Creative Focus Week

This week the University of Central Lancashire opens its doors to the public for its Creative Focus Week from the 16th to the 21st June. A week long degree show exhibition of all its creative final year students individual work with courses stretching across a broad spectrum of subjects from Architecture, Media, Design, Fine art, Performance and fashion across the universities Preston campus.

The week features sculpture, design, paintings, sound instillations, animation, film and much more displayed in various studios located in the Hanover, Victoria and Harris buildings and the universities Media Factory. With the Hanover building also exhibiting work by the foundation year art and design students.

The week also features the Creative Focus Awards on Friday 13th June, with one student from each of the creative courses nominated and a student will be chosen from each area to receive the award. Friday the 20th of June will also see the catwalk exhibition of the UCLan Fashion Design students, many of which showcased their collections at this years Graduate Fashion week at London’s Truman Brewery.

The entire week long Creative Focus exhibition (10am-6pm )  is completely free and guided tours are available for businesses, schools and colleges. Staff and students can also be found throughout each building ready to discuss courses and individual work for any visitors wanting any more information. This highly anticipated event is a chance to see many important names of the creative future displaying their final major projects that their whole three academic years have been working up to.

Stephen Bradshaw

Now I actually heard Stephen before I meet him, literally, his voice carried across the studio to me quietly at work, he was knee deep in a long story of heart ache at House of Fraser and their in-store branding dilemmas. He always has something to say for himself, so thought I would start his post with a word straight from him, mind you this is the edited version due to the sheer amount of cheekiness in the first copy.

Stephen Bradshaw: Bio

Hi my name’s Stephen (Ste for short!) I’m a young graphic designer who specialises in branding. I don’t try to take myself too seriously, my main aim in life is to have a blast whilst earning a bit on the side at the same time. A typical student really, cheekiness is a common trait of mine. When I was little it often got me standing outside classrooms for being a bit gobby, but now at the age of 20 I have tried to make this work in my favour. I don’t hold my words if my opinion is needed. As a Graphic Designer I’m pretty well rounded skills wise, but branding is my forte. Since starting out as a freelancer I have branded 6 events, 2 clothing brands, an entire magazine, a number of creatives and Fresher’s for Huddersfield University (TBC). As you can see I like to have my fingers in as many pies as possible, (if you laughed you are filthy!) That’s what I’d call my little USP, I’m not afraid to give new things a go. If it doesn’t work out I put it down to life experience and try not to let it happen again. I haven’t got an online presence as of yet, html and coding might as well be latin to me! so for now I’ve been gaining clients through word of mouth or in person.

So now to the gritty stuff. The work.

 I had a really hard time choosing what work of Stephen’s to show here, as he had poster, clothing designs, shop models, digital art for every occasion. There are couple of images shown here. I decided to focus on this latest project which is for his university’s Freshers campaign for 2013.

So what where you trying to achieve with this new look for Huddersfield Freshers 2013?

My main aim for this project is to build a strong identity structure that would be able to remain a constant part of Hud Fest for years to come. It’s not easy because you have to make it as open as you can to keep things inclusive yet at the same time retain a level of control so it doesn’t run away with you!

Do you see your work as all your style or do you think you are very flexible and its all down to the client and the individual project?

I never try to fit one style to all my pieces of work, I think it doesn’t reflect well when you have more than one piece on show in the same place. Also I’d imagine that my clients wouldn’t want something that has a resemblance to something else so its best to start with a clean slate every time.

Do you have a favourite medium, or topic? A magic pen that secretly does the work for you? Or are you a typical tech mad student?

I really love Adobe illustrator, since getting to grips with it in my first year I’ve not put it down. I’ve ditched photoshop, it’s such a farce working with it! But yeah you could say that Im your typical apple nut, all I need is an iPhone and my set up will be complete!

If you could design something for any product, publications or brand of your dreams what would it be and for who? Be as wacky as you like. (Bit of a scary question for you).

It sounds a bit weird but I’d love to have a go at an Ikea advert, if you look up their ad campaign called “clean up” you can understand why they seem to rack up loads of banned adverts!

What’s your best source of inspiration a person, a place? Somewhere you get all your good ideas you want to share with us?

Well I sometimes get my best ideas after I’ve had a few but I’d say just rambling on with someone in the studio often works, some people give you the best ideas without saying anything!

So your still at university in your second year, what’s the plans for tackling the rest of university life. And I do mean the projects?

haha first of all I need to remember to complete the dreaded paperwork, it seems to hinder my grades so I want to nail it before I finish for summer. I’m also working on a new project with four of my mates for my placement year which hopefully will turn into a fully functioning business so fingers crossed it works!

Want to tell us about your shoes? Do go faster stripes really work.

Haha those green adidas trainers I have? Those relics can only do so much it’s all there for show haha! 

Cheers, Stephen!

You can find more images and work from Stephen on my website while he finished up his own website.

There is also going to be more to come from Stephen, not just his university progress or personal work but also building his second collaborative business a contemporary fashion company called Open Season. He will be joined by the rest of the boy band soon, while I poke their best bits of work out of them and get some exclusive new designs.

More from me soon.


Nina Fini

Whilst the debate rages on as to what position street art and graphics hold in the history of the fine arts, many young artists are putting pen to paper to create exceptional and moving images of this ilk. A fine example of which is young artist Nina Fini: her startling grasp of anatomy, light, and how the written word merges with the visual makes for truly outstanding artwork.

Nina is now living and working in Bristol, working on honing her talents in mixed media. She advises me to ‘never underestimate what you can do with a biro’, to which her work clearly testifies. Largely working in acrylic, graphite, and ink, Nina’s portraits tread the line between the word, written and spoken, lyricism, and line.

Her inspiration is as intangible as her final product, incorporating the realm of the spiritual: illusions, the universe, the supernatural, with the human form. Most recently, her focus has been on ‘the fundamental changes that are happening all around us on a conscious level’. Such a philosophical heart to her craft imbibes Nina’s work with a moral value that is so often lacking in contemporary art.

Although she works primarily on paper and canvas, her style is obviously transmutable. She has recently been working on album covers, for the likes of Will and the People, and other music-based projects. This kind of interdisciplinary media work is natural, given the basis of her work, but creation is key to her future plans, whether it be in tattooing, illustrating, painting, or other commissions.

A truly excellent artist, and a marvelous person, Nina Fini is one to watch out for. Her website, shows her wider portfolio, she is now taking commissions and may be contacted at