KATIE BARTON - interview 

Why did you choose to study in Brighton? 
I was really taken by the atmosphere of the town, rather than the university itself! Although the reputation of the course did help me decide to go there. But first and foremost it was the shops, people, clubs, geography, and character of the place. 

What was the best thing about the Brighton Illustration course? 
The emphasis on life-drawing, drawing from life is integral to my painting. A lot of courses don't teach you how to paint, the Brighton one gave me a better chance. 

What were the best moments in the whole three years? 
My year group were a really good bunch of  people. We all got on well and socialised a lot. The fundraising parties were probably the best memories I have. 

What did you expect would happen once you'd finished the course? 
I didn't have any definite idea. I knew that it was unlikely that I would find regular illustration work immediately. Everyone knew it was a competitive industry and we would probably not fall into careers straight away. 

What work are you doing now? What are the problems involved in being an illustrator? 
I am working as a salesperson at Habitat. It's difficult trying to juggle career opportunities with the reality of having to do ordinary work to pay the rent. Trying to find time to paint. It's hard to stay positive and be patient, not get disillusioned when you don't get any illustration work. 

What do you think was the best piece in your degree show? 
My last project, I illustrated a novel - 'Like Water for Chocolate' I produced some very large still-lifes inspired by the story. I really enjoyed painting in a free, expressive way. Previously I had been quite uptight about the painting process and my work was very stiff and unexpressive as a result. My favourite out of the set is called 'Rose-petal sauce', I love the colours. 

Life after graduating in Brighton? 
I moved to London after leaving college, I felt that London was the best place to be to start a career. However I found it very expensive and isolating. I had to live quite far out so I didn't experience the benefits of London, only the worse bits! I've now moved back to Brighton. Because it's cheaper it's an opportunity to save money but also have a better quality of life. I have more friends here. 

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