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Student praises College which helped ‘kick start her artistic journey’ as she launches exhibition about love

City of Bristol College Art student, Ali Bryson, hosted her first exhibition since leaving education last month after being supported by the college and her university to ‘explore her place in the world’ and to help her ‘discover and develop her skills’.

22-year-old Ali left City of Bristol College after three years with a BTEC Level 2 qualification in Art and Design and a BTEC Level 3 in Graphic Design with the knowledge to ‘kick start her artistic journey which proved invaluable over the years’ and has since gone on to secure her BA in Illustration at the University of Gloucestershire.

She said: “I really loved studying at City of Bristol College – it was my favourite part of my educational journey! I think the few years after getting your GCSEs is crucial to understand what you want to do with your life and explore yourself and your part in the world. The College understands this and gave me the opportunity to discover and develop my skills well.

“On top of this I was able to grow as a person and be a part of an amazing diverse community of students with similar passions and interests.”

Ali enjoyed the flexibility of the course which gave her the creative freedom to create the work she wanted, based on her own interests and style which she said made it ‘more enjoyable to complete projects while working on your personal development’.

Ali praised her ‘supportive’ tutors who were ready to give advice when needed and was fascinated by their ability to ‘understand each student’s individual skills and interests and could always offer helpful and constructive feedback to improve college work or perspective’.

As a carer for her mum and illustrating in her free time, since leaving university Ali now holds commissions, submits and merchandise designs for charity projects and works on personal projects – including her exhibition.

She explained: “The exhibition came about through an opportunity posted on my university’s course page, from there I contacted the Guildhall and their Events and Marketing Officer was more than happy to accommodate.

“In my exhibition I really wanted to express love: loving yourself, those around you, the warmth and contentedness which is felt in these situations whether it is towards yourself, other people or the world around you. I was really inspired by the works of Jess Hannigan, Lilly Ashton and Yuri Takahashi for this project.”

After the successful month-long exhibition, Ali has now set her sights on creating and selling her own merchandise including prints, stickers and ‘maybe a shirt or two’. She has also expressed an interest for making work for charitable causes too and to work on more personal projects such as murals and more exhibitions. If you want a future career like Ali’s and to see your artwork on display, start your ‘artistic journey’ with one of City of Bristol College’s Art and Creative Media courses.