Nationwide Degree Show: The Peony Gent Curation

  • Mackenzie Hall
  • Yve Slater
  • Julie Stone
  • Peony Gent

The Nationwide Degree Show is a collection of work from art & design students, who's final year shows have been cancelled due to COVID19. What started as an initiative by Fresh Meet to plaster billboards across the UK with student work, has now resulted in an online collection of over 1000 submissions from over 100 universities and 17 creative disciplines. The Curation Series is a programme of student work selected by industry leaders, creative pioneers and trendsetters. Below you will find a selection of student work curated by Peony Gent, Freelancer and Illustrator in Residence at House of Illustration.

Peony Gent is an Illustrator, Installation Artist and Poet living and working in London. She is currently Illustrator in Residence at The House of Illustration. Peony has a BA in illustration from Edinburgh College of Art, and an MA in Visual Communication from the Royal College of Art, London, where she focused on a series of experimental forms of comics. She has worked at companies ItsNiceThat and NoBrow, and has worked on a wide variety of editorial and community projects and has been self-publishing comics and zines for over seven years.

#1 - Jen Lui

The first selected piece in this curation is a stitched illustration, by graduate Illustrator Jen Lui.
Peony writes "The simplicity and sparsity of the embroidery here really captures that precise longing for little things we never thought we'd have to miss."
Jen Lui, MFA Illustration at Edinburgh College of Art, The University of Edinburgh.
Jen writes, "Farewell— Impressions of Edinburgh. Due to the COVID-19, the city has been placed on lockdown. Although I may not be able to see this lively scene again before I leave, I hope the city will be as vigorous as in the past."

#2 - Macknezie Hall

The second selected piece in this curation is an illustration by graduate Illustrator Mackenzie Hall.
On Mackenzie's work Peony writes "A really soft, touching, and beautifully human illustration. So emotive with so little, and so pleasing to look at."
Mackenzie Hall, Camberwell College of Art.
Mackenzie writes, "This illustration was created for a record sleeve competition entry for the track 'Come Over' by The Internet. ‘Come Over’ is a track that has this great underlying sense of softness and feeling of wanting to be with someone without expectations. Inspired by this feeling, I wanted these characters, cat and dog (“puppy love”), to take up space, wind round each other and embrace in a way that was warm, balanced and gentle."

#3 - Sean Morgan

The third selected piece in this curation is a book jacket design by graduate Illustrator Sean Morgan.
Peony says "Illustration and design are intrinsically intertwined, and this entry really demonstrates that. An incredibly skilled yet simple approach to a book cover."
Sean Morgan, BA Illustration, Plymouth College of Art.
Sean writes, "I love to make work that is bold, full of texture and quirk. This is a speculative book cover design for an imaginary chef about the joy of Chinese cooking."

#4 - Daisy Tortuga

The fourth selected piece in this curation is a handmade textile piece by graduate Daisy Tortuga.
About Daisy's work Peony says "A beautiful piece that sits perfectly in the intersection of craft and art, and a true and joyous celebration of both."
Daisy Tortuga, Illustration, Kingston University.
Daisy writes, "I multi-disciplinary artist with a body of work centred around craft and creation. Using found objects and making to communicate complex emotions and statements, while pushing the perceptions of traditional illustration. I takes an intuitive approach to making with a process both emotional and cathartic, expressing this in a range of mediums such as quilt, furniture, clothing, wax sculpture, writing and sound.
There is a nostalgic element to the work, bringing domestic spaces into the gallery and distorting them so they can be viewed with new meaning. Using the clinical setting of the gallery space in this way, allows the work to be analysed truly objectively. Craft historically was not considered art or illustration, I use these techniques to discuss difficult topics, while challenging the way we view craft in the artistic world."

#5 - Livia Carpineto

The fifth selected piece in this curation is an illustration by graduate Livia Carpineto.
Peony says "Deeply atmospheric, and quite entrancing. A piece that sits outside of trend to feel so very timeless."
Livia Carpineto, Illustration, Camberwell College of Arts.
Livia writes, "This illustration is part of my final personal project in which I am exploring themes surrounding female identity and metamorphosis. I call metamorphoses the radical changes which involve the body and mind of women at different stages of their lives. My illustrative practice is driven by the potential of delving into a kind of collective imagination, resonating with both our personal and shared stories. Therefore, I try to visually translate the significance of my own experience into something more expansive and universal.  I am interested in the symbology behind transformation in myth and folkloristic tales, which can be the manifestation of an individual’s inner conflict, as well as signify the process of transition from an immature form to an adult one, or the passage into a more or less spiritual state. Besides, my intention is to question the literary tropes of the female shapeshifter, historically permeated by controversial gender and sexual implications."

#6 - Yve Slater

The sixth selected piece in this curation is a reportage illustration by graduate Yve Slater.
On Yve's work Peony says, "There's something about this illustration which demonstrates the true art of observational drawing. It's not just about mindlessly copying a scene, it's about capturing a true sense of place and atmosphere. A gorgeous composition elevated by the bold choice of colour background."
Yve Slater, Illustration with Animation, Manchester School of Art.
Yve writes, "In 1995, a fruit and veg stall opened on a crumpled sidewalk, in a busy city centre. Local produce for local people. Today, it competes with supermarkets, take-aways, vending machines and apps. This their story."

#7 - Julia Stone

The seventh selected piece in this curation is a peaceful illustration by graduate Julia Stone.
Peony says, "A lovely idea excellently executed. Poignant and perfectly done."
Julia Stone, Illustration, Arts University Bournemouth
Julia writes, "I made a series of postcards which could be sent to loved ones to remind them of helpful wellness habits, such as staying hydrated and breathing in morning air. This one was about keeping in touch with others, both physically and emotionally."

#8 - Hamish Symonds

The last selected piece in Peony's curation is a ceramic piece by graduate Hamish Symonds.
On this Peony says, "Not only are the aesthetics of these pieces beautiful, but the methodology behind them really elevates the already impressive work. A wonderful balance of the innovation of the new and the traditions of the old."
Hamish Symonds, Cardiff Metropolitian University.
On his work Hamish writes,"I create functional pottery, drawing inspiration from Devonshire slipware traditions. I limit myself, as far as I can, to the same materials that would have been used 200 years ago, connecting my colour palette to the geology of Britain. Pictured here is a tea-set decorated with gestural mark making, finished with a traditional honey glaze, that I hope imbues a sense of autumnal warmth people will want to welcome into their homes.
This push and pull between committing myself to traditional working methods yet trying to create work that holds more modern aesthetic sensibilities and works on its own terms is something I often reflect upon in my making."
You can find more talent from all of our submissions at the Nationwide Degree Show or through the Fresh Meet profile.

You can also visit the artists of this curation in the project credits below.

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