Labs Life: Meet Jamie Blackett

Welcome back to another exciting round of Labs Life; where we try to give our readers a little glimpse into the inner workings of the Sutherland Labs. This time we have managed to capture Designer Jamie Blackett using an elaborate series of pulleys and snares, and the team are now covering him in post-it notes until he answers all our questions.

Jamie screenprinting

What did you do before you came to the Sutherland Labs?

Jamie: If you had asked me what I wanted to do when I was a kid, would have said that I either wanted to be an illustrator, a musician in a terrible Nu-Metal band or a professional skateboarder!

I’ve got the first one ticked off, but my evolving music tastes and sheer lack of grace on a skateboard have put the other two on the back burner.

After school I initially studied Journalism and Photography, but then I took a complete change of direction after realizing that illustration was my strongest tool and becoming frustrated with the limitations of photography. I freelanced as an Illustrator, then independently studied Graphic Design in my spare time before going back to university to study Design and Illustration. This led onto more freelance work, starting a design and print studio and working at Kingston School of Art.

What do you do for fun?

Jamie: I have a screen-printing workshop that I spend a lot of time in, creating illustrations and printing these on apparel and posters. Through teaching and supporting students from all walks of life and disciplines in a hackspace workshop over the past few years I’ve helped to create a wide range of interactive projects. Gaining an appreciation for the weird and wonderful, the importance of teamwork, alternative perspectives and most importantly a good sense of humor.

I also enjoy cooking and taking trips out of London with friends. But most importantly taking advantage of the music scene and constant gigs happening in and around London! I’m really inspired by artists, musicians and designers across a variety of disciplines. And my friends, with their varied and vast accomplishments and talents make me look bad and push me to get better.

Jamie travelling

What do you think your future is going to look like?

Jamie: More companies are going to start using illustration and animation, not only as a key tool for storytelling and crafting memorable brand identities, but to humanize elements and break away from the harshness that technology can present. With more demand for design and art, we are going to need a change to education to match.

The current design and funding of schooling in the UK for creative subjects treats them like they are a lower priority than other core subjects, yet it is clear how vital good design is in our everyday and how sought after the true artisan is.

Students should be encouraged to embrace their identity and talents within their subjects, creative or otherwise. Trying to find your identity at a young age can be difficult enough, but embracing and encouraging these talents could be a step in the right direction. The current steps to introduce mindfulness in the classrooms is a great addition to the curriculum and it is something that I hope really takes off and gets adopted across the country.

Will we ever get to hear Jamie singing Nu-Metal while riding a skateboard? Will schools start teaching kids that art matters? Will we ever get all of these post-it notes off the poor guy? Come back for the next Labs Life to find out all of these answers and more!

Operations & Marketing Coordinator

Sutherland Labs
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