Seeing as this year’s graduates are about to showcase their final collections and leave behind the comfort of university, we’ve caught up with the graduates of 2014. They discuss their experiences, achievements, hopes and losses since graduating with us.
LCC – graphics and illustration – –
Having left her Illustration degree behind her, Josie Tucker is pursuing an MA in Graphics at RCA. She brings humour and crassness into a whole new light, and co-runs Brainchild festival.
Volt Café: Sum up what you do in one sentence.
Josie Tucker: I have a very short attention span and always need to do something different, but my work is mainly bright and colourful, sometimes childlike, and never very refined.
VC: Why did you choose to do your MA at RCA?
JT: I didn’t plan on doing an MA initially, but I left my degree in Illustration, and knew that I didn’t want to be an illustrator. I’d spent my time for the three years making stuff from a spoof children’s documentary, to recreating a waiting room, to biographical picture publications. I thought the best thing I could do with all this stuff was carrying on experimenting. The RCA is great for collaborative working, and I work better when I can dip in and out of different disciplines, with different people.
VC: What draws to you crass and pointless objects?
JT: There’s quite a lot of stigma within the design industries towards humour, especially within Graphic design. Humour and crassness are seen quite broadly as devaluing to work, especially if a piece is funny for the sake of being funny. With graphic design relying heavily on commission, a lot of work is technically crafted but lacking in humour, as there is a fear of it having a limited shelf life, and alienating itself and the designer from potential clients. I think that humour is the best way of communicating a concept, and if it’s used correctly, can add a completely different type of value to work. I have a dark sense of humour, and think that pointlessness (and objects that have no purpose) is funny. Not everything has to be serious to be meaningful!
VC: Your co-run Brainchild, a multi-arts festival and event series focusing on DIY and collaboration. Why do you think collaboration is important in the creative industries?
JT: Collaboration is crucial to all creative industries. I think the best ideas are ones that have multiple brains behind them; relationships and conversations make a project. It’s so important to collaborate on different scales, and working with Brainchild gives you the opportunity to work with a huge team. You can’t be precious about your ideas, and you have to think about the good of the project, rather than your own attachments! Brainchild is great because the collaboration doesn’t stop when the festival is set up, but goes through until the end.
VC: You also run a series of exhibitions with photographers from around the world titled STITCH. How did you go about finding the photographers to show?
JT: STITCH is a project between myself, Lily Bonesso and Amy Webster; we all have different roles within the project. Lily is the curator, and found a lot of the artists through features she had written about them via Dazed. She did a fantastic job pulling everyone together, and the branding and visuals all came from the root of the project. It was a really interesting dynamic as we had photographers from different corners of the world, all exhibiting work that was united through a rough central theme, even though none of them had met before.
VC: In your project titled Uncomfortable Truth you borrow the aesthetics of a waiting room. What was the idea behind borrowing this aesthetic and was it effective in getting the viewer to feel what you wanted them to feel?
JT: This project had gone through quite a lot of aesthetic choices before it was finished, however the waiting room was such an interesting environment to try and research and recreate. The waiting room room is the ultimate in discomfort, as you are mainly either waiting for some sort of assessment, or news. The idea with this project is that you discover an uncomfortable truth about yourself.
There is always a united feeling of wanting to leave, but being made to stay past the point of personal ease in a waiting room. The style is borrowed from this particular environment, so that visitors would understand that they had to stay, whilst becoming increasingly uncomfortable with seeing themselves from every angle in an unflattering light. This brought the assessment back on them. The chair was modified to tip when sat on, and the warped graphic elements produced an uncomfortable environment.
I do feel as though the piece was successful, however I would have liked for it to be more mobile so I could have tested it in different environments! By the time all of the carpet and mirror had been installed, it was unbelievably heavy and so it had to stay put!
VC: Were you interested in art aged 10?
JT: I was interested in art age 10, but as a child it never really occurred to me to be an artist, I didn’t know that it could be a proper job at that age!
VC: Was it difficult moving from the secure environment of university to the uncertainty of the creative industries?
JT: I did find University comfortable, but it was also massively challenging for a different reason. Uni is about chewing out your own ideas and trying new things. This is challenging in itself because you never know what the final outcome of any work will be. Working on a client brief with a set style and restrictions is almost too comforting because it doesn’t allow you to step outside of your comfort zone, and your opinion isn’t the most important. The creative industries are daunting because the incentive for work is completely different. At University, hard work is rewarded, but once you’ve left, opportunities come out of the blue, and incentives aren’t proportionate to graft or grades.
VC: What music artists do you think have the biggest impact on the fashion industry in terms of style and artistic inspiration?
JT: Individual artists are having their moment with the fashion industry, such as FKA Twigs, Grimes etc, and it’s refreshing to see this type of creative approach to styling and design being reflected in actual trends. They’ve come along with the whole ‘ugly is cool’ movement, which opens up a lot of doors in terms of creative choices. It’s nice to see beauty as part of, but not the be all and end all of fashion.
VC: If you had to pick one designer to wear for the rest of your life, who would it be and why?
JT: I change my mind every other week, so picking a designer that I would want to wear forever is really difficult! At the moment I love Marques Almeida. I love the mixture of creativity and wearability, and their pieces add a really interesting element. That said, I have always had a thing for Dries Van Noten, I could probably wear it for life!

Word by Annie Lunnon and Danielle Westwood


Amy Webster, Brainchild Festival, Childlike, Dries van Noten, Graphics, Illustration, Josie Tucker, LCC, Lily Bonesso, STITCH,