At the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, there was an exhibition dedicated to Illustrators called the Bologna Illustrators Exhibition. It was a fairly small exhibit but there was a lot of work from many different Illustrators all over the world. This year, out of 3190 submissions, 375 works were selected from 75 Illustrators. Each illustrator had to come up with a narrative in 5 panels. The work was picked by a jury of publishers, artists, and museum directors, and curated by the Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
I thought the Illustrators Exhibition was so interesting because it was curated by the fair. The Bologna Children’s Book Fair is one of the biggest children’s book fairs in the world so that means people from all over the world are there. I will break down into bullet points why this is awesome:
There are so many styles and types of art that you were not aware of. There are some pieces that you see and immediately think “this piece is definitely influenced by Japan” or “that definitely has Indian influences”. You get to expand your knowledge of art and the types of art that are going on all over the world just by being there and seeing all of the works.
The people who come to the show are people who are working in the industry, such as publishers, illustrators, artists, art directors, editors, and the like, or at least has a connection to someone in the industry (“I know someone who knows someone who know this man who knows this lady…”)
The publishers and Illustrators who are already published are constantly looking for new Illustrators and artists to collaborate with.
Like I mentioned, there are people who are from all over the world. For instance, I did not know that Korea, China, Malaysia, and Slovakia had such a huge market for children’s books. As a Korean-American, I find that very interesting because I was so fixated on “making it” here, in America, that I didn’t even consider my options in Korea, or anywhere else for that matter. I always wanted to work with Korea and now I know a way in! I am more exposed to their culture, and with the knowledge I have of their market, I can consider working with them if I get the chance.
Even though the Bologna Children’s Book Fair is one of the leading professional book fairs in the world, no one really knows about it in America. Why? I’m not too sure why. Whether you think it’s because America is too self-absorbed or because you don’t know anyone who wants to work as a children’s book Illustrator*, only one artist from America got into the exhibit and it was our very own Parsons faculty, Sergio Ruzzier!
I think at this point in our lives, being students, knowing our options and what’s available to us is probably the most important thing to understand. From this exhibition, I was able to learn about different cultures, different techniques, different styles, and different opportunities for me. Even if you only want to work in the US, I think this is a great way to let your name and your work be known. Especially since this is a curated exhibition, you know that only the best of the best will get in. Hopefully by next year, we’ll have more than one name that’s from America.
The Visit to the Students at the Accademia di Belli Arti di Bologna
On our first day in Bologna we visited the students at Accademia di Belli Arti di Bologna to exchange zines and create paper cats.
The Accademia is designed very differently than Parsons. The Accademia was established in 1710 and still has an old gate at the entrance with hallways filled with marble sculptures. The lecture hall has a domed ceiling and sculptures encircling the room. The school occupies a former Jesuit church.
We exchanged our “Mental Voyage” zines with the students from Bologna. One by one we described our concepts. There wasn’t a huge barrier between the Italian students’ perspectives on “Mental Voyage” and that of the New York students. Each zine was very different in color, style, and form. After sharing our zines we made paper owls and cats. It was great to do an activity together and see the different kinds of cats we can make out of the same piece of paper.
We met a second time with the Italian students at the ZOO book shop and bakery. We sat in a circle and recapped the events of the week: our first meeting, the Bologna Book Fair, and the overall exchange with each other. The most meaningful part of the last meeting was discussing what we want to do after graduating school. This raised many interesting topics. As a group we are all different ages and at different points in our career. Some of the students had a clear vision of their paths as illustrators, and others were in a process of discovery. It was very clear that even though the Italian students study in a different continent we all share similar feelings and experiences.
Hello! We’ve moved over to a new blog: amt.parsons.edu/illustration
Pardon any aesthetic issues you may find. We are in the process of fixing tweaks. Thanks!
Below is only a fraction of the amazing work by George Bates Studio in executing the Virgin Mobile Office Murals. To learn more about the backstory and process of this project or to simply just take a gander at the rest of the photos of their work, visit the blog to read the full post at http://georgebatesstudio.blogspot.com/2013/11/virgin-mobile-office-muralsit-always.html.