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Students’ talent and creativity shines through at annual Art Exhibition

Last week (6th June 2024), Xaverian College arts students celebrated the end of their arts courses with an art exhibition that exuded their talent and creativity.

The annual event showcases the work of students on Fine Art, Graphic Communication, Photography and Textiles A Level subjects and gives them the opportunity to proudly present their portfolios to family, friends and the local community.

Jaz Armstrong-House, former pupil of Chorlton High School, who chose A Levels in Drama & Theatre, Fine Art and English Literature, commented: “I found the art department to have a certain energy about it where it is more freeing for students to express themselves. The subject is coursework-based so this takes the pressure off not having to do exams at the end of the course.

“My final art pieces in the exhibition were based on the concept of performance art and how it brings people together. I was looking at the art of drag and getting into character and performing and people dressing up together. I was using Victorian tropes of the moustache and top hat to show how gender is being changed, which is personal to me as an androgynous person, and this approach was welcomed and encouraged by my tutors. I also went on from that to explore Batman as an influence, because I had seen a Batman series with a queer relationship in and that really emotionally connected with me.

Next year, Jaz is progressing to the Art Foundation course at Manchester Metropolitan University, followed by an offer from the University of Salford to study a Degree in Stage, Film and Performance Design, and said: “The course is a combination of film, drama and art but from the perspective of a designer and director. My courses have really inspired me to work in the film industry and my end goal, which would be perfect and amazing, is to be a Production Designer. This would involve creating a concept for a film and choosing the style for a film and storyboarding and telling people what I want to achieve from it. It will take a lot of work, but it’s my dream!”

Nieko Brown is studying A Levels in Graphic Communication and Photography and a BTEC Extended Diploma in Business, a former pupil from Dixons Brooklands Academy. He chose practical subjects as these complimented his learning style, and commented: “I chose Graphic Communication as I got a Grade 8 in my GCSE, so felt really inspired to carry on. I’d also done thumbnails for my friends’ YouTube videos or sometimes they’d need me to design various graphics for them. It’s been a journey that is continuing, and I really want carry on improving my skills.

“My artwork brief for my final project was based on shoes, and from this I created the shoe and the graphics for a complete branded marketing campaign. I started by making mood boards of images and I focused on two artists who have inspired me with their work, one who used a comic style and another who used colours in a unique way. I combined their styles with my own influence and created graphic images by hand and then digitised the images onto computer design software to edit them into posters, badges, web pages and online graphics.

“After Xaverian, I have an unconditional offer to study a Degree in Graphic Design at the University of Salford. I chose Salford as they have excellent links with the graphic design agencies in Manchester and really support students to find roles in the industry, which is where I hope to start my career.”

Jaz Armstrong-House
Nieko Brown

Eliza Chester, from Chorlton High School, chose to study A Levels in Classical Civilisation, History and Textiles at Xaverian. She commented: “I didn’t do art at high school so I was a bit worried about doing the course, but my tutor has been really helpful. She gave me so much confidence because I’m always worried that my work is not good enough and talking to her made me feel so much better. The course is ideal for me as you can choose the themes you want to follow, and it gives you the freedom to express your full creativity.

“For my project, I talked though some options with my tutor and decided on Punch and Judy. I love Punch and Judy shows and remember seeing them on the Llandudno seafront. It’s a fascinating story as Punch is really cruel and abusive, and he kills his wife, so I thought I would bring this scary story to life using textiles. I chose to take an illustrative approach, rather than abstract, and used images that already existed or drew my own and interpreted them to produce my final pieces.

“I’m going to continue my studies with an Art Foundation course at Manchester Metropolitan University, which I’m really looking forward to because I’ve been to lots of their arts shows and loved what I’ve seen. Following this, I’ll be studying a Degree in Archaeology at the University of Liverpool and am keeping an open mind at this stage about what my future career might hold!”

Felix Fletcher from Priestnall High School, is studying Biology, Graphic Communication and Photography A Levels and Xaverian alongside joining the College’s Basketball Academy. He said: “I’ve enjoyed the Photography course as it’s been a lot of fun, the teachers are great, and it is something I enjoy doing. We also get full-time access to computers, and the camera equipment and photographic facilities are really great.

“I went with maps and routes as my choice of brief because it allowed me to do street photography, and this is something I really enjoy. I go into the street and just try to catch people without them knowing and I found this produces the best and most natural photos.

“I hope to progress to Sheffield Hallam University to study a Degree in Photography. Following this, I will be looking to start a career in photography but will be keeping my options open to see what comes up after university.”

Eliza Chester
Felix Fletcher

Shaun Steele, Divisional Lead, said: “Our Art Exhibition continues to deliver a fascinating and vibrant mix of artistic styles and influences. Our talented team of teachers inspire our students to bring out their inner creativity to produce an exhibition that was enjoyed by all. It was great to welcome parents and relatives, as well as some former students, to see the culmination of, what has been, an amazing two years. Our students are going on to greater heights in the arts industry and I’m sure they will be successful in their chosen careers!”

Visitors to the exhibition were encouraged to leave their feedback, photos of their favourite work and messages of good luck for our students. The Digital Guestbook is still open for messages to be posted and can be accessed here.

The creative industries are set to soar across advanced and developing economies worldwide during the next decade, which will provide numerous exciting career opportunities, and studying a creative subject at Xaverian can help support you in landing your dream job.

As one of the largest providers of post-16 education in the region, Xaverian College offers exciting opportunities to over 3000 students. To find out more, visit xaverian.ac.uk – This is your place!

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