Brighton illustration: then, now, after

Research output: Non-textual outputExhibition


The Drawers, the Makers, the Storytellers, the Thinkers, the Designers, the Entrepreneurs, the Reporters, the Art Directors, the Multi-Disciplinarians, the Film Makers, the Visionaries. A survey of recent work coming out of the Illustration course at the University of Brighton. Covering 50 years his exhibition sets out to celebrate what has been achieved, and to offer possible futures for the practice of illustration in a wider context. Over the past few years the popularity of Illustration has grown as a subject matter and as a creative platform. Since the publication of ‘Pen and Mouse: Commercial Art and Digital Illustration' by Angus Hyland in 2001 Illustration embraced digital technology and with the advent of the Internet has grown in relevance as creative platform. Today illustration is a truly multi-disciplinary, communicating ideas, narratives, concepts, emotions, a viewpoint… As the definitions of what is illustration have become blurred, the Illustration department at Brighton is at the forefront of current thinking about the subject - with graduates orientating themselves towards very diverse audiences. From traditional narrative/story telling, areas of Design crossovers, Art Direction, and Film/Animation. Now with ever changing technology students are working naturally across both print based media and digital, exploring ideas and creating virtual worlds for viewers to inhabit and interact with. It is the intention of the exhibition to bring together some of the running themes produced on the Illustration course to help explore what Illustration is today, and to provocatively challenge preconceptions. The exhibition curated by Paul Burgess and Roderick Mills explores the links, themes and ideas amongst the work of both graduates and staff across varying media. From the illustrated print stories by Quentin Blake, Raymond Briggs, Emily Gravitt to the interactive screen based narratives of Daphne Christoforou and the cyclical sequences that exist only as domain names such as '' created by recent graduate Jonathan Taylor. This is envisaged not only as a celebration of the breadth of what Illustration at Brighton is, but an opportunity to stimulate a discourse both internally and nationally about what we mean by Illustration now. The Illustration course was originally written in 1976 by John Vernon Lord, who would become the first Professor of Illustration, as part of a second year specialism from the existing Graphic Design course. Eventually the popularity of illustration as a specialism necessitated a separate course, though projects remained common across the two disciplines – something recognizable today with current students studying the same modules. Later with George Hardie becoming Professor of Visual Communication the illustration course would have a distinct identity, a conceptual depth alongside the skills of visual storytelling. The unique closeness with the Graphic Design course at Brighton has influenced much of the graphic language produced by students, and it is the intention of the exhibition to show how graduates of Brighton have a confidence in identifying their individual practice and audience in an entrepreneurial spirit rather than simply fitting into the existing commercial market, and collaborating across disciplines, embracing the opportunities of new platforms such as the iPhone and iPad. The exhibition is thematic rather than chronological – in order to draw together some of the themes that have recurred through the 50 years, identifying some of the underlying skills of the past, present and future of illustration. The exhibition, 'Brighton Illustration: Then, Now, After…' was accompanied by a catalogue essay authored by Mills.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2013
Eventexhibition - University of Brighton Gallery, 18 Jan-14 Feb 2013
Duration: 18 Jan 2013 → …


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