Interpretation: Thomas Barwick & Paul Burgess

The Interpretation illustration conference 18-19 September at Arts University Bournemouth is hosting a great array of speakers covering a fascinating variety of topics. We ‘re asking the presenters a couple of questions about illustration, the event and what they’ll be doing. Next up are, Tom Barwick and Paul Burgess. Thomas Barwick Illustrator and academic Thomas Barwick, teaches on the BA (hons) Illustration course at Plymouth University. Tom’s images have appeared in a range of illustration contexts, from editorial through to fashion illustration for a global spread of clients. Tell us a bit about your presentation Its going to be very practice based, demonstrating ways I use error to uncover the material qualities of software, and explaining how that practice has led to a fresh understanding of software as a material. This technical research is connected to an ethnographic approach to arts practice, that sees the artist who uses ‘error’ in their practice to uncover a truer sense of the materials, as a valuable source of strategies and approaches that can unpick software in different ways and become useful for myself and for other illustrators. Whats the best element of attending an illustration conference? I enjoy the slight over exposure we all get to our subject and the resulting cross fertilisation from one speaker to the next. And also those moments when you find you are on the same page as someone else, so often you feel you are chipping away in dark cave alone, so its a great chance to wave a wee banner for whatever you are passionate about and find kindred spirits. Is illustration research important? At the moment my research is action research, it’s technical, and concerned with how materials work in traditional and digital media and finding new ways to work with software. So it leans towards a pragmatic approach that I would call important, because it’s useful to me, feeds the image making, informs my technique and underpins the progress I am trying to make with new ways to make images. Despite this forward looking approach it’s vitally important that the research is grounded historically within the story of illustration as a whole, from its humble origins at the dawn of mankind. Tell us one lesson you’ve learned about ‘interpretation’ as an idea and practice Computers are dumber than they look and have more in common with the way bronze interprets a plaster mold or acid eats into a copper plate than I had at first thought.   Paul Burgess  Paul Burgess is an illustrator/collage artist based in St Leonards-On-Sea, near Hastings. He is also a lecturer at the University of Brighton. Tell us about your presentation I will be giving a presentation on the use of error and mistakes as strategies for the creative process within illustration and graphic design. Hopefully it will be an upbeat talk, looking at several prominent practitioners, and how they all embrace ‘the mistake’ within their work. What’s the best element of attending an illustration conference? It is always interesting to hear a wide range of opinions and viewpoints. Variation is the key, male, female, young and old. Lets hope it is not just a bunch of middle-aged blokes with beards talking. Is illustration research important? Yes, illustration research is key, in fact the most important element. Without research your illustration is just decoration. If you want to be really anal, the dictionary definition of research is: the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.  Illustration research is quite a recent phenomenon, but as the subject expands and pushes the boundaries of what illustration can be, it is good to see our profession grow in a larger social context. People are becoming more aware of research in relation to illustration, particularly here in the UK. Tell us one lesson you’ve learned about ‘interpretation’ as an idea and practice. Well we all enjoy explaining the meaning of something, what is interesting is how we do this as an illustrator? Through solid research, through trail and error, making mistakes, through messing with technology? Many of the illustrators/artists/musicians that I am interested in are good at ‘interpreting’ imagery, sound, and found collage material into something that has a personal viewpoint. That is in ‘interpretation’ in my eyes.   18-19 September 2014, AUB, Bournemouth – Book Now Interpretation is the theme of the latest VaroomLab symposium on illustration, this year held in partnership with Arts University Bournemouth. Illustrators, students and academics are all welcome. Interpretation seeks to explore ways in which illustrators, interpret, re-interpret and misinterpret information through illustration practice. This event will celebrate and investigate the potential exciting creative strategies and possibilities for practitioners to move minds, challenge norms and influence the ways in which we the see the world and connect with it. You are invited to meet fellow illustration enthusiasts over a two day symposium in September in the seaside town of Bournemouth and enjoy the talks presented by practitioners and academics on illustrating the Prisoner of Zenda, Lucien Freud’s early illustration work, gender representation in illustration, interpretations of error, an exploration of how visual storytelling is vital in how we engage with the world, the role of exchange between artist and scientist in natural history illustration, panel discussions and more. Speakers include Bill Prosser, Chris Campe, Joel Lardner & Paul Roberts, Paul Burgess,Mireille Fauchon & Four Corners books, Andrew Kulman, Gary Embury and Thomas Barwick. Guest speakers animator, Cyriak (‘a real renaissance man albeit with a trademark surrealist attitude, psychedelic influence and love of fractal geometry and orders of magnitude’, Varoom) and Marcus Oakley. You can register for tickets here. Special offer accomodation can be sourced here. Symposium times: Thursday 18th September 11.30-12.30pm Registration. 12.30 VaroomLab – Welcome & Introduction to the Symposium Lunch & Refreshments will be provided during the Symposium Friday 19th September 9.30- 10.00am Coffee. First speaker 10.00am 3.30pm Finish Tickets for Interpretation are now on sale, priced as follows:

  • £35 Students
  • £90 Standard Ticket
  • £75 Early Bird (Closes August — Limited availability)
  • £50 VaroomLab Members (Limited availability)