Time and space: Art and Design Degree Show 2016

Blue and yellow circles detail on a man's white jacket
Designs by Megan Harvey

LJMU’s Corporate Communications Department has taken on two student interns this summer. Their first job was to cover the Degree Show at the Liverpool School of Art and Design: here’s what second year International Journalism student Paul Greenough thought of the final year show

The 2016 LJMU Degree Show houses countless final year projects with subjects covering Fashion, Graphic Design and Illustration, Spatial Design, Fine Art and Architecture. The soon-to-be graduates’ projects are, of course, completed to a highly professional standard and have depth and meaning with recyclable and sustainable materials being used, political and social issues being raised and artistic direction shaping opinion.

Within architecture, we saw many of the projects focusing on the greener side of building design. Several pieces showed a keen interest in using sustainable materials in their architecture as well as having created projects to help those in need.

For instance, Lewys Taylor created a People Feed The People concept, described as a ‘vertical urban farming tower’: a high-rise cylindrical structure, with many different layers to cultivate, preserve and teach people how to grow food, ultimately helping solve the growing international food crisis.

Projections onto sheets in darkened room

Fine Art was interesting. Hanging sheets, painted with colours and shapes, a dark room, scarce lighting and ominous sounds playing in the background. It said something, but precisely what it said is of course open to interpretation, as all art is.

Spatial Design: I wasn’t sure what that even meant. I gathered upon entering the exhibition that it was exactly what it says on the tin. Design of space. Architecture focusing on the effect of using space efficiently. The most interesting of the pieces was a Tardis-like monument – a time-travel machine.

Rebecca Duckett’s Time Travel Machine artwork

Rebecca Duckett’s Time Travel Machine

Unfortunately, after attempting to climb in and press a few buttons, I realised that a scientific breakthrough hadn’t occurred here at LJMU; it was in fact merely a beautiful concept. The reason this one jumped out at me – other than the fact I had recently watched Interstellar and was in a wave of space-time euphoria – was the boldness of creating something which is unlikely, in our lifetime at least, to ever be used, to ever be a reality, to be anything other than a kitsch and funny idea. But it worked.

As well as this, there was a building shaped almost like a human brain – whether this was intentional I don’t know. This was a mobile exhibition on mental health awareness. I thought this was a fantastic concept. A fully interactive exhibition that allows the user to explore and discover the various implications of mental health conditions. And as I said, it is mobile, so it can help to educate as many people as possible. Brilliant.

Fashion was bright and beautiful. Designers used shape, form, fabric and unconventional ideas to create unique designs which still had a clear influence in the history of fashion.

With one-shoulder skater dresses using clashing prints and colours, and kimonos using different fabrics to create texture and dimension, and some dresses which looked like fashionable straight-jackets, these designs came from a place of knowledge and vision, past and future, tradition and progression.

The exhibition I enjoyed the most was Graphic Design, featuring everything from a picture of a zombified Ariana Grande to a project on the Zika Virus, to a video collection of uncomfortable, trippy, other-worldly flashing colours, images and harsh sounds. This exhibition was a feast for the senses.

Kay Dale’s Sweet Prince artwork An interesting piece that stood out was Existential Threats, by Rachael Fletcher. Laser cut dioramas showing the negative effects of global warming on the planet. A single polar bear standing on a melting patch of ice, a volcano surrounded by grey trees, and fish showing the impact that carbon emissions can have on the creatures of the sea.

One piece which was possibly my favourite was titled Sweet Prince, by Kay Dale. A cartoonish and nightmarish Prince tribute, done in a style which reminded me of the cover art for Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap.

All of the exhibitions showed an amazing amount of creativity and professionalism. I was blown away by the level of thought and detail that went into every project. There is something there for everyone to appreciate and enjoy.

I would advise anyone who gets a chance to visit this; it’s free too which is always a bonus, plus you get to witness some of the early designs by some of the future’s great artists. And they all started off here at LJMU.


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