The Northern Festival of Illustration gets underway with announcement of winners of global prize
The third Northern Festival of Illustration opened in style with the unveiling of the winners of a prestigious new competition to celebrate the very best in illustration across the globe.
The Northern Illustration Prize, a brand new international art prize launched earlier this year by The Northern School of Art with the Association of Illustrators, was aimed at highlighting the diverse world of illustration and supporting the complexity and skilled work of established and emerging illustrators throughout the world.
Supported by The Gillian Dickinson Trust, with prizes for both emerging and established illustrators, the competition has had global appeal attracting over 400 hundred entries from every continent apart from Antarctica.
The competition winners reflected the world-wide range of entries, with illustrations by emerging illustrator Dania Mah from Malaysia and established illustrator Fabio Buonocare from Italy revealed as taking the top prizes at the preview evening on Friday 31 May ahead of the launch of the 2019 Festival itself.
Entries to The Northern Illustration Prize were originally invited on the theme of ‘Monkey’ – as the School and Festival are based in Hartlepool – and artists were asked to interpret the ‘Legend of the Hartlepool Monkey’ or to use their creative imagination to create new characters or even go down a natural world and conservation path.
Reacting to the news Fabio Buonacare from Milan, whose work ‘Alive’ is pictured right, said: “What a wonderful news! I’m speechless. I’m very happy, I didn’t expect to win. In my opinion I won twice: first for the prize the and second because I’m so happy that the jury liked my interpretation of the Hartlepool Monkey legend.
“It means a lot to my career, it’s a great injection of confidence and enormous satisfaction. I found the topic stimulating right away and I couldn’t help participating.”
Dania, whose work ‘Jean Baptiste SiMonkey is pictured below, was also delighted: “I experienced an emotional low to high when I heard I won the ‘Emerging Illustrator’ award. It had been a challenging week so this win came at an unexpectedly perfect time.
“This award means a great deal to me as it’s the first illustration award I’ve won. It’s fulfilling to see that the humour in my illustration translated through. I thank the judges for their kind support. This achievement proves all the work and emotional lows in pursuit of ever improving my craft is worthwhile.”
At the preview event for the festival at Hartlepool Art Gallery, The Northern School of Art Vice Principal, Pat Chapman, pictured below unveiling the winners, said that the standard of entries had been very impressive making the job of the panel of judges, which was chaired by Chris Riddell OBE, in selecting the initial shortlist of twenty difficult enough without then having to select the final two winners.
He added: “My congratulations go to the winners of course and also to the shortlisted artists – all displayed incredible talent and creativity in responding to the theme. An international competition like this is often a launchpad or boost to a career and I wish Fabio and Dania the very best for the future.
“The Northern School of Art and Hartlepool are placed firmly in the international eye and I look forward to this competition growing in years to come.”
The preview evening was followed on Saturday 1 June by a day of free masterclasses by leading illustrators Rob Flowers, Sam Arthur, Darren Yeomans of Atomhawk, Keith Robson, pictured below, Frances Moffatt and graphic artist and video director Jimmy Turrell.
Audiences were given unique insights into the work of key figures in contemporary illustration, whose work forms part of everyday life through advertising, editorial, products, games, film and TV, to books at the event in the School’s lecture theatre at Church Square, Hartlepool.
Works by the symposium speakers, Rob Flowers is pictured right with his works, also form part of The Northern Festival of Illustration itself which runs from 1 June – 15 September.
Organised by the north east’s only specialist art and design school, The Northern School of Art, this is the third outing for the biennial festival which takes place at Hartlepool Art Gallery with a series of events and workshops at other venues across the Tees Valley. The two previous festivals attracted over 73,000 visitors.
The exhibition at Hartlepool Art Gallery is showcasing work by more than 25 world-renowned and emerging illustrators, cartoonists and comic artists including the first showing outside of London of a range of Chris Foss’ black-and-white illustrations for Dr Alex Comfort’s world-renowned book, The Joy of Sex, and his acclaimed sci-fi illustrations including his illustration for the ‘Bandersnatch’ Black Mirror episode.
Also on show at the Gallery will be work from Chris Riddell OBE, the political cartoonist for The Observer and author of The Ottoline books, Goth Girl, and The Edge Chronicles and a three-time winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal, the British librarians’ annual award for the best-illustrated children’s book.
Work by illustrator and comic artist Tor Freeman, a previous winner of the prestigious Maurice Sendak Fellowship, whose books include the Digby Dog series, will feature as part of the exhibition alongside a huge mural she has created at Hartlepool Art Gallery especially for the Festival, pictured right. As will new work from educational illustrator Derek Brazelle, whose children’s books, including Cleversticks, have sold over 120,000 copies, and whose work featured in the 2015 festival.
Other illustrators on show include Jack Teagle, Nicholas Holmes and Donya Todd as well as the artists shortlisted for The Northern Illustration Prize.
The Northern School of Art’s Vice Principal, Pat Chapman, added: “We are very proud to host and organise the festival and put Hartlepool on the cultural map and raise its profile for the right reasons.
“Access to all we do and offer is free because we believe in removing barriers to people experiencing the very best quality art. In the exhibition you will see art from contemporary illustrators from across the globe.”
The Northern Festival of Illustration takes place from 1 June – 15 September at Hartlepool Art Gallery and at venues across the Tees Valley. Entry to the Northern Festival of Illustration and all events is free. Further information is available here www.festivalofillustration.com
A satellite exhibition of work by contemporary artists and illustrators is also taken place at Northern Print in Newcastle until 30 June. Looking at the dual role printmaking plays for artists / illustrators it features work by Josie Brookes, Chis Daunt, Sara Ogilvie, Alice Pattulo and Jimmy Turrell.
A number of free workshops organised by The Northern Festival of Illustration are taking place as part of Crossing The Tees book festival between 8 and 22 June. Further details of times and locations are available here https://www.crossingthetees.org/
The Northern Festival of Illustration partners and supporters include The Northern School of Art, Hartlepool Borough Council, Sir James Knott Trust, northern print, Lottery-funded Arts Council, Tees Valley Combined Authority, Association of Illustrators, Newspaper Club and The Gillian Dickinson Trust.