Graphic design graduate Dillon Biltcliffe Newell is one of a new generation of designers who are experimenting with traditional media in innovative and newfangled ways. Taking long-established means of communication from typography to print publications and blending them to create an authentic visual language, we were drawn to his experimental approach. With projects ranging from an investigation into forms of communication used by students at Brighton University, to a book of poems written by his beekeeper mother and preserved in wax, Dillon’s practice deals less in finding solutions to problems, and more with the new application of existing aesthetics. He’s forging a new discipline which blends illustration and design with more abstract concepts, and it’s compelling stuff.
“I’ve grown up in an artistic family, as both my parents studied fine art at Goldsmiths,” he tells us. “As cliché’d as it may sound, it’s all I’ve ever really known. My dad is now a painter and decorator, and he gave me the drive to pursue my ambitions and get as far away from that monotonous everyday job as I could.
“I’m yet to feel total satisfaction with any of my work,” he says when we ask him about his best project. “The most fun I’ve had would be a hologram I recently created in a response to Mitch Hedberg’s quote, ‘My fake plants died because I did not pretend to water them.’ A hologram is the illusion of an object, and with this project I was able to experiment with a 3D scanner to create my rotating poster, which developed into the hologram.”
As for his worst project, he confesses that there have been a bunch of bad ones, but the one that most disappoints him does so because it came to a bit of a standstill. Entitled Flotsam and Jetsam, it was “a project documenting found beach objects, that is far from complete. It was one of the first instances I felt I couldn’t do anything with the content I had gathered, this took over my ability to push the project further, therefore the overall design was restrictive and didn’t display my research or content.”
There’s no hesitation when we ask who he’d show his portfolio to, given the choice. “Karel Martens,” he says, referencing the Dutch designer, teacher and founder of Werkplaats Typografie. “Recently a few friends and I made a graphic design pilgrimage to the Hague to see his exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts. I have always been aware of his work, and it would be a pleasure if he looked at mine.”
The most important lesson Dillon has learned over his time at Brighton is on personal projects. “_Bee Fever,_ my most recent project, is a series of poems my late mother wrote five years ago about the life cycle of bees and the connection she grew with them as a beekeeper,” he explains. “The poems are beautiful metaphors for the struggles she went through and the relationship between life and death. When working on this project, I allowed myself to share my past through my work for the first time. It’s a strange ‘lesson’ to describe but it’s sort of filled me with the drive to gain gratification throughout my life."
As for his future, in a year’s time Dillon hopes to be "pursuing my creative aspirations, creating interesting and playful work and continuing to learn.” It’s a modest aim, and one that we’re excited to watch him achieve.
We are very pleased that The It’s Nice That Graduates 2015 will once again be supported by Represent Recruitment. The graphic and digital 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 2015.