I don’t have many qualifications. Not the sort that make me sound as if I’ve spent proper time really memorising some proper-sounding stuff. You know. Like English students do, to help them later in life in pub quizzes.
I have a bit of paper somewhere that tells me I have a full degree in graphic design, I know that. But I was never sure exactly what an academic badge in a subject so fluid it would let me write about Star Trek for a final year thesis would really do to impress a Cambridge don, for example. I think they’re all more likely to be secretly into Doctor Who.
Going back to a place of learning today – and specifically the first place of learning in which I was exposed to the frightening possibility of being expected to look for professional creative work after my time there – I am reminded of my ignorance and inability to memorise stuff.
What I’m supposed to be doing instead of this.
I’ve spoken at Arts Institute Bournemouth once before, at fine artist and fab tutor Sarah Grace Harris’ request. It was a couple of years back at least and I think I presented diagrams or something. Confused us all. Today, I simply showed a lot of examples of something I do still drool over – pretty typography.
If you’re a Foundation student just starting out on your creative journey of exploration, you might not have yet considered letterforms as gorgeous things to play with in your work. And after today’s little rambling chat from me, you might well now know just why you’d not considered it.
But I hope I’d gotten just one or two type nerds hiding in the group just a little piqued with a sense of possibilities.
Thing is, as I sat in the slightly imposing, even academic-looking lecture theatre alone for ten minutes, I felt as unprepared and unqualified as I ever did back in the summer of 1989, getting dressed down by the course leader for mucking about with music instead of knuckling down with my studies.
Twenty-two years later, the vibe around the building – in fact, much of the paintwork around the building – hasn’t changed at all it seems. Not for me, anyway – despite all the impressive additions and new cafe outlets. Sarah’s office desk is more or less in exactly the same spot of floor as my desk was back then as a student. And not just mine, but that of fellow student and frequent critee, Tim – who was, all these years later coincidentally with Sarah and me and our other halves at her mum’s house at the weekend. Gassing on with me about music. How things play out. And how some things don’t change. Some quietly wonderous things.
But, though I still distract my graphic design work with musical daydreams, and music work with typographic daydreams, and though I’m still not sure what I really know about artistic discipline – I do now seem to have perhaps one important qualification at least. Experience. A bit of it. And it feeds my creative enthusiasm, at least.
Something I’d like to find ways to pass on.
Nice, therefore, to also spend time with Bournemouth Creatives on Wednesday night. A place of significant enthusiasm for the arts. And perhaps for that reason at least, I felt qualified to be there in the half light of the ol’ Winchester, swapping creative stories with people a bit like me:
Playing about in creative matters and still loving it. And still learning loads doing so.