Festival poster winner is excited about new phase in his artistic life

Helen Holden and Julia Wilson, from Samphire Bay, at the Alnmouth Arts Festival 2013.
Helen Holden and Julia Wilson, from Samphire Bay, at the Alnmouth Arts Festival 2013.

As plans are well on their way for this year’s Alnmouth Arts Festival we take a look at the event’s poster competition winner.

Illustrator Stephen Jeffrey is this year’s winner. His work, shown bottom right, was chosen by a panel of judges as the best portrayal of the festival and all its elements.

Diary of Events.
Alnmouth Arts Festival

Diary of Events. Alnmouth Arts Festival

Stephen graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 1982 with BA Hons in Product Design.

A finalist in the prestigious AOI illustration awards, he went on to work as a designer for Glasgow City Council, working on an exhibition for the 1988 Glasgow Garden Festival.

In 1989 Stephen joined a London illustration agency and quickly developed an extensive client list.

Stephen was an associate lecturer at North Tyneside College and visiting lecturer at Sunderland and Northumbria Universities, mostly teaching graphic design and illustration.

Alnmouth Arts festival 2017 poster

Alnmouth Arts festival 2017 poster

He is now concentrating on linocuts and collages, based on local historical and architectural heritage, as well as more quirky themes, such as vintage ships, trains and planes.

Talking about his art he said: “From an early age I’ve always made pictures or designed things. I filled sketchbooks with drawings of dinosaurs, machines, knights and horses, everything really. By the time I got to art school I could have gone into painting, sculpture, illustration, printmaking or 3D design, I chose industrial design.

“Initially, I worked on exhibitions and graphic design projects, and in 1987 moved into full-time illustration after securing a place on the books of a London agency. That kept me pretty much busy for a good few decades, mostly doing editorial illustration, but in between that and lecturing I kept up with my own paintings, sculptures and prints, which is where I now focus most of my energies, particularly at the moment on printmaking.

“I’m very excited about this new phase in my artistic life. It’s early days and I’ve yet to develop a market or defined style, but things are fresh and novel and I always like the challenge of learning new skills.”

He added: “I still get most inspiration from looking at the best in art and design. I’ll often get obsessed with an artist and study their work intensely, that way I can absorb their technique and approach before moving onto the next obsession.”

Alnmouth Arts Festival will be held in the village on Saturday, June 17, and Sunday, June 18. There will be events taking place throughout the weekend. See www.alnmouthartsfestival.co.uk