MEC #Thrive Series: Laura’s journey through graphic design – from passion to exhibition.

For our third feature in the #Thrive series – a celebration of MEC employee’s pursuits and passions both in and out of work – we spoke to Laura Robinson, Creative at MEC London. Laura recently had her first pop-up exhibition ‘Art after Hours’ and we took some time to sit down with her and get some creative motivation…

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Q. Clearly you have an amazing talent for drawing, how did you manage to develop this talent to get to the stage where you had your own exhibition?

A. To be honest I never set out to become an artist but always loved picking up a pencil or paintbrush. I was introduced to painting from a young age as my dad would always bring his sketchbook and watercolour paints whenever we went on holiday and my Grandma used to bring me along to her art class when I visited. I studied Art GCSE and A Level but never took up graphic design as a subject or pursued it as a career. As much as I didn’t want to give up art, I knew that I didn’t want to do a degree in it. Having made that decision 7 years ago I have always missed the practical element of drawing and making things so one day I just decided it was time to pick up a sketchbook and pen again and start designing. Once I had the ball rolling on coming up with my designs I then started thinking of them as actual pieces of artwork that could be framed and sold.

Q. How do you apply that creativity at MEC?

A. Well my role at MEC is as a ‘Creative’ so that means coming up with clever and bespoke ideas. But I always find that ideas are best sold in with visuals, and I don’t just mean a pretty powerpoint. If the client can see what the idea looks like then it’s much easier for them to imagine their brand doing it and the glory they could get if it actually happens. So whenever there is the opportunity to design and draw mock ups for an idea, I do so and then either direct an illustrator or print my sketches on to presentation boards.

Q. What advice would you give for someone looking to exhibit their own artwork?

A. Don’t just think. Do. It sounds simple and that’s because it is. Just by doing a bit of desktop research and finding out what galleries are open to public exhibitors I chose a couple and contacted them directly to see if there was an opportunity to feature my work. My favourite motto is “don’t ask, don’t get” so my advice would be just to get cracking, get in contact with people and organisations and start promoting yourself and your work.

Q. Which one of your pictures are you most proud of and why?

A. It’s so hard to choose because I love both my Clocks collection and City Icon collection. But I think my favourite would be the City Icon collection as I see it as having the biggest potential to grow. It’s generated the most interest and I’ve also been asked to create bespoke prints for customers where they have requested a specific combination of cities. For example one customer wanted me to change Seattle to Rio and another wanted a whole new combination including Budapest, Buenos Aires and Berline. I have since designed a whole library of city icons which I’m adding to every day. The potential for this kind of business really excites me as I love the fact that customers can pick and choose the cities that are meaningful to them personally and have a unique print.

Laura’s next event is a pop up sale at Shoreditch House on Sunday 14th December. If you have any questions for Laura you can talk to her directly via Twitter on @LaurRobbo88

Her drawings can also be found for sale at http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LauraAlicePrints