An arts regeneration for all in Ramsgate is part of the aim of the latest project being undertaken by illustrator, graphic artist and designer and business owner Dean Samed.
The 35-year-old has taken on a new studio space in King Street this month and is launching a fashion brand next year.
Studio Thirteen will be a buzzing mix of photography, digital media and arts, production suite, video editing and special effects make up. It will also be used to provide arts and business tuition for those who are unemployed or on low incomes.
Dean has been a successful book cover illustrator providing work for authors including Stephen King, Clive Barker and the Walking Dead artists. He then created Neostock, a company providing stock genre photography in areas spanning historical to horror, fantasy and science fiction, to cover artists, graphic designer and digital artists across the globe.
Now the former Hereson lad is evolving yet again and wants to share his skills to help others use their talents.
The horror genre specialist said: “I am really determined to get Ramsgate on the map. I want arts regeneration for everyone not just artist sub sets. My plan is to offer free digital arts and business tuition to those who are unemployed or on low incomes.”
Having been involved with the industry since he was just 14 years old Dean has a wealth of knowledge to share but also still retains the down to earth grit that is born of his humble beginnings.
He said: “Both my parents were unemployed when I was growing up. My dad, an ex-soldier, had a brain injury that meant he couldn’t do manual labour. Growing up, it was a struggle. I lived with my dad in a flat the size of a small living room for years, we didn’t even have a TV but I was happy.
“I had natural ability but was a wayward teenager so although I was in top sets I underperformed. I did my own thing, drawing in every single class.”
Dean’s biggest opportunity came, bizarrely, from an accident as a youngster where a botched science experiment led to an exploding bottle that blinded him in his right eye.
Compensation was awarded and, although most of it was held until he was 18, a small proportion allowed him to buy a computer when he was 14.
This led to experimenting with art and Microsoft’s paint programme and going on the create local flyers.
Dean said: “That one thing changed my destiny forever. I created event flyers for local drum and bass promoters and as their organisations got bigger, my commissions got bigger and I started working with other clients.”
At 18 Dean received his compensation but admits it was wasted. A year later came another turning point when an application to be a learning mentor at the Ramsgate School was successful thanks to staff member Dave Draper seeing Dean’s potential.
Dean said: “I was so grateful to have that job that it made me clean up my act,”
A degree course in digital arts followed where Dean scooped a first with the highest grade average in the history of the course at Canterbury Christ Church University.
The introduction of e-books caused a boom in publishing that opened up new opportunities, particularly for book cover illustrations.
Dean said: “My niche was horror. I used social media to connect with various artists and publishers and provided work for Stephen King, Clive Barker, Walking Dead and hundreds of independent artists.”
The struggle for digital artists to find good quality photos for their work then prompted the launch of Neostock, filling that void in the market.
And now it is time for another change. Dean said: “3D technology has taken over so I am changing focus for 2020 with the launch of the fashion company with arts-based apparel aimed at the 18-30s at underground rave events. The photography and artwork for this, and promotion material, will happen at the new studio space,”
The clothing range launch is earmarked to take place between January and March 2020.
The free courses in digital arts and business are expected to launch later this year.
To keep up to date with developments find Studio Thirteen on facebook at www.facebook.com/studiothirteenramsgate