"It’s sad that our community hasn’t been educated that there is more to life than the boring, same-old courses."


Tell us about your background?

CA: My name is Carianne Annan, I was born in Ghana and moved to England when I was 6. I’m currently in my 3rd year of a BA Fine Art degree at Central Saint Martins.


What drew you to pursue an art degree?

CA: I was actually supposed to study Dentistry at Birmingham University, all the subjects I picked at school were always sciences with the exception of art because art enabled me to calm myself down, it was my relaxer. So, I did my A-Levels in Biology, Chemistry and Art & Design. I did well in Art & Design but my mum was not going to let me to go university to do Fine Art, however I found out that Foundation degrees were free and I could still hold my place in Birmingham. So, I held my place and did my Foundation year and managed to get a tutor to convince my mum to let me do my degree in Fine Art, otherwise I would have been miserable.


What was your parents’ reaction to you pursuing an art degree?

 CA: My mum is okay with it now, because I’ve actually received a lot more opportunities. When you’re in the African community and you’ve got friends, who are doing the same subjects as you and obviously, they’ve gone to university and realised that their experience wasn’t as great as the community thought it would be. So, I feel as though she has calmed down a lot more because she realised that everyone is having a bad time but I’m enjoying myself cause I’m at Central Saint Martins doing what I love. I’m an only child so rather a child who enjoys what they are doing and sees a future for themselves in it than a child who doesn’t.


Do you think there is a stigma around pursuing an art degree in the Afro-Caribbean Society?

 CA: Yes, of course. Many Africans and Afro-Caribbean’s can’t see what the arts can grant their children because it’s not talked about within the community, no one goes in and says ‘actually your child can do Fine Art or music and make money from doing it’. In my course, currently I have people going into Tv and Film, all sorts of media. People creating and designing things we use every single day, things that many people forget you need an education to create. It’s sad that our community hasn’t been educated that there is more to life than the boring, same-old courses. They need to see that you can do a lot more in life with the arts than you can do with select subjects.


Do you have any fears it won’t be viable financially?

CA: I don’t think I do because by doing the arts I’ve gained a lot of skills. They say the art life is about the hustle life. I’ve worked with artists, I’ve worked with galleries, I’ve done loads of jobs. I don’t think I worry financially because there are always ways of getting money. Right now, I am enjoying life and I don’t think my counterparts who have done Bio-Medicine at university are. I’m enjoying my life knowing I can make money to pay my rent and take care of myself. Yes, money is an issue but I think that my mental health outweighs that.


Which of your pieces are you most proud of?

CA: My pieces that I am most proud aren’t actually the paintings or the sculptures, I believe it’s the performances where I braid clients’ hair and have a conversation around with them and get people to listen in on those conversations. It’s a therapeutic act where I receive something and the client receives something. That’s something I’m really proud of; enabling someone to release their feelings and me take them in and offer advice and vice versa.


What would you say to someone that is considering pursuing an art degree but is scared?

CA: Our parents aren’t retiring until they are 70, we are sure not going to retire until we are 80, the government is not going to give us our retirement cheques, we will be working forever, so you might as well do that degree and make yourself happy. Maybe I’m romanticising things, because I’ve been stressed out at times, but life is long, so anyone who wants to do an art degree I say just do it and enjoy life.

Here are some of Carianne’s pieces:

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