INTERVIEW: Graphic Design students team up with emerging Notts artist to promote diversity

Thursday April 14, 2022

Students with artwork

Several of our talented Graphic Design students teamed with with local artist, Emily Catherine, to give Confetti a brand new look.


Created over 5 days during Confetti Industry Week, the collaborative art project set out to celebrate diversity, colour, and the evolution of Confetti. Curious to find out more about the creative process and how the project came together, we contacted Emily to give us the low down on the experience.  Here’s what she had to say.

Tell us a bit about yourself, your background and experience

I’m what the industry refers to as an ‘emerging artist’- meaning that I am at the beginning of my career but have accomplished a good amount of professional experience for people to watch for what I do next and that I’m not so established that I’ve lost touch with what it takes as a freelancer. I’m a hand drawn and painted illustrator and artist, and I’ve had the incredible opportunity to work on album covers for big rappers, live paint for Penguin Books and I’ve exhibited at the Design Museum as some particular highlights so far. My work makes comment on social justice, feminism and I reflect a lot of love for hip hop and unity in my work as well as visual storytelling.

How did your Industry Week project first come about? Where did the idea stem from?

The initial idea came from Jamie Cash and James Lazenby and the Graphics team. The last couple of years has seen a big demand for the graphics course and students have doubled in numbers, showing a real diversity in skills, influence and talent. Sometimes, Confetti can be colloquially assumed to be ‘just a music education provider’ and as Graphics (as a department and practice) grew, it seemed important to showcase the talent which might help put the other amazing courses that Confetti provides into people’s consciousness.

Emily Catherine

Expand a little on what the project was about and your goals for it.

The DMH building is the focus of the painting, based on a photograph by professional Nottingham photographer Tom Platinum Morley. The idea was to collaboratively discuss how we could represent the diversity, colour, and evolution of Confetti. The students felt it was important to represent every course Confetti offers and used iconography to do so, the tools on the respective apps which each student uses to work in each window. We flipped the colours for bright, strange colours which stood out. One student represents the growth of Confetti by painting a vine which climbs from the original building where her mum attended, through the main building, and one student painted literal confetti into the air, giving the impression that the building is bursting with creativity. All I did was guide and tidy. They made each decision and painted beautifully.

What was it like working with our students?

It was wonderful. It happened by chance that all the students identified as Women over International Women’s Day so it was a true celebration of our collective power. Each student brought completely unique ideas and skills and they worked together in unity. They were brilliantly professional beyond their experience and most of all we had a lot of fun!

What benefits do you think our students got out of project?

I had the benefit of hearing a bit of feedback from the students and they unanimously said that they learned a great deal about painting itself. Particularly paint mixing, colour matching and the technique of painting. I also watched them blossom in an environment which is the reality of painting to commission, something many of them had never done, and I think they really relished the reality of planning, collaborating and painting to a deadline in a group.

How did you find Confetti Industry Week? Any highlights?

Industry week for me (this is my third year) is always a pleasure. The guests Confetti invites are of such high quality. The advice and conversation flows, and the students have a unique opportunity to get an idea of what it is really like working as a creative full time. From my point of view I couldn’t have felt more welcomed, more part of the team, and better looked after.

Students with artwork

What do you think about the facilities and courses at Confetti?

Whilst I haven’t had direct experience on all the courses, I have with the Graphics department and I cannot fault the dedication and creativity from the staff. They all work incredibly hard for the students benefit and seeing the work from the students is a credit to the tutors and staff.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I just want to thank Confetti for the being that rare organisation that offers the most authentic high quality teaching that one can in this age of organised large education authority. I hope Confetti continues to trail-blaze in this way and I am honoured to have been a tiny part of it over Industry Weeks.


About Emily Catherine:

Emily is a freelance illustrator born in mid Wales but has lived in Nottingham since she was 4 years old.

Emily specializes in hand-drawn and hand-painted illustrations and artworks. She has a wide ranging portfolio and always likes to try new and challenging projects.

Best of all, Emily loves a natter. So, however formal or informal, she welcomes any questions, comments or queries. You can use the contact page on her website for all the ways you can connect with her.

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