All posts by Matthew Ponting


Issue 10 Launch

On October 4th BUMF held a launch event for the release of issue 10. It was an opportunity for AUB students to connect and celebrate the projects featured in the new issue. The theme of narrative showcased a variety of projects from a range of AUB students. It was great to witness the collaborative energy from the different courses at the university.

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Thank you to everyone who attended the event and picked up a copy of issue 10! You’ll be able to grab a copy from around campus or from the student union office. If you’d like to get involved in the production of issue 11 then send us an email to

Photography by Srinath Rao



This project, illustrated by Toby Fox is made up of 18 illustrations divided into three series the Albinos, Nocturnals and Crimsons. I wanted to keep my execution simple with these paintings; the idea was to showcase the impossible creatures, so I favoured flat coloured backgrounds and realistic rendering.


I like to think of all these creatures as wild in nature, as dangerous and noble as they are beautiful. Dancing alone, beneath the waves, the mermaid is rare to spot and is elusive. It is a cruel irony that so few will ever see her performance. The phoenix’s life is an isolated one, for the bird must give her life in an explosion of flame to hatch her young. They say to hear the Phoenix’s song is to know true loneliness.

Beware the charms of the Harpy’s song for their rapacious hunger is far more deadly than their music is sweet.

Check out more of Toby:




The Miniature Gardener

The Miniature Gardener by Beatrix Hatcher is a short animation I created for the final project of second year using a technique of replacement animation. I created each scene digitally using the animation tools on Photoshop before then copying each frame and pasting it into a template that gave it a base of folded out paper to stand up on.

After printing each of the frames (12 frames for each second of the animation), I then painstakingly cut them out and folded each piece so they were able to stand up on their base. The extra flap of paper also allowed for the pieces to be positioned in the exact same place so they could be easily swapped out between photographs. I knew this project was ambitious and admittedly it did take over my life (and gave me at least one nervous breakdown per week). There were challenges that I’d never had to deal with before such as trying to keep the lighting consistent between frames and learning how to properly focus a camera! It also forced me to explore the strengths and weaknesses of my primary material, paper. I was able to use it to obscure and reveal elements of the narrative, to create shadows and depth and even recycle pieces between scenes. Yet at times it frustrated me – I would cut out ambitiously tall shapes, standing them up only to find that gravity had other ideas. There’s only so much wire, tape and string can do! 

bumf3I also found myself constricted to working on ground level, a problem I eventually overcame in post production through re-editing scenes on Photoshop and animating the more tricky parts such as the clouds digitally. Most shatteringly of all – on more than one occasion, someone would walk past the table where I was working even slightly too briskly and everything would go flying! And yet, I can honestly say I that through the stress of it all I enjoyed coming into the studio each morning and picking up where I had left off the evening before. I am glad I took the risk of doing something that is completely new to me – there is an enormous sense of satisfaction in working hands on and seeing everything come together so literally in front of you.


Check out more of Beatrix:




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An Interview with Liam Mulvey

It’s the end of a long day when we sit down with Liam. My photographer and recordist are likewise reeling from the day, but the sun is shining through the glass windows and when we introduce ourselves Liam just smiles. His laid-back attitude and undemanding speaking makes it easy for us to chatting. He’s here to talk to the acting students in about two hours, so we have plenty of time to settle into conversation, which ultimately ends with everyone in stitches laughing.

‘I go around pretending to be other people,’ he tells me when I ask for a brief introduction to him and his job. ‘I essentially lie for a living’. Liam’s done everything, from short and feature films, to theatre. ‘Theatre is my original thing, it’s where I started doing it as a kid. That’s what got me into acting in the first place’. But it’s his experience in motion capture that drives most of our conversation. ‘The thing I’m most known for is Final Fantasy: Kingsglaive, which is the motion capture tie-in film to Final Fantasy XV’.

 “the first step is always go to the script: look at the script, read the script, know the script well”

It’s nice to talk to someone who isn’t anti-commercial avenues. Acting is acting, and even the supposedly less glamorous stuff is still worthy experience. And can have fun with it too, whether it’s dancing and moonwalking in motion capture suits or playing with social media. ‘I did one corporate job which was a team-building exercise based around The Apprentice, so I played Lord Alan Sugarcube and got to stomp around shouting at people for a day, it was great. We had Twitter accounts and they got hundreds of followers! They set them up on Tuesday, and by the Wednesday there was like- I think the Alan Sugar one had something like 1,500 followers. We were tweeting nothing, there were about three tweets on it. Just everyone followed it, it was amazing’.

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I ask if he approaches these various forms of acting differently. You’d imagine that theatre is quite a bit different to voice acting, or motion capture. But Liam explains that ‘the main difference is actually when you’re doing the job rather than the prep; a lot of the prep is the same, you get your emotional beats, you look for the changes in character’. As with everything, ‘the first step is always go to the script: look at the script, read the script, know the script well,’ you start doing things differently once you get on set. ‘In theatre, you can move around anywhere, as long as they can see you, whereas in film you have to get your angles right, you have to make sure you’re not blocking people and you’ve got to know if it’s a wide shot or a close-up. It changes how you act because if you act the same in a wide shot as you would a close up, you won’t be able to see it’.

“I actually find motion capture much more freeing because in a way you can just try stuff, and if it doesn’t work you can just reshoot”

‘For motion capture, you are being filmed and its being recorded but you don’t have to worry about things like angles because you’ve got 360 degree coverage at all times. If they don’t like where you’re stood they’ll just move the dots and shift you out the way, so you can do what you like. […] Motion capture is one of the only things where you can actually do a scene in one take. You can do literally one take at the scene and go “yes, we’ve got that”, and then they’ve got eight to nine different angles, various different cuts, but they’ve got it all because it’s all recorded in one go’.

At first I wonder if there’s any extra pressure from being under such scrutiny from ever angle, but Liam doesn’t see it like that. ‘I actually find motion capture much more freeing because in a way you can just try stuff, and if it doesn’t work you can just reshoot. […] One thing you don’t have to do so much in between takes is stay constant, whereas in film you are changing angles in a shot and you have to give exactly the same performance all the way through’. With motion capture ‘there are no real limitations to it, you’re not having to worry. If you move across someone and they don’t want that person blocked off they can just move you,’ so there’s more chance to really get into the performance.

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The introduction of technology like motion capture into the industry is starting to change the way we approach acting because, as Liam points out, it doesn’t matter what you look like. ‘With Kingsglaive, the number of characters is twenty or thirty, something like that, but actors-wise, I think it was a cast of – for the motion capture – about fifteen people in total. All of us playing multiple parts, all of us doubling as soldiers. […] If four of us were on set that day and they wanted to stick in another character they say “oh, we just need him in the background, do you want to do it?” and you can just step in for someone else’s character’. He tells us about a really brutal death scene that wasn’t even for his character, much to our amusement; Liam’s body with another actor’s character design, with someone else’s voice entirely. ‘I play virtually all of the characters in the film at one point, just sort of jumping off and various bits and pieces like that, nods and looks and that sort of thing’.

To end one of my more informal interviews, we chat for ages about anecdotes and bloopers. ‘One of the coolest things was in Tokyo when we were shooting… I think we just wrapped. One of the localization guys, who does a lot of work on a lot of big square games, he’s a really good dancer. So they put him in a mo-cap suit and filmed him dancing. They had him do a full routine.’ At this point we’re all laughing and wondering why it isn’t included on the DVD extras. ‘It was so, so good,’ Liam grins.

Interview by Daisy Leigh-Phippard, Photographs by Ewa Ferdynus

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An Interview with Edgar Wright

I’m sitting in the production office, opposite a big screen playing a live feed to the main lecture theatre. There are some audio issues, but eventually, we can hear the excited chatter of students taking their seats, asking about summer plans, occasionally making hearts with their hands at the camera for us. A few minutes behind schedule, there’s thunderous applause that wipes out the audio quality and a little pixelated Edgar Wright walks into frame and proceeds to give the film students a Q&A.

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It isn’t until hours later when I’m stood outside the room I’ve been directed to that it dawns on me that I’m going to be interviewing a local boy turned Hollywood director. And the guy who I sit across from on the sofa is all of that: warm, friendly, but also surprisingly down to earth. When it’s my turn to speak with him, we end up chatting rather than interviewing.

Wright was born up the road in Poole hospital and grew up in Swanage until the age of seven, when his family moved to Wells in Somerset. ‘My formative experience of cinema all took place in Dorset. The first film I saw was Star Wars at the age of three on Westover Road in 1978’. And in 1992, he came to study Audio-Visual Design at what was then Poole College of Art (now AUB). During his time here, he began learning the skills that would prove key to his later career including (‘this is really nerdy, but you’ll appreciate it’) making his own cut of Evil Dead.


‘When everybody was at the beach, I was living like Gollum in the edit suite, subsisting on vending machine coffee and Snickers bars’.

But the Audio-Visual course wasn’t exactly his first choice; ‘despite reports to the contrary, I didn’t actually do the prestigious film and television course.’ Having tried twice but being told he needed more experience on both occasions, Wright decided to take matters into his own hands. ‘That summer I made a film in my hometown with my school friends and college friends with money raised from a local businessman. And a lot of people from Bournemouth worked on that’. It was this film that persuaded comedians, Matt Lucas and David Walliams, to convince their producers to get this new director to work on their show, and subsequently kicked off Wright’s career.

‘So, I guess thank you for rejecting me,’ he jokes with a grin. ‘It’s the best-worst thing that ever happened’.

Just before the interview gets passed over to us, Edgar’s asked about his favourite cameo he’s had and I feel the crew glance at me. Now this is something we have a head start on. When I hand over the prints from the ‘The Many Cameos of Edgar Wright’ feature that we released the night before, I can’t help but smile along with him as he looks through them. He picks out Baby Driver when I say it’s my favourite and turns to the marketing team. ‘So the story with that one is that I’m in the back of shot with the reflection in a shop window, watching the shot. You have these monitors that are like this’ – he mimes a portable monitor – ‘it wasn’t until afterwards that someone said ‘ah, you’re in shot’. And we were going to digitally remove me, because you can, and then we figured if we just turned my monitor into an iPhone then it looks like I’m just wandering the street looking at my phone. So I’m in it by mistake’.

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As an established director, Wright has made films like Baby Driver and Shaun of the Dead. But he’s also directed adaptations like Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, based on the comics of the same name. When I asked him how he approaches adaptations versus original scripts, he told me that ‘you’re not trying to instill as much of your own personality’ into existing stories. ‘Scott Pilgrim was a bit different because I felt like me and Bryan Lee O’Malley had a very similar sensibility and we were really lucky, me and the screenwriter, to be within his process while he was still writing the second half of the books. […] So actually, we had written the script for the movie before Volumes 4, 5, and 6 were even published. In some cases, there are even a couple of lines from our script that he put in his books’.

Scott Pilgrim ‘is a beautiful piece of art as well. The art inspired me so that was a really good collaboration with a living artist’.

I ask if there are particular things that he looks for in collaborators, or if it’s an organic thing that develops later, and he explains that ‘it works both ways,’ especially in writing. ‘Sometimes you can write with somebody who’s very much on your wavelength, I think that’s why me and Simon [Pegg] started writing together’. But ‘it’s great working with different people because they work in different ways. There’s no writing partnership that’s quite the same, and sometimes you can write with people who are very much on your wavelength, but sometimes it’s an interesting experience to write with someone who isn’t from your background or doesn’t have the same sensibility. I mean, I’m writing something with a screenwriter at the moment that I haven’t worked with before, and it’s great because she has a different perspective, and I can tell her my ideas and she has a different viewpoint on them’.

‘So it can work in different ways, and they’re all worthy in different respects’.

Baby Driver is a film that’s been in Edgar’s head for years – ‘a long, long time,’ he confirms – so I ask him about managing the desire to want to get it done and out there, along with waiting for the right time. ‘It’s a tricky one,’ he tells me, leaning back. ‘I knew that when I was 21 and I came up with the idea to Baby Driver, I couldn’t make it. It was too ambitious and expensive and like… It wasn’t really until after Hot Fuzz that we started talking about it. And even in that period between Hot Fuzz and it coming out was like a ten-year period where I did two others movies, and wrote a whole bunch of other movies. And in that period there were other movies, like I remember when Drive came out and I was like ‘ah, shit. That’s it for Baby Driver,’ but then I saw the movie and I was like ‘ah, maybe not, it’s not really the same thing’. He draws a similar comparison between Shaun of the Dead and its predecessor 28 Days Later; ‘you’re writing something and you think it’s totally original, nobody else is doing it but somebody else in the world is doing it’.

‘So, it’s a finely balanced thing between getting your new idea out there before somebody else does – because no matter how original your idea is, somebody else is having it at the same time’.

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‘Making any movie is hard,’ he says in the talk. ‘Even like Baby Driver wasn’t an easy film to get going. There were several points even then where it was actually so intangible and could collapse at any moment.’ The film industry is a volatile place, ‘but the main thing is you just have to be extremely tenacious and not give up. The good thing to know is that if you feel like everything’s a challenge, that’ll never get easier. And it never should get easier. The point where work gets easier, you’re being complacent and the work suffers. And no point in my career have I felt like stuff has been easy to get going’. Back in the interview, I probe a bit more about mistakes and pushing through. ‘Mistakes are important things to have in your early career because you can only learn from them,’ he says. ‘My first movie that I made when I was 20, I remake it in my head all the time. And it’s too late. It’s that weird thing where… if I could go back in time I would do everything differently’.

‘Everybody fails at some point and you learn massively’.

I check to see how long I’ve got and Edgar generously offers to get the next train if we run over a little bit. We go on to talk about things past filmmaking he’s ever been tempted to do, and he mentions drawing and music as hobbies. It’s nice to talk with a decidedly successful professional who hasn’t come from an overly privileged background, and has worked his way up the ranks like myself and a lot of my fellow students will have to. ‘If you’re in like Dorset, or you’re in Somerset, and you were making films, you were one of like maybe a hundred people doing it. You go to London, you’re one of a hundred thousand people doing it. I was always glad that I’d done stuff in my own neck of the woods before I’d gone to London and just been… that’s the tough thing: you’re with a lot of other people who want to be the same thing’.

‘Right now, I haven’t thought of anything I want to be doing other than what I’m doing. It’s like my dream job’.

When asked what advice he would give to AUB’s filmmakers, he says ‘I think you’ve got to be self-sufficient. When people come up to me and say ‘I want to be a filmmaker but I don’t know anybody. I don’t have the funds,’ that isn’t really an excuse anymore, and it wasn’t an excuse when I was growing up. You know, grew up in Dorset, moved to Somerset, had no connections to the film industry, went to a comprehensive, came to this art college. But I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t have any money myself. The movies are made through their own sheer force of will’.

‘There is nothing stopping you from making movies. You have to let go of the excuses, of the reasons why not, and just do it yourself’.

If you want to hear about Edgar writing Tintin with fellow director Joe Cornish, the benefits of 28 Days Later for Shaun of the Dead, and recording the commentary for his debut feature film after 20 years you can listen to the full interview in a special collaborative episode with the Podcast Society, find it HERE

Interview by Daisy Leigh-Phippard, Photographs by Ewa Ferdynus

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The Many Cameos of Edgar Wright

With Edgar Wright returning to AUB, our chief writer, Daisy, shares some of his most iconic cameos.

Edgar Wright is a film director and writer, born in Poole and raised in quiet Somerset. In 1992, he came to the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art to study Audio-Visual Design. Sound familiar? That’s because it became AUB in 2009. In honour of his return visit to the university, BUMF is celebrating by showing off some of his cameos throughout the years.

The most recent of which is from his Oscar-nominated thriller about getaway driver B-A-B-Y, Baby. At the start of the film, Ansel Elgort’s protagonist dances down the street to Harlem Shuffle. When he jumps in front of a music shop you can see some reflections in the window, including an unintentional little cameo from the director himself. Visual effects were able to turn his handheld monitor into an iPhone, but they decided to keep Edgar inPhoto 21-05-2018, 17 48 48

Jump back a decade or so to the wacky British comedy-horror Shaun of the Dead. Wright appears as a zombie on the news ‘remembering Z-Day’. In fact, director George A. Romero loved the film so much he asked Edgar and co-writer Simon Pegg to play cameos in his 2005 horror Land of the Dead.

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Remember Hot Fuzz? That film where Simon Pegg and Nick Frost chase a swan through a quiet little Somerset town (the very one where Wright grew up as it happens), and the villain got skewered through the jaw on a model church spire? When PC Angel storms through the supermarket on a mission there’s a guy pushing a trolley across the hall. Yep, that’s Edgar.

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And it’s not just his own films he’s snuck into. As a friend of fellow director Garth Jennings, Wright has had cameos films like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Sing. But it’s the 2007 coming-of-age drama Son of Rambow starring tiny Will Poulter and Bill Milner that features Edgar as a somewhat… zealous design technology teacher to the boys.

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What cameo list would be complete if it didn’t include Star Wars? Thanks to Rian Johnson, Edgar stars as a resistance fighter in The Last Jedi alongside his brother Oscar, assistant Leo Thompson and Joe Cornish, director of Attack the Block. Wright released a photograph behind the scenes of the gang in costumes, but we have yet to spot them in the film itself. Can you find him?

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Words by Daisy Leigh-Phippard, Illustrations by Abbie James


UNI app // Isobel Fiske

Isobel// There are many guides, budgeting apps and recipe books designed for students, however many of them are not suitable for students or are simply visually unappealing.

Owing to this I decided I wanted to design an app that included things that students actually want and in a way that is easy to use. I aimed to help new students but encourage students to use the app multiple times by including many useful features, such as recipes and a budgeting feature. I also made the design appealing to students by using vibrant colours, clear layouts, and illustrations. From surveys of students I was able to decide what to include in the app.

Brand: UNI
Products: App; Recipe cards (in kit)
Target market: StudentsThe features and pages included:


• Home page – showing the eight icons for each other page.

• Settings – includes the options to change the size of the text, to enter dietary requirements that will affect the recipes shown, and to change the colour/saturation of the background (this is designed specifically to help people with dyslexia to make the pages easier to read).
• Timetable – the student’s timetable is synced but also customisable and able to be shown as a daily, weekly or monthly calendar.
• Recipes – this provides simply written recipes with other meal suggestions
• Budgeting – provides an interface in which students can track their spending by inputing how much they spend and what they spend it on. The page then shows how much of their budget has been spent.
• Public transport – live timetables for both buses and trains, which students can customise to suit which lines they use.
• Shopping list & Meal planning – a feature where the student is able to write their shopping list and a meal plan. This is alongside meal suggestions from the app.
• Food hygiene – advice for how long to keep foods and how to know when it is okay to eat.
• Vouchers & Discounts – coupons and deals for students, to be linked with UniDays
• Nightlife – information on the clubs and bars in the area including student nights, costs, events, etc.



Everything nowadays is digital, hence the need for the app, however people still like to have physical things to hold and collect for free at the fresher’s fair. This led me to designing recipe cards. The reason for these cards was not only to advertise the brand and app, but also to provide students with a few simple recipes that they stick up in their kitchen. The colours, illustrations and typography match with those in the app to ensure there is continuity and the brand is reinforced. These cards will be handed out in a box that will also include a bus timetable and advertising poster/brochure for the app.



The brand ‘UNI’ came out of my typographical experimentations and I realised that this was the most suitable name for my brand as this was the purpose of the products I was designing and target market.

28I have really enjoyed this project as it has come from my own experience and aims to help new students with living away from home for the first time. I feel my aims of the products being practical and visually appealing for students have been met owing to my media experimentation for the typography and illustrations, and my involving members of the target audience in deciding what to include and in my designs.

Social media:
Instagram: @ifiskegraphics

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An Interview with Steve Moberly

Our Chief Article Writer Daisy Leigh-Phippard met with alumnus Steve Moberly to discuss life after AUB and his upcoming exhibition as part of BEAF in the BUMF Gallery.

When I ask Steve about his artistic style, he tells me about his ‘argumentative streak’. A playful devil’s advocate, he’s ‘always putting across the other point of view in every situation – and suddenly you’re surrounded by an awful lot of other people that have the same standpoint, and you’re still trying to make that piece that really stands out’. Graduating from Fine Art at AUB in 2014, Steve is a painter who sat down with me the other week for a chat about art, self-criticism and even how he bribes his kids to watch art-house documentaries with sweets.BUMFInterview4 (1 of 1)

Steve has exhibited all across the UK, including Portsmouth’s Aspex and an upcoming showcase in London. ‘I think, compared to how I could elicit responses with drawings, I felt much more in control of other people’s emotions,’ he says, leaning back into the sofa. ‘The first thing that sparked off an interested was a sort of history of being quite – to over-exaggerate – socially awkward’. I, empathising, confirm how art can often cross that barrier. Showing people things, however layered or hidden, in art can sometimes provoke more understanding than speaking can. ‘Language is a limiter, isn’t it?’ he bounces back. ‘Like, between where a bush becomes a tree is just a delineator – a cut-off for our purposes, but actually in other ways you can sit with those overlaps and not block off those categories in quite the same way and just experience them as such’.


Moving onto his paintings, he tells me about the ways he likes to play around with point of view. His characters may be ‘made up 99% of the time’, they’ve still got the masks of everyday humans that we all carry around. One person might look at his work and see one relationship, another could see completely differently, and that’s the fun of it. Being able to play about professionally with that is a different experience to exhibiting as a student, he points out. ‘Having your work in its infancy displayed as it goes along so people can comment on it… I think one of the nicest things about post-graduation is the fact that you can present your work and say ‘this is it’. There’s no dialogue about ‘maybe you could change the green’.’ 

 ‘Take ownership of your own work. Sometimes, it’s a psychological battle and a social exchange.’

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Often talking to students, particularly painters, he stresses how ‘everyone thinks they’ve got a piece of you in that creative environment. It’s quite easy to hijack other people’s ideas, in a way of someone wanting to make a piece and you saying ‘well, what if you did this?’ And as soon as you’ve got that in your head, you’re either doing that or not doing that. It can be hard to negotiate’. Of course, it’s an invaluable tool while you’re learning, and something that artistic education – well, all education – is built on. But when I was talking to Steve, his point struck me in a way I rarely get to see in the ever-present stress-haze: it can be hard to hear that people don’t understand your work, whether they say it outright or it’s obvious from their comments.

Being a somewhat rebellious soul, Steve sometimes gets rid of the bits everyone likes in his paintings, just to see what would happen. ‘Take ownership of your own work. Sometimes, it’s a psychological battle and a social exchange.’ You liked this bit? Okay, well look again without it. Now what are you thinking?”


Steve asks me about my course a couple of times, interested in my ideas going into my final project for 3rd year. I’m touched by his interest, but it’s the generosity of advice that really gets me. ‘Really, out of a panel of five judges, you want one person to be absolutely ecstatic, and the other four to hate it. Then you’ve probably got something a bit more interesting than three judges put it through or don’t’. It’s a valid point; as much as we want to reach a large number of people with our creations, affecting someone in an intimate way is perhaps more meaningful.

‘I had a few successful marks where I was cleaning my brush on the thing I was painting, and that ended up just staying there,’ he tells me, shaking his head. ‘Sometimes I could see something in a painting and think ‘I know that’s wrong, I’ve got to change that. But I’m quite excited about that bit over there, so I’ll carry on with that’. And then, not just because some colour balance has brought that back, but it just starts to create its own existence by the longevity of it. By being left alone and not being on my mind by saying ‘it’s wrong, it’s wrong, it’s wrong. That’s got to go,’ and just going over it. For some reason, it’s got a second chance’.


‘Once you park your emotions elsewhere, I think you can sort of transcend that’ – the constant plague of doubt in the back of your head. It’s something all students can relate to whether they’re in the midst of thinking back on it not-so-nostalgically. As we talked more we both agreed that, actually, being restricted creatively can have an upside. ‘I’ve started telling myself that I’m making paintings that are explorations. It doesn’t matter if I build up layers of paint. Generally speaking, I can go over whatever colours I build up, I can sand them down. But actually, it does result in that lack of jeopardy. If I go too much into that area of thinking each mark won’t have that jeopardy in it, and that attention, because I know I can go back and change it’.


‘I used to say that I got ten seconds of thinking ‘yeah, something is happening there’. Now I think it’s more realistically about two/one-and-a-half seconds. But that’s it. That’s enough. I’ve realised now that’s all I’m chasing. I spent all my time until relatively recently chasing something more. A bigger reward, a higher payback for what I’ve made. But no, that’s it and that’s enough’.


Steve was born in Keynsham near Bristol but is now Bournemouth-based. ‘I’m always quite proud to say Bournemouth,’ he tells me. ‘The Western-centric idea of contemporary art is being dismantled in a good way. I sort of think that Bournemouth can ride on that wave’. Steve will be exhibiting in the BUMF Gallery during the Bournemouth Emerging Arts Festival.

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Words by Daisy Leigh-Phippard, Photographs by Ewa Ferdynus


Progress and Emotional Maturity // Natalia Podpora

Natalia Podpora talks being your age and seizing opportunities to grow. Illustrations by Margarita Louka.

Some people are forced into adulthood early in life, while others stay unreasonable and irresponsible throughout their whole life. Why? Well, because they can. 

(For clarity, let me state that this is not including people who have a different rate of emotional growth due for varying reasons, other than ignorance and laziness. I do not mean to include anyone with any social and mental limitations in what I’m writing in the following paragraphs)

Emotional progress and maturity have nothing to do with physical growth and things like puberty. It comes with learning, wanting to learn and wanting to gain experience. Ignorance can be your best friend in life- it is, after all, bliss. But, when it comes to becoming someone who’s mature, personal ignorance needs to take a back step in order for you to have an open-minded outlook. This is to say that you should not expect things, people, and circumstances to accommodate you.

brainFINALI see too many people my age, at university, that simply do not grasp that concept. It is tiring hearing people who should be guiding their own life, and being responsible for their own ways of living, complain or aim to demean everything around them.  People’s ignorance can affect those around them in massively negative ways, such as becoming something that can trigger mental health issues. It is not often talked about but people who live without responsibility, and a few years behind on their reality, are negative people to be around. They are a hindrance to your own development as a person.

It has nothing to do with ‘growing up’ per se- I don’t think most adults are ready to accept the challenge that the responsibility of adulthood is. But it is simply acting your age and being aware of your responsibility as a human of a certain position in life and society.

Let’s be honest, a lot of us are very privileged to be at university receiving an education. There comes a time in our lives to simply appreciate that fact alone and be mature about it.  In fact, the way that a lot of young people use university as this gateway to the real life that comes afterwards, almost like a waiting room.


Perhaps our privilege in this sense creates an atmosphere of ignorance, or acts as a shield from the real world, as we live off loans and have time to experiment without any real serious consequences. This can even have detrimental effects on an individual’s mental health through a sense of de-realisation, as a lack of responsibility can make negative consequences seem fake or far removed.

There seems to be paradox that exists among students- and generally young people today. Although there are exceptions to the rule, this generation of young people is advanced intellectually, but falling behind emotionally. They are missing many of the marks of maturity they should possess. Everything is coming at them sooner. We want so much to be able to experience the world we have seen on websites or heard on podcasts, seen in films, read about in magazines, but we don’t realise (sometimes until too late) they we are unprepared for the reality of such experience emotionally.

Whilst I don’t exactly know how we could solve this problem I can hope that sooner or later everyone will be presented with the opportunity to grow as a person, even if it’s very late in life.  It may be through a traumatic experience, a loss of any kind, or life changes and dramatic events.  It could be something as simple as a new relationship or watching a film that hits and tugs at things you never knew before in a certain way. Growth can be unpredictable most of the time, and even then people may not take these events or happenings and let themselves be affected in them positively.


Some people never change in spite of opportunity.  These are the people I personally tend to shy away from. They go through life as one dimensional people, and although there is nothing wrong with such lives, it is not something that encourages self-growth and progress. It is not an open minded way of living. In a world that doesn’t seem to give much to the young individual to make them grow into anything other than an economical commodity, you are unfortunately presented with the task of avoiding becoming a one-dimensional human all on your own. Yet, there are opportunities for personal growth and progress almost everywhere, you just need to know how to recognise them when they appear.

Words by Natalia Podpora, Illustrations by Margarita Louka