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NEW CREATIVES Q&A – Vivien Wilson

We’re building up to next years New Creatives season at Oxo Tower wharf with a Q&A to check in with a #newcreative from this years season to see what they’ve been up to. Applications for bookings during 2020 are now open!

Vivien Wilson exhibited as a part of London College of Fashion’s graduate show 2019. Since graduating she has worked with Sadler’s Wells Young Associates artist, Wilhelmina Ojanen, completed a placement at the Royal Opera House Costume Centre and is currently working with Disney. We find out more about her graduate experience, and ask her for some advice to students preparing for their final show!

  • How was your experience of showcasing your work at the Bargehouse as part of LCF?

I am very glad that we got the chance to be the first Performance Year to exhibit externally, as putting our work up at the college does not get it the exposure we deserve, and Bargehouse was a great place for that. I think, however, that the execution of the actual exhibition could have been better and should have involved us as students more to put a more personal note to our work, or at least have our names and a short description displayed next to it. In the way it was done in for our exhibition, visitors did not really understand what it was about if we didn‘t personally stand next to it to explain. There were another few things that had more to do with the planning of the exhibition from our college‘s side, which could have been better, but all in all I think it was a success, as it (kind of) did get me a job in the end, so that was obviously amazing.

  • Tell us some more about the work that you exhibited

The project called ‘Venom’ was based on my concern around climate change and pollution and how the planet is suffering from human destruction. The character wearing my costume was supposed to represent mother nature and how it is ever evolving, but then gets ‘infected‘ with the venom that is poisoning the planet. The costume has different stages which it undergoes during the film that I made for it (to be found on https://youtu.be/gu_p0wYpcb8 ), from birth into bloom, infection and finally death. The flowers on the body are enclosed in water dissolvable fabric in the first stage, until it dissolves under the rain we created and the flowers literally bloom. After the poisoning they change colour and fall off, and the infection pops out from hidden pockets on the costume and entangles the character until she (mother nature) dies. The whole costume was made from 95% recycled or biodegradable materials as well as the cocoon I made for the birth scene was made from 100% biodegradable materials.

Also, I would like to add that for my FMP at LCF, I wanted to create something with a wider meaning or a ‘message’ to it, as I think as any creative practitioner, we should try and reach people in some kind of way with the work that we do. I tried to combine methods and materials that were new to me such as stretchwear and the water dissolvable fabric, as I still wanted to use my last few terms at uni to actually learn something new. I did some things that I had already done before, such as flower making and painting into the fabric, but because I challenged myself to make everything from recycled materials. I had to find new solutions for making as well design processes, which helped me greatly to improve my problem solving skills and broadened my horizon a lot.

  • What have you been up to since graduating?

Since graduating, I have worked on a piece called LAND for the Sadler’s Wells Young Associates artist Wilhelmina Ojanen, which also dealt with the topic of climate change and was shown on Sadler’s Wells’ main stage in July.

I did a placement at the Royal Opera House Costume Centre, and since August I have been working for Disney on their new live action film ‘Cruella’ starring Emma Stone and Emma Thompson in the main roles as a costume maker trainee where I will be until the end of November. We shall see where it goes from here!

I have also been working on my branding and building up my website (www.talesandtextiles.com) thinking of ideas for my own little Etsy shop selling things made from recycled materials from my stock and diving more into embroidery, natural dyeing and textile manipulation as that’s my big passion.

  • It sounds like you’ve been busy since the show! Are there any tips you would share with graduates working towards their exhibition?

Definitely make something that you yourself are proud of, and not just something that you think other people will like to see! I know it’s always easy to go overboard with colours, size and extravagance, but the actual skill behind it is much more important and that’s what counts in the industry later. Not everyone will like your work or be interested in it, but I think the people who would be worth working with/for, will appreciate what you’ve done.

I would say, try and remind yourself that you’re still at uni and you’re there to learn, not because you know everything already! Ask as many questions as you can and the more engaged you are with your course mates and your teachers, the bigger your chances that they will recommend you to someone else. I find that now that we’re all out of college, people try and always be the one that got the best job or has the biggest portfolio, but essentially, we’re all in this together and if you help people, they usually help you too, so being nice can actually pay off in the end.

Also getting as much industry experience as possible is the best way of getting more and more jobs and meeting new people, so do it while you can!

Some really great tips and advice there. Thank you Vivien!

Our New Creatives season is now booking for summer 2020 at Bargehouse and gallery@oxo – to find out more contact the team on 020 7021 1650 or galleries@coinstreet.org

If you exhibited in a past season of New Creatives and would like to be featured on the blog or for our Fresh Friday social media feature get in touch!

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