Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Is Illustration Still Relevant? Part Three

Across the river however, Shrigley has created something to appeal to a broad range of people, not just illustration geeks like me. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I loved 'Brain Activity' and left the gallery smiling. The point being so did everyone else, everyone that wasn't associated with the illustration industry. The gallery was filled with a broad range of people all enjoying the artwork. These people may not have cared for the works aesthetic quality as much as I did (I really like Shrigley's style but am aware that it is one that can divide people) but they still enjoyed themselves. They enjoyed the exhibition because they enjoyed the message. Because Shrigley had something to say and that something was smart and witty.

The question now is how do we, those illustrators in training, keep the discipline that we love relevant in today's world. How do we stop the work we create only being appreciated by those within our circle? In my opinion the best answer is to follow Shrigley's advice and 'Fight the Nothingness!” We make sure that our work has ideas behind it; we make sure that we use the skills we have been honing during our training to communicate a message to a specific audience, one that doesn't end within the illustration circle.

For example, for my 'Final Major Project' I've been working on a children's book.  The message of my book is all about the father son relationship, and it s intended to be one that farther and their children will read through together, perhaps a bedtime story. The book is aimed at children. I do of course hope that my friends, colleges and tutors like it, and it would give me no greater pleasure for those in the illustration industry to think that it is of merit. But when I created the book I created it specifically for children to read, in the hope that they identify with the characters and enjoy the story.

To conclude what has become a lengthier point than planned: "Is Illustration Still Relevant?" Yes, but we can't take that for granted. We need to ensure that our work has an idea behind it, regardless of its aesthetic qualities and we need to ensure that the idea is one that those outside of the 'Illustration Circle' can appreciate. I'm aware that Zeegan's recent writing may have upset some of those within the circle, but the intentions behind the text are those worth taking notice of. It is only because he loves illustration that he worries for it so, and why he was inspired to write such a piece. It is up to us now, the illustrators in training about to put what we have learned into practice and heed Zeegan's warning. We must remember the message. We must remember the audience. We must fight the nothingness!

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