Has anyone ever told you what actually happens after art school? The ‘are you going to be an art teacher?’ question is commonly asked by friends and family. What else is there really? This week Central Station has asked art school graduates to share what they’ve been up to since their graduation in the Life After Art School series.

Richard PK

Richard Phillips-Kerr considers himself a digital native, rather than an immigrant. Driven by a passion for technology in his creative practice, this carries over to his professional life as co-chief of sales/marketing/social/merchants/growth/partnerships/ambassadors/support for Droplet, the mobile payment app. He graduated with a degree in sculpture from Edinburgh College of Art earlier this year.

I sit in a small, dark, cupboard-like room all day, every day. Once an hour, I turn on my laptop’s webcam and talk into it, narrating the end of The Sims Online. Next door, my pale webcam-face is projected live onto my even paler life cast. On day 6 of my degree show, while staring at people prodding my plaster cock through 3 CCTV monitors, a young man messages me. He used to DJ at club night I ran and asks if I know anyone in Edinburgh looking for a job.

Apollo, RIP The Sims Online - Richard PK
Apollo, RIP The Sims Online

I wanted to work in video games. My creative practice served as a means for me to repackage and relive significant ‘virtual’ events. Events which take place in gaming worlds: the death of players, digital apocalypses, social unrest etc.. Pre-degree show I was rejected by 4 video game companies for progressively lower-skilled industry roles, so I said yes to the young man – I was looking for a job.

The Reincarnation of DJ Spike - Richard PK
The Reincarnation of DJ Spike

Avatar. hardened, hollowed, dehydrated - Richard PK
Avatar. hardened, hollowed, dehydrated

The company I now work for is a tech startup that develops a mobile payment app allowing you to send money to anyone, instantly, securely and for free. In the end, it was all the time at art school I spent not ‘doing art’ that got me a job. Through running club nights and other nefarious extra-curricular activities I knew a lot of business owners in Edinburgh. I was recruited to get the app some traction with these business owners and their customers.

 Droplet (the app) is innovative and the team behind it brilliant. Ideologically, we’re made of the same stuff – support independents, mobilise grassroots movements and disrupt big banks’ financial control. When you become emotionally invested in an ambitious project, it is exciting, rewarding and totally exhausting. So far I have been hired, fired, rehired, relocated, promoted, fired, and finally rehired. I currently work for Droplet in Birmingham.

Since relocating from Edinburgh, I haven’t engaged with my creative practice in any real capacity. I think that’s OK for now. Whereas I was once thinking about how to convey the significance of The Sims Online’s extinction, I now think about how to make our underdog app outplay competitors like Paypal and Barclays. The most recent fired/rehired/promoted cycle has galvanised me to start thinking about art and video games again.

In January, I leave for Sri Lanka and India for 9 months. Whilst away, my degree show piece (Avatar. Hardened, hollowed, dehydrated) will be shown as part of the RSA New Contemporaries 2015.

For more from Richard, see his showcased work here.

Comment below or on Twitter using #LifeAfterArtSchool & mentioning @CenSta with your experience after art school.

Stay tuned for updates from art school graduates all this week. In the meantime see a preview of what to expect from the Life After Art School features here.

More: Website | Twitter | Soundcloud


Looking for more blogs? Visit here.