Student Takeover: BA Illustration Beau Brannick
Hello! My name is Beau Brannick and I am a third year BA Illustration student from Camberwell College of Arts.
I’m originally from Manchester and a proud northerner! But I wanted to move to London to try and gain the most out of doing an illustration degree and be in a city that offers so much towards the arts. I completed my A-Levels and did my foundation at Xaverian College and loved my time there. Having the opportunity to spend three years with tutors in different departments such as graphics, illustration, fine art and textiles gave me the chance to learn many different techniques and skills that have benefited me at university.
Originally, I did a year on BA Design at Goldsmiths University, however, I felt the course wasn’t suited to what I wanted to pursue as an artist and applied to Camberwell for BA Illustration. Being able to restart my degree on Illustration is something I am proud of myself for doing. Changing courses is scary when you’re at an age that everything feels very important and final and taking the time to decide what was right for myself has definitely helped my confidence as an artist and maker. Camberwell Illustration is a course that allows a diverse mixture of students and practises to test out many different styles and techniques as growing artists. Being able to learn printmaking, digital media, 3D, ceramics and many other processes has taught me that illustration doesn’t necessarily just have to be drawing!
For the past year I have been building my knowledge of folklore and mythology, whilst improving my skills in making. This began when I got involved in The Golden Thread Project, an ongoing exhibition at Cecil Sharp House running from the 14th March to the 28th July 2018. The project involved crafts, dance and music combining in a celebration of UK and USA folk songs. I created a 6 page comic including a mock ‘front over’ that was hand embroidered which is currently alongside the other 29 participating artists being published into a run of books. Being a part of a collaborative project assisted me in creating work that is interactive with audiences, as well as working with other practising artists. This project inspired my degree show piece, a set of three hand embroidered tapestries and a number of 3D soft sculptures that told the story of the folk song ‘Froggy went a courtin’. Having the opportunity to focus on a project for an extended period of time, gave me the space and chance to build on my awareness and understanding of folklore that I am passionate to carry on.
During my third year at university I also began a poetry club with Rebecca Gourlay, which involved organising workshops once a week where students could collaboratively create, read and write. Running these workshops has helped to develop skills such as teaching others and my ability to work as a part of a collective, not independently. Due to poetry club’s success, we have been asked to take part in an upcoming exhibition in November at Camberwell Space, based on the artist and poet David Jones. As a group we selected In Parenthesis, Jones’s epic poem of the First World War and wrote a proposal focused upon Jones’s emotional interaction with his imagery and the reader. For the show I am planning an embroidery based on section three of the poem, drawing from folk songs hinted in the poem as well as the immersive elements of war.
As a queer artist, being at Camberwell has allowed me to join societies such as ArtFems and meet other queer artists like myself. I try and involve myself as much as possible with small publications and zines by submitting work to do with LGBTQ+ awareness as well as mental health issues, two topics very important to me. Mental health is something I struggle with quite a lot, due to having anxiety and depression for the past five years. Camberwell has been extremely helpful to me during this time in terms of extensions and tutor to peer support. If anyone is considering studying illustration I would highly recommend this course due to the positive studio culture, supportive tutors and open briefs. I have had an amazing time here and can’t wait to see what the future holds!