January 30, 2020

Josh Donkor

The BA (Hons) Illustration course’s openness at Cardiff Met allows you so much freedom. Our tutors actively encourage experimentation and the pursuit of a range of techniques, even some people may not always associate with Illustration.

The encouragement and passion the tutors bring to the table creates a safe environment where you can really push yourself and your creativity. This is especially true in the Field modules that we experience during first and second years.

Field provides a chance for students to enjoy the multidisciplinary nature of the Cardiff School of Art and Design as you are given the option of working in alternative disciplines.

This allows us to try out other fields like Fine Art, Ceramics, Graphic Communication and many others. For me this helped make the course particularly special, the chance to try new things and collaborate with a range of students across the School.

In my first year we were given a project to work on exploring the stories from veterans of the Spanish Civil War. Many people who fought in the conflict ended up settling in Cardiff, including a man named Luis Cicero, who became the focus of our project.

During this project myself and some other first year Illustrators worked in tandem with first year Graphic Communication students. This collaboration brought together some very different skill sets, which provided us all with challenges but also great advantages.

In our group we ended up creating a body of work for an exhibition/presentation about Luis, with each person focusing on a different part of his life story during the events of the Spanish Civil War. This really broadened the project because of the different interests that underpinned our subjects.

For example, many of the graphics students focused on the propaganda posters emphasising the “glory” of war based on the traditional designs of the 1930s, and the impact these had on the Spanish population.

The Illustrators in our group focused more on telling the story of the individual through paintings, drawings and prints. The two approached came together in an animated map which we all collaborated on. The combination of our different strengths and approaches to working meant that the project came together in a very interesting way.

The pieces acted as context to one another – individually they may not have worked as well, and they certainly wouldn’t have been as powerful. However, when combined they captured the journey of Luis Cicero, and contrasted the projection of war presented through propaganda with its reality and the irreversible effects it had on Luis; life.

This field module helped me understand the importance of having ties to other people’s ideas, and how this can be far more effective than just an isolated idea or project. The connections made in this project also put us all in good stead for future years, as we were able to build friendships with Graphic Communication students and vice versa.

The importance of these connections has grown even more apparent to me in the two years since this project. Since then, we students have naturally built up our connections across the Cardiff School of Art and Design. We provide each other with support in certain areas and media, we may not be so comfortable in working with.

These connections are what Field modules are all about, and I hope they endure well beyond graduation.