#DMSpotlight: Life After Art School with Darren Appiagyei and Philip Alo

The prospects of life after university for recent graduates should be filled with one of opportunity and freedom. Freedom from the confined walls of the lecture room, and opportunity that what has been learnt can secure job prospects to enhance their livelihood. However, a study released earlier this year by the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex reveals that British BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) are between 5% and 15% less likely to be employed than their white British peers six months after graduation. The study also showed disparities in income between BAME women men who do manage to find jobs after graduation, compared to their white counterparts.

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This week’s #DMSpotlight shines on two Camberwell College of Arts 3-D design recent graduates Darren Appiagyei and Philip Alo in the vid during their grad show, and I caught up with them a year after to find out what life is like after art school.

What’s life like after graduating? 

Philip: Life after graduating is quite challenging. I am currently looking for a company who will consider working with me on Tor-Rack. Preferably based in Japan as some of the people’s living space there is what inspired me.

Darren: Life after graduation has not been easy. I have not had as much time as I would have liked to, to make and just to be creative as I work in the evening . I cherish now even more the equipment and technicians’ expertise and skills that Camberwell provided. Even little things like the space and also just being able to walk into a studio when you please and being surrounded by creative minds. At the moment I am using the South London Makerspace to continue making and developing my craft. I have registered as a Business, and I’m currently looking for an internship. I have also been shortlisted for the cockpits Arts/Turners award.

Congrats on being shortlisted – exciting!! How did the grad show exhibition go?

Darren: The graduation show exhibition was a huge success, I manage to sell two pieces of my work, and also gain much confidence and pride in my work. Sometimes you spend so much time in the workshop and you don’t truly realise the potential of what you made as you are stuck in the bubble of University and your classmates. Having the graduation show enabled me to understand that there is a market for what I do and I have to consistently work and promote myself to find my market through exhibitions, via the internet and networking.

Philip: The grad show went really well. I didn’t make any contacts or sales, however, I did receive plenty of positive feedback and interest.

Where do you see yourself in the near future?

Darren: In a years time, I see my business developing further with my work being sold online at a consistent rate and in market stalls. I would like to think next year this time I would have found my target market and strengthened my network.

Philip: Since my design is still in its prototype stages where the cost to manufacture is reasonably high (hence why I didn’t make any sales), I hopefully see myself developing Tor-Rack so it’s much more affordable. And if I have any problems along the way some staff at UAL are more than happy to offer advice.

What would you do differently if you could do your studies at UAL (University of the Arts London) again?

Darren: If I had the opportunity to redo my three years at UAL again,I would immerse myself in my course more by reading as much as I can using the libraries facilities, and also make full use of the workshop and technicians. And generally asking questions, in a sense at times I was scared to ask questions as I did not want to give the impression that I was clueless. I would have also liked to have networked more with students from other UAL campuses.

Philip: Given the ability to start a clean slate with UAL, I would start by planning and organising every week. That way I would always do some work. Keeping a diary is also essential, ensuring that I enter in a log everyday. I would definitely cherish and use the workshop facilities to their full potential during my free time as well. Interacting more with the technicians would also be a must since the level of knowledge and skill they possess is priceless and you can learn so much from them.

And what advice would you give to the you starting UAL?

Darren: I would advise my younger self to just have fun and dont worry if your not good at making; as this is the time to experiment and explore with an array of techniques and materials and the only way is up, if your determined and put your mind to it.

Philip: Advice to myself starting UAL would be. Communicate with everyone and build relations. Everyone has an opinion of their own, and someone may find interest in your work. Anyone can make anything but not talk to anyone and never develop. But make something and have peoples thoughts and opinions will help better you as a designer.

Find out more about Darren’s work on his Instagram page: @inthegrain93


Kai Lutterodt is a contributor of Artefact magazine, and founder of Diversity Matters – a platform which promotes diverse representation in the Arts and Media.

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