The Illustration department is always a degree show favourite considering the sheer range of work on display. Each of this year’s twenty exhibitors has really pulled it out the bag, showcasing their individual talent and expertise through an array of different mediums.
Upon entering, Alison Soye’s eye-catching “Food for Thought” mural grabs attention with its mix of hand-painted typography and colourful glazed plates. Continuing with the culinary theme, Soye’s delightfully illustrated cookbook focuses on recipes suitable for a gluten free life-style, featuring main meals, snacks and desserts. Her illustration style is timeless and also translates well in 3D form with carefully painted ceramic sculptures of animals and food items.
Paula Caffrey’s expertly crafted 12-colour screen print of Rynek, Poland, really stands out from across the room. The history and culture of Poland feature heavily in Caffrey’s work, with her prints promoting Wroclaw as the City of Culture 2016 and the book “Pronouncing Poland”. “Pronouncing Poland” does exactly as it says, giving the reader a well-written insight into pronouncing the Polish alphabet and the even trickier task of letter combinations. The book itself has a distinct graphic design feel to it, enhancing the black and white illustrations with a clean-cut design.
A heartfelt installation by Jill McDonald, titled “A life”, protests against hunting, and features three screen-printed animals and a lasercut gun. When the viewer looks through the red scope of the gun, hidden messages appear on the animals with phrases such as “not a trophy” and “not a scarf”. The message McDonald gives is clear and concise, and her illustration style sets the whole project off beautifully. Continuing on the theme of animals, Elena Lam’s intricate and fully functional lamp takes inspiration from Chinese astrology. The result is outstanding. Deborah Pow’s “Wild Animal Food Chains” is a series of prints depicting the food chain cycle of different habitats around the world. All her prints are displayed in effortlessly well-designed boxes, and feature an interactive element on the back where the viewer is encouraged to fill in the food chain cycle. Deborah’s simple but effective art style flows seamlessly through all of her projects, particularly her “Almondbank Rebrand” which was entered into the D&AD Pantone brief.
“Fernweh” is a slightly surreal project by Lauren McCreadie. She creates illustrations and objects that promote the sense of wanderlust. McCreadie explains on her website that “fernweh” is a German word that roughly translates as “being homesick for somewhere you have never been”. The collection mainly features stuffed objects that are suspended from the ceiling in the gallery space, loosely modelled on cityscapes, underwater and forest scenes. Her choice of colour is positively dreamlike, using soft pastel hues that when paired with her textile-like creations give a wonderfully soft and calming feel. “Fernweh” is a collection that would fit perfectly into many a boutique home-ware store.
Each and every graduate has delivered an impeccably high standard of work. While each project is unique, when seen together they produce a glimpse of how outstanding contemporary illustration can be. “Ones to Watch 2015” has to be one of the most successful and visually diverse degree shows to date.