New talent: Brighton degree show 2015

15 stand-out illustration graduates from the University of Brighton's summer exhibition.

If you're looking for the best new graduates for your studio or agency, don't miss Computer Arts' New Talent special, issue 243, featuring the team's handpicked selection of the UK's best graduates – on sale 24 July 2015.

Last week, the University of Brighton's 2015 graphic design and illustration graduates showcased their work at the institution's arts and humanities degree show.

There was a lot on display, from print to animation to film and more. But if you missed it, don’t worry: from 2-5 July, the graduates will present Studio 350, an exhibition showcasing their work, at the Rose Lipman Building in London.

Here are 14 highlights from the BA (Hons) Illustration course…

01. Jonathan Isaacson

Course: Illustration (Hons) BA
Project: Lone Wolf

Jonathan Isaacson's exploration into how to hide information within prints examines what he believes to be a media bias towards certain religions groups in regard to acts of extremism, perpetrated by radicalised individuals across all faiths.

The viewer is forced to interact with the work to obtain all of the information presented, mirroring the process of researching a news story.

"Religion and politics can be contentious issues, so making work that examines them can lead to fairly heated discussions," says Jonathan Isaacson

"I screenprinted reversed text and images on the back of the prints, so that only once light was shone through them would the full image be shown," he says.

The biggest lesson he learned during the process? "Make work about things you care about – no matter what," he says. "University is a safe space to explore themes like this and get your message heard, so make the most of it."

02. Rumaanah Hasan

Course: BA (Hons) Illustration
Project: Mother Nature

In Mother Nature, Rumaanah (Roo) Hasan explores the connection between women and nature. "It's so prevalent across religions, cultures, myths and legends," she explains.

"I'm interested in the symbolism in nature and how it often portrays a strong, empowering feminine image across narratives, from the Amazonian warriors to Gaia, the Greek Goddess of the Earth."

"My work is all about symbolism, print, pattern, colour and the natural world," says Roo Hasan

Heavily inspired by the craft methods of other cultures – in particular different print and and pattern making techniques – Hasan investigated different ways of utilising rudimentary printing techniques to make images.

"I love the tactile nature of hand-printing," she says

"The most challenging part was restricting myself to only a few mediums – I wanted time to explore ceramics and other textile techniques."

03. Katie Fiore

Driftwood is a visual metaphor for digital decay in Katie Fiore's degree show project

Course: BA (Hons) Illustration
Project: Dungeness; A [Pre] and [Post] Digital Wasteland

Katie Fiore's degree project explores the headland of Dungeness, Kent, as a representation of the pre-technological age, current technological age and post-technological age – using driftwood as a visual metaphor for digital decay.

"We invest lives into technology, upload histories to the Cloud, believing that these histories will last forever," explains Fiore. "But just like the floppy discs, tapes and VCRs of the not-so-distant past, things will become distorted."

"The distorted and washed up driftwood has lost itself in transit. It represents a wasteland of forgotten histories," says Katie Fiore

The most challenging part of the project was the physical journey to Dungeness. "It's almost unreachable by public transport," she says. "I got stuck there without a phone and had to hitch-hike home. So next time, drive."

04. James Heginbottom

James Heginbottom's exhibition space

Course: BA (Hons) Illustration
Project: Magic, Power & the Occult

Inspired by old religion, magic, myths and tales, James Heginbottom created a series of obscured and subtly violent images for his degree project.

"I spent a lot of time reading about everything from English folklore and Wiccan rituals and festivals to Greek and Norse myths about the underworld, and used digital collage to create images inspired by characters and stories," he says.

Image from James Heginbottom's collage series: Magic, Power & the Occult

"The most challenging part of the project was allowing me to be myself," he adds. "I spent a long time being hesitant to dive into subject matter. I had to realise that it was okay to be fascinated by and create work around ideas that might seem unusual or strange – even scary – to most people."

05. Jessie Russell Donn

Course: BA (Hons) Illustration
Project: In Search of the Perfect Light

In Search of the Perfect Light explores the forgotten silent film history of the town of Shoreham-by-Sea, Kent. "Photography is a large part of my practice and when I heard that Shoreham housed a vibrant film industry because it was supposed to have the perfect light, my imagination was captured," says Jessie Russell Donn.

"I had a lot of hard decision-making to do, but I've learned that you should always follow your gut," says Jessie Russell Donn

She experimented with slide film, producing imagery dependent on light conditions. "I became very interested in the sculptural qualities the town holds – today it's a large cement works. I used materials sourced from the site as tools to describe the events of the past."

06. Maria Sams

Course: BA (Hons) Illustration
Project: The Pretender

Maria Sams' stop-motion animation The Pretender projects paper cut-outs onto a wall. "It shows a conversation between a doctor and his patient who blurs the lines between pretense and reality," she explains.

"Having boundaries can make you more creative," says Maria Sams

"The most challenging part of the project was managing my time, and not having bits of paper fly everywhere," she says. "The biggest lesson I learned is to be patient and to use what's around you. I don't think you always need a big budget to make animations."

Next page: nine more outstanding 2015 Brighton Illustration graduates – plus get a half-price subscription to Computer Arts