As I look forward to my graduation in a couple of weeks, I am realising that what I really enjoyed about studying at Cardiff Met, the School of Art & Design and particularly on my course (BA Hons Illustration), is the fact that we are constantly encouraged to step out of our comfort zone and try new things.
We can collaborate with other School of Art courses, and be very ambitious about our project – which allows us to develop a cross-disciplinary practice and a strong, proactive and committed work ethic. This philosophy of work is enthusiastically communicated by both Tutors and Technical Demonstrators, who are always motivating and very supportive!
My Homesickness project, pictured above, is my final year course work. I started developing it last summer, so my graphic novel Belongings, which I have just exhibited as part of the School of Art&Design Degree Show. This was the outcome of a year’s worth of academic and visual research and intense work, and the project revolves around the feeling of homesickness and being out of place.Originally from Switzerland, I lived away from home for the first time when I was 17, in Germany, and then again when I turned 20, to come and study in Cardiff.
Though I have never been homesick myself, and always had a happy and healthy relationship to both my home and the new place I was living in – I was interested in exploring homesickness through my work, by creating my own narrative about discovering how it feels. It’s a feeling that is very difficult to grasp, and my research on the topic lead me to notice that it is also very hard to quantify, describe and understand. This is where I realised illustration can come in and propose another perspective.
The main element of my investigation of homesickness is a wordless graphic novel that tells the journey of someone leaving home and coping with a new environment. The aesthetic of theatre is strongly present, and the atmosphere is rendered by a careful choice of colour palette and pace. I chose sand as a metaphor to represent homesickness, because of its versatile nature; it can infiltrate everywhere, be almost unnoticeable or become overwhelming.
The aim of my project is to offer a new point of view on homesickness, it is a story about learning to belong to several places at the same time, accepting that transition, and understanding that no matter how far we go, we take a piece of home with us. We also take pieces from all the stages of that journey, we build something else from it, and its shape and purpose is entirely up to us. There are many places to belong to, and each of them offers a realm of possibilities.
After Graduation, I think I’d like to move towards Theatre Design, or try to start out as a freelance illustrator. I might try to publish my graphic novel, to see if I can take this project a bit further. It’s an exciting time!