Year of graduation
Berlin University of the Arts, 2013
What you gained from the experience, professionally and personally
To understand my interest today, one has to understand my origins. I grew up on a fifth generation family dairy farm in Scotland, just outside Edinburgh. My family has lived and worked on the farm since the turn of the 20th century with dairying predominantly the primary focus of the farm.
Moving to New York in 2011 was a massive shift in scenery, to say the least. When I first arrived at the Cooper Union I was initially drawn towards the physical medium of sculpture and began focusing on the tangible structures that 3D design lent itself to. During my second year — the Cooper Union entered a turbulent period in its history with the possible introduction of tuition on the horizon. My time and energy shifted towards my ability to communicate as a young student, participating in several protests that aimed to resist the introduction of fees.
Retrospectively, I certainly saw myself as a young student activist standing up for what I believed was right. I also believe it is interesting to view this period of my education as a series of exercises in communication. I consider my time as student for a “Free Cooper Union” a very inspiring and valuable part of my education and by the end of my second year, I decided to crystallize a new direction in my practice; a distilled focus in visual communication seemed like a binding route to take.
It is the James Craig Irene Scala Designing with Type Award that gave me the opportunity to experience, learn, explore and be educated about two dimensional design in a foreign country. The course at Universitat Der Kunste (UDK), Berlin was more than ideal in giving me an insightful scope into the expansive realm of visual communication. It also gave me the chance to be a little closer to home. I am sincerely grateful that not only was I able to discover much more of Europe but that every new day created new opportunities and experiences, never failing to enhance and broaden all facets of my life. The course at UDK specialized in Visual Communication with a semester subtopic in Systematic Presentation. To be attending a class in a foreign country, instructed in a foreign language, I was certainly positioned outside my comfort zone to say the least. I was required to present my work three times weekly and this exercise provided me with skills that boosted my confidence and improved my ability to present professionally. Whilst studying in Berlin I learned a great deal. I was pushed in all fields and believed I develop exponentially as a young student.
After graduation my life took a turn away from graphic design. Currently, my interests are deeply focused on an artist run project I cofounded under the name of the Enroot Collective. Enroot is a nomadic, grassroots venture that travels around hosting farm-to-table events in collaboration with local farmers and businesses alike. When starting Enroot I quickly realized the importance of reaching an audience and how clear communication is essential. The vital skills I learned through graphic design have certainly enhanced my ability to connect and disseminate our messages and information effectively. Although graphic design is not my full time professional occupation, I constantly find myself on a weekly basis utilizing the skills I have learned. (For additional information visit www.enrootcollective.com ).
Alongside the work that I devote to the collective, I’m also very interested in developing a practice that’s rooted in socially engineered architecture, furniture, and clothing that converse with one another. I am interested to develop a solo practice that represent the boundaries of a platform, to talk and think about communalism as both a historic and a contemporary alternative to individualism that may manifest itself physically, virtually or metaphorically. Wherever my career takes me, I’m certain my background in graphic design will have a large part to play in shaping and informing the decisions I make as an artist.