Graphic Artist Rachel Cliffe

It’s not often enough we share the creativity of people from St Helens and the surrounding areas, but today its a pleasure to share the work of graphic artist Rachel Cliffe

I’m 23 years old & currently living back home in the not-so-nice-&-not-so-cultural-or-designy town of St Helens but luckily for me, it’s situated in between the amazing cities of Liverpool & Manchester. I’ve just graduated from Leeds Metropolitan University on the Graphic Arts & Design course, it’s a really different, diverse and ‘free’ course & breaks away from all of the other traditional ‘Graphic Design’ courses available to students at the moment. Within the course every student is encouraged to pursue whatever form of graphic art they see fit, from film, to print, to photography to commercial design. The course & it’s students don’t shy away from breaking the mould with the concept of design, there are so many unusual projects and responses produced, it’s really refreshing & this years Degree Show was no different & very highly spoke of.

I class myself as a graphic artist with a strong hands on approach to design, I adore the handmade aesthetic, I always have, I always will. I like anything that’s put together & made by hand & can obviously tell that it is, I always keep these types of things, I’m a bit of a hoarder! For some reason I just feel that you can see & appreciate the time & effort that’s gone into producing this, whether it be a card, a flyer, some patterned paper, a print, whatever, & overall that’s what appeals to me.

I use various print processes, along with many other lo-fi and hands on elements, I like to screen print & etch, I like lino & collage & drawing typography & photocopying things. But possibly my favourite process is that of Letterpress. I know that these days some people see it as so time consuming, especially when you can use typography on a Mac so easily, but once again i’m drawn to the fact it’s scarce & a dying art form, i adore the unpredictability of the end result, the smell of the ink, the feel of the paper & with wood block type the general wear & tear of each letter will produce an amazing print.

Up until last year I despised using the computer, I despised digital, computerized design; my opinion on the matter is less harsh these days, I can understand the need for design in the digital world and even have begun to combine my work with a digital side, but I am still very very pro-hands-on.

I like to produce a variety of work, communicative and informing graphical responses in the form of publications, zines and prints.
I want to make things that people want to keep, because they like them, they want to store them away in a nice box, or put them up on their wall in their hall or kitchen I’m inspired by everyday events, things going on around me, music of course and the past. I feel like i’ve been born in the wrong era, i’m not supposed to be 23 in 2012, i should have been 23 in the 40’s… the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s & 80’s; music, film, books, fashion & anything else from these era’s inform my design.
Some of my projects include an A3 & A4 alternating page publication based on the tragic life & writings of Joy Division front man- Ian Curtis, the publication features letterpress samples, etchings & screen prints. I also produced a variety of typographical letterpressed prints in response to thoughts & doubts that I had within my final year & these are some of my favourite pieces.

I believe that collaboration is an inevitable, necessary and exciting part of design, especially my own, I love to work with other people, who wouldn’t?! I like how you can bounce from one another ideas, if someone’s better at you at something & vice versa, you should benefit from this. For the future as a graphic artist, I am intending to get myself to as many print & craft fairs as possible, selling all of my prints & cards, but in the long term i’m applying for internships & placements around the North West as I’m stuck at home for a while.

I’ve got my dream 10 places to apply to, they aren’t major design studio’s, they’re small independent groups making zines & prints & publications, exactly what I want to do. But I’m 100% positive I want to work collaboratively, in a small studio or a collective. I’d hoped I’d meet someone in university who felt the same about collaboration & maybe a partnership would be formed, I like the fact so many small design collectives these days started from friends who worked together at uni & then carried on once graduated… but i had no such luck, however I am always on the look out for future collaboration partners, so please do not hesitate to get in touch if you feel the same.

Follow Rachel Cliffe and her work on her Portfolio and @rachael_cliffe on Twitter.

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