Painting by Charlotte Mei.
This year’s graduate shows are nearly upon us so what better way to kick off the new season than with a reminder of some of the brilliant talent that I discovered last year. (And failed to blog about back then, due to the demanding needs of a very small baby. Now I just have a slightly larger very demanding baby, but at last I’ve found the time to catch up.) Mixed Special was the great name given to the show from Camberwell College of Arts illustration graduates, many of whom have gone on to create new collaborative projects. Since it’s been so long in the making this review will also pick up on what’s been happening for some graduates in the year since their show.
First up, the fun work of Lewis Wade Stringer, who created an ‘added value’ burger out of silicone, acrylic and plywood. Shown vacuum packed as a finished object, I imagine that in it’s separate pieces it would hold great appeal for small children. The burger theme continues to be strong in Lewis’ life – you can purchase his burger tote bag, delivered in a disposable carton with bespoke sticker, over here on Burgerac.
I wonder if an obsession with the 80s will continue to be a major influence amongst the graduates of the more progressive illustration courses this summer. Aaron Ziggy Cook is a member of the Day Job illustration collective, who showcased a stunning array of goodies at Pick Me Up in April. His love of 80s iconography and painterly pastels is evident in a series of interior themed designs.
Charlotte Mei is another member of Day Job, as happy playing around with clay as she is with a paintbrush. A sense of humour is a key component of her wonderfully tactile clay creations. At Pick Me Up I was particularly taken with her human and vehicle sculptures; and a plethora of editorial jobs undertaken since graduation testify that her unique creations are in demand. She was also part of the marvellous Jiggling Atoms exhibition that took place last October.
Completely Unexpected Tales by Holly Mills are a series of illustrations based on short stories by Roald Dahl which combine delicate swathes of watercolour, fine line detail and integral typography. Holly won the V&A student illustrator award in 2012. Confusingly, there is another Holly Mills illustrator, based in Melbourne (also well worth checking out).
Hasmita Hirani was inspired by the Mahabharata epic poem to doodle a series of narrative scenes across large sheets of paper – read an interview about her process here. Hasmita has recently collaborated with old friend Hana to create Rolled Paper Pencils featuring beautiful abstract designs in bright colours, available at the brilliant Poundshop.
Ellie Denwood‘s End of the Line are a series of eery atmospheric monochrome prints based on trips to the end of the Underground Line.
Emily Jane McCartan is another illustrator who made use of the ceramics facilitates at Camberwell, covering clumpy clay shapes with big daubs of paint; her gouache prints for What the Moon Brings feature the same painterly splodges as her ceramic glazes. Her mission, to encourage a 70s craft revival. I like it! You can buy some of Emily’s wonderful creations on Etsy here.
Phoebe Stella Garrick Summers‘ modern take on medieval maps features pubs rather than churches at the centre of daily life. Her interests lie in art psychotherapy.
A strange bandaged man accompanied by foxes hovers by the bin bags outside a closed shop: The Tumbleweave Series by Sarah Wharton is based on the invention of a modern folklore. I’d love to know what Sarah is up to now.
Miranda Sofroniou created Arctic themed wallpaper which she also decoupaged onto a chair frame. She is currently working on her third children’s book.
The Infinite Space by Acktarr Khedoo was an intense psychedelic installation that used neon colours, hanging shapes and sparkling textures to create a playful experience, all lit by UV. It was a lot of fun to explore: it’s a shame I can’t figure out what he is up to now.
Amelia’s Magazine contributor Kristina Vasiljeva produced bold skeins of Peckham inspired African fabric which showcased her love of fashion illustration.
Ben Woodcock‘s Bibotelli is a series of intriguing graphics suggesting snippets of narrative; another strongly 80s influenced body of work.
Beautiful painted miniatures by Isabella Toledo were inspired by A Journey Around My Room.
Yet more 80s style from Ellie Andrews, this time combining a rounded airbrushed style with a pastel palette & plenty of colour shading, some produced as risograph prints. One of her designs was used for the launch of Boxpark in Shoreditch. Check out some of Ellie’s latest work in It’s Nice That.
Using animation Daniel Clarke created an ode to J.G. Ballard‘s short story Chronopolis – depicted here in sombre darks and swirling pastels, viewed through a round porthole. Daniel’s obsession with architectural form is evident in his work with Day Job.
Brigid Deacon showed drawing and objects in a contemporary cabinet of curiosities that merges her interest in comic art, the grotesque and erotic art. She has since become involved in People of Print.
Ruxandra Ene‘s intricate and eye-catching depiction of Utopia was inspired by William Morris‘ News from Nowhere.
Ella McLean chose the environs of Peckham as the basis for a great risograph zine created using her favoured palette of limited colours. She too is now part of the great Day Job collective: make sure you check them out.
It’s been great to check back in on the illustrators I liked nearly a year ago and find out what some of my favourites are doing now… but it begs the question of what to do with old websites, blogs and social media feeds. Quite a few of the illustrators above have not updated their websites with anything new in a whole year: perhaps an indication that illustration has been left behind? Some twitter feeds built expressly for the promotion of student shows are dead as a dodo, but I was pleased to see that someone is sporadically maintaining the @MixedSpecial feed to promote last year’s graduates. University of Brighton students have taken over the feed created by the previous year and are continuing to tweet full pelt with a new name @carparkshow: surely the best way to make use of a ready made following for the newest batch of graduates. I look forward to what 2013 brings…
- Camberwell College of Arts: Ovo Show Illustration Graduate Show 2011 Review – Upstairs
- Camberwell College of Arts: Ovo Show Illustration Graduate Show 2011 Review – Downstairs 2
- Free Range Art & Design Shows 2015: Middlesex University Illustration
- London Fashion Week S/S 2011 Catwalk Review: Holly Fulton (reprise)
- University of Brighton Illustration Graduate Show 2011 Review: the Collagists