A big thank you to artist and Bucks grad, Ian Berry for an insightful talk and fascinating close-up look at his work.
Here ‘s an extract from his interview with Dean Valler, our lovely PR man!
How has studying at Bucks New University benefited you?
I think there was a couple of things that really stand out.
The first is to think openly and differently. I have been quoted as saying that I think many people in advertising are much more creative than some artists. To think past the first ideas, and then to be able to present them in the best ways.
The second is the work ethic. At Bucks we had contact time most days, including weds night lectures in London (yup.. Union night!) and we had a heavy workload, I lived with sports students and I must have had 95% more work to do. This helped first being prepared for the real world and industry and then now when working, to really make all the effort to take chance of all the opportunities that arise, basically, carrying on working my ass off to grasp every chance.
What key skills did you learn that have helped you?
To those that read this, it may not make sense, but as I say above, to think. How to think, and how to do things differently. I dont know if it is a tangeable skill but it is a very undervalued skill. I said to the students that this can be adapted to many industries and jobs afterward, you dont walways have to go into adland. I wish however I had grasped with both hands the chance to learn other skills, as the options were there, like on photoshop, illustrator and indesign as if I use any of these I have to outsource it now. When often it is rather simple. With the Degree, and working in the industry, I certainly have the skills of an art director of how I want things, now it is a bit frustrating I dont have the skills to carry that through. In the industry, and AD doesnt really need these skills.However when I lives in Sydney, most AD’s were required to have them and I am finding it more, so I hope the students listened and spent some time learning them more. But essentially, and this goes for all the social media tosh now, the key thing is the message and the idea.
Did you always want to go into the career you’re in?
From a young age I was always known as the arty one, but got put off by the naysayers who said it wasnt a career and all that bull.
However when I was studying and first of all working in advertising I did love it and was pretty emmersed in it, and was excited about doing it and seeing things printed and made. Obviously the ideas that don’t get through are frustrating, and how a client or other could bastardise those that do. But that was part of the challenge. That said, compared to now, I love only really having myself to please. I even dont really like taking commissions on now, as prefer the freedom and independence of creating what I like. Commissions are so much more work on top. Of course, I take on a few.
How did it feel to come back to the University and what did you most enjoy about the visit?
It was the first time I have been back in 10 years, actually since my graduation. It sounds bad but I did live most of that time away in Australia, and then Sweden. I was surprised to see the new building and everything looking pretty nice. Admittedly it needed doing, it was a bit dated when I was there. It felt like a growing positive place, and a good place to learn. The ad deptartment even looked like an agency.
The best thing though was meeting some of the students, especially those that stayed behind afterward. Ad students especially are very enthusiastic, and always looking for opportunities. But like in any walk of life, there are always the loud ones, and the ones that are not so confident. I was hoping to show a few of those that have not found their confidence that with a bit of hard work you can get anywhere. I was not actually a naturally confident or quick creative. I would let others shout over me for ideas that i had a few minutes before, but I always made up for it with hard work and commitment. I wish the students the best of luck. I think it was also important for them to know that there are some transferable skills to other careers and opportunities. Perhaps adland isnt for everyone, it is scary if you do a degree and you feel it isnt for you as a career.
How proud are you of the way your career has developed and what are your aspirations for the future?
Its really strange. Even 5 years ago if you were to say what I would have achieved in this time, and said it would be over the next thirty years, I probably would have been happy. But you make milestones and you dont appreaciate them, you just look to the next and want to achieve more and get better. If you stagnate its not good, so its always good to be progressing. Afterm y last show I actually crashed, so I’m actually proud that I managed to get back, as well as making a fmaily and miving countries three times, so all in all, stepping back, you have to be proud. For the future, who knows, lets not set any targets.