It can seem quite daunting to get involved as an amateur or experienced artist in Oxford. Once you start however, you will find that it is not as hard as one might think: societies, magazines etc that are looking for artists are all student-run, usually by friendly people. Your skill, however developed it might be, is a rare asset. If you look around, there are plenty of ways to put it to good use.
Magazines and zines
You can very easily get your art published in one of the student publications. They are always looking for new artists to illustrate articles, covers, to help them with graphic design and logos, layout, etc. You can also try pitching an idea to them (you could offer to draw a weekly comic for instance). They usually have facebook pages where you can contact them, and some of them have “contributor” pages where they post commissions and other opportunities that might be connected to art. Here is a non-exhaustive list of magazines you could get in touch with/apply to be part of:
One of the two main Oxford weekly newspapers. When someone on the team thinks they need an illustration for an article, or a banner, comic, etc, they’ll contact someone in their creative team. Illustrators usually do around one illustration per week, but this varies. Their creative director is also usually in charge of overseeing the layout of the magazine.
The other main Oxford news magazine, they also have a very talented team of artists that does whatever graphics are needed.
A relatively new Oxford news magazine. Like the two above, they also have a talented creative team that you can join
The ORB is a termly publication that showcases literature reviews, but also, famously, poetry, interviews, essays… It publishes astonishing artwork in the magazine and on their website. Join to combine your love of art and literature
The Oxford Scientist has always been quite involved in art, and feature student illustrations in their publications. They also recently had an art competition. Great place to go for the sciency artist!
The longest-running independent student magazine in the UK - the ISIS is known for its poetry and essays, and its vibrant team of student artists. It has a unique style which you can contribute to by joining its creative team, which does commissions around once a week and comes together to layout the magazine.
Industry is the slightly crazier, edgier cousin of the ISIS, filled with equally amazingly talented artists
Onyx Magazine publishes work by black students: artwork, articles, poetry, music reviews… Anything that showcases black creativity
The Edgar Wind Society’s very own zine. It features art-focused essays and commentary, interviews, photography, artwork...
An artistic zine by the Oxford Climate Society which “celebrates creativity in the face of climate change” through wonderful artwork, poetry and essays.
A zine focused on showcasing LGBTQ+ creative talent
Graphic Design for student activities
Societies, plays, and events might also need some graphic design work done to advertise themselves. A lot of societies will need term cards, logos, web design work (which can be a great addition to your portfolio, if you want one). You can also try message drama groups and ask if they need any posters or other pieces done for them. Here are a few you can try to get in contact with:
One thing you can do is subscribe to the OUDS newsletter (see link) and when you see a musical bid for something you would want to do the design for you can email them about it! They’ll be ecstatic to have a designer actively get in touch with them, as usually it’s quite hard to find one (thank you to Rebecca Marks for this tip!)
Oxford University Music Society - http://oums.org/
You might want to get in contact with OUMS to see if they need any art done for a concert or another event!
The Oxford SU’s Raise and Give (RAG) is the Oxford SU’s fundraising organisation. They hold various events throughout term that might need your help with design or graphics if you get in touch
… and any society you can think of, really. Someone needs to be doing the design!