High-achieving designer prepares for final Degree Show hurdle

An art student, whose university career saw him work as a prop designer for the lighting ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Flame, will have his final project on display in Aberdeen this week.

Cal Doherty (23), who is studying Communication Design ay Robert Gordon University’s (RGU) Gray’s School of Art, has almost reached the finish line after a marathon four years and will unveil his work at the annual Degree Show, which runs until Saturday 24 June.

Cal, originally from Glasgow, made the decision to move to Aberdeen for art school to prove to himself and others that he could be successful and independent after a number of years of home schooling.

He said: “I have always had a driven attitude to perform well and often get told off for going over the top with my studying. But since being told by my school teachers that university was never going to be in my future, it made me even more determined to overcome that.

“Within one year of leaving school at 14, I passed my Standard Grade exams – purely through home education – and I wanted to prove my capabilities further by going to art school.

“My parents actually came to Gray’s in the 1970s and met in their first year studying Communication Design, so I had a natural interest in the institution. It was attending the Degree Show in 2015 that really helped me decide this was the place for me.”

Cal’s time at Gray’s has been an enjoyable one, as he was encouraged to experiment with various different disciplines, but he has one particular highlight to look back on.

“We took a class trip to London during second year and I learned many things from visiting the likes of the V&A, Courtauld Institute of Art and Studio Moross. Following a second trip in the summer, I got the opportunity to work with the British Paralympic Association to design props for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Flame ceremony, which was incredible.

“I’ve always had a keen interest in sport, which I also explore in my final year project. My work explores the aspects of human perceptions within the context of sport and how the audience relates to commercialism and commodities.” Turning his eye to the future, Cal’s driven nature has led to some big ambitions.

He added: “Somewhere in the future, I want to run my own creative practice, one that provides brand strategy and conceptual development for exciting jobs and social responsibility. But honestly, as graduating is going to be one of my biggest achievements to date, I will enjoy that as much as I can.”

The Gray’s School of Art Degree Show, which is sponsored by BP for the fifteenth year, runs from 16-24 June and will showcase work by students of all disciplines.

Release by Rob Smith
Communications Officer
Press and Media Enquiries