Varoom 30

The Play issue


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VAROOM 30 – The Play issue
Illustration, Culture, Society Summer 2015

In an age when familiar expectations about our working lives are being disrupted, illustrators hold a trump card. Play is how we invent new creative, commercial and political spaces

New York illustrator Jennifer Maravillas writes in this issue that what she loves most about playing with artistic process is that, “life is never the same when your process revolves around experimentation. My life and the world around me have become the medium.”

Maravillas is part of In The Sandbox, where Varoom asks five illustrators to talk about how play impacts on their work. Varoom 30 also celebrates the powerful imagery of Russell Mills, Gary Card’s lively, colourful and eclectic output (he created the Chihuahua on the Play cover out of Plasticine), the ‘art’ in gaming (including Brenda Romero’s three dimensional Train) and Pat Kane’s Play Ethic.

Featured in this issue:

Game for a Laugh

Paul Davis explores through dark play the professional relationships between the psychopathic art director, the sociopathic art and the illustrator.

Inside the Sandbox

We step inside the sandbox with illustrators Marian Bantjes, Jennifer Maravillas, Kristi Minchin, Christoph Niemann and Steve Simpson as they reflect on their value of Play in their creative process.

The Art Game

The gaming industry potentially offers a high score for illustrators. John Sharp, the author of Works of Game: On the Aesthetics of Games and Art, discusses what illustrators might learn from games, communities of practice and more.

Boards, Culture and Politics

With the help from Nicholas Ricketts (the museums collections curator of The Strong – the National Museum of Play), we were able to explore the archive of the world’s most extensive collections of toys, board games, video games etc. Find out cultural and social stories behind some of the more unusual games in their collection.

Creating the Space of Play

Find out the value of Play in education from Ben Stopher, the Programme Director Interactive & Visual Communication at the LLC and Andrew Kulman, Professor of Graphic Art at Birmingham City University.

Playing with Space: The Image of Theatre Russell Mills

Rick Poynor examines the benchmark body of work in history of illustration through Russell Mills and how he addressed cultural and social ideas within a commercial context in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

Gary Cards Spontaneous Combustion

From headpieces for Lady Gaga to bizarre covers for Kafka novels, Gary Card’s image making travels in many different directions. Zoe Taylor’s interview with Card reveals an illustrators alert to the possibilities of improvisation

Pat Kane – The Play Ethic

You may remember Pat Kane from the band Hue and Cry in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. Now Kane is back and is in great demand for his ideas around Play due to his agenda setting book – The Play Ethic. Kane puts play and creativity at the heart of how we need to revolutionize the social and political order in the 21st Century.

Also in Varoom 30, Andrezej Klimowski reviews the newly published version of Julian Tuwim’s Locomotive, the famous Polish children’s book. Varoom has a quick Q&A with illustrator Steven Guarnaccia who then picked out illustrator Richard Mcguire from his new playful book Here about their process of Play in the work. And Zoe Taylor interviews Chinese illustrator, Jiiakuann about her process of play in her mesmerizing characters and illustrations.