Luke Carter - alumnus profile

Illustration alumnus Luke Carter is carving out a successful career, creating powerful linocut and relief print designs that deal with political and social themes. One of these is featured on the back of the Bristol Pound’s tenner. Luke explains how he came up with the winning design.

Change through art

Luke Carter

“I studied art and design at college and was fascinated by the art that emerged from the Paris uprising and the Weimar Republic. That got me interested in socially conscious artwork and how it could effect and encourage change in society.”

While studying his BA(Hons) Illustration at UWE Bristol, Luke worked on live briefs for local organisations including STIR magazine, The Bristol Cable and Sustain. But when details about an art competition for the Bristol Pound went up, he nearly missed it until a friend drew it to his attention.

Championing Bristol’s Community Voice

Attracted by the community and diversity’ theme, Luke researched historic archives and gave the idea much thought, before coming up with a design depicting the successful Bristol bus boycott of 1963.

“Bristol has quite a chequered history when it comes to diversity. So I thought it would be good idea to celebrate a struggle and a victory for the city’s ethnic minorities. The boycott went on to effect national legislation. So it was particularly important.”

Bristol Pound

Getting into circulation

The design won and is now featured on the back of every Bristol Ten Pound note – legal tender across the city. This has led to a considerable interest in Luke’s art.

“Since the Bristol Pound competition, I’ve had lots of people asking for interviews. I went on BBC Radio Bristol. And my work has been shared over social media.”

“I’m also talking to some like-minded artists about setting up a print-makers cooperative.”

Celebrating Freedom Creatively

Talking about how his degree prepared him for his career, Luke says, “the Illustration programme encouraged me to be open to different possibilities and gave me an idea of how I might get where I want to be: how to contact art editors, how to organise an exhibition, how best to promote myself. It lit up several paths.”

Luke now freelances part-time as an illustrator with plans to go full-time in the future. With powerful magazine covers under his belt and an enviable portfolio, featuring art on themes including social justice, racism and homophobia, we’re looking forward to seeing the impact his art will have on society in the future.

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