The works of leading national and regional artists, cartoonists and illustrators drew in over 1,000 visitors as the Hartlepool Festival of Illustration launched its three- month exhibition at the Hartlepool Art Gallery.
Proving a massive draw were works by Gerald Scarfe, satirical cartoonist for the Sunday Times, and Sir Ridley Scott, a former student of the former West Hartlepool College of Art, who kindly donated story boards from his works Boy and a Bicycle and Black Hawk Down.
In collaboration with Hartlepool Borough Council and hosted by Cleveland College of Art and Design (CCAD), the Hartlepool Festival of Illustration saw over 40 world-renowned artists exhibit their original works, including Gruffalo-illustrator Axel Scheffler and Jane Hissey, author and illustrator of children’s book series, Old Bear and Friends.
In a celebration of the illustrative arts, a full programme of talks by artists brought in packed audiences to the second Hartlepool Festival of Illustration, including Lawrence Goldsmith, cartoonist and co-writer for the Hartlepool legend Andy Capp by Reg Smythe.
Lawrence said: “The Festival exhibition is brilliant and has really got some fantastic names here, such as Ridley Scott and Gerald Scarfe. I would encourage people to come and have a look and to get inspired and then pick up a pencil or paintbrush and have a go.”
On his character Andy Capp, Lawrence said: “The comic is so enduring and successful because the characters that Reg Smythe invented are brilliant. He is an everyman – he likes his footy and beer and his betting on horses and that translates round the world – still.”
Sean Garnett, co-writer for Andy Capp, said: “The art gallery is a lovely location and a fantastic building for the exhibition. Illustration is one of those things that whether you have a particular interest or not, there is something here that will strike you. Everybody should look at art in some form or another, and a lot of work has been put into this exhibition, so there is something to appeal to every age and every style.
“It also sparks childhood memories and in this digital day and age, you forget just how
good some illustrators are and were, with some fantastic talent on display here.”
Over 250 works of art from as far back as the 1950s and 60s are now on display at the Hartlepool Art Gallery in Church Square, which is open until 29 August.
Sandra Dieckmann, artist and illustrator, said: “The festival is wonderful and I have had a great look around. I think it is an amazing exhibition that has been put together and I’m very impressed. I especially love the work of Benji Davies and Axel Scheffler, as I’m in picture books as well, so was particularly drawn to them, and seeing Chris Riddell’s sketches has been great. The quality of all of the work is amazing.”
Derek Brazell, editor of illustration industry magazine – Varoom – and project manager for the Association of Illustrators, gave an industry perspective on the art of self promotion to a full audience alongside artists Sandra and Ben Tallon.
Derek said: “For the illustration industry, events like this are so important to celebrate the arts because illustrators often work individually and on their own. It’s a really powerful and positive thing to come together and actually see what other people are doing, get inspired by the work, and it also fosters a sense of community. Any event that’s showing the work – which it does here brilliantly – but also talking about the industry and other people’s experiences, helps people feel they are part of something bigger, which they are as it is quite a sizeable industry.”
Ben Clowes, Programme Leader for CCAD’s Illustration for Commercial Application degree, said: “The second Hartlepool Festival of Illustration gave us the opportunity to exhibit some of the best in the field, show the cornucopia of image making and how we all can, and do relate, as every picture tells a story.
“It is rare to be able to exhibit such a quality show outside of the capital. The illustration team relished the chance to curate such an exciting mix of artists and to pull together names from across the world. By looking to its past, present and future, this exhibition captures the essence and breadth of the industry.
“It fills me with pride to also have graduates from the BA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application programme exhibiting this year, on their merit and hard work they have been able to forge the beginning of what will be illustrious careers.”
As well as the exhibition, a number of free workshops are taking place across the Tees Valley throughout June, including CCAD alumni Alan Vest, who now illustrates for The Guardian, and fashion illustrator and CCAD lecturer, Frances Moffatt. For more information, please visit http://festivalofillustration.com/workshops/
The Festival is made possible through the generous financial support of Arts Council England and its Lottery Funded Grants for the Arts programme, Hartlepool Borough Council, the Sir James Knott Trust and sponsors Grand Central Trains, Northern Print and Crossing the Tees.