Against All Odds

Against All Odds

Eventually it got to the point where things got serious on my Art and Design Foundation Course and I had to apply myself to what came next and try and get on a degree course. My mission was to follow Man Utd so there was only one option. It was fortunate that Manchester Poly had a very good reputation for graphic design – one or two big names of the design world had been there. It was around March that we came to do our two week graphics block. This was my big chance to shine, but after all the sketching, etching and sculpting – trying to come up with ideas on blank sheets of wafer-thin layout paper with magic markers seemed a bit sterile. Already it seemed like this was the hard-nosed commercial side of the art world, at odds with the free-spirited Barry White splash-it-all-over one where I felt quite at home. We did a logo for a TV station and a cover for New Scientist magazine. I fluffed it. My creative juices were back in the print room and my efforts were woeful. The tutor in charge, a pragmatic Scot called Cameron told me to forget trying to get on the degree course. That shook me up a bit and very half-heartedly I considered my options. It was working with words and images that appealed to me long-term so graphics it had to be. I needed a second-choice college and of all the wonderful art schools around the UK that I could have applied to why I decided to head down the M6 to Wolverhampton, I’ve no idea. I can’t recall a single thing about the interview, but I was quite pleased that hitching a ride there and back was fairly easy. Come the big day of my Manchester interview, Janice ironed my ‘lucky shirt’ and clutching my big burgundy-coloured portfolio up I went to the sixth floor of the Chatham Building. An ugly purplish-grey sixties demi-tower block nestled between The Salutation pub and The Royal Northern College of Music. I knew Cameron would be one of the interviewers and his words had steeled me for the worst. Despite all that, I felt somehow this was my destiny and even though I knew the odds were against me, I still had hope in my heart. The interview itself was wonderfully relaxed and friendly, I can still remember the names of everyone. Even Cameron was encouraging. A few days later I found out I’d got a place and the next three years were secured. It was a pivotal moment in my young life. Not long after he saw me and said ‘Son, its good to prove people wrong’. Too right, but maybe his harsh words that Spring just inspired me to rise above myself.

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