We’re excited to announce the Graduates class of 2017. Whittled down from over 1,000 applications, we are proud to introduce 11 individuals whose work demonstrates originality, high quality, great execution and real purpose.
Spanning photography, illustration, animation, art and graphic design, we think these brilliant creatives are destined for great things and we can’t wait to see what they get up to next as they embark on their careers.
It’s Nice That first launched The Graduates nine years ago, as a way to champion the best young talent coming out of UK undergraduate courses. Those selected each have their own profile on the site, you can see learn more about each graduate and see their brilliant work in the articles below. They’ll also have the opportunity to get help and advice from the It’s Nice That team and become a part of our creative network, as having their work travel to New York for an event courtesy of our supporter A/D/O.
On 5 July we launched this year’s Graduates at a private party ahead of the site takeover, held at Our/London vodka distillery in east London. On show was the Graduates’ work, where friends of the studio and people working in the industry came together to welcome the Grads, drink beer and eat pizza.
We’re so proud of our Graduates this year, and would like to thank everyone who got in touch with us to share their work. Congratulations to you all – time to celebrate!
Joey Yu’s sporadic and colourful illustrations play upon on the mundane momentsBryony Stone —
“It’s cool to work hard,” are graduates Joey Yu’s words to live by. She needn’t tell us twice: the London-based illustrator, animator, curator and all-round creative talent is living proof of her five-word philosophy.
Graphic designer Ben Hutchings on interstellar signals and isometric pasta packagingJenny Brewer —
From an experimental typography project reinterpreting interstellar signals in 3D form, to isometric pasta packaging, Ben Hutchings’ graphic design work combines science and type in impactful ways.
Luke Withers balances ambiguity with strong aesthetics in his research-driven photographyRebecca Fulleylove —
Photographer Luke Withers applied for The Graduates because he wanted to connect with people outside of his creative field, and adheres to the mantra of “taking all the opportunities that are presented to you”, which has become a big part of his approach to his art. Originally from Belfast, Luke went to the University of South Wales and studied the Documentary Photography course. “It was really a case of noticing that a lot of the photography and photographers I was looking at happened to be coming from the course in Newport,” Luke says of his decision to study there.
Colour, space, form and what it means to paint: introducing artist Morgan WardOwen Pritchard —
“I remember distinctly hearing a phrase in a lecture that has always stuck with my practice: ‘Don’t create work that gives answers, create work that asks questions,’” says artist Morgan Ward. “I always hope that people who view my work ask questions about its creation, context and ideologies.” The university of Chichester graduate has a portfolio of abstract works that explore colour and space in a bombastic manner. Each work is the product of a “continual battle into one’s personal development.
Movement, figure and feeling from artist and illustrator Molly FairhurstOwen Pritchard —
“Be playful,” says artist and illustrator Molly Fairhurst. “Always.” It’s a definitive statement from someone at the outset of their career, one that hints at a wise head on young shoulders. Molly’s work is concerned with “movement, figure and feeling” and her prolific output has developed a portfolio that shows a distinct and assured style.
Maxwell Granger’s refreshingly disparate and tongue-in-cheek portraitureBryony Stone —
North Yorkshire-born graduate Maxwell Granger ended up at London College of Communication after a short-lived trip to rival art school Camberwell. “I went round Camberwell initially with my best mate, and we hated it so much that we quite literally pegged it down the road all the way to Peckham Rye,” Maxwell grins. “We both decided – while running – that LCC was for us.”
Animator Katy Wang uses beautifully subtle texture and timing in her emotive filmsJenny Brewer —
In her animated short film Contact, Katy Wang tells the tale of an interplanetary journey, inspired by the emotions of a long-distance relationship. Through beautifully detailed and textural hand-drawn scenes and characters, and a subtle narrative, she draws you into her delicately emotive story.
Giya Makondo-Wills explores race, identity and colonialism in her powerful photographyRebecca Fulleylove —
Photographer Giya Makondo-Wills sees herself as a “magpie, collecting information from all over, whether it be anecdotes, research and memories, and putting them together”. Her ability to tell stories in a way that represents both her subjects and herself as a photographer developed during her time at the University of South Wales while studying Documentary Photography.
Kingston graduate Jiye Kim creates minuscule illustrations with maximum effectLucy Bourton —
Kingston graduate Jiye Kim creates illustrations that are swift in movement, capturing a scene in the blink of an eye. Naming “exaggeration, narrative and movement” as the key elements to her illustration practice, each of her drawings are highly detailed sketches, minuscule drawings with maximum effect.
Illustrator Jamie Edler approaches complex topics with lightness and humourRebecca Fulleylove —
Born in Bristol, illustrator Jamie Edler wasn’t set on going to university but a tutor at A level eventually persuaded him to apply. “I applied to five different universities and decided not to do an art foundation,” says Jamie. “I made the choice to study at Falmouth, deferred a year and moved to China for a bit to teach English.” For Jamie that break gave him time to be ready to get back into education and became an experience that “inspired and motivated” him. “I always knew if I were to study at uni, I would study illustration. It was something I’d always pursued – apart from a few weeks where I thought I might study music!”
Graphic designer Tom Baber adopts a hands-on approach to typographyLucy Bourton —
An eye for layout and typography is a trait that runs in graduate Tom Baber’s family: “My mum was a graphic designer,” he tells It’s Nice That. “When her friends had babies she would paint their names in bright coloured letters with chunky serifs and animals climbing all over them, I always thought they were really cool.”
Supported by A/D/O
Founded by MINI, A/D/O is a creative space in Greenpoint, Brooklyn dedicated to exploring new boundaries in design. At its heart is the Design Academy, which offers a range of programming to professional designers, intended to provoke and invigorate their creative practice.
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.