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Old Girl Olivia Inspires Young Artists

Monday, 22 September 2014

Old Girl Olivia Brown returned to School to give a talk to the Sixth Formers taking Art at A Level. The talk was tailored towards those girls who are considering further study in this field.

Olivia talked to the girls about her art career since leaving Bolton School. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, she was unable to follow her ‘Plan A’. However, both Olivia and Miss Fazackerley, Head of Art in the Girls’ Division, used this experience to reassure the girls that no matter what might go wrong, it is not the end of the world: Olivia’s ‘Plan B’ turned out extremely well for her, and the same could be true for them!

She completed an Art Foundation course at Winstanley College, which she thoroughly enjoyed. During the Art Foundation, which exposed her to many different styles, techniques and ways of working, Olivia discovered a passion for interior design, with a focus on surface pattern and printing. She decided to go on to study Printing and Textiles at Leeds Collage of Art.

This was a specialised course which allowed her to follow her interests. It also gave her lots of fantastic opportunities to show her work. For example, Leeds College of Art takes student art to the Indigo trade fair in Paris, and Olivia was also able to take part in competitions, including the fifth annual Student Wallpaper Design Competition, which she won. She even brought along a roll of the wallpaper to show!

“I really loved it,” Olivia said. “I discovered myself as a designer, emphasising drawing and vibrant colours in my designs. The tutors really push you there to achieve your best. I was lucky enough to sell a couple of designs at the Indigo trade fair in Paris this year to a fashion print company! This last year has been challenging yet I have loved it. I got the chance to exhibit at the New Designers trade fair which was a great experience, and again a few companies were interested in my work!”

She brought lots of examples of the work she has done since leaving Bolton School in 2010, which she showed to the A Level students. The girls were amazed by the work, which showed a great deal of confidence and bold use of colour. The girls were particularly impressed by Olivia’s scarves, which had been digitally printed after Olivia painted original designs and edited them using Photoshop, and are worth between £150 and £200 apiece! She described some of the techniques she had used to create these in preparation for her final show at the end of her third year.

Olivia also discussed her current situation: she was recently given a trial job in London with design company Whiston and Wright, a company that sells to the Arcadia stores and all over the world. She is now waiting to hear whether she has been offered the full-time position. She showed the girls some of the designs she had created for the company, and gave them a little more insight into the realities of working in this world, such as the situation with royalties and the pay. However, despite some of the more difficult aspects of a career in art, Olivia emphasised that she loves her work and thoroughly enjoys creating these designs.

The girls were really inspired by Olivia’s designs and her confidence in her own work. This was a fantastic opportunity for them to learn more from a recent leaver about further study in this field, and also about the realities of working in the art and design industry.

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Olivia shows the girls her vibrant collection of work

Olivia shows the girls her vibrant collection of work

The A Level Art students with Olivia before the talk

The A Level Art students with Olivia before the talk

The girls were able to study examples of Olivia

The girls were able to study examples of Olivia's work