RATHER than living off benefits in unemployment, two young Oxford art graduates created their own art group.

Samir Koudoua and Joe Davis, both 22, were buzzing this week as they launched their first exhibition in Oxford.

Mr Koudoua and Mr Davis finished university this year in Westminster and Bournemouth respectively.

When job hunting did not reap rewards the pair decided to set up an art collective called Cobalt Collective.

On Thursday they launched their first exhibition showcasing the work of 24 Oxfordshire artists.

Mr Koudoua said: “I graduated in July and was searching for jobs for a while.

“I probably sent out between eight to 10 applications a week and it was quite stressful especially when you just don’t get a reply.

“I decided I really needed to be proactive in what I wanted to do so the idea of setting up Cobalt Collective came to fruition. “That way I knew I would be busy and developing new skills. And luckily my parents have been a godsend and helped me.

“The collective is really a way everyone can help each other and try and get where they want to be in the competitive creative industry.”

The exhibition and art sale, called Collision because it encompasses a variety of types of art, is on show at the Java & Co cafe on New Inn Hall Street until Monday.