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Why Sissy became a Social Entrepreneur and how any young person can do the same!

Posted on 21st May 2013

Sissy Rooney started Street Style Surgery to help young people make a start in the creative industry. In this video she shares the story of why she became a Social Entrepreneur and how any young person can do the same! This video is screened as part of The U's Youth Enterprise learning session.


Thank you very much for the workshop and for your fresh approach to learning!

Posted on 21st May 2013

Our Ladys R.C. High School – Fashion Illustration workshop


The workshop far exceeded my expectations, the content was targeted at just the right level for my year 10 Textiles GCSE students. The students really enjoyed the session and got a lot of new ideas about Mood Boards and how to give them more impact. The fashion illustrations the students produced on the day were extremely impressive. The workshop not only equipped the students with valuable skills but also the confidence they lacked for when they need to illustrate their design ideas.

Thank you very much for the workshop and for your fresh approach to learning!

Position – Teacher of Technology

 fashion illustration workshop in schools

More amazing feedback!!!

Posted on 16th May 2013

The Barlow RC High School – Right track workshop - Inspirational & motivation workshop, targeted at boys and girls separately

The students thoroughly enjoyed both the workshops and have expressed a desire to have more. The boys were completely engrossed in the first half of the workshop and were very complimentary of the style in which it was delivered in. The girls warmed to Sissy instantly and really enjoyed the fact that they were made to feel valued. One of the students told me that it was really helpful to speak to someone who gets where they are at now and can show them that there is a way forward. The feedback sheet gives further evidence of the positive impact the sessions had on the students.

As a school we would certainly look toward working with the company in the future.

Thank you for a very positive and professional experience. ‘Mrs L Hanson - Deputy Head

Interview with Young Artist Eleanor Leonne Bennett

Posted on 3rd May 2013

Eleanor Leonne Bennett hails from Manchester and is only sixteen years old. She is already an acclaimed and extremely accomplished young artist. She specialises in photography, for which she has amassed a number of national awards, including being named the CIWEM Young Environmental Photographer of the Year 2013. As if this wasn't enough, her work has been exhibited in galleries and published in magazines globally.

1. Who inspired you to be an artist?

It was always there within me, I don't think I can look to any one person and say that is why I am a creative.

As well as a photographer, I am also a published writer, poet and an award winning mixed media artist.

2. Did your family support your decision?

Yes - I think my more distant relatives probably think it is all somewhat impossible to be successful in my field with so much competition left, right and centre. People as close to me as my Mum know that I burn the candle at both ends and that my drive and focus know no limits. I am extremely competitive in everything at I do, whether it extends from physical strength or the psychological need to adapt quickly.

I've been on fast-forward ever since I started photography - I was entering awards within weeks of starting because it filled the void of what to aim my focus on.

3. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

Probably invisibility - I would do a lot of crime-solving and whistle-blowing.

4. Did your teachers inspire you at school to be creative?

I was home schooled and only went to school for a few weeks when I was 4.

My Mum was my main educator and almost everything we did for educational purposes had to be creative.

She was great at making everything interesting as she had no formal guidance, only the curriculum.

5. Do you think workshops like Street Style Surgery can play an important role?

Very important. It helps to give developing artists a voice.

It is getting harder to find original content in the mainstream media, so the encouragement of young fresh and unique artists is important for all and stretches to include all the forms of entertainment we view and cherish today.

6. If you could give one piece of advice to young people what would it be?

Find your voice and as niche as it may be, pursue it with a vengeance.

As an artist outside of your project and your genre, work with people globally and hold no negativity - be open to others and you will thrive.

7. How did it feel to win the UK National Geographic Kids' Photography contest?

Blessed - National Geographic are such a wonderful society constantly giving youngsters once in a lifetime opportunities that help spark inspired careers adoring art, people and the delicate environment.

8. What projects have you currently got lined up?

Cover art projects for books around the world – at least 70 projects in the next few months, including one book that was purchased by W.H.Smith Travel called ‘Lethal Profit' by Alex Blackmore, due to be released soon.

As well as that, I am being included with multiple works in a touring exhibition starting at the Royal Geographical Society on the 10 April – 3 May 2013.

In the future I will be writing more articles and doing book reviews as well as a few full length books.

9. What are your future ambitions?

To be a very prominent young British artist and to produce a lot more emotive, critically-acclaimed work, speaking for less well known matters of people's lives and especially I would like to explore work on how mental illness affects young people and creatives.

10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years' time?

Being the curator of sell-out shows in America and having a long waiting list of companies wanting my work to represent them.


Connect with Eleanor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eleanor-Leonne-Bennett-Art/182236515143617

 OR https://www.facebook.com/EleanorLBPhotography

Interview with Young Artist Maeve O'Briant

Posted on 2nd May 2013

Maeve O'Briant is an American painter, sketcher and photographer with only fourteen years to her name. Largely self-taught, she is yet to finish high school and has already established herself as an accomplished all-round visual artist.

1. At what age did you first start making art, and what kind of materials did you use?

I cannot remember a time where I wasn't creating. I started with what every kid aspiring to be an artist begins with – crayons, markers and coloured pencils – but by third grade I had acquired an oil and acrylic collection, learned the HB scale and hoarded different pencils and charcoal stumps. Then I discovered photography which I just fell in love with and did almost solely for about a year. Within the past year or two, I've tried to expand my media outside the traditional sense though, and have been playing with some unconventional methods.

2. Who and/or what inspired you to start your artwork?

In terms of starting a path in art initially, I believe that everyone has an "eye" for art and beauty, but only the people who chose to and are dedicated utilise it. One just needs that little inspiring push to open that eye. For me, I had always done art, but I had never understood its full potential until 1) I took an actual art course, learned the basic concepts, and was inspired by one of the most brilliant and creative people I've ever met, my teacher Kathy Shaner, and 2) My dad moved from the suburbs to the city, which just opened my mind to artistic possibilities. The urban environment is very stimulating with its variety and diversity and invokes an open mind to new concepts. The suburbs, or at least the ones I grew up in, were very secluded from the rest of the world, a "box." The worst thing you can do to an artist is put them in a box. It blocks ideas and new innovative things the artist has never explored before. When I got out of the "box" to the city and looked around, my eye for art truly opened, and I was inspired.

3. Have your blog and its readers had any effect on the kind of work you are doing? Do you feel that having an online presence gives you direction?

I don't believe it has an effect on the kind of work I'm doing (that seems to come from my mood, my environment, and the my current situation), but it does keep me going. Knowing I have an audience keeps me up-to-speed with creating and posting, keeping me on track.

4. How would you encourage young people to start and continue being artistic, even (and especially) if they do not feel that they are talented?

Art requires a driving force behind it, an emotion, a feeling, and experience. So I would encourage people get out of the house, explore, and find those experiences. While that may seem totally unrelated to being artistic, it is essential to continue being inspired. In the end, this will improve your product significantly, because there is depth to your work. If one feels they are not talented, they should not give up. It will come, it just takes more exploration – one may have not discovered the medium or technique that connects to them. But if the driving force I referred to earlier is there and the artist has passion, talent will come with exploration.

5. Is there a famous artist or a single work that inspires you greatly? If so, what is it?

I always struggle with this question. There are so many! I have a great admiration for Picasso – I have four prints of his in my room. I specifically love his cubist portraits, because while the rendering isn't near traditional – no scale or proportions or realism for that matter – he conveys the personality of his model so vividly in the amplified colors and shapes.

6. In your ‘About Me' section, you mention that you have great ambition within the art world – where do you see yourself in five years?

It's been my dream to attend the Rhode Island School of Design, so hopefully I'll be there earning a degree in perhaps Studio Art and/or Photography. But my goal before I leave high school is to develop a signature aesthetic, since I am really all across the board right now. Then in art school, I can fine-tune that signature look into my own style.

7. How do you balance spending time making art with other commitments such as school and friends?

This has been a challenge, especially in high school when I study from the moment I get home till usually around 11 at night. In this area, high school has not been treating me well, and it doesn't help that my school is extremely math and sports oriented. But I have developed a pattern: weekdays are for studying, weekends and breaks are set aside for art. I jot down ideas that pop into my mind throughout the week or limn them quickly in a sketch pad, and save them for my reserved art time on Saturday. As for friends, I always make time for them, and sometimes I work them into my study and art time, with study sessions and having them model for pictures or help me with a project.

8. What is your favourite medium and why? Do you experiment with new mediums at all?

My favourite medium would have to be charcoal. There is something really personal about working with it, when you get all sooty and find the black smudges on your face, and I love how you almost mould and sculpt the shadows the more you go over it. It's extremely willing with manipulation. My favourite part is with charcoal portraits, getting the perfect contours of a face with the shadows and highlights – you grow so attached to what you are drawing. But I have been trying to work with more unconventional mediums; last weekend for example I worked with packing tape!

9. What advice would you give to a young artist looking for an audience?

Keep going, never stop. If art is what you really love, the audience will come to you. It just takes time and patience. Take every opportunity to put yourself out there: enter contests, self-publicise, meet people and make connections. Building an audience is a gradual thing, so if you don't see an immediate response, it's important not to lose hope.

10. How important is it to keep going even if you feel uninspired? Or should you wait and let inspiration come to you?

In my case, inspiration comes in spurts; some days I'm inspired, some days I'm not. When you feel uninspired for a long period of time, there are ways to instigate the creative flow. While you can't force inspiration, you can go out and look for it, and many times it will find you. I have certain places I visit, certain songs I listen to. You just have to find those triggers, and the rest falls into place. But an artist cannot stay uninspired for long if they take the time to appreciate the beauty around them, so don't give up. Everyone has their off days.


Connect with Maeve

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/maeveobriant?fref=ts

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/maeveob/

Interview with Young Artist Theo Kennedy-Cordner

Posted on 1st May 2013

Theo Kennedy-Cordner is a third-year Graphic Design student at Havering College, London and Illustrator who has worked in a variety of graphic arts, not to mention visual merchandising. At only twenty years old, he has been featured in a variety of physical and online zines for his passion and innovation in the world of design.

Theo Kennedy-Cordner

1. What motivates you to be creative?

Other bits of creation or general artistry I tend to see in and around my life inspires me greatly. I spend hours looking at artwork online from time to time, and when it's not specifically artwork, I'm always trying to find interesting pieces of imagery. As a main motivation, however, I keep in mind that I just want to be successful, and I've been working since I was around 15 experimenting with artwork. I just can't wait until I have that established style I can call my own.

2. How did you discover Graphic Design?

Through the popular publication Computer Arts. I've always wanted to be a 'professional creative'. However, I just never knew the correct term. When I started learning about further areas of design, such as illustration, editorial design, etc., I just knew that this was the career I wanted!

3. Why do you think it is important for young people to engage in creative activities?

It's just brilliant seeing us working with maintaining our creativity and imaginations. In my honest opinion, you should never lose that sense of curiosity and imagination with whatever you do.

4. What advice would you have for any young aspiring Graphic Designers/Illustrators?

If you think you're not good enough, yet everyone else tends to appreciate your work, that's only self-doubt working, but that's sometimes a positive thing. Always strive to work on what you want, when you want and how you want. Just keep at it too, but remember to take a break every hour from the computer screen! I may need glasses soon from how long I spend staring at my screen!

5. How has social media helped you to promote your work?

A friend of mine put me onto Twitter when I wasn't much of a fan of it. That social network has single-handedly allowed me to meet more creative individuals than I ever thought possible. If you can, maintain an active online presence and promote your work, compliment other people's work you admire and just network. To be honest in this industry, it's more who you know than purely how good you are. If you're both great at what you do, and great at showing people, you're set.

6. Which social media platform do you think is the best for promoting creative work?

Behance seems to be my favourite right about now. There's always a sense of professionalism on that creative network. Otherwise, like I said, Twitter is brilliant for one-to-one or group discussions etc. Tumblr is also brilliant, mainly because of its viral properties... if someone likes a piece you create and it spreads, it will spread soon after that like wildfire.

7. How successful do you feel creative education at schools is?

Very successful! It's more about your own individual drive in my opinion but there's only so much tutors can tell you, and then when you are working in the industry, all the rest will come with that first job or just learning from experience.

8. And do you think there needs to be more emphasis on digital art forms as opposed to traditional ones?

Not at all, I just believe artforms are artforms, whatever you're comfortable with, use! I tend to plan my work traditionally and then finish a piece digitally. But there is so much versatility out there as long as you find the ways or learn yourself through experimentation.

9. Who is your greatest artistic inspiration?

Kate Morross as a creative is possibly my greatest inspiration just for her work ethic... she came out of university with several big commissions under her belt and now she's the head of her own studio, has worked on creating a record label, worked with a brilliant set of clients and all by being herself and doing everything she could. From photography, to music videos and illustrated typography - I'd love to see the day I could be as versatile as her.

10. What has been your greatest setback creatively, and how did you overcome it?

Most likely this current illustration hiatus I'm on by my own accord. I'm still yet to overcome it, but the only way I can think of overcoming it is to work as hard as I can on planning a great selection of pieces, drawing MUCH more often and just getting stuck in. Even if something doesn't get finished straight away, you can work towards it! A single step beats standing at the bottom of the staircase...


Connect with Theo

Twitter: @mind5state

LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/pub/theo-cordner/37/770/a

Tumblr: http://themindstate.tumblr.com/

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