by Hannah-Michelle Bayley

As a 2015 Media and Communications Goldsmiths graduate I was fortunate enough to discover that I am utterly besotted with illustration. In the following autumn I enrolled on an MA course in illustration at Manchester School of Art and threw myself headfirst into image making. When I graduated from MSA I felt that familiar jarring sensation of, ‘oh, what do I do now?’. During my Masters degree, I felt a certain level of validation concerning my actions. I completely renovated a disused cellar space with a serious mould problem into an actual functioning gallery space on a shoestring. I took part in collaborations, submitted work to shows and painted murals in a train station, but all of that was under the structure of a university course. Suddenly, the realities of phone bills, car insurance and Netflix subscriptions were clawing at my purse; my desire to pursue illustration seemed insignificant.  I faced a bizarre dichotomy in the face of employment as I was informed I was over qualified for multiple minimum wage jobs, but did not have the 25+ years employment experience and three degrees ‘required’ for higher paid pursuits.  It was at that point that I decided that if I couldn’t find a job to fit my rather niche skill set I would have to craft one for myself. I now freelance and run my own online shop selling my illustrations and hand crafted goods.

I am incredibly inspired by colour. I use the Photoshop dropper tool to create my own digital pallets from found images online that I later use as reference when I paint. Many of my illustrations have an element of pink running through them. As an MA student I was intrigued by the aversion people have toward pink, both in the art world and in everyday life. The colour pink is often associated with shallowness, a lack of depth and weakness. Worryingly, these connotations are harnessed as criticism for those who adopt pink in their clothing, make up and creations. I use pink throughout my work as a re-appropriated symbol of strength and female solidarity.

For those of you reading this as current students or soon to be graduates I implore you not to give up. If you are like me and discover your true ability during your time at Goldsmiths, cling on to it and weave it into your daily routine. Start small and commit to what you want to do. Even if you assign one hour every other night you are moving in the right direction. It’s to easy to look at creatives on Instagram with 100K followers paired with an endless stream of portfolio perfection and brandish your own attempts as futile. I can completely empathise with this, but hiding your work from the world for fear of talking to an empty room will not land you the career you deserve. I am in this process myself and am perpetually paranoid that I’m simply making a fool of myself. As clichéd as it may sound, the only real way that you can fail at being creative is if you stop creating and sharing.  

To find out more about Hannah's work, take a look at her Instagram site and Etsy shop.


Instagram : @cardihanstudios




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