- Course studied:
- Stop Motion Animation and Puppet Making BA (Hons)
- Year of graduation:
Stop-Motion Animation and Puppet-Making graduate Joel Townsend has taken his creative and artistic interests through to a career in retail. Continuing to employ his skills, Joel now works in the creative department of online home furnishings retailer MatalanDirect.com.
“I’m very happy to have a job where I am doing something creative,” Joel said. “When I was at University, I couldn’t have pictured how I’d be using the skills and knowledge I was developing, other than in stop-motion animation. But it’s such a competitive industry and there aren’t many jobs available. I’m grateful to have found a career where I can continue creating something and follow my interests.”
Originally from Newark-on-Trent, in Nottinghamshire, Joel got a wide-ranging introduction to the creative industries when he took a graphic design course at Lincoln College.
“At the time I was considering my options,” he explained. “After sixth form, I wanted to follow a creative career with real job prospects and I spoke with my brother, who was working in web design, and found the graphic design course. After that, I realised I enjoyed the animating side of the industry, specifically the attention to detail and hand crafted style, which pointed me towards stop-motion rather than CGI.”
Joel started his degree at Staffordshire University in 2010. “I chose Staffs University because it was the first doing the course I wanted to do, the facilities were excellent and the lecturers had real world experience working on stop-motion films and TV shows.”
For his final year project, Joel developed a stop-motion music video for Finnish folk metal band Turisas. After graduating in 2013, he took a work experience placement at Stoke-on-Trent based animation agency Carse and Waterman Productions and then Birmingham based Yamination Studios. Following his work experience, Joel moved to Leeds to join MatalanDirect.com.
Since joining MatalanDirect.com, the online division of well-known high street brand Matalan, “the company has grown massively,” Joel said. “It’s great to be part of it.”
“My brother works for the company and he told me they were looking for someone to work in their content team. I applied and was lucky enough to get the job. Shane Quigley, our CEO, is very switched on and sees the talent in people – he knew my background and wanted to use my animation skills somehow. Over the past 18 months, he has been trying to find ways to use my artistic side and, very recently, I joined the creative department as a junior art worker doing plenty of animation and CGI.”
His role involves updating elements of the retailer’s website, creating animations for marketing emails and developing 3D product images through specialist computer software.
Outside work, Joel is also developing a short animated film with friends, where he’s creating the sets and props. He said: “I’m using my model making skills, a friend has written the script and another is making the puppets. It’s still very early in the process but it’s great to still be using my stop-motion animation background.”