Monkey trail marks the return of the award-winning Northern Festival of Illustration
The Northern Festival of Illustration is back with a trail of decorated monkey sculptures around Hartlepool.
On Saturday 18 September the fourth bi-annual event, which is organised in conjunction with The Northern School of Art, gets underway with a programme of free exhibitions and events providing a showcase of contemporary illustration as well a chance to spot monkey artworks colourfully decorated by members of the local community being hosted in premises around the town.
Visitors can see the work of emerging as well as established illustrators from around the world, displays by illustrators who graduated from The Northern School of Art’s BA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application degree in 2020 and 2021 and a specially commissioned illustration in exhibitions at Hartlepool Art Gallery, The BIS, and The Northern School of Art with a show later in the festival at St Hilda’s church on the Headland.
As part of the festival the winners and the shortlisted entries from The Northern Illustration Prize 2021, an international competition which is part of The Northern Festival of Illustration, will be on display.
Hundreds of entries from across four continents were received for the prize which is delivered in partnership with the Association of Illustrators (AOI), the professional body for illustration in the UK.
The twenty shortlisted illustrators (ten in each category) spanned the globe from the UK to Europe via the Middle East and on to Malaysia and the Philippines. Their work will be on show alongside the work by the winner of the Established Illustrator category, ‘That Place’ by London-based Laura Watkins (pictured left), and the Emerging Illustrator winner, ‘Resilience’ (pictured right) by Julia Sarapata de Carvalho based in Warsaw in Poland.
Pat Chapman, the Festival Director and Vice Principal of The Northern School of Art, said: “This year the Northern Illustration Prize celebrates new beginnings as we emerge from the cloud of the pandemic – its theme is Renaissance and we are delighted that so many people from around the world have come together in this competition.
“Illustrators have interpreted the theme with entries which reflect hope, and positivity, and which put a new take on the great paintings of the Renaissance.”
The distinctive monkey sculpture artworks were created for the festival by a Redcar-based former student from The Northern School of Art, Billy Cessford, who runs a business creating scenery and props for events, stage and screen, TV, film, theatre and point of sale.
They were then decorated by community groups over the summer in a project delivered by recent graduates of the School supported by Hartlepool-based community arts organisation Bloominart before being delivered to local businesses who had offered to host them for the duration of the event.
Pat Chapman added: “This year’s Festival will be about rebuilding at a local level and we aim to bring people back onto our streets, and, with our exhibits and installations, we will encourage people back in to local businesses. We have also spent money with local suppliers and provided paid opportunities for local graduates who have had the start of their creative careers disrupted by COVID.”
The Northern Festival of Illustration takes place from 18th September – 28th November at Hartlepool Art Gallery, The BIS, and The Northern School of Art with a show later in the festival at St Hilda’s church on the Headland. Entry is free.
Further information, including the map and a checklist for the monkey trail is available at www.festivalofillustration.com
All of the Monkey host venues and show venues have stickers and posters with a QR code allowing people to say they have found a monkey and to enter a prize draw to win a prize of art supplies.
The Northern Festival of Illustration is funded thanks to Arts Council England and its ongoing support from the National Lottery Project Fund and the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority Festival Recovery Fund.
The Northern Festival of Illustration and Northern Illustration Prize are developed and delivered by The Northern School of Art, the only dedicated school of art in the north east.