Graduate of Interior & Environmental Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design Mickey Fenton is passionate about connecting communities in engaging dynamic ways. The colours in his ‘V//ALLIE’ project on the site of the V&A Dundee, were inspired by the flowing tones of the passing Tay and the hues of the sun splashed concrete of the museum’s facade on a sunny day. Mickey impressed all of the judges with his infectious enthusiasm and obvious passion for design and detail. Read on to find out more about Mickey and why he is a worthy one to watch for 2020 and beyond.
Creative mission statement
It’s not something I’ve particularly thought about, but I’m really interested in the way we occupy and engage with space and how this helps create and facilitate communities and connections. My practice is centred around making, so this often takes the form of furniture or objects but I am also interested in how making and prototyping can be a vital part of the design process within any project. There’s probably a more elegant mission statement in there somewhere (?)
How do you feel about being spotted by the judges as a One to Watch – what does it mean to you?
It feels really encouraging at a time where everything feels a bit confused. Obviously graduating and exhibiting hasn’t been the same as it has in the past, and it feels a little bit more lonely and with less guidance for going into professional practice than could have been expected, so this nomination has helped put a stride in my step. I’m particularly looking forward to the talented designers and creatives I will be introduced to as part of CIDA family and think these connections will really help drive my career forward.
How important is colour in your work and how do you choose and narrow down colours?
I think as someone specialising in spatial and furniture design that colour is an inherently integral part of my work. Choosing colours changes with each project, but I tend to reflect upon the surrounding environment of my project and pick colours and tones from here. Within the ‘V//ALLIE’ project my focus was on the site of the V&A Dundee, and the colours for this were inspired by the flowing tones of the passing Tay and the hues of the sunsplashed concrete of the museums facade on a sunny day.
What is your main source of inspiration?
My eye is constantly drawn to the urban topography of spaces. The overlooked yet functional elements of our environments - their forms, tones and textures - are a primary source of inspiration for my work.
What makes you happiest/most fulfilled in your creative process?
Seeing something come to life. I think this is why making is such an integral part of my process. Only seeing something on a screen or page doesn’t particularly satisfy my creative process, so creating in 3D - from small sketch models to finished pieces of furniture - gives me joy from the moment I begin making right through to being able to engage with the finished work.
What are you working on now?
Right now I’m redeveloping my portfolio and bringing some older projects up to date to submit to potential employers, and alongside this I’ve been developing my furniture work and working on some commissions.
Where do you want to be in 3 years’ time?
I’d love to be working in an exciting design studio focusing on spatial and furniture design where making is at the heart of the design process.
Creative high point?
When you see your work have a positive effect on a space, place or person(s). The ‘V//ALLIE’ project really brought a new and exciting social dynamic to the V&A Dundee site and my work had some really vibrant user interactions with it - so the end result of this was definitely a high point.
Creative low point?
When welds don’t arc, renders don’t work or you just hit those mistakes and errors that make you feel like bit of an imposter as a ‘designer maker’,but getting past that is all part of personal development (at least that’s how I reassure myself!)
Is there one person during your studies/life who has really made a difference to your creative journey?
Before starting my final year at DJCAD I took a year out, partially due to really wanting to improve my making and furniture work, but also due to losing my mum to her battle with cancer. It was a really difficult point in life and one where I felt driven but also very deflated. I was lucky to get some mentorship with furniture maker Leo Norris http://www.leonorrisdesign.co.uk/
and since then he has become a really important person in my life. He helped me push my design work and really improve my making skills and help improve my confidence in my work, but also has helped me with any challenges I’ve faced in life since then. I’m really grateful to still be in regular contact with him (and his wife Sally) and love working in his workshop and sitting down for cake and coffee when we get the chance.
What is your favourite colour?
This is always changing. For clothes I always go towards olives and mud tones, but in spaces I love the warmth and uplift that yellows can create.
Mickey Fenton and Finlay Hall
Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website details: mfied.com