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

#LondonStories

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

Who can you trust in a post-truth world?

Illustrations for The Long+Short inspired by London crowds

Illustration of a crowd of people

Illustration of a crowd of people

I was recently commissioned to create three illustrations for the digital magazine The Long+Short. It wasn't a straightforward commission as the concept of trust was integral to the article and it didn't immediately conjure up easy imagery. I persevered, though, and am pleased with the diverse trio of concepts I came up with. The above image is essentially about suspicion and is directly inspired by the oodles of people you see walking around central London. These characters mainly came from people I've seen in Trafalgar Square and Borough High Street.

Illustration of a jumbo jet with balloons

Illustration of a jumbo jet with balloons

The next image was about a loss of trust. 'Cautious Jumbo' was the unofficial title I gave it and you can hopefully see that someone on the plane felt the need to add some helium balloons to help it stay in the air.

Illustration of a girl in a breathing mask with flowers

Illustration of a girl in a breathing mask with flowers

The final image was a mixture of suspicion and lack of trust, I think. The woman is no longer confident that the sweet-smelling flowers are what they purport to be, hence the breathing mask.

The Long+Short is an online publication owned by the innovation charity Nesta, an organisation I did a body of other work for that you can see here.

Croydon Citizen Covers

In the last few months, I have been commissioned by a local newspaper to create two illustrations for them. The Croydon Citizen produces web content as well as a free hard copy each month. The first commission was for an article called "Is Croydon Fair?". They came up with the rough concept of the old weighing scales, and suggested local landmarks and services to fill the plate with. The image was used on the front, and inside with the feature.

Croydon Citizen fair spread 819

Croydon Citizen fair spread 819

My new cover illustration for the latest issue of the Croydon Citizen. #illustration #Croydon #SurreyStreetMarket #southlondon #newspaper

A photo posted by Matt Bannister (@bannister_images) on Nov 11, 2015 at 4:12am PST

Here's the 'clean version' without text, followed by some of the initial drawings of elements to go in the dish:

Croydon Citizen - Fair

Croydon Citizen - Fair

Fair Croydon sketches

Fair Croydon sketches

A few months later, I was asked to do a cover image for their Christmas issue, this time highlighting the concerns some Croydonians have had about the temporary closure of the Fairfield Halls.

They, again, had an idea that they wanted bringing to life: the Fairfield Halls in a half and half state of open and closed.

CC Dec page 1

CC Dec page 1

Here's the final version, without text, followed by a drawing of an early version featuring two contrasting trees (that we decided not to use in the end, as it might have hindered the lay out).

Fairfield Halls web

Fairfield Halls web

Fairfield Cover line

Fairfield Cover line