“Doing a double A-level in Art and Design enlightened me to all the different types of disciplines within art study. I initially found it very difficult to narrow down the type of potential career path and the styles I liked the best because I very much enjoyed exploring different types of mediums with different objectives and I didn’t want to ‘pigeon hole’ myself into studying one pathway.
“This allowed me to explore all options and to express myself through illustration ensuring that I covered the briefs with meaning. Two students from my class were going to Open Days at AUB and encouraged me to go; which I did! I saw an amazing community full of creatives and it was so modern and focused solely on the Arts – I just knew it was for me. When I researched further, I found that it had a good employment percentage for graduates and was very well known with an excellent reputation. Also I really liked that the course did not have a ‘house style’ like the other universities I went to look at.
“At first it was a little overwhelming, turning eighteen and moving away from home and my family, having to manage my own finances etc… However I soon learnt that being at AUB gave me a great sense of freedom, I was able to express myself alongside my new friends and fellow creatives and I continued to explore new options, pushing my creative practice further than I ever had before.
“Exploring the medium and technique of paper-cutting became a passion of mine during my second year at AUB. I was instantly enthused and I wanted to push my practice further into the three-dimensional realm of possibilities and design. I was inspired by paper-cut light-boxes whilst researching the medium of paper and the method of layering paper in a decoupage way, which has become prominent in my 3D illustrations as it creates a sense of depth. Using the transformative effect of lighting, I use LED’s to bring life to my work, which creates a dramatic aesthetic and unusual quality which steers away from the familiar paper-cutting approaches.
“After graduating my plan was to try freelancing but building up an online presence for myself has taken time, and with bills to pay I have been working as a fragrance consultant at Boots as well as woking on my illustration work and website. I have completed a couple of commissions that have been successful but I am hoping that my most recent commission will open doors for me.
“My latest commission has been for the perfumer Ruth Mastenbroek, I was asked to create four illustrations for her four fragrances. The stories behind these illustrations are beautifully represented in my paper cuts, and I am so proud that my work can now be seen on packaging, as this was always a goal of mine.
“The design agency William Maun contacted me after seeing my work on the AUB website. The agency has always been very keen to spot new university graduates and push them forward. My work matched what their client was looking for and so I was commissioned to complete the illustrations for Ruth’s fragrances.
“Each of Ruth’s fragrances has a personal story containing her memories and she wanted the illustrator to recreate this in each of the designs. Each drop tells the story and inspiration behind her fragrances and I have been able to capture this in each one using my paper cut technique.
“I am so thrilled that my work is going to be seen! It has been over six months since I created the illustrations and Ive been waiting to show them and now its time! It was a truly unique project to work on and I am very excited for it to finally be getting the attention it deserves. I have been invited to the official product launch at Fenwick in Bond Street in London on 1st September and I will take my original paper cut light boxes to show.
“The artists that inspired me to create paper cut dioramas were Hari & Deepti; a couple that create light boxes. Their work is truly beautiful and the craftsmanship of their work, partnership and success is something that I aspire to.
“After Christmas I am planning to pursue a design internship as working alongside the design agency on this packaging project has really excited me and I would love the opportunity to continue with this type of work alongside freelancing.”
You can see more of Courtney’s work on her website