Beccy McCray – BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design
Beccy McCray studied BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design specialising in moving image. She graduated in 2003 and now combines her own artistic practice with a career as a Creative Producer at Nexus.
Where are you from in the world?
I'm from a small nowhere town in Hampshire, England, called Andover. I now live between Hackney in East London, and Hastings, on the East Sussex coast.
What made you choose that particular course?
BA (Hons) Graphic and Media Design seemed to combine lots of different interest areas for me; from performance, to typography, art, craft and communication.
I gravitated towards moving image after a realising that lots of my projects had a narrative, and I'd started to make experimental films and animations in response to the design briefs I was getting from College. I was also VJ-ing in clubs a lot at the time too, mixing up the content I was creating.
What are you working on/where are you working at the moment?
I'm at Nexus, a production company and digital studio in Shoreditch. I've been there for the last nearly 8 years as a Creative Producer, working on primarily animated and interactive arts and music projects. I just finished this beautiful 2D film with the brilliant director and designer Celyn for award-winning product designers Barber Osgerby.
When my solo work took off I went part time so I could focus on my own artistic practice a bit more. My own work is quite different to what I do at Nexus although they do feed into each other nicely. At the moment I'm working on the UK leg of my ‘favela project’, pasting Brazilian birds around the UK and creating special message-carrying laundry line which will tour London.
Can you describe your work in your own words?
I explore playful, socially engaged art and design. Elevating the everyday and the things that really matter, I aim to break down boundaries between art, activism and everyday life. My practice ultimately aims to spread a little joy and inspire positive change at a grass roots level, using creativity to communicate environmental and social ideals that go hand in hand.
I also work under the name of Crafternoon Tea Club, a project with collaborator Hannah Elbourne, who is also an LCC graduate. Crafternoon explores participatory and community art, combined with DIY craft-based tradition, which can take any form; from games and installation, to collage, baking, parties and painting. It aims to blur lines between artist and audience, bringing people together through the sharing of materials and ideas.
Please tell us about the approaches, techniques and tools, you use in your work.
I use a multi-disciplinary approach in whatever realm necessary to create imaginative acts of resistance and more human moments in the world.
Recent projects include my first solo exhibition in a gallery for ONCA, which saw me filling a greenhouse will millions of tiny, shiny, unrecyclable paper hole punches; a colourful, web-like intervention using unwanted community sourced fabrics in Hackney Wick, commissioned by the Olympic Park Legacy Company; a series of traditionally iced cakes decorated with old school hip hop anthems turned into posters; an enormous, excessively garish and pink outdoor cake installation supported by Arts Council England; a fashion mash up for the Barbican; and a radical life drawing bio-disco for the Open East Festival!
If you could collaborate creatively with anybody in the world who would it be?
I love working with diverse communities and learning about different social models and environmental attitudes – looking at we can learn from other cultures. It was amazing to be able to do this in the favela. There are some incredible artists, crafts people and communities in Japan that I would love to work with in this way too.
Tell us about your future plans and ambitions
I'm really hoping to make a research trip to Japan to explore the traditional concepts of 'wabi wabi' (relating to imperfection) and 'mottainai' (similar to make do and mend)> I want to bring back this knowledge to share with communities in the UK, looking at how we can apply these theories to our own lifestyles and live more sustainably.
What did you enjoy most about LCC?
We were really encouraged to experiment. It was a very creatively driven course - it still offered a great vocational option with the industry placement year, which I took and found to be incredibly useful - but we were not made to force brands into everything or channelled towards advertising. It was all about the ideas and the concept. It was an exciting time meeting people from so many different cultures and backgrounds too, all studying together in one place.
Have you been back to LCC since graduating, and for what reason?
Yes - I'm back there regularly. The company I work at has a strong relationship with BA (Hons) Design for Interaction and Moving Image (the evolution of my old course) and I'm often there as a guest lecturer or mentoring. I've recently been tutoring students on BA (Hons) Animation.
What piece of advice would you give to new students?
Work hard and have fun - enjoy the process and experiment as much as possible - it's a once in a lifetime experience so make the most of it!
Where in London do you go when you need a little inspiration?
I just love exploring the areas where artists’ live and work; there is usually special creative energy which results in pop up exhibitions, little cafes, unexpected interventions and street art - like Hackney Wick and New Cross, for example. It’s always inspiring to nose around inside other artists’ spaces too – so open studio events are great – I love seeing the things people pin to their walls, the mess and the tests and the bits we don’t usually share with the outside world.
Needless to say, LCC offers a great deal of inspiration every time I come back too!