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    Francesca Jane Allen: Diary

The Graduates 2014

Meet talented photographer and LCC Graduate, Francesca Jane Allen

Posted by Liv Siddall,

One look at Francesca’s portfolio and we knew that this was a very, very exciting graduate. Channeling all the vibes of Rookie with the serene portraiture ability of Vermeer, Francesca’s lucid, candid photography depicts youth, friendship and true love. With a BA in Photography from the London College of Communication and a few cross-continental adventures under her belt, Francesca’s well on her way to becoming a much-loved photographer. We chatted to her about her time at University and her plans for the future.

Why or who or what made you go to art school?

This is a question I ask myself far too many times a day. I was always better at academic subjects like maths and science and studying art infuriated me. It still does, but I ended up here somehow. I left school early so I didn’t actually have the right qualifications to apply for a more academic degree and it seemed appropriate to dedicate three years to doing what I love. 

Tell us about your best project

I think my final project was my best project. I spent my entire degree trying to conceptualise my work and add a deeper meaning to it when in reality it had been staring at me the whole time. The series entitled Girls! Girls! Girls! was a series of images I’ve been working on since I was 17. As the title might suggest, the images are all of girls, mainly my younger sister and my best friends Cosima and Ayesha. All of the girls I photographed mean a lot to me and have shaped my life in some way or another. There are over 60 pictures in the project and I displayed them in a huge collage on the wall. It felt very final and extravagant to show all of my favourite work in one go and I still feel sad about having to take it down. I’m actually releasing a zine with a selection of images from the show very soon, so I guess it’s not entirely over. 

Tell us about your worst

I’ve done some god-awful projects for school. I haven’t exactly been an exemplary student and the majority of the work I presented was crammed in a sketchbook the night before with a terrible concept behind them in a halfhearted attempt to conform to the brief. Perhaps a low point was creating a series imitating Frida Kahlo portraits in photographic pastiche using male subjects and questionable collage skills. 

If you could show one person your portfolio, who would it be and why?

Maybe my Dad; I don’t know if he’s ever seen it. It would be a total middle finger to show him I am making some fab things!

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    Francesca Jane Allen: Girls! Girls! Girls!

What was the best moment of your three years at uni (extra curricular included)?

Last summer I spent two months traveling in Mexico and California photographing and filming almost everything and everyone I encountered. The images I took there are some of my favourite images and they reflect the incredible experience I had and the wonderful people I met along the way. I formed some very special relationships with people and a lot of these photos made an appearance in my final show.

A lot is changing – would you recommend art school to someone who is considering going?

Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend studying your current practice – study something that can be applied to your practice. I wish I had studied book-arts or a design related course, learned totally new skills and used my photography within that. If you love something, you don’t need to go to school to study it, just do it for yourself. Art school could be the best thing that happened to you, or the worst. It isn’t for everyone and there are always other options. 

Finally, if your dreams come true, where will you be in a year’s time?

Not waitressing! A year feels like such a short period of time now so I don’t have any crazy expectations. Eventually I want to live in California – I lived there when I was younger and it’s so beautiful. I want to make my work out there. It’s vast and sleepy and barren and everything I want to see on a daily basis.

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    Francesca Jane Allen: Girls! Girls! Girls!

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    Francesca Jane Allen: Girls! Girls! Girls!

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    Francesca Jane Allen: Rebecca

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    Francesca Jane Allen: Girls! Girls! Girls!

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    Francesca Jane Allen: Diary

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    Francesca Jane Allen: Girls! Girls! Girls!

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.
www.represent.uk.com

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Posted by Liv Siddall

Liv joined It’s Nice That as an intern in 2011 and is now one of our editors. She oversees itsnicethat.com and has a particular interest in illustration, photography and music videos. She is also a regular guest and sometime host 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.