Dan McMahon - Designer

Dan McMahon - Captain Hook Lamp
Dan McMahon - Captain Hook Lamp

Dan McMahon graduated from Camberwell's BA 3D Design course in 2012 and now works as a freelance production designer in New York.

Overall how was your time at Camberwell?

I think my time at Camberwell was a very positive one. I liked the small environment and the ecosystem of tutors, students and facilities. 

What have you been up to since you graduated?

I've gone back to Brooklyn, where I'm from. My visa expired but I was also ready to get back to New York. I've had to make new connections in the creative world here but things have been good. I've been working on production design for fashion shows and shoots, which is something I never thought I'd stumble into.

I've also launched a bicycle accessory product called the Plume mudguard. I've been developing this product for years in collaboration with Patrick Laing, a designer based in London. Basically I've been very busy with projects that don't pay me money!

How did your time at Camberwell inform your work?

Based on the diversity of work I saw in the people around me, I think people can get different things out of their time at Camberwell. Personally, I found that the freedom I was given in the various workshops in the building meant that my design process became very hands-on. Design through making was encouraged and that synced up very well with my personality. An understanding of material behaviours was developed over the years I was there and that has been hugely beneficial too.

What tips would you give a student starting out at Camberwell?

Get really close with your technicians. They are gatekeepers. Your access to certain processes and materials is limited to how well you can beg, plead, and barter. Also, get a bike and a good lock. The ability to cycle across town to get silicone near Regents Park or leather in Dalston, and get back to Camberwell before the workshops closed, saved me on a number of occasions. Finally, have side projects that you can work on. Just be slick about it and produce as much work as you possibly can, during your time as a student.

Best advice you were given while at Camberwell?

Make use of the facilities while you can. Milk them. Go crazy in your first year with little to no thought towards what your work looks like, but just try everything. Then start to get disciplined and focused as you progress.