For most artists the pathway into the art industry is through a university degree or foundation course, but junior designer Torsten Power took the apprenticeship route.
Torsten who has worked as a junior designer at Ocado is now venturing into the freelance world.
“After leaving school, I did an apprenticeship because at this point in my life I was really interested in coding, so I signed up to a recruitment agency in the hope they would find something in web development for me”, he said.
“I’m a strong endorser of the apprenticeship system but it is still relatively new in this country and therefore doesn’t always work entirely as intended.
“I was placed in an apprenticeship with an ad agency in Shoreditch to do some coding for a company”, Torsten said.
It was then Torsten realised coding wasn’t an area he wanted to explore and he decided to go into graphic design.
The 20-year-old said: “I never looked back after this. It is funny because throughout the whole time I was into the coding stuff, my granddad, who is an artist and designer, would always say I would go into something creative and design related.
“I kept telling him “no I want to code, I want to be a developer” and now design is the love of my life. My granddad obviously knew me better than I know myself.”
After finishing his apprenticeship, Torsten spent time practicing and producing designs, fiction companies and creating brand identities to enhance his portfolio.
He said: “It was tough and quite nerve-racking as I don’t have a degree or any other type of official design qualification and I got told by countless people that I was making a mistake by not going to university.
“There are many ways other than university to get your foot into the industry. Apprenticeships are a great route and I’m sure there are other methods that I don’t know about.
“The main thing I learnt is that you just need to find a way to make yourself look valuable and to demonstrate the passion you have.”
Torsten said the freelance route has worked well for him because his workload is “diverse” and each “project is different”.
“I just love the satisfaction I get when I’ve put hours of hard work into a project and then I get to see the final version in print or live on a website.
“Design is so personal; you get really attached to what you’re working on. Each project feels like my baby. I get to watch it grow from nothing into hopefully this beautiful finished piece that I’m proud of.
“The primary downside is probably that you don’t have the same amount of security as you would if you worked in a permanent position.
“Knowing exactly how much you’ll earn each month is reassuring and stuff like getting paid for annual leave is a luxury that I missed when I was freelance.
“The creative team at Ocado were great and I would often forget that they’re colleagues and not just mates, they were such a nice bunch of people.”
Torsten finds his main source of inspiration from online websites and forums like Behance.
He also reads design books and magazine, going to exhibition talks and creative meet-ups.
Torsten is currently working on setting up a minimalist illustration-based clothing brand, which includes designing t-shirts and creating brand identities.
“I’m also trying to get a large amount of the production done locally and I want to ensure we’re an environmentally conscious brand so we will not us any plastic in the delivery process”, Torsten added.
“Overall the project has been a challenge but I’m so close to getting it finished now so I’m getting really excited about it all.
“I hope to have the website up and running and the first batch of t-shirts printed by late August – hopefully all my work will pay off.
“I have also done some recent work for FADE – a fashion and art magazine.”
Torsten is hoping to do more personal projects and keep up with the freelance work.
He said: “As someone who ended up doing a job I love so much almost completely by accident, I try not to set in stone too many goals for myself, as I know how unpredictable life is.
“However, there are definitely things I’m really interested in at the moment that I’m going to pursue.
“Branding is a huge passion of mine – I’m always mesmerised by the work of agencies like DesignStudio, Spinach, NB Studio, Snask and Bold. I’d also love to start doing more art direction. It’s such a fascinating area.”
Copyright images: Torsten Power