Learner Spotlight July 2021
With the 20/21 academic year ending, we sat down with Humberto Lopez who is a Level 3 Graphic Design learner here at WAES. Humberto is originally from Bolivia but has been living in London for the last 20 years. He decided to take a Graphic Design course here at WAES to learn new creative skills and help deal with the effects the Coronavirus pandemic were having on his mental health.
He has already had success in Graphic Design as he won the WAES competition to design the Learner Awards programme. He was inspired by the National Covid Memorial Wall here in Westminster, which is dedicated to all the people who have lost their lives from Coronavirus. Humberto’s resilience and hard work makes him a great learner and graphic designer. In this interview he shares how he overcame the hardship of losing a family member to covid, and how being a learner here at WAES has helped him cope.
Please tell us a bit about yourself
"My name is Humerto Lopez, I have been living in London for twenty something years. I was born in Bolivia, and now I am a British Citizen. I also have other backgrounds, my family is very mixed from different countries Greek, Portuguese and Spain".
What course are you studying?
"At the moment I am studying Level 3 Graphic Design, Art and communication which I like. It’s fascinating, I am so happy at the moment with the way I am approaching this course".
Why did you apply for this particular course?
"The reason why I applied is to help me out at that time to give me more confidence, give me more skills and self-esteem, and to have more creativity in my mind because of the circumstances last year, I’m so happy now that I did that".
Tell us about what you study on the course and do you have any favourite bits that you particularly enjoy?
"I enjoy all of it. I don’t have a particular thing as one of the best things is the creativity is endless, so you’re always learning in graphic design. Every exercise and every task the tutor give to us is always a surprise to me because it always has something you can learn".
Please can you tell us a bit about your tutor at WAES
"My tutor Caroline, she’s a very good tutor, she’s amazing as a tutor and as a person and very professional. I appreciate all the time she spends teaching us and giving us exercise. I think she’s the best tutor I have. She says always keep on going, keep on going, I like that about her".
If you could give any advice to someone thinking about studying graphic design what would you say?
"To be creative and to be focused and have no distractions in your mind. Its good because you are learning and the process is creative and you can have a career, and you can go good places in your life. You just have to apply yourself at WAES and you can see the opportunities".
What would you say the wider benefits of how learning has helped within the last year around mental health and the coronavirus pandemic?
"This year has been for me very different with the coronavirus and mental health awareness, and I do have mental health in my life but nevertheless I try to survive it.
The way I try to survive it is by being creative and by creating artwork like graphic designing and to take some inspiration to take away these mental health situations which are part of my life.
I think I am not the only one who coronavirus makes it worse situation for mental health. Nevertheless you have to push yourself to be more free and to understand yourself and your mental situation and one way is through learning a skill, and it doesn’t have to be graphic design.
In WAES here they have so many skill such as Makeup, hairdressing, English and other languages.
If you have mental health you need to talk and you need to do something about it and don’t be afraid to express yourself with other people.
When you open your mouth more about mental health situations you will be more free and you won’t feel alone.
Even if the coronavirus is hitting us harder for many people. In my case it hit me hard because I lost a family member and regarding my mental health situation last year.
I push myself and find strength through creativity and be happy because I don’t want to be in the dark.
I am so happy you asked this question about mental health and the coronavirus situation because I am not alone.
Anyone else who has been through I encourage you to talk about it, you need to say and you need to talk. Don’t keep it to yourself, let it out and that’s the best you can do. And later on you realise it’s not that bad more or less."
You submitted an entry to the competition to design the programme for the Learner Awards and it was so beautiful, please can you tell us more about that?
"Why I entered the competition it was because ideas were coming about the mental health situation because of coronavirus, and as I said a family member of mine, she died because of coronavirus and it breaks my heart. I did that because I wanted to memorialise her and the only way I can keep this peaceful soul in my mind is to write about my family member.
When I went there [the National Covid Memorial Wall in Westminster] I did it from the heart for her. In my mind, every time I pass here I always remember all of these people that may have lost somebody and I know whenever I pass here I know I did something, which for me is very huge.
It will always be in my heart no matter where I go, always. And then two weeks later I was approached about if I wanted to do the competition so I did the artwork.
Because of the pandemic we try to be stronger resilient people. That’s the way I see it and I try to express my emotions in my artwork and make it a memorial for her and many thousands of people who have died in horrible circumstances, and people as resilient as us, people like me who are still alive. There are people who have lost parents, mother, dad, daughter and this is the way I think I express myself to create this heart. There were so many hearts and I put my sisters-in-law’s heart in there trying to show in my artwork forever.
I got a reply saying they liked it and would keep in touch, regarding the competition I’m happy at least someone else knows my resilience and my sister-in-law who died, and now somebody else has said I like your resilience. Creativity is always good!"
You can find out more about our graphic design courses