Juno by Angelina Ioannides-Beer
One of the particularly exciting parts of Graduate month this year was getting to see the University of Westminster BA Illustration & Visual Communication degree show, partly because I am an Illustration graduate myself but also due to the addictive act of talent spotting. Don’t get me wrong, I love nothing more than seeing a great established artist do something new, but there is something especially satisfying about seeing brand-new graduates’ work. Maybe it’s the ‘fresh of of the box’ appeal, or just the fact that they will naturally be creating new ideas, processes and concepts that aren’t already out there.
All graduate show photography by Alia Gargum
The AMBIKA P3 gallery space is an industrial-like space perfect for an exhibition, which I entered through some stairs after following a nice little poster from the main road.
First up near the entrance/mezzanine level (that included portfolios laid out on large tables for browsing and a cute little pop-up store) was the work of Jon Roscorla. The large-scale graphic pieces based on teen culture, slang, and jargon with a good dose of type experimentation were displayed next to a striking printed jumper. Turns out that this graduate does a lot more than the occasional printed garment; he’s created t-shirts via Illustrated People for Topman, designed print and embroidery for McQueen (including working on a dress for the Duchess of Cambridge), had a t-shirt worn by Plan B in his Ill Manors video and has been working with fellow Westminster graduate Clare Barrow for her debut collection showing at London Fashion Week in September. He’s got an online shop, but I can’t wait to see what else he comes up with.
There was a strong theme of eco-friendly ideals and nature-inspired creations running through the show, interpreted in a variety of ways. I particularly liked the work of Charlie Rallings, who not only produced some inspiring work all about the movement and violence of dog fighting, highlighting the cruelty of the ‘sport’, but is also an Amelia’s Magazine contributor. No matter how dark or light-hearted the subject matter such as for this A/W 2012 preview post on Beautiful Soul’s collection by Amelia Gregory, Charlie’s consistently beautiful execution makes it stand out.
Another graduate who had a level of professional-standard work that drew a crowd was Ben Jennings with his detailed and smirk-inducing satirical drawings. He’s already got an impressive track record; his client list includes The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The World Development Movement, The i newspaper, The Morning Star and The Stool Pigeon music newspaper, and has produced two animated music videos for MOBO-award winning rapper Akala. On top of this, he was also awarded “Political Cartoon of the Year 2011” for a piece he produced based on the hunt for former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, published in The Guardian in August 2011.
I loved his dartboard, the detail of the illustrations induced a lot of close-up peering from me and the rest of the crowd.
Good children’s book illustration is unmissable, you can’t help but feel drawn in to the bright colours, textures and characters. The work of Olivia Henry immediately caught my eye with the messy yet stand-out use of line and colour. Having grown up by the rainy seaside of Hastings she is often being inspired by nature or her own imagination, with children’s Books as a constant focus of her work. I loved the way that themes and ideas were so clearly communicated through the illustration and layout. Not shying away from serious issues, her book ‘Frankly Tickles’ is inspired by a childhood memory, teaching children about change and a fear of loss, pointing out the important lesson that change can actually lead to some amazing outcomes.
Image courtesy of www.wminillustration.blogspot.co.uk
My final bit of graduate talent discovery came in the form of Angeline Ioannides-Beer, whose rail of beautifully printed geometric symbol t-shirts caught my eye immediately. After her proud family had finished cuddling her I chatted to the beaming graduate. An illustrator and designer, Angeline Ioannides-Beer creates trippy, 60′s-sci-fi symbols and geometric shapes. Having also worked for Illustrated People, the idea for a brand formed and a set of successful designs were born. I immediately wanted to buy from the rail, and after a close-up look it was obvious that this graduate knows a product can’t just look nice, it has to fit and feel right as a garment.
Her online shop is selling her graduate work, where I’d recommend fans of her first pieces buy her work from as I’m certain she will snapped up by a large design house or shop any minute.
All in all, I was impressed by the range of works, skill and impressive professional experience already racked up by these University of Westminster graduates. Next year’s class have a high standard to beat.
Alexander McQueen, Alia Gargum, AMBIKA P3 gallery, Amelia Gregory, Angelina Ioannides-Beer, Ben Jennings, Charlie Rallings, Clare Barrow, Eco-friendly, Frankly Tickles, Graduate Show, illustrated people, illustration, Jon Roscorla, Kate Middleton, London Fashion Week, Marylebone, Muammar Gaddafi, nature, Olivia Henry, Political Cartoon of the Year 2011, print, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The i newspaper, The Morning Star, The Stool Pigeon, The World Development Movement, University of Westminster, Visual Communication
- Graduate Show 2010: Westminster Illustration
- Lie-Ins And Tigers: SH OW Exhibition
- Camberwell College of Arts Illustration MA Graduate Show 2011 Review: part one
- Westminster University: Ba Hons Illustration and Graphic Information Design Graduate Show 2011 Review
- City of Westminster College: Photography Graduate Show 2011 Review