On dream jobs and unexpected paths: Chloe Turner

Chloe Turner graduated from Norwich University of the Arts in 2020 with a first-class BA Hons in Graphic Communication. Finalizing her third year of university online due to the global pandemic was a challenge but she is so pleased with her perseverance and hard work.  

In her spare time, Chloe enjoys fine art and spends many weekends creating watercolors of animals in her garden with her two black and tan sausage dogs. Alongside this, she loves to go to craft fairs and sell prints of her work trading under the name @creativechloee.  

In September 2020 Chloe was given the opportunity to work freelance for an online sustainable pharmacy, e-Surgery, on a company re-brand. Chloe was then offered an internship for 6 weeks within the company as a digital marketing junior. Although not the dream job she had in mind, she is so pleased with the opportunity and chose to stay in the position after the internship had finished due to her love of the small company culture and excitement for new opportunities.  

With a continual passion for design and ever-growing technology, Chloe is currently working alongside colleagues at e-Surgery to learn more about UX/UI design and website development. Furthermore, she is in the process of completing her level 6 diploma in digital marketing and healthcare assistant course enabling her to be a trained medicines dispenser in the pharmacy during busy times.  

This career path was not what Chloe had anticipated but she is thoroughly enjoying the constant support she has to learn new skills and put her current ones to practice through leaflet design, social media campaigns, advertisements, and company presentations.  

O: When did you begin creating art? 

Chloe Turner: It’s so cliche to say since I was little but I have always had an interest and passion in art and design. I remember in primary school coloring in a ‘dream job’ profile as an artist, the only one in the class! In terms of making art into a full-time hobby and job, it was when I finished 6th form that I truly started to invest time in creating art for other people, sharing my work, and getting commissions. 

O: Is there an artist that you look up to, whether it be someone who motivated you to begin drawing or someone whose work inspires you today? 

C: My family has always been so supportive of my artwork, specifically my Granddad, who although isn’t an artist, creates OO gauge model railway buildings which are so intricate and beautiful. He encouraged me to endeavor in an education related to the arts and I am so glad that he did! For artistic inspiration, I adore Polina Bright, who is an Australian watercolor artist that creates stunning portraits of animals, flowers, and people. She combines vibrant colors with gold leaf to create amazing outcomes that to this day amaze me! (@polina.bright) 

O: If you had to describe your work in three words, what would they be and why? 

C: I thought about this question long and hard but I still do not have an answer! I hope that my work speaks for itself and to each person individually in a positive way. 

O: What is your favorite part of the creative process? 

C: When creating fine art, my favorite part of the creative process is adding the finishing touches with a white Posca pen and biro. I also occasionally enjoy adding in splashes and runs of paint on top of the final piece, it is always fun to make a bit of a mess! For design, the best part of the process is the research and mind-mapping stage where you are really putting your mind to work coming up with concepts and ideas. 

O: How has the pandemic changed your workflow? 

C: The pandemic luckily landed me a job at an online pharmacy as a digital content creator after graduation, so I have been super busy! Unfortunately, due to working full time in the week, my painting time has been minimized to weekends and evenings, if I can fit it in around life admin. It makes me sad to say I am not painting as much as I want to lately but once I have found my work-life balance I will definitely be painting more frequently again. My hope is that as the weather is getting better and covid restrictions are lifting,  I can get back to craft fairs and start sharing my work with other people again.  

O: How was it to graduate amidst the pandemic?

C: Graduating during the pandemic was truly not ideal! As a graphic communications student (or any art student) one of the things you look forward to most is your degree show that presents your hard work across your time at university to friends, family, and potential businesses. Without a degree show, I felt really disappointed not being able to share my work with others and also see what everyone else had been up to. Furthermore, I am yet to have a graduation ceremony, which after all, is a big contributor to why you go to university in the first place. Everyone wants that photo of them in cap and gown on the mantelpiece! 

O: Could you tell us about how you prepared the climate change poster that won you a Silver Creative Conscience Award?

C: The climate change poster was a result of the brief ‘turn of phrase’, which asked us to create a response to a common phrase we chose. The phrase I chose was ‘tip of the iceberg’ and my idea for the poster was such a big risk to have taken in my final year at university! Firstly, I didn’t know if it was going to work and secondly the project was eight weeks long, which is a long time to spend on designing a single poster. A Lot of my friends were making animations or fully realized branding concepts from the brief but I had taken a plunge into learning a new skill and hoping it paid off. I spent weeks making sure the typography on the poster was seamless and towards the end of the project I bought the thermochromatic ink that reacts with heat and learned how to screenprint with the help of amazing NUA technicians. The process was very long and stressful, especially when I had to block print the ink across my typography covering it completely. When it was finished and I finally turned my hairdryer on to test the outcome I couldn’t believe I had actually done it! (which is just as well really because I did not have a backup plan). This brief was then submitted into CC awards because it fits really well with the briefs they released and I can’t believe it won Silver. I even was invited to one of their webinars to talk through the project with people who are inspiring change-makers. 

O: What was your experience with working for e-Surgery? What kind of work do you do for them?

C: Working for e-Surgery was a bit of a shock to the system. I had only ever been working on a concept design for branding at university and all of a sudden the pressure of the outcome of my project going live made me a little anxious. Luckily the CEOs of the company are really tech-savvy and helped me create the appropriate formats for each part of the branding to enable success. Moving away from the branding I did for them I was offered a job within the team in digital marketing, which I had zero to no knowledge of at the time! Despite this being a completely new skill I had to learn straight from university it was exciting since the company is a start-up. I really felt I was making a difference. Day-to-day jobs involve marketing tasks such as fixing 404 errors on the site, looking for appropriate backlinks, and formatting blog articles. I also work on social media scheduling and from time to time dispense in the pharmacy as I am undergoing health care assistant training to support them when it is super busy. My most recent project at work is a UX/UI project involving a completely new re-design of the website and new design for a B2B project, it is very hectic but I am enjoying working with other designers and developers worldwide on zoom!   

O: Most of your work is in watercolor. How was it working with animation and kinetic-type art for Fresh Cabs?

C: The ‘Fresh Cabs’ project is the first project I have done that allowed me to combine both design and my artistic flair. I really enjoyed creating watercolor patterns to incorporate into my project and learning new skills of animation was fun too! The Fresh Cabs project is one of my favorites in my portfolio as I feel it represents a lot of my personality and intertwines all of my favorite things, Fresh Prince, watercolor, bold typography, and bright colors. Kinetic-type is something I hope to explore more of in the future as it fascinates me how engaging it can be especially in combination with a voice-over.   

O: What’s the story behind the Fresh Prince Jackets?

C: I love this question! I’m a massive supporter of second-hand shopping and upcycling clothes. I often go to vintage pre-loved kilos and come home with masses of crazy shirts and bizarre jackets. Unfortunately, I’m not that great at sewing but personalizing denim with paint is something I’ve always wanted to try. One of my close friends who studies at Leicester (hi Gracie if you are reading this) came home over the holidays and we decided to take the plunge and give it a go. Obviously, Fresh Prince was my chosen design but me and Grace actually hand-painted a far more intricate design of the ocean on her jacket that turned out super cool. 

O: Among all the pet portraits you’ve ever painted, which one remains close to your heart? Why?

C: I adore painting people’s pets, and when I’m contacted because someone’s pet has passed and they would like a portrait I am touched. Every pet portrait is so important for me to get perfect because I know how special pets are (as an owner of two sausage dogs) and getting that right is essential! With every portrait, I can see my skills improving and that is so exciting to me. I have to say that my favorite so far is a painting I did at Christmas for a family friend of their dog. The dog was not only brown and white, which is very difficult to paint but also curly-haired, so it was a challenge. I was nervous to tackle it but I loved the outcome and so did the client. 

O: What was your experience with fundraising for Banham Zoo with your art?

C: As a watercolor animal artist in the middle of a degree trapped at home, like many people during the pandemic, I felt very helpless seeing lots of local businesses around me struggling to stay afloat. Banham Zoo is the local zoo that I have been going to since I was young and still go to often for inspiration for my paintings. Having them not being supported by the government and hearing about their struggle was heart-breaking, so I wanted to help. I contacted the zoo with my idea of a fundraising competition to win an original painting I created of their beloved tiger Sveta and of course, they were happy for me to do so! To this day I still can’t believe the support my fundraiser competition got, I managed to raise £1,500 for the zoo and a lucky winner was given the painting and free day passes into the zoo alongside an afternoon tea that they kindly added to my prize-giving people more of an incentive to donate and support the cause. 

O: If you could give new artists some advice from what you’ve learned, what would it be?

C: Don’t compare yourself to others! It is so important when you are starting out to be inspired by other artists and seek tutorials or guidance but try not to get bogged down by your work quality in comparison to others. Adding pressure to yourself can make it seem pointless to even start a piece of art but practice really does make perfect. As I have already mentioned, with each painting I can see my skills develop but I know I still have lots to learn. It is also worth mentioning that you need to ensure you love making art and don’t just love making money because the hard truth is, it takes a while to get your foot in the door. You may even be investing more money into it than you are getting out of it to start with. It is important to love art and what you are doing for the joy it brings you and anything extra is an added bonus. If I didn’t get the odd commission or go to craft fairs and sell a few prints I would still paint and have a personal collection because art is escapism for me and you can’t put a price on that! 

O: Do you have any upcoming projects that we should look out for? 

C: Unfortunately, I am currently not working on anything super exciting although I am trying to sort my Etsy shop out and give it a bit of a revamp (@creativechloeart). I will also be sorting stock and getting myself to a few craft fairs as previously mentioned, so keep an eye out you might see me, and if you do pop over, say hello!

A huge shoutout to Chloe for sitting down to do this interview with us! It was so fun to hear about her creative journey and how you never know where you’re going to end up. We are so excited to see what other adventures and surprises Chloe has up her sleeve next! Stay up-to-date on all things Chloe by checking out her portfolio (chloeturner.myportfolio.com/) and Instagram (@creativechloee).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s