Julia Veldhuijzen Van Zanten

I grew up in Palma de Mallorca (Spain) with an international family background. My father is Dutch and my mother is American (but grew up in the Caribbean).

At 14 I went to boarding school in Switzerland and took my first photography course. I really enjoyed this and it opened up a new world to me.

This was the first time I took any kind of creative class because in my school in Mallorca it was not really taken seriously. At 16 I went to study the International Baccalaureate in The Netherlands and took Art for the first time. Once I realised I wanted to study art I was determined to go to Central Saint Martins.

Why did you decide to study at Central Saint Martins?

I did a two week long short course at Central Saint Martins during the summer, which completely motivated me to apply to the Foundation course in Art and Design. Initially I was intimidated by Central Saint Martins' reputation. The short course inspired me because a tutor showed us an example of a sketchbook and I realised I was able to do that too.

I decided to study at Central Saint Martins because of the people CSM attracts. It's a community of very talented, interested and motivated people who generally love what they are doing. It's great to be in a class of people of whose work you respect and admire, even though it may not be of your taste. 

What I also enjoyed about studying at Central Saint Martins was the importance placed on the background ideas and concept of a project, rather than technical skills. However the technical skills are important in order to communicate your ideas more clearly, but many times you have to be resourceful about how you acquire these skills. The tutors are there to guide you and bring out the best in you and overall are very supportive.

What was the best bit about living and studying in London?

The resources London has to offer are incredible, it's just a matter of taking advantage of them. I think it is important to put in some extra time to explore and enjoy London while studying at Central Saint Martins.

What top tips would you give to students who are beginning their studies?

Try to fit in course work with living and enjoying London life. Make projects fun and integrate them into your life.

And for students about to graduate?

I am about to graduate myself! But during the year in which you are about to graduate, get involved in the field you are interested in finding employment. If you don't know, at least try something you might be interested in and this will help you decide if it is for you or not.

What are you up to now? How did you get there?

I did a Foundation in Art and Design, which was crucial to help me decide on what to study next. I didn't even know what Textile Design was before Foundation, but it really helped me make the right choice.

How has Central Saint Martins helped in your chosen career path?

I sometimes think how I would be as an artist/designer without these four years at Central Saint Martins. Probably quite disorganised and still thinking of where to start! I definitely would have never guessed textiles.

I think overall Central Saint Martins has had a big impact on me. It has helped me develop my strengths, introduced me to many other talented people and given me credibility as an artist (because of the reputation of the college). I can't wait to get started!