2015 round up
Over 700 hundred comic fans and art lovers flocked to see their favourite illustrators, cartoonists and artists, as the Festival of Illustration, hosted by Cleveland College of Art & Design (CCAD) got underway in Hartlepool.
In a celebration of the illustrative arts, the Festival saw world-renowned artists from all over the country showcase a selection of their works at an exhibition, including many original pieces not viewed by the public before now.
Over 150 works of art from as far back as the 1950s and 60s are now on display at the Hartlepool Art Gallery, which is open until 4 July. The exhibition proved to be a popular attraction, as visitors viewed illustrations from Hartlepool-born artist Keith Robson, who worked for DC Comics, Marvel artist John McCrea, Ralph Steadman and Dave McKean, amongst others.
Illustrator Tom J Newell, who is speaking at the Festival Symposium and exhibiting works at the exhibition, said: “I am really blown away by the exhibition and looking forward to the rest of the Festival and meeting other artists, students and visitors. The Festival is a really positive event for the College students and the artists, as well as Hartlepool and the north east generally. There is such a great range of work and having my work alongside artists that I have grown up with and been inspired by, such as the Beano and 2000AD, is great.”
Exhibition visitor David Callaghan, originally from Hartlepool and now living in Durham, said: “I used to visit the art gallery every so often, as I am interested in art. This is a very unusual and different style of art for me but it is really good to see the exhibition here and great for the area. The excellent drawings from Keith Robson are really good and so ‘lifelike’ in a comic way.”
The symposium also examined illustration through the ages, particularly the ‘silver age of illustration’ and the industry today, as well as the impact of traditional versus digital methods. Illustrator and designer Dan Mumford, who produces works for clients such as Nike and designs record covers for the music industry, said: “The Festival offers a great chance to see some fantastic work and meet lots of people old and new. I think it’s always important to be displaying new talent and old talent equally. More than anything I think younger artists need more outlets and opportunities to see work and hear from their contemporaries. And the festival is exactly that!
The Festival fun continued with artists from The Brothers of the Stripe (BOTS) taking part in a live ‘drawing wall’, with visitors and fans eagerly watching on and taking part. Illustrator Joel Millerchip, a member of BOTS collective, said: “This is not just a wonderful event for the area but for as a whole, as it attracts artists from every style, from some of the masters to the newer contemporary artists. It is also great for the CCAD University Level campus and the students, as they can come and study the works, and it shows awareness of illustration as a career and the commercial side, rather than people thinking it is just ‘drawing’.
“Illustration is part of everything, from children’s books to animation and advertising. At the exhibition there are many pieces of work to see and enjoy, from storybooks and fashion to comic books and cartoons. There are so many different styles to see and enjoy, which is the beauty of the illustration.”
Pat Chapman, Head of Employability & Enterprise at CCAD, said: “The first day has been a great success, with the symposium attracting a mix of die-hard fans and those with a real interest in learning about the art of illustration. The guest speakers proved very popular and even sold out in some cases, which shows the passion people have for the industry.”
“There really is something here for everyone, so we encourage people to come down and take a look at the fantastic exhibition with illustrations for all ages and interests.”
Hosted by Cleveland College of Art & Design, in collaboration with Hartlepool Borough Council and Seven Stories, the Festival of Illustration is a free month-long event in Hartlepool which will bring world-renowned illustrators, cartoonists and comic artists to the town with exhibitions, a symposium, illustrators market, master classes, street market, storytelling and workshops.