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Meet the Future Creatives Tutor: Roger Healey-Dilkes

  • Written byCarys Thomas
  • Published date 28 April 2022

Artist and UAL Future Creatives tutor, Roger Healey-Dilkes, had a keen interest in drawing from a young age. “At school, drawing was always the thing that made me stand apart,” he says, “I went on to do a degree in sculpture, then went to art college and then to America. After a few grotty jobs I decided to become an artist, starting with a residency through a local arts programme in the East Midlands.”

We caught up with the inspiring artist to find out more about his practice and discuss why creativity is such an important part of a child’s development.

If it hadn’t been for someone saying 'have you thought about this?' I wouldn’t be where I am today. So I want to provide that push for the next generation.

— Roger Healey-Dilkes, Artist and Future Creatives Tutor

After completing his residency in the Midlands, Roger began teaching in London and spent many years working in Further Education before he decided to study for an MA here at UAL. “I went on to do an MA at Central Saint Martins,” he tells us, “which is how I established my link with UAL. More recently I’ve been working part-time and exhibiting nationally.”

Exploring materiality

While studying at Central Saint Martins, Roger become interested in building, and in particular, building materials and how they may be used to create art. This interest is reflected in much of his work, and continues to inform his many creative projects.

“While I was at CSM I got very interested in building and the materials they used,” he tells us, “I use plasterboard as a starting point, and have learnt building trades including plastering, so that method of building and using materials that don’t come into the normal art canon has been really important to me. I like working with found materials and discarded paint colours, and I work in an abstract way, because I like work that has its own identity.”

Supporting future generations

Roger is passionate about helping young people discover the joys of art and creativity. He believes that art plays a pivotal role in contemporary society which is often overlooked. “Art and creativity has such a massive impact that’s a bit submerged because it isn’t seen as a ‘proper job’” he says. "But the creative industries make as much money as the banking sector in this country, and it’s so diverse between music, TV, visual art and drama.”

“It’s always good for kids to know that there’s careers out there,” he adds. “It’s not easy, but it’s a different point of view, and we need creative people to get us out of the mess we’re in at the moment.”

Read more about the importance of art and creativity in a child's development.

The joy of art

Roger encourages students in his classes to relax and enjoy the process of making art rather than worrying about the outcome of their projects. His advice to aspiring creatives emphasises the importance of appreciating the joy of art: “Draw draw draw, all day long! Scribble on things, be experimental. Don’t beat yourself up about what it looks like and have fun.”

For anyone looking for some inspiration, Roger recommends following artists online and heading out to galleries to get you started. “Go and see some art,” he says, “the world is better in this respect for new generations because when I grew up we didn’t have Instagram and the internet. But you can access amazing artists’ work, and even have conversations with them. Harness the power of that thing in your pocket.”

“Draw, paint, make and do, find out what you’re good at and come to a Future Creatives course!”

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