“Pop! pop! pop!” Daniel Beckford positions his arms to hold an imaginary rug tufting gun, pumps his hands, and delights in providing verbal support for his impromptu demonstration of how he placed scattered pot shots of wool across a quadrant of his degree show rug “My Life”, shown as part of Staffordshire University’s stand at New Designers 2013, the exhibition of graduate design work from across the UK held each June at the Business Design Centre in London.
How often does New Designers produce a star? Go ahead. Suggest we indulge in hyperbole in our declaration Daniel is the designer to watch from this year’s crop of talent. An ancient Roman philosopher described hyperbole as an elegant turn of phrase used to surpass the truth. But our declaration is neither hyperbole nor hype. Beckford is a virtuoso with colour selection and placement, and his designs echo, but never copy, passages of the design and colour poetry found in American Abstract Expressionism, and the forms favoured by New York hip hop artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Beckford achieved a First in his BA degree at Staffordshire. “I’m doing it my way”, Beckford says of his decision to learn the traditional techniques of rug tufting, but with an eye for bending the rules. Beckford’s colours and patterns resonate with Mark Rothko, but his technique has more in common with the radical, athletic movements of Jackson Pollock. Rather than tuft up and down in a linear progression, Beckford swerves the tufter. He pops and injects pieces of wool. He moves diagonally across the canvas with the idea of the overall design in mind, but with latitude to change his expressive outcome if inspiration deviates from his agreed plan. (continued)
Beckford texted his Dad when he achieved his First. “I knew you were top of the tops” was the text reply. And he is. Daniel Beckford is unquestionably top of the tops. A designer to watch. And yes, a star. You heard it hear first.
Stay tuned. Tomorrow and Wednesday COVER profiles two more graduates from New Designers 2013.
– Denna Jones