The Poster Prize for Illustration 2019: London Stories

My illustration Paint In the Street is included in a new group exhibition of images at the London Transport Museum.

Matt_Bannister- Paint In The Street-.png

Organised by the Association of Illustrators and the London Transport Museum, the show contains the work of 100 selected creatives who have all responded to the idea of a London story. This might be an historical event, a local legend, a scene from literature or even a narrative of the artist’s own creation. This last approach is how I came up with my poster Paint In The Street.

The image depicts the moment when a delivery driver accidentally spills an order of paint across a busy London street. Typically, the Londoners fail to stop or negotiate the mess and carry on their respective journeys, leaving an attractive (almost abstract) trail of colour across the road. The spillage never happened in reality, but I think this image draws attention to the deliberate and random road markings we can see all over London’s transport networks.

Me at the London Transport Museum at the opening of the  London Stories  exhibition.

Me at the London Transport Museum at the opening of the London Stories exhibition.

The image was created first with acrylic paint on a board. I built up a series of textures using a variety of brush strokes, splashes and flicked paint to help create the backdrop of pavement, kerbstone and tarmac road surfaces. In order to get the crisp, bold shapes for the lines, paint and characters, I used Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop and merged the whole thing together, adding more shading and colour.

Some people have not noticed immediately what is happening in the scene. My mum thought the splashes of paint were strange bodies in the road, for instance, and others have liked the abstract shapes only to see the figures and tyre tracks later. Looking at it now, I think the paint spills remind me of Matisse’s paper cut-outs but I hadn’t planned that at the start - you can’t escape your influences!

Poster Prize for Illustration 2019 – an exhibition of 100 artworks on “London Stories”
London Transport Museum, Exterion Media Gallery, Covent Garden, London
Open 8 February – 14 July 2019

London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, London, WC2E 7BB, United Kingdom


Festivals and Politics

In the last couple of months I have been commissioned to design TWO covers for the Croydon Citizen newspaper. Here are the results.

cover illustrations from The Croydon Citizen

cover illustrations from The Croydon Citizen

Though both inked with real ink and coloured with real, er Photoshop, their subject matters are quite different. May's cover was an amalgam of the annoying problem of fly-tipping in the Croydon borough with the, then, forthcoming general election. Politics is rubbish, indeed.

June's was to celebrate three community festivals taking place that month. Each 'strip' featured a London bus driving down the High Street near the end of Surrey Street. The first: Tech City (hence the modern street scene with sci-fi orange pipes and hovering digital signage). The second: The Summer of Love event in Wandle Park, channeling the spirit of 1967. The third: the Croydon Heritage festival celebrating all of Croydon's past but I was asked to go for the 1950s in order that the Routemaster bus made sense. I've also added some crocus decorations inspired by the new art installation by artists Aether and Hemera, commissioned for the Heritage Festival.

Each 'strip' contains people and buildings, but the eagle-eyed will notice that the clothes of the pedestrians alter slightly depending on what era they are in.

illustrations of pedestrians

illustrations of pedestrians

Also, I've endeavoured to mimic the architecture of Surrey Street in the background by changing the buildings. I wasn't until I did this illustration that I discovered that an old cinema - called The Palladium Cinema - used to stand at the end of Surrey Street, where The Market Tavern is now. Read more about it on Cinema Treasures and see a lovely photo of it in the 1950s on Flickr.

Illustration of the Palladium Cinema, Croydon

Illustration of the Palladium Cinema, Croydon