My name is Helen Arthurs. I am an artist and designer and I am interested in enrolling in the Masters Degree course in your Illustration Masters at the University of Hertfordshire.
I went to art school in the limestone “Hollywood Hills” of West Yorkshire. I can still visualize the decrepit signage on the train journey as I glided through Batley which will never compare to the glitzy icon perched on the Los Angeles hillside. Even though it is only an hour away from York by rail, it felt like a world away. I used to follow a gob (spit or saliva to the reader) limestone brick road to my art school each morning. Yuck. Not exactly the yellow brick road! “But the gob brick road did not bring me good witch Glenda of the north she wouldn’t go west, no it brought me to two headed trolls with deep guttural accents who said awt or nawt.” This best describes the surreal nature of Dewsbury. As for ruby slippers, I had some red gingham ballet pumps, but I lost one in London after indulging too much out of a teacup and saucer.
I am from the story book town of York, abundant with legends, myths and history which I have used as a resource for a great deal of my work.
As you can tell by the Oz references and comparisons, I am a keen enthusiast of children’s literature. In my final Major Project B, I examined the text of a kindred spirit of mine,
Roald Dahl, a master of the surreal and weird. From the text I borrowed from the convention of illustration to create my own visual hypothesis. The results were a room sized digestive biscuit crumb beach, drawn typography on peaches, bird pies stuffed with feathers and curiosity characters made out of visceral sensory materials. I really enjoyed this project and many of my projects at art school were highly individual responses “ingeniously bonkers” as my tutors coined me!
For all the fun I had at art school, I did have problems with my written work because of my dyslexia and would seek more support this time. I have not as yet felt like I have had a project which pulled all my disciplines and talents together to showcase my artistic merits and my professional portfolio to its best advantage, for a Job in Illustration, I still have more to give and more to explore. I love to read and I draw a lot of my inspiration from books. My favourite genres are books that contain the magical and fantastical that invoke a visceral or sensory reaction. Grotesque has become a part of my visual language.
I work for a clothing retail business called Phase Eight within a long established family owned department store In York. It is a very team orientated environment (which I enjoy very much) and early on I was commended for my experience in giving excellent customer service.., Before that I worked at Laura Ashley for eight years.
At heart I am a girl with Inky stained fingers drawings on till roll tucked into my bra and biros twisted in my hair but I now feel its high time I picked up my paint brush again and persue my dream of becoming a professional Illustrator,
Borrowing from two my favourite characters in children’s literature Alice and Dorothy to best explain my rational;
What do you want to DO? The caterpillar asked Helen. This has been very difficult to answer, a lot of students including myself feel very scared and shrink being faced with the big bad world especially faced with the sprawling daunting metropolis of London. We all know it’s the Arts capital of England but whether we want to fall down the rabbit hole into the Underground is another thing It has been quite a task to gather the courage for such a fall, but to give my career aspirations and talents chance to soar, London is the wonderland For Illustration where I aspire to be
Although I have made strides to progress and develop my portfolio Independently through sort courses ,workshops ,gallery exhitbitions career advice and Independent portfolio evaluations collaborative projects , currently after many years of working on my technique of adding colour to my work I have tried acrylic Painting, undertaking a masters is my chance to grow, and grow and grow into my artistic potential and have my cake and eat it too.
I chose the University of Hertfordshire as your Facilities really impressed me, I can be solitary in my personal practice and your arts faculty umbrella programme has a real collaborative spirit and structure about it that would help me realise my work to its full potential with support of the tutors and students.
Your workshops and studios seemed very impressive I explored the print possibilites of my Illustrated work in University but I would like to expand my knowledge of print to realise more commercial marketing potential for my work, I also have a interest in animation and would really like to produce a animated piece of work for my Illustrated professional portfolio.
Your career support seems really good for your students I was impressed by the mentoring of professional Illustrators to your students to help them become profesional working Illustrators.