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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Save Our Souls: Camberwell College of Arts Illustration Degree Show Review Part 1

My favourite graduating illustrators from the Illustration degree at Camberwell College of Art: including work by Miriam Elgon, Soju Tanaka, Polly Philp, Colin Stewart, Yana Elkassova, Ella Plevin, Kai Chan and Jess Stokes.

Written by Amelia Gregory

Camberwell degree show2010 Miriam Elgon
Camberwell degree show2010 Miriam Elgon
Illustration by Miriam Elgon.

Because I don’t always share the same taste with the wonderful Matt Bramford, adiposity here’s a quick double blog review of the Camberwell College of Arts Illustration degree show, seek Save Our Souls, there which I popped down to in the now defunct Nicholls and Clarke head office in Shoreditch a few weeks ago. I wrongly imagined I would be able to whip around it super fast, but as Matt has already said in his round up, there was so much to see I was soon running late for my next appointment….

Here, then, are my favourites:

Soju Tanaka
As soon as I entered the exhibition I was drawn towards the delicate artwork of Soju Tanaka, which featured lots of strange little creatures cavorting around in trees, or climbing on clouds. Her website is full of slightly blander digital artwork – she should stick to this style IMO. I hope Soju is a she…

Camberwell degree show2010SojuTanaka
Camberwell Degree2010 Soju Tanaka

Polly Philp
In a darkened room behind curtains Polly Philp showed her colour saturated film The Caretaker – a right old romp through all things currently trendy. A mystical looking gentleman with a long beard walks through a cave of stalactites. Encounters all sorts of ethnic and occult objects. Smokes a skull pipe. Finds an eyeball in his mouth. Gazes into a candlelit mirror. Eats an egg. I’ve no idea what the hell it all meant but it was so much fun I watched it three times. It’s a shame then that Polly’s presence on the web is near to zero. The website on her postcard doesn’t work, her blog is set to private (like, duh) and her flickr account tells me very little, apart from she is quite odd. As if I didn’t know that already. Maaaaan, it just makes me so cross. Get online lady! Start promoting your work. Because it’s very good!

Camberwell Degree2010 Polly Philp
Camberwell Degree2010polly philp

Colin Stewart
Former Amelia’s Magazine contributor Luke Best apparently teaches at Camberwell College and his cut and paste painted style has had a marked influence on some of his proteges – particularly Siobhan Sullivan and Colin Stewart, the latter of whom has done some wonderful work for this very website – you can see his pictures of Patch William in my blog about Glastonbury this year.

Colin Stewart

Miriam Elgon
Miriam Elgon has produced some of the most individual work I’ve seen from any recent illustrator – her scratchy overlays creating a rich narrative tapestry that calls to mind the work of impressionist painters. But she has no website. Why oh why oh why?

Camberwell degree show2010Miriam Elgon
Camberwell degree show2010Miriam Elgon

Ella Plevin
Ella Plevin was one of my very favourite Camberwell illustration degree graduates. Her gorgeous combinations of pastel colour-filled line drawing and photocopied montages look deceptively simple and work brilliantly. Plus she has a fabulous and comprehensive website up and running, as all graduates should. Go take a look…

Camberwell Degree2010 Ella Plevin
Ella Plevin Vitalism
Vitalism by Ella Plevin.

Harriet Wakeling
Harriet Wakeling showed a beautiful shell trailer attached to a bike. Some of the work in this show was really pushing the boundaries of what defines illustration and this was mos def one of them. I’m not sure this has anything to do with illustration, but I love all things bike-inspired, so can I have one please?

Camberwell degree show2010HarrietWakeling

Kai Chan
Kai Chan contributed one of her colourful intricate illustrations to the last ever print issue of Amelia’s Magazine, and it’s good to see her very distinct style has developed into something really wonderful. Here’s a detail from a long banner she had wrapped around one of the pillars.

2010Kaichan

Andy Ainger
Rounding a corner at the bottom of the stairs I encountered the work of Andy Ainger, who makes strange paper mache characters. Here The Band (a collaboration with Sean Fitzpatrick) was a collection of nearly life-size (in a munchkin vein) models in bright primary colours. A lot of fun.

Andy Ainger

Oscar Bolton Green
Despite a glaring error in the spelling of Oscar Bolton Green‘s website on the exhibition tag which meant I had to hunt him down via the Save Our Souls website despite taking thorough notes *wrings hands in despair* I loved Oscar explorations of the different types of bird beak – he’s a natural for graphic children’s book design. Lovely stuff.

Bird Beak Book oscar bolton green
Bird Beak Book oscar bolton green

Yana Elkassova
Yana Elkassova is one for all those fans of old Ladybird books – a clear inspiration on this extremely talented illustrator who mixes retro hyperealism with a dash of darkness. She also had some wonderful custom made Russian dolls on show that you can view over on Matt’s blog post. And a beautiful website to boot.

Camberwell Degree2010YanaElkassova
Detail from Yana Elkassova’s work.

Jess Stokes
The lovely Jessica Stokes was a very able editorial intern at Amelia’s Magazine who produced some wonderful articles for us, and since then she has completed her degree, the main body of which centres around the most wonderful intricate architectural line work. She also specialises in some fabulous oddball portraiture.

jess stokes
Jessica Stokes

I’ve rounded up the best of the rest in my next blog post so just click here to read more…

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6 Responses to “Save Our Souls: Camberwell College of Arts Illustration Degree Show Review Part 1”

  1. Becky says:

    Thought the show was fantastic, really high quality overall and I didn’t expect to see such a good range.

    Disappointed to see no mention of the Animal Facts children’s book (Jamie Wignall) and the pictures of boats created from old pottery found in rivers (can’t remember the girl’s name)

    Excellent work overall though!

  2. Amelia says:

    Hi Becky, I don’t recall either of those artists, but it’s quite possible I simply missed them…. there was just so much to see and I had limited time to get around it all… x

  3. Katie says:

    Pictures of boats created from old pottery found in rivers was Nina Malysheva.

  4. Zeel says:

    Soju is a man. he rocks.

  5. Amelia says:

    hahaha, thanks so much for clearing that up. good to know these things. xxx

  6. Amelia says:

    Becky and Katie – Nina Malysheva features in the next blog post x

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