Utter Nonsense! The Cheltenham Illustration Awards 2016

Those of you who are kind enough to connect with me on the old Facebook, will know that I recently had the honour of being picked to be included in the 2016 Cheltenham Illustration Awards, hosted by The University of Gloucestershire!

That’s pretty neat eh?

What’s EVEN NEATER, is that is week I received by magic of the good old postie, a copy of the Award’s 2016 Anthology of my very own! Woop woop!

chelt9

As you can see, it’s a beautiful (classy hard back!) compendium of incredible talent, both students and established folk. On taking a look inside, I have been genuinely blown away by the incredible work of all of those listed, and am even prouder to have been picked to display alongside them.

chelt4
My little example of nonsense as it appears inside this beautiful collection.

chelt2chelt3

 

It’s always a wonderful thing to see your work in print, but I was genuinely impressed at the quality of this lovely book; both in content and in print. It was a lovely surprise to have been selected and even lovelier to have such a wonderful present out of it!

chelt8

chelt5
I also spied some familiar names! This guy (Stephen Collins) is a brilliant talent in the world of comics. Look him up!

chelt6

 

chelt7

chelt1My favourite part of any anthology is discovering all those new names and talents to pop into the inspiration memory bank. This collection is bulging with them, it’s going to be a busy evening ahead, finding them all on twitter!

To find out more about the Cheltenham Illustration Awards, do check out their website and blog.

To enquire about this beautiful anthology and maybe even grab one of your own, contact eevans@glos.ac.uk

chelt10

Advertisements

The Exhibitionist Part One: Another crack at galleries

I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. I don’t really like art galleries. Sorry.

I am just not the kind of “artist” who feels at home in white walled spaces. They feel contrived to me, simply rooms full of art stuff, created for the sake of art stuff. They just feel a bit…I suppose pointless; an exercise in self indulgence in it’s purest form. Sorry, that’s the designer and commercial artist in me, but I’m just not comfortable there. Give me a comfortable chair, give me a library, a bookshelf, a store front, a magazine. Give me a space that has it’s own purpose, adorned perhaps with relevant, beautiful things and that’s quite a different matter. But art displayed just as art? I struggle.

But I was in London, I had time to kill and I had a plan. Time to try again. To make friends with the gallery, the home of aesthetic culture. The home of ART.

So I did.

Let’s not get carried away or anything, I started small. I decided on two locations of contemporary illustration. Illustration is my passion. Illustration usually has a brief. Illustration is safe.

Baby Steps.

So I hit up the AOI World illustration Awards, currently on display in Somerset house. I do actually love this venue so already we were in a good place.

And it was free. Winner.

aoi_01

I have to say, there was a lot of great talent to explore there. And by that, I mean there was a lot of book illustration and drawings that look like things 🙂

aoi_16

The exhibit was probably what I’d consider the perfect size, two and a bit, uncluttered rooms of nicely spaced work, one central strip of glass cabinets. Easy and digestible and not at all so large it dragged. It wasn’t overwhelming, it didn’t make my heart sink and it didn’t remind me I am a failure of an “artist” for getting bored in an environment I should, by association, consider home.

aoi_02

The work all had a chance to breathe, which felt relevant in a collection like this, because everything on display HAD been created for a purpose, be it a book, an advert, a poster or jacket; it meant you could take each item in and consider it in the context for which it was made. I like a bit of snappy analysis of a work’s strengths. I think this is my downfall with fine art. I can’t assess it because I don’t understand why it’s been made.

Sorry, I’ll stop moaning.

aoi_10aoi_05

For a collection of contemporary illustration, the AOI exhibit was a really nice one. It reminded me of Pick Me Up back in the day, before it got a bit tired (the last few years have not impressed me so much- I WILL STOP MOANING NOW) and I noted a good few new gems to keep an eye on, as well as simply enjoying the work of those I already admire. Yes, I noted the works of many already adorn my shelves.

I know it’s a bit of a cop out in my exploration of galleries, but the highlights for me were mainly book and design based illustration. Big talents like John Burton showed up and the lovely works of the brilliant Lesley Barnes, Alex T Smith and Chris Haughton were as  enjoyable as ever, both in browsing and poster forms.

aoi_11aoi_18aoi_08

aoi_09

I actually liked the repetitive set up of the show a lot, in which the same pieces were encased on walls, in cabinets and on shelves. It gave it a ‘catering for all’ kind of vibe; the work in it’s raw form, the work as a ‘work of art’ and the work in the context of other work next to it. Each variant allowed the illustration to speak in a new context.

With the book being the best one. Obviously.

aoi_07aoi_13aoi_15aoi_17

I liked a lot of the work on display, both by the known and the unknown. I can’t say I think it was a broad collection in terms of the style of work, which did surprise me given that is was a collection from all over the world. Even across cultures and geography, a lot of the drawing styles, use of shapes, colour spoke in a similar language; but realistically I suppose it was unlikely to be anything else. This exhibition was always meant to be a snapshot of contemporary illustration which, like anything, is at the mercy of fashion. With so much exchanging of cultures, information and products through the magic of the internet, I suppose it’s very reasonable that fashions are less confined by borders than ever before. It was a shot of the trendy world of illustration in the here and now. And I, personally, really liked it!

aoi_06aoi_14aoi_12

If you are hankering for a bit of tasty, picture based joy and are in the area, I would suggest checking it out. It won’t take your whole afternoon, it won’t cost the earth and it likely will inspire you, even just that teeniest bit to go and make some nice things. Or at least look at them.

aoi_03

Hat’s off to you Somerset House, the AOI and all your contributers. The awards were well deserved, there was very little that I felt fell short of acclaim; naturally not all to my personal taste, but I suppose that is, in part, the joy of the visual arts.

And I really do appreciate, support and have enjoyed the hard work from those working to champion the humble illustrator. There’s an awful lot of talent on this earth and events like this do their bit to try and push those, often fresh faced, creators into the limelight they really do deserve.

So, was I cultured yet? I decided I wasn’t. I’d really enjoyed my speedy mosey through the contemporary illustration scene, but it wasn’t quite enough. Onward to part two of my afternoon exhibitioning…