BA (Hons) Graphic Design alumnus Jirka Väätäinen has re-created Disney characters in real life.

Jirka’s real life Disney characters came to life whilst still studying at AUB, but his work doesn’t stop there. Since graduating 2012, Jirka has gone on to work for Helsinki based advertising agency, Folk Finland Oy, as well as travelling to Australia and working freelance.

Jirka tells us more about his time at AUB and what he’s been up to since graduating:

“I entered the BA (Hons) Graphic Design course in 2009 and graduated with 1st Class Honours in 2012. All in all my AUB experience was great and gave me all the tools that I felt I could have imagined to gain from a Uni course in graphic design. The atmosphere around campus and the general vibe among all the courses was one of the best things about AUB. The fellow students were absolutely great, creating an environment where you can creatively feed of each other. Also, having been an overseas student, my time at AUB was naturally characterised by a lot of learning and invaluable experiences gained by living and studying abroad. I would always feel at home both on and off campus.

First of all, there’s no way I could have imagined calling myself a graphic designer before starting on the course. I did not know a lot about professional practice when I started, but after graduating I felt totally confident to enter the industry. For me, it was the perfect mix of practical and theoretical work. There was a great range of briefs that I felt got us well prepared for the challenges we would face later on in the industry. And with the staff and lecturers being designers in their own right, they knew how to push you the right way and get the right kind of thinking out of you. This kind of support and insight I cherish the most.

During my time at AUB, I already started gaining world wide attention for my personal series of Disney girls reimagined in “real life”. This I believe, together with the portfolio I put together in Uni, quickly landed me a full-time position in one of the leading advertising agencies in Helsinki – Folk Finland Oy. I worked here as a graphic designer / art director for a bit more than two years. From the beginning of 2015, I decided to take some more time for myself and left Finland again to travel and do freelance work in Australia. So I have been based in Melbourne, Australia since January and I am planning to stay till the end of the year. Also, I have been adding to my “Real Life” Disney series throughout these past 4 years – with my latest addition being the male characters that went viral this summer.”

Discover more of Jirka’s work at his website.