VaroomLab Illustration Symposium Day 1 Arts University Bournemouth

Interpretation Conference day 1

The venue was described by the Vice Chancellor  of AUB as a soubriquet of a seaside town and reputedly known as housing the  studio of  the late Anthony Caro as wells being the town where Disraeli repaired his gout and proud to have only  recently got rid of Max Bygraves…  to Australia…Welcome to Bournemouth also I should add a  very burgeoning area of creative industries.

Here we were, Day one of a two day Illustration symposium, hosted by the Arts University Bournemouth and part of VaroomLab, the research arm of the Association of Illustrators. Previously held in Plymouth and then Swansea this is the third event in what is likely to become a highlight on the illustration world’s calendar.The list of speakers was impressive in so much as they were all talking about or interpreting the theme of Interpretation. This was to include Re-interpretation and Miss-interpretation

Marcus Oakley

Marcus was the first keynote speaker. he asked the question of how Art and illustration could be compared and went on to show a large number of visual examples of what he thought art might be? its an age old conversation and this was never going to be the platform to get serious answers. Marcus treated it all in a casual and accessible way. The most interesting section of his presentation was a lightening tour of his Pinterest site…I could say more but I won’t..I would like to raise my doubts over whether the Cerne Abbas Giant ( easy laughs) was pre 1600?..I thought it was!

Chris Campe

Illustration manipulates how people see the world; see women and their role in society and how they behave. A conscious decision must be made to show women and men in an equal and competent light. Chris who is from Germany gave us some well considered case studies and a valuable treatise as to whether the client who commissions work has an agenda to manipulate our interpretations of gender.

James Jarvis

Talked about how the themes affected his work, a personal journey from airbrush drawings of skateboard ramps to slam city skates to Silas toys which he now ‘disowns’? He talked about the empowerment of setting up a company. His Modernist ape toy, King Ken came from AMOS with a partner …. a real art toy … others utilised obscure pop culture references. Clients he said  commission him for a look, selling his work to associate themselves with the  James Jarvis brand.

Joe Lardner took us into the territory of Glitch Art. Glitch is that new (isn) phenomena of the accidental and sometimes intentional occurrence of digital errors..the sudden abstract smear of corrupted pixels, it has now coined new terms  data joshing, data bending, data mashing

Glitch as a visual never make advances without a catastrophe

Raw material bursting out onto the screen

The discussion centre red around The Glitch Momentum and the new aesthetic this is derived from Rosa Menkman’s glitch momen(tum)

They broke Glitch down into a number of separate categories

*Pure glitch accidental unexpected

artist intervenes data joshing, databending

*Instigated glitch cultural absorption and becomes commodified

*Commodified glitch

They discussed Noise and illustration looking at printmaking and Kate Gibb who utilises noise and feedback. also referring to Kustaa saksi hypnopompic

I enjoyed David lewandowski’s “late for meeting’

Paul Burgess

Make room for error featuring David Foldavari’s animation and Mark Prenderghast’s after school club haushka

Thomas Barwick

His talk features in Varoom 27 due out soon.

Andrew Kulman


“The real world is not what you think, but simply an interpretation of the world from your own personal point of view. Everyone’s reality however will be different “

A more detailed account will be posted in a separate blog.

Andrew Kulman preparing

Andrew Kulman preparing


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