Creative Graduates Creative Futures: Career stories

Career Stories

Farnham graduate dances his way to Beijing

Tim Butt, a former student from the University for the Creative Arts, led his break dancing team to Beijing as the head of the UK delegation to Bboy Unit, the first break-dancing competition to be held in conjunction with the Olympic Games.

Tim (27) from Woking began dancing in his spare time whilst studying at the University for the Creative Arts in 1999. He originally studied Graphic Design before switching to study Fine Arts.

He said: ‘The Union staff were always very supportive in terms of letting me train when ever I wanted.’

At the time of the study Tim was practicing at the University in Farnham up to three times a week and had plans to start a Farnham break-dance society. He won the opportunity to go to Beijing after his break-dancing group, the Bad Taste Cru, won a national knock out tournament.

Tim said the convergence with the Olympics was an indication of its future as a sport. He said: ‘In the future I think Bboying will be as big as Skateboarding or BMX and I am sure one day it will become an official Olympic event.’

Since graduating, Tim had formed his own dance company and won contracts to dance in TV adverts for fitness label K Swiss, Marriott Hotels. He also joined up with US Hip Hop chart toppers the Black Eyed Peas for a private UK function. He said: ‘Dance jobs are highly competitive and very well paid. It’s not unheard of to earn £50,000 for a few weeks work if it’s for a high profile TV campaign.’

‘Seeing the effects of hard work and dedication helps young people to create a positive approach to life in general. It’s also such a positive form of expression and there are physical and health benefits too. You can’t get good overnight but its great fun and the hard work really pays off. That’s a really important lesson for many young kids on the streets today.’

He added: ‘In my experience culturally the UK looks down on those who are different. I think for the average person breaking the mould is a scary prospect. But creative pursuits are good for the soul, it’s always healthy to broaden your horizons and expectations of life.’

Bboying has grown in recent years with the increased popularity of Hip Hop music. It has a huge following particularly in the USA and in South Korea.

Animation duo aim to restore great British tradition

Aaron Wood (25) and Katie Steed (24) met whilst working at the Animation Research Centre at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham in 2005.

Only six months into their business, Slurpy Studios, they had finished a music promo, a title sequence and two animated inserts for ITV, three website commissions, six web banners, and they were developing a pilot for an environmentally themed TV series.

Aaron and Katie had already had over 50 festival screenings and had won a number of awards. Their short film, Death by Scrabble was picked for a distribution deal with Network Ireland Television after it was nominated for the Royal Television Awards as Best Student Animation.

Aaron and Katie were living and working together, practically in each others pockets, but for them working with a partner had been a positive experience.

Katie said: ‘We knew we made a good team. In the studio, we compliment each other very well. We don’t argue over the animation very much, because we have quite well defined roles within the production, and we both trust each other in those roles.’

‘It is hard to work and live together; mostly because animation is so labour intensive that it sometimes gets to midnight and we look up and realise that we’ve not seen anyone else all day! We take our inspiration from John Halas and Joy Batchelor – a married couple who worked together as animators throughout the war, especially since we met whilst working in an archive mostly dedicated to their work.’

Aaron and Katie also helped relaunch the career of guitarist Sam Roman, who has played on the same bills as Lemar and Jamelia, as well as legendary funk superstar Don Blackmon. Slurpy Studios made the music video for Sam’s EP ‘The Singer/Storyteller’.

The animation course at Farnham is one of the most successful in Britain and has given rise to four Oscar winning animators including 2008 animated film award winner Suzie Templeton for her film Peter and the Wolf.

Graduate’s winning advert beamed into space

Matt Bowron, a photography graduate from the Arts Institute at Bournemouth, was celebrating after winning £20,000 in a national Doritos ‘You make it, we play it’ competition, with his winning advert ‘Tribe’ which was shown on national television and even  broadcast in space.

Matt used stop animation to film the 29-second advert, which showed a packet of Doritos dancing around worshipping a jar of Doritos salsa. The brief given to all the entrants was to create something ‘innovative and creative, with a certain something special’.

A potentially bigger audience was able to listen to the advert when it was broadcast across the universe with the message being pulsed out over a six-hour period from high-powered radars at the EISCAT European space station in the Arctic Circle.

Modelmaking graduate wins RTS and BAFTA awards

After graduating from the Arts Institute at Bournemouth with a degree in modelmaking, Matt Chandler worked as a freelance model-maker for four years before taking a position at Jellyfish Pictures as Technical Director – Visual Effects.

He led his award-winning team to Hollywood to accept the award for ‘Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series’ for the series ‘Fight for Life’ from the Visual Effects Society, hosted at the legendary Kodak Theatre.

Matt was Lead Artist on the project which also won the Royal Television Society Craft and Design Award in the ‘Visual Effects – Digital Effects’ category in November 2007, where it was described as ‘an impressive execution and seamless integration, the success of the programme relied on the believability of the digital effects. A truly intense visual experience.’

BATFA winning ‘Fight for Life’ was aired on the BBC during August 2007, documenting life through various stages from with stunning visual effects of internal body parts for which Matt, as part of the Jellyfish Pictures team, was responsible.

Textile graduate runs her own recycled knitwear label

Ruth Walker, graduated in 2002 with a BSc in Textile Design, University of Huddersfield.

‘I got a degree in textiles at Huddersfield before getting a job as a knitwear designer for a manufacturing company that supplied designers such as Paul Smith and Pringle. Working with gorgeous merinos, angoras and cashmeres cemented my love for fine wools and I knew one day I’d like to start my own label specialising in luxurious knits.’

In 2006, Ruth decided she wanted to go it alone and set up her ethical knitwear label Snood which stands for Sustainable, New, One-Off Designs. The Snood product is now her best selling line.

‘I’ve always been passionate about recycling, too, and when I read on the internet that over one million tonnes of textiles are discarded in household waste every year, with only a quarter recycled, it got me thinking about how I could unite the two.’

She was manufacturing her whole range with reclaimed knitwear fabrics and building up a national stockist portfolio alongside a successful e-commerce site.

‘The Textile Design Degree at Huddersfield gave me a really solid understanding of fabrics and design and was a realistic preparation for working in industry.’