Harry Jones

Illustration - BA (Hons)

Harry was never interested in university, but after struggling to break into the games industry whilst working part-time in retail - he made a change. He‘s since rediscovered his love of fashion illustration, breaking through stereotypes and finding himself in the process.

“Before coming to BCU I was determined to be a concept artist for video games and had no interest in trying anything else. I spent a year struggling and searching for a way into the industry whilst working part-time in retail. I eventually decided to apply to university in the final week of applications being taken as I had nothing to lose. I have since realised that the games industry was not suited to me, and in retrospect, I would not have fit into that scene.

At university I have reconnected with my love of fashion illustration, which was something I felt wrong for loving as a child. There was a lot of stigma and pressure around being a guy and enjoying fashion, but things are quite different now. People are a lot more open-minded at university, which is something you do not find in a little village like the one I grew up in.

I have only recently started to talk about my interests, and previously I would not even talk about my love of fashion with family members because I was worried about what the reaction would be. I am a people pleaser and I want to make my family proud, so it was a big hurdle talking about my love of fashion illustrations with my Dad. I have since discovered that he is really into it as well, and I wish I had spoken to him sooner!

The typical ‘university lifestyle’ has never been something I have found interesting, which was a big reason as to why I felt like I wouldn’t fit in at university. I was concerned about the change of being a single student studying art in sixth form, to entering a class of 70 students. I soon realised that there was nothing to worry about, and strangers that you meet on your first day come to be friends you feel you’ve known your whole life!

The tutors are phenomenal at making you feel at ease. They make you feel welcome immediately and going into the illustration studio is like walking into a second home. There is an amazing sense of community which is pushed by the tutors, and it’s great to be surrounded by like-minded people.

Having support from tutors who have experience within the industry and having the chance to participate in live briefs is invaluable. This led me to my first piece of freelance work as an illustrator, where I was contracted to produce print designs for children’s night wear for a start-up company. I never thought I’d produce print design work, however being at university has really opened me up to new experiences and I’m keen to try as many things as possible!

One of my proudest moments is having my work selected by Gallery1988 to have it displayed in their Gallery in Los Angeles, which is round the corner from the Hollywood Hills! This project is an annual opportunity run by the School of Visual Communication, for BCU students only. Ten students out of 150 are chosen to have their work displayed, so it’s a massive privilege to have been selected. I’ve always dreamed of having my work displayed in a gallery, but I never thought I would achieve it at 21 years old, or with a gallery in L.A!

I feel I have found myself at university. Somewhere along the way in life I felt disconnected with what type of work I wanted to do. Being at BCU has brought me back to my roots whilst still pushing me into new creative areas. I’ve become less serious about how I should illustrate and began to enjoy the process of it, whilst still being mindful and professional about my work.

I think ‘I am BCU’ means to be part of the creative city. To be part of a community. To be part of a home."