping never to encounter again. Well done Michael!

  3. Main

    Our penultimate It’s Nice That Graduate of 2014 is Falmouth Illustration grad Lauren Humphrey, whose style is fun and playful and brilliantly authentic without sacrificing her message. It’s not often that you find a creative fresh out of university who so effortlessly aligns meaning with a recognisable and accessible aesthetic, but Lauren does so effortlessly, combining a style she has firmly established with the brief she’s set. She’s one to watch out for! Find her in a swanky studio, or potentially restoring an old boat, before you even know what’s happening.

  4. Charlotte

    University of Brighton graduate Charlotte Bassett’s work is so carefully considered that if you saw it in an art gallery or publishing house, nobody would blink an eyelid. There’s nothing rash or impulsive about her design, which focusses primarily on “curation, interdisciplinary collaborations and publishing”; instead, she combines diverse elements and a thorough knowledge of her subjects in a measured, sensitive and effective manner to create lasting impact.

  5. Grads_judge_accent

    We’ve almost finished our selection of It’s Nice That Graduates 2014, and we’ve well and truly established that this year has produced some of the most talented and exciting creative talent to date. We had a selection of handpicked judges to help us select the entrants who most deserved to make it through to the final 15, and in corner of publishing are Lydia and Lucy from Accent Magazine, “a global celebration of lives lived outside the ordinary.” They kindly left us with a few nuggets of wisdom for new graduates to show what they were looking for.

  6. Grads_thursday_17

    Going through nearly 600 applicants for the It’s Nice That Graduates was a long process, and in it we saw countless photography submissions. To come across a portfolio like Portsmouth graduate Alecsandra’s was truly special, as her website was utterly brimming with fascinating, in-depth projects that stood out as being truly well-researched, full of passion and rather unique. Her love of storytelling led her to focus on politics, family, tradition and emotion, making her body of work alive with folklore and wisdom. How great is it when someone’s work truly opens your eyes to something you had previously never encountered? Here she is on her degree, her passion for photography, and her future.

  7. Tris

    Sleek vintage cars, mousetrap swings, chance encounters with rainbows and days out at the races all feature in the varied portfolio of Tristan Cluett, a recent graduate from Kingston University. He’s spent three years immersing himself in his medium, getting out in the field to shoot cyclists in action or creating polished sets in the studio to provide backdrops for his unusual ideas. What seems key to the success of Tristan’s work is his openness to experimentation – he’s not content to be a one-trick pony – and the level of polish he applies to every one of his projects.

  8. Hannah

    LCC Photography graduate Hannah Burton has spent her three years of undergraduate study working out ways to get as close as possible to her subjects. She’s worn their clothes and camped out in their rooms for shots in which she embodies the subject, trawled east London’s Gascoyne Estate, getting to know its inhabitants as she shoots their pictures and explored her personal relationship with her mother in a series of intensely revealing portraits.

  9. Main4

    David Doran is an illustrator so on top of his game that he’s already knocked up a cracking client list, and he’s only just finished his degree in Illustration at Falmouth. It’s not hard to see why, though – his skill is second to none, interweaving layers of soft texture, muted palettes and characters so animated that you almost recognise them, to create some of the snazziest tableaux we’ve seen in ages. We can’t wait to see what he’s got up his sleeve next, but in the meantime, get a load of this! Cor.

  10. Judge_josh_king

    We love Josh King. He was one of our favourite grads two years ago – his ideas and way of looking at graphic design with actual humour rather than just making stuff look nice was totally refreshing. When we asked him what his best mistake was while studying, he answered: “I once made petrol scented candles. It wasn’t a mistake but it could have been. Luckily no one got hurt.”

  11. Joe

    Much like the content of most of Joe’s work, opening the email attachment of his portfolio when he applied to The Graduates was like stumbling across buried treasure in ancient ruins. To see such honest, informed and unique work that shows dedication and a two-fingers-up to common, trendy illustration is just such a joy that I can barely contain myself.

  12. Main3

    When I was finishing up my final project at university I’d wake up, have a slice of burnt toast, then hobble across slippery cobblestones to a windowless library. When Barnaby Kent woke up on the days that he was working on his graduate project he awoke lying on a bed of luscious leaves in the jungle, and he’d have fresh passionfruit for breakfast before taking a walk in the mountains. It’s no wonder that his work is so magical.

  13. Alice

    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.