I’m very privileged to know several exceptionally talented people in lots of different fields. The biggest buzz, however, comes from watching someone’s talent emerge over time. And this has just happened to me.

I’ve just spent the weekend in High Wycombe where I visited the degree show of my partner’s daughter – Karli Skelton – and her classmates in the Design and Illustration BA at Buckinghamshire New University. Not the most famous college, perhaps, but it’s done the job of providing a space and an environment where an artistic person can develop their talent.

What excites me about Karli’s work is its authenticity. She is not alone in having stuff to deal with as she’s grown up (it’s not for me to say what these things are) but uniquely for those people exhibiting, she has started to tackle it in her work in a way that is compassionate, human, skilful, and sensitive: I got a sense of her while viewing her work which I didn’t get elsewhere. I think that revealing yourself to the world, even through a sometimes oblique medium, takes courage.

Karli’s style has evolved into a mixed media fusion of stuff that doesn’t indulge in being mixed for its own sake but focuses on the message and the effect it will have on the viewer while still being original and distinctive. We have some of her earlier paintings on the wall at home and you can see the development of ideas even as she switched to illustration as her primary discipline.

I’m no expert on visual art, and I am obviously biased, but I hope she is successful in balancing the commercial pressures of life whilst continuing to create work she cares about.

I tweeted a lot of (very poor) pictures whilst at the exhibition, but better pictures of Karli’s work are on the internet via http://www.karliskelton.co.uk or http://www.flickr.com/photos/karliskelton

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