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Students at Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts create fantastic beasts


By Gemma Gardner


Students at Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts with a passion for recycling and sustainability have been using papier mâché for their latest contemporary creations.

Cambridge School of Visual Arts and Sciences with some of the masks they have made. Picture: Keith Heppell. (8199459)
Cambridge School of Visual Arts and Sciences with some of the masks they have made. Picture: Keith Heppell. (8199459)

The BA Hons graphics and illustration students designed their masks based on the theme ‘mythological beasts’.

The second and third-year students were asked to research the theme and create masks for a drawing class. Some created their own ‘beasts’ while others used traditional culture references to inspire their pieces.

Mandy Doyle, senior lecturer for the course, explained: “When they were researching the theme the students could research it in any way that they wanted to.

“So they were producing work that was either a response to a tale that was already written and known, or they could take that idea of mythological beasts and use it in a more conceptual way, with metaphor and allegory and create their own beasts.”

The masks were then used in conjunction with projections and soundscapes for a series of drawing classes. Students created narratives, took photographs and made films based around their work and the characters they had created.

Finally, the completed work was used to produce zines – a small-circulation self-published magazine.

Ms Doyle explained: “Papier mâché has seen a resurgence in contemporary art and design, especially in conjunction with an emphasis on recycling and sustainability. These are increasingly key components of student projects.”

She added: “The students are encouraged to express themselves visually and to care about their work and the communication they are making. They are graphics students, so they are in the business of communication and wanted to communicate to audiences.

“It is that area of the industry where the audience is very much in mind. They’re encouraged always to have a personal investment in their work and care about what they

are doing.”

Following this project, the students are working on a societal causes brief.

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