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Midlands artist goes back to college to share knowledge and expertise

  • Date: 2 June 2014
  • Area: Midlands
Artist Dean Melbourne and student Amy Nock at Birmingham Metropolitan College

Artist Dean Melbourne and student Amy Nock at Birmingham Metropolitan College.

West Midlands-based artist, Dean Melbourne, has been visiting Birmingham Metropolitan College students at the Art & Design Campus in Brierley Hill to advise them on how to brush up on their skills to prepare them for work in the creative industries.

Earlier this year, the Stourbridge-based painter embarked on a new project entitled “Full Circle”, supported by investment from the National Lottery through Arts Council England’s Grants for the arts programme.

As part of this project Dean has been returning to the college where he studied to share his experiences with art students studying for their University of Arts London Awarding Body (UALAB) Level 3 Diploma.

“I’ve always painted and I’ve never given up and that was a message I wanted to pass on to young people who, like me at that age, are being creative but can’t quite visualise how that might translate into a career in the arts – especially in the Black Country which has a history steeped in traditional manufacturing and industry,” said Dean.

“As with any career, it’s important for students to think broadly from a business perspective about what they have to offer and how best they can sell themselves and my talks were designed to have an impact on them in terms of how they think about networking, brand image and diversity. It’s a tough jobs market and it was my aim through the Full Circle project to give something back locally with a view to ensuring that creativity continues to thrive in the Black Country.”

Dean has enjoyed recent success as an artist after selling five pieces of his work to collectors, allowing him to become a full time painter after working in a variety of art and corporate education roles.

Peter Knott, Area Director, Arts Council England said: “One of the Arts Council’s aims is to invest in and support artists to develop new work and establish successful careers. Alongside the creation of his new collection of paintings, part of Dean’s application for funding included his ambition to encourage up-and-coming creative talent in the West Midlands. It’s great to see him sharing his practical knowledge and experience with these students as they begin to think about their own careers as artists.”

One of the students taking part in Dean's talks was Amy Nock, she said: "I hadn't really thought about what I would be doing when I finish my course but Dean’s talk on networking has really focused my mind - especially on starting to use Social Media to build my brand. At the moment I just use it to keep in touch with people from a social point of view and I hadn’t realised how I could start to build contacts through it to get my work known.”

Now represented by Bristol based international exhibitors, Coates & Scarry, Dean will be exhibiting new work in London from Saturday 7 July for two weeks at Gallery 8, Duke Street, St James. His work is psychology-based, figurative story-telling which uncovers layers of multiplicity, suggestive of mood with an intrinsic air of magic.

Speaking about Dean's journey as an artist, Andy Sylvester, Faculty Director for Creative Industries at Birmingham Metropolitan College, said:  “Having taught Dean when he studied here, it’s really incredible to see how far he’s come and it’s wonderful that he is intent on sharing that journey with our existing students.  He is one of a number of success stories and it’s been a pleasure welcoming him back to college and seeing how his hard work over the years is beginning to pay off.”

Find out more

To see more of Dean’s work visit his website.

Click here for more information about applying for Grants for the arts.

Find out more about studying at Birmingham Metropolitan College here.