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Your creative future starts here:

Keeping up to date with industry practices

Published date
10 Jan 2020
Megan St Clair Morgan

Keeping up-to-date in the creative industry is something we all have to do no matter your skill level or job role – with university applications looming for many students, we caught up with tutor VJ Choolun who leads our newly-launched Design Media Screen Portfolio Preparation (16-18 years old) course. With a wealth of knowledge both in industry, working with the likes of the BBC and Saatchi & Saatchi, he holds a keen interest in teaching, noting it was being able to "pass on...experiences in art and design to those who are just starting out" that first attracted him to training as a tutor.

Originally from Mauritius, VJ has spent most of his life in London – exploring creativity in many forms through art and design to technology and anthropology. Taking the lateral approach to teaching and learning, with his methods "underpinned by sustainable eco awareness." Having studied across University of the Arts London (UAL) from foundation level to BA, VJ has a growing knowledge from continuing his learning through taking short courses at UAL himself.

We spoke with VJ about his career and how teaching digital practice means constant learning as technology evolves...

Tell us about yourself...

I'm a product of UAL – I studied at Camberwell College of Arts, for a foundation and then a Joint Honours Degree. I've attended various short courses across UAL, and then went onto the RCA to do an Illustration course. The nature of my digital teaching generally means I am constantly having to learn new skills, methods and processes to keep up to date with industry practices.

My diverse range of studies allows me to think creatively, ideate solutions, visually communicate, draw, paint, design and embrace all new technologies as potential solutions towards a sustainable future for all cultures to live harmoniously. My career has facilitated me to work in many roles including artist, designer, creative director and teacher. I always knew from an early age that I wanted to work in the creative sector.

Alongside your work as a tutor you're one of the founding partners of AVMC Studios, tell us more about your work in providing creative solutions?

Through AVMC Studios I have worked with a number of advertising agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, charities including VSO and The Princes Charity Trust facilitating new start-up companies. I have also produced works for the Laban Centre, The Lord Mayors Show, and the BBC. These works ranged from ambient advertising to interactive participatory digital art installations for communities. One of our current ongoing projects is in conjunction with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and their Maestro. We are designing edutainment solutions to help learn about music in school. We are also exploring AR and VR performances as future works.

Your teaching career has spanned 20 years working on courses of all levels, tell us about teaching – what was the initial attraction?

The initial attraction to teaching was the opportunity to be able to pass on my experiences in art and design to those who are just starting out. Thereafter, the delivery of knowledge (underpinned by sustainable eco awareness), to a variety of learners from multiple cultures has become inherently rewarding.

You'll be leading our new Design, Media and Screen Portfolio Preparation (16-18 year olds) course… What are the benefits and opportunities of understanding and experimenting with traditional methods to create new ideas?

These days learning traditional methods of art and design provide benefits and opportunities with current digital practices many of which are progressions of the same practice. Take Adobe Photoshop for example, the process to dodge and burn photographs has come straight from a traditional dark room. The benefit of using both traditional and digital solutions is that many traditional values help underpin today's modern practices. The opportunities for those skilled with both traditional and digital practices are doubled therefore covering a variety of possible careers from both analogue and digital commercial sectors.