Chelsea graduate Jack Haslehurst is a designer, filmmaker and all-round creative type with his foot already firmly in the door of the professional world. Before he’d even managed to get his degree in the bag, Jack was producing work for the likes of Oxjam, Animade, David Wilson and Agile Films, so he’s no stranger to long stints without sleep.
His most recent film work did impressively well at the Vimeo Awards, and no wonder as it expertly manipulates the viewer’s perspective, dragging them through a nightmarish landscape of bewildering locations. Equally perspective-altering is his Semaphore project, a vibrant body of work that offers a unique examination of graphic symbols and their ability to communicate messages of optimism.
We put him on the spot to find out why it is that he does what he does.
“I used to struggle to try and define myself; am I a creative, designer, or even a film maker? But, as I graduate, this seems to be the way that best defines my practice – all of the above. I basically love producing a broad range of work without limiting myself too specifically to one area.
I do however really love going through stages of focusing on specific creative processes. At the moment I’m in my expensive salmon stage. I buy the fish and cook it in experimental ways, so it tastes fantastic but will financially ruining me."
Why or who or what made you go to art school?
I grew up in a pretty creative family, so I thought it would be fun. Having said that, I actually had no idea what art college or even graphic design was until I was in sixth form. I owe a lot to my tutor, Dan, who let us really experiment with art and explore a broad range of creative approaches. He also said it would be a good idea for me to do an art foundation. It was a good idea (pretty fun too).
What’s the best mistake you made when you were studying?
For my final project at university I made a poster which read “Make Mistakes & Learn”, so making mistakes is something I feel is really important when pushing yourself creatively. One mistake I often make is underestimating how much time a project will take to complete, recently going about 50 hours without sleep to reach final deadlines. However by the end, in a strange caffeine induced trance, I designed my most favourite poster from art school. But for my own personal health I’m not doing it again.
If you could show you your work to one person, who would you choose and what would you show them?
I would seriously love to sit down with Dan Wieden, talk about they way he thinks and the culture that has been created at Wieden+Kennedy for creativity. As for what to show him, I would actually show him some of the fun (often silly and pointless) films I have made over the past couple of years as well as some of my broader creative thinking briefs. If not – Charles Saatchi, he might want to buy my work for millions? Charles…?
Can you give us one prediction about your work for the next year?
It’s one of the first years of my life with freedom and not a huge amount planned. I want to enjoy it and keep up the art school spirit of exploring and producing personal work as well as working in the industry. I’m lucky to have come from a degree course where collaboration is really encouraged and I’m currently working on a documentary with a couple of fellow ex-students codenamed “Project Guinea Pig” – so look out for that popping up late 2012.
What’s the best thing you saw in the last three years?
That’s a difficult one – A Glastonbury sunset? A pretty great moment was back in first year when, in front of a completely new class of people, we had to sing a song about a typeface. Highlights included the Comic Sans song, defending the great typeface. Most recently, in the pouring rain, at 1am, the night before the private view, seeing our show branding (which I co-designed) being put up in large vinyl letters on the outside of our show space (a very special feeling).
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