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Student Showcase 2020
  • Illustration
  • Cardiff Metropolitan School of Art and Design
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From Bath, Joshua Donkor is a 23-year-old graduate in Illustration. Joshua specializes in portraiture using oil paints and produced artwork for BBC’s “Staged” painting the landscape which Michael Sheen compares to David Tenant’s pineapple sketch!

What’s your specialism and why do you enjoy it?

I particularly enjoy painting with oils because of the versatility. A lot of my work tends to be based around portraiture and I find oil paint to be the perfect medium to capture rich skin tones, textures and the effects of different lighting.

Who inspires you?

There are so many artists who inspire me, both past and present. I grew up admiring a lot of 17th-century painters such as Rembrandt and George De La Tour. Some of my favourite working artists now include Kerry James Marshall, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye, Kehinde Wiley and Njideka Akunyili Crosby, they’re all incredible storytellers

What inspired your final project and what is it all about?

My final project is based on my family’s experience of Ghana, past and present. It explores my Father’s childhood growing up in Ghana, my Mum’s experiences living and working in Ghana as a VSO and my own recent encounters with my family.

This body of work touches on themes of memory, nostalgia, family dynamics and diaspora. I am particularly interested in how our memories alter over time. Cultural identity is also central to this work, as I look to ensure that I capture a rich and accurate depiction of my subjects. The use of photo transfers and collage allows me to build my images with glimpses of the figure’s homes and families: two crucial elements that inform our identity.

Oil painting by Joshua Donkor

What have you enjoyed most throughout your course?

I think our tutors made the Illustration course so special for everybody. Everyone is given the freedom and encouragement to push the boundaries of what illustration is and can be. This allowed us to experiment with different forms of illustration until we found our preferences.

What job role will you be looking for now that you’ve finished University?

Hopefully, I’ll exhibit some of my work. I also hope to do some freelance work, particularly for TV and Movie Art departments. I was fortunate enough to be able to do some artwork for BBC’s “Staged”, painting the landscape which Michael Sheen compares to David Tenant’s pineapple sketch (click here to see the episode)! I’m currently applying for studio spaces and Gallery Assistant roles, which would allow me to learn more about the art market.

What are the biggest challenges you perceive going into industry?

Finding the right balance between personal projects, commissions and part-time work will be a challenge. Not many are fortunate enough to be able to support themselves purely through their artwork, especially when starting out.

What advice would you give to students going into their first year in September?

Enjoy yourselves and work hard because it goes so much faster than you imagine! For art students especially, build a strong community with your peers. Just being able to talk about your work and discuss ideas is beneficial,  and these connections can be important later on too.

And if you’re studying in Cardiff, buy a raincoat!

“Enjoy yourselves and work hard because it goes so much faster than you imagine!”

Joshua Donkor

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    There’s a rustle in the Welsh woods that has been whispered about for generations. They believe it to be Blue. They say it’s not sasquatch, but Stag. All that’s been spotted is the odd antler in the overgrowth or hoofprint on the forest floor.

    We’ve taken matters into our own hands and set up a series of cameras to try and locate Seb the Stag for ourselves. Brave visitor, can you help us in our quest to unravel the mystery and marvel at the myth?

    Launch forest cam
    Number 4
    Craig-y-Nos Country Park
    51.8815° N, 3.4435° W