As we celebrate the 2019 Foundation Show, we talk to students about their year, their work and their future plans.
Why did you do a Foundation year?
I hadn’t done art GCSE or A Level on purpose because Foundation seemed like the first opportunity in art education to be truly creative.
Have you always been interested in politics?
I do cartoons for Private Eye so every two weeks I send them a batch of cartoons. I’ve always watched Have I Got News For You and then House of Cards got me interested in that world of manipulation. But I wasn’t really focused on the politics it was more about the characters. When I was younger, politics wasn’t as divided as it is now – it was Ed Milliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. It was about making fun of the things they were doing. I started putting characters like Boris Johnson into my comic The Zoom! which I’ve been drawing since I was eight.
When I took part in the London Youth Board of the Mayor’s Fund I met Boris Johnson and David Cameron. It was so funny to meet those cartoon characters in real life. But for the final Foundation project I wanted to speak to real people.
What your final project?
The first thing I did was go down to Westminster and interview the protesters. I took reference photos, sketches and quotes from them and then made twelve placards, one for each of them – six leavers and six remainers.
Listening back to what they were saying I realised how strangely people are talking. Their references, their rhetoric. So, I began visualising them, that’s what graphics is all about.
The project’s title is Project Fear and it looks at people’s fears over Brexit and fearmongering. It reminded me that a while ago I’d met Brexiteer David Davis at a political cartoonist event and asked him what his plan was and he just said “fear”.
How did the protesters receive you?
I’d already tried interviewing people in pubs but they weren’t interested. I chose to go to Westminster because I knew they'd be willing to give their opinions. It’s quite an awkward process though; you’re talking to someone and you nod along, agreeing with what they say and just metres away is another person with a totally different opinion who you want to do the same thing to next.
I noticed that both sides had a Project Fear vision, always it’s what happens when they don’t get their way.
And once you’d collected the comments?
I’d seen a triptych by Hieronymous Bosch in Madrid and thought that could be a good format for Project Fear. On one side I show the visions of leavers and on the other the visions of remainers – there’s the IRA coming back, a flood, animals burning, people starving, St George and EU flags. One guy referred to ‘the realm of the beast’ so I created a triple-headed horned beast of the EU with the faces of Angela Merkel, Jean Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk. It illustrates how the rhetoric has got so dramatic and extreme, the stakes are so high on both sides.
My next thought was what would the protestors do after Brexit – no matter the result. How can I keep them entertained? I invented a rollercoaster to go in Parliament Square. There are three different endings and you can’t control which one you get: one is the cliff edge right off the Houses of Parliament into the Thames, one is the Realm of the Beast and then there’s the Neverendum which just goes on for decades.
Zoom Rockman is returning to Central Saint Martins in September to study BA Graphic Communication Design.
This year the Central Saint Martins Foundation Show – on public show 26-28 April – reaches further than ever before with two sites: one inside at the Lethaby Gallery in King’s Cross and the other outside at Waterlow Park in Archway.