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Tackling "image overload" through creativity: Laura Armstrong's Degree Show artwork

20 June 2017

Part of our Degree Show series

To celebrate the Manchester School of Art Degree Show, we’re sharing the stories, inspirations and experiences of some of the 1000 students exhibiting in the show.

Previously, photographer Jack Macleod shared his influences and experiences, and in this instalment Interactive Arts student Laura Armstrong dicusses the work that helped her tackle image overload. 

What first attracted you to your specialism?

‘After three years of studying I realised that I’d started to feel fatigues and overwhelmed.

Photographs, artworks, advertisements, and especially print and digital media started to become background noise and I wanted to develop a way of dealing with this “image overload” that I and many others feels, but in an uncynical and artistic way.

It’s been challenging to create this feeling, but after specialising in graphic design and digital editing, I felt like I could bring this disillusionment to life.’

What influences your work and inspires you?

‘My inspiration for this project has come from analogue technologies such as VHS, vinyl players, and many pre-film animation devices.

I wanted to regain control over imagery and these more tangible mediums that contain a very limited amount of data influenced the way I thought about and created my work.

Abstraction has also been an important concept to me as my artwork aims to show imagery that has been so distorted that only colours and lines remain which is a way I regained control over its original purpose.’

What skills have you developed through producing your work?

‘I’ve been able to develop various skills in order to create my work thanks to the multi-layered aspect of it, but mainly I’ve been able to fully explore the possibilities and effects that editing software can produce.

Also by playing with the coding of an image you can distort and warp them until they are unrecognizable, using programs such as “Processing”, developing a way to pixel sort images by code and through graphic, to create the degraded glitch vortex effect that my work displays.’

What is Manchester like a place to study a creative subject?

‘As soon as I arrived at the Manchester School of Art open day, I knew this was the place I wanted to study.

I had never been to Manchester in my life, but it’s now been my home for 3 years and I love this city, it’s energy and creativity is so inspiring.

Interactive Arts was a perfect fit for more and it’s provided me with many opportunities to fully explore my artwork, whatever shape or form it might take, and develop my professional practice too.

I’ve had the opportunity to work with other courses not only in the School, but with Manchester Metropolitan’s Faculty of Science, in addition to volunteering for festivals and events around the city, and also exhibiting in Manchester Art Gallery – which I’m incredibly proud of.’

You can see Laura Armstrong’s work in our Degree Show until 21 June, and can find out more about her work on her website ( and Degree Show Profile