As we open the call for entries for the 2017 edition of The Graduates, we caught up with three of the rising creative talents who made it into the The Graduates 2016 line-up from nearly 1,000 entries that we received last year, to find out what they’ve been getting up to in the year since they graduated.
We were wooed by photography graduate Oliver Marshall who impressed us with his dreamy nostalgic vision of Margate’s Dreamland amusement park, Edinburgh College of Art graduate Vera Babida whose animations told poignant tales of love which brought back memories of our own best-left-forgotten Tinder dates and last but definitely not least, illustrator John Molesworth, who had us amazed with his sketchy, impressionist drawing style that we recently commissioned him to cover the hustle and bustle of Soho on Record Store Day for It’s Nice That.
So what have you been up to since you graduated last summer?
Vera: I’ve moved to Melbourne, Australia and have been working pretty much non-stop. I’ve picked up a streamline of commissions to work on to keep me busy!
Oliver: Since being featured in The Graduates 2016 it’s been a rollercoaster of a year. I’ve been working in retail but in my spare time shooting as much as possible on personal projects and working on various others with yourselves. I’ve been contacted by Island Records and other brands which I currently talking to and hoping to work with in the future. I’ve also been assisting for photographers such as Steph Wilson for a shoot with Heroine magazine.
John: I’ve been super busy! Magazine commissions, nightclub posters, festival set design and a few other commissions here and there. I’ve also been trying to do much personal work as I can fit in, including ceramics, a few zines and some prints.
Tell us about where you work now. At home? In a studio or agency? A local coffee shop?
Vera: I’m working in a branding agency called Love and Money, which we are waiting for sponsorship to come through so I could stay in the country and work on our current projects – which are super exciting and we are hoping to launch it in October, I can’t disclose much but I can tell you it’s something for kids! If sponsorship doesn’t come through, our plan is to probably come back to London.
John: I freelance in a studio in Hove, it’s super nice. There’s only a few of us in there so we’re quite a close bunch, and we have different disciplines so we’re always helping each other out with things.
Oliver: For the past eight months since finishing uni I’ve been working from home to concentrate on setting my self up financially to make the move to London, which has taken longer than I anticipated. I’ve been between freelance work, assisting and working full time at JD Sports, which has done the job and I’m currently looking for work in London and a place to live.
How do you think being featured in The It’s Nice That Graduates has helped your career so far?
Vera: I think it has helped me massively – thank you team! It has definitely been a boost in “publicity” and my portfolio, when I am applying for jobs.
Oliver: Being featured in the Grads has been an amazing experience and has by far boosted my online profile. Having the association with It’s Nice That, the online features and being printed in Printed Pages it has opened up opportunities from small clients to big clients, which I would never have thought would be approaching me, all of which had seen my work from Graduates profile. The support offered from everyone at It’s Nice That has really benefited my personal work and my confidence in myself and has offered incredible opportunities not only through being posted on It’s Nice That but with the partnership with G . F Smith on the Make Books and with WeTransfer. The Grads has offered networking opportunities with meetings and getting to know the It’s Nice That/Anyways teams and the other graduates as well with the Nicer Tuesdays events and being invited to parties full of industry professionals and creatives from around the country.
John: It’s helped so much! It helps to have a respected bunch of people say something good about your work in such a subjective industry. It’s also such a confidence boost, so I felt comfortable sending out my work out there. The exposure is great as well, it’s got me a fair few commissions and nice messages so it keeps you working and on your toes after you graduate.
What is the one single most important thing you’ve learnt in the last year?
Vera: Having confidence in what you do.
John: I think that other than “work hard”, which I’ve always tried to maintain, it’s got to be “be patient”. Often when commissioned work slows down, it can knock your confidence, but the best thing is to keep on working through it, because more often than not something interesting will come, it’s just about waiting for it.
Oliver: The most important thing I’ve learnt in the past year is to trust my instincts, to have faith in my ideas and myself, then push them as much as possible. Overall I think I’ve learnt to be more confident.
What have you got to look forward to in the next year?
Vera: More work! There has been a lot of chat of working on a children’s book with our strategy director at Love and Money, so this is something to look forward to. Who knows?
John: I’ve managed to save some money up, so I want to do something big with it. I fancy doing a big travel trip somewhere and making a project out of it.
Oliver: Leaving my current full-time job, working and moving out to London are what I’m most looking forward to in the upcoming year and I’m also looking to finish a couple of the personal projects that I’ve started in the past few months. In terms of long-term goals, I’d like to have a studio space to work in and travel abroad to America. Overall I am excited to see what happens off the back of The Graduates.
If you’re after more advice and insight into the creative industries, sign up to Lecture in Progress – It’s Nice That’s new sister company, which was launched to inspire, inform and empower emerging talent with information on the workings of the creative world.