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Swansea Metropolitan University is hosting the AOI Images 36 Best of Illustration Exhibition next January as part of the Images 36 tour. The exhibition coincides with the second Varoomlab symposium, entitled “Spatialising Illustration” which also takes place on the campus. The AOI Images 36 Best of British Illustration Exhibition is hosted by the Swansea Metropolitan General Illustration BA (Hons) and will run for six weeks from 11th January to 14th February 2013.


“Images” is the flagship programme for the promotion of contemporary British illustration produced and has been produced by the Association of Illustrators since 1976. Images is the only independent, jury-selected illustration competition in the UK, and always coincides with the publication of an accompanying book which is used by many art directors and commissioning editors to commission new illustration talent.

Images-36-Jonathan-McHugh-Bank-and-bankers_-How-The-Mighty-Have-Fallen...jpgCredit: Jonathan McHugh, ‘Bank and bankers: How The Mighty Have Fallen’

The Images 36 Exhibition showcases the work of over 50 emerging illustrators from throughout the UK who took part in the AOI’s annual competition. The exhibition was launched at Somerset House in London and will complete a national tour enabling the work to be seen in all areas of the country. Blackpool and Fylde College hosted the show from 12th November to 14th December, with the Swansea show planned from January 2012. The tour will then visit Middlesex University, followed by a stint at the University for the Creative Arts in Maidstone.

Images-36-Olaf-Hajek-African-Beauty.jpgCredit: Olaf Hajek, ‘African Beauty’

Images 36 includes the exciting work of new talented illustrators as well as established names. The show includes the work of: Booktrust’s best new illustrator Chris Haughton; Lizzie Mary Cullen, recognized as one of Design Week’s 50 Hot people; Stephen Collins, winner of the Jonathan Cape/ Observer Graphic Short Story Prize in 2010, and Steve May, who was shortlisted for British Animation Award, 2008.

The work of the gold, silver and bronze award winners is also on display from each of the eight competition categories; Advertising, Books, Children’s Books, Design, New Media, Editorial, Self-Promotion and New Talent.

Images-36-Juliana-Wang-Checkers.jpgCredit: Juliana Wang, ‘Checkers’

The exhibition also coincides with the second Varoomlab symposium, entitled “Spatialising Illustration“. The symposium will take place from Thursday 24 -25 January on campus.

Varoomlab is an international research project which encourages debate and research activity in all areas of illustration. The VaroomLab website is “a unique space for discussing peer-reviewed papers, sharing ideas, and stimulating vital debate. From students thinking out loud, to post-graduates shaping original research paths, to academics preparing conference papers, this shared network of researchers and professional practitioners aims to be a catalyst for innovation in illustration in the 21st Century.”(via Varoomlab).

The symposium aims to “explore ways in which we encounter space through illustration” and seeks to “roam beyond illustration as a discipline and explore it as a medium inherent in many artistic activities”. According to Varoomlab, “lllustration has the capacity to lead us to both physical and mindful places: like a symbolic map of society, navigation is by way of interpretation; putting into context – spacialising.”

Swansea Metropolitan is a founding Varoomlab partner and regularly contributes to the project. The Illustration course at Swansea is designed to encourage an open, exploratory approach to a multi-disciplinary illustration practice. Other VaroomLab members include The Arts University College in Bournemouth, University of Derby, Manchester Metropolitan University, Middlesex University, Plymouth University and Savannah College of Art & Design, USA.

The AOI Images 36 Best of British Illustration Exhibition runs from 11 Jan – 14 Feb 2013 at Swansea Metropolitan, Dynevor Campus of Art, Design and Media, De-La-Beche Street, SWANSEA, SA13EU

Opening hours:
Monday – Friday 8.30am – 5.00pm
Saturday 9.00am – 3.00pm
Admission is free