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Tuesday 18 February 2014

Retail guru visits Solent's art exhibition

The creative talents of art and design students from Southampton Solent University attracted praise from retail guru Mary Portas and prompted members of the public to open their purses at a recent exhibition in London.

The TEXT exhibition, running from 3-15 February 2014 at London’s Kemistry Gallery, explored type, typography and textuality in a variety of formats.

As well as the work of Solent designers, illustrators and artists, the exhibition featured original pieces by expert typographer Chris Bigg; Esquire’s Creative Director David McKendrick, Saatchi Collection-exhibited artist Brian Reed; and Solent graduate Matt Curtis, who is Art Director for the Sunday Times Magazine.

Mary Portas, who was interviewed at the preview, was impressed with the quality of the work on display. She said: “It’s fantastic when you see the vibrancy of a lot of work coming together. Truthfully, if you came in here and someone said that these are professionals you’d say, yes of course they’re professionals. I just want to get my purse out!”

The exhibition was facilitated by the University’s new OMNI Solent art enterprise brand, dedicated to helping creative students take the first step into commercial sales. TEXT curator and OMNI founder Steve Lannin, of Solent’s School of Art and Design, said:  “It has been great to be able to bring together students, staff, graduates and associated professionals under the OMNI umbrella.

“For many of the students, this is a great start to their career. To sell work in one of the world’s creative capitals has boosted confidence, inspired creativity and hopefully fired up their entrepreneurial spirit.”

Solent students’ contribution wasn’t just limited to the art on display. The exhibition’s posters, flyers and invites were all designed by graphic design and illustration students Lilly Marfy, Dan Jay, James Willsher, Leanne McKenzie, and Laura Hunt.

Graphic Design student Dan Jay, who sold two pieces of artwork at the event, said:  “The show was a really good opportunity for us to showcase our work.  And from what I’ve learnt helping organise the exhibition, I’d feel confident setting up something similar myself.”