Introducing another interesting, inspiring, intellectual illustrator. Whether or not he is all these things, you will have to read on to find out, but the alliteration sounds good.
James Albon is an illustrator and print maker that graduated from Edinburgh College of Art earlier this year. He has now taken on the graduate studio assistant position at ECA, so I pestered him with some questions, some of which may or may not have been about advice for fourth year. He has some very interesting things to say about illustration, the value of art and life in general, so I will divulge these secrets here.
James says something like, ‘I sort of hate that question about what I am influenced by? What are you meant to say to that? I’m influenced by… my life?’ That is more or less an accurate description of James’ approach to illustration. He first jokes that his main inspirations are nicotine and alcohol, then says that he feels the potential for comment in illustration, is often under looked, and a lot of his work is about drawing out what he finds interesting in real life, and this is often criticising society.
His main body of work consists of relief prints. This is a printing process where a block of lino or wood is carved away to create an image, then inked up and transferred onto paper using a printing press (or a wooden spoon if you don’t have the facilities). The results are often quite decisive, graphic, stylised images with bold use of colour and tone. It is for this quality of a planned, finished images that James chooses to use this process. His research drawings are very quick, expressive and immediate, so the finished print is like the drawing’s counterpart.
In the summer, James went to Ethiopia for an Artist in Residency placement, and created a series of prints based off of his drawings from there. Thanks to these amazing prints, he recently won the Royal Society of Printmakers Student Award!
He’s taken part in many exhibitions, a list of which may be seen on his website, and will be touring the UK with his Ethiopia prints, so keep an eye out for these as they may be coming to a gallery near you.
Another large part of James’ interests are in writing. For his final degree show earlier this year, he wrote and illustrated a series of stories about different characters who experience the premonition of the end of the world. He is also giving playwriting a whirl and took a course on theatre design.
In the near future, he plans to travel to Hong Kong, and put together some work based on his experiences there. This work may or may not include a play, which will be definitely interesting to see. I think it shows that students of the creative arts certainly aren’t limited to doing one thing, and it takes a great level of thought and intellect to produce work that has a voice, and doesn’t just look pretty.
To read some more about this interesting individual, and of course to admire his wondrous work, we welcome wayfarers to wander his website.