- David Hughes (Illustrator)
David Hughes is an
artistand illustrator. He lives in Maples, Stockport, Greater Manchester, UK.
David Hughes, born in
Twickenham(in 1952? "(See: "Sandy Turner", below)") describes himself as "a graphic designer who happens to illustrate." [ [http://www.creativematch.co.uk/viewnews/?88491 The Pentagram Award - David Hughes] . Accessed February 7, 2008] Expressing the desire to become an artist from a young age, he studied at Twickenham Technical Collegein the early 1970s, completing a four-year course on (largely technical) Illustration. [http://www.theaoi.com/Mambo/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=183&Itemid=26 Interview with David Hughes by Ian Massey, 01 August 2000] . Accessed March 14, 2008] Towards the very end of his course, he discovering an interest in etching and produced "a small series of etchings based on a piece of jazz by Charlie Parker." After leaving college, he produced his first commissions for the The Daily Express's cookery page, but became frustrated and disillusioned by the lack of creativity involved. A lack of "sympathetic advice" saw him abandon drawing for "a year or so," to become a postman. During this time (mid-1970s), he was re-inspired by a Post Office colleague to take up life drawingagain, and eventually became aware (through the work of "amongst others, Ian Pollock, Russell Mills and Chloe Cheese") that there was a market for his talents.
Granada TV and The Observer
In 1980 he was given a job at
Granada TV, Manchester as a graphic designer, giving him the financial security of paid employment to experiment artistically. This led to a freelance commission from David Pocknellto "produce 40 black and white pencil and charcoal illustrations" for Eric Morecambe's book "On Fishing," which ultimately inspired Hughes to leave Granada in 1985 to become a full-time illustrator - a decision that some found hard to understand::"I was in a well-paid job and people felt that I was mad to leave, but I felt a compulsion to be an illustrator."
Another key moment occurred in 1988, when, having long been working on "Strat and Chatto" by
Jan Markhe found that after his "early drawings in pencil/charcoal [were] rejected as too sophisticated," and he felt that pencil-work often sufferred from printing techniques he experimented in improving his pen and ink style. "Submitt [ing] a rough pen and ink drawing to Pentagram", he found that they "chose to use it as a finished piece" as the cover to a book by Don Marquisentitled "Archy and Mehitabel". In late 1989, "he was invited by The Observermagazine to produce drawings for a topical weekly medical column, "A Doctor Writes" by Dr. John Collee," first as one of a number of rotating artists, but soon as the solo, regular weekly artist. Describing his aversion to roughing out his work, Hughes notes the immediacy and challenge of producing full work as tending to allow an artist to produce better work::"Roughs are the kiss of death. I hate doing roughs. . .I don’t rough anything out in pencil, its always pen and ink.., it’s the moment; it’s the difference between the practice run and the actual reality, it lifts your game. It’s really demanding. Pencils easier, lovely, for me it’s almost like relaxing."
Gian Carlo Menotti, director of the Spoleto festival in Italy and his son Francis Menotti, invited Hughes to produce poster designs to advertise the 1992 festival, having seen his work in The Observor. [ [http://www.davidhughesillustration.co.uk/bio.php Biographical information at David Hughes Illustration] . Accessed February 7, 2008] (Previous designers have included David Hockney, Ben Shahn, Larry Rivers, Robert Rauschenbergand Henry Moore.) [ [http://www.davidhughesillustration.co.uk/bio.php Biographical information at David Hughes Illustration] . Accessed February 7, 2008] Hughes also "mounted a major exhibition of his work as part of the festival," which subsequently trasferred to the Charleston Festival in South Carolinain 1993.
Hughes was also asked by the Menottis to design an operatic version for their 1993 season of "
The Rake's Progress", a task he was wary of taking "because of Hockney's famously lauded version". In late 1992, Hockney's opera was stage in Manchester, and Hughes attended, leaving with the opinion that::"It was very clever, but there was only one scene where I thought I cant top that, that's fantastic."Attempting to 'update the biting satire of Hogarth's etchings', Hughes took a satirical approach to 'give the work a contemporary relevance,' utilising all manner of historical styles and imagery associated with sports and gambling, as well as indulging in 'appropriately playful bawdyness'. Hailed by Italian critics as a complete success, Hughes feels in retrospect that it's biggest help to himself was that it "made [him] think about colour more, and form."
"Today" and beyond
Finding himself back in
Marple, Cheshireafter the "adrenalin-fuelled team work of opera", Hughes was 'kept sane' by creating press adverts for American Expressas well as being given carte blanch (in 1993) by journalist Christopher Wilsonto draw "weekly portrait drawings" for the newspaper "Today" 's "Poison Pen" gossip column, creating what he considers "some of his best portraits" of figures including Delia Smith, Virginia Bottomley, Stephen Fryand Jeffrey Archer.
He was subsequently invited to design another opera for Spoleto - "The Cunning Little Vixen" for their 1998 season, considering it::"..totally simplified in comparison. I went the other way, which was good, I'd got all the ornate crap out in Rakes Progress."His work on "The Cunning Little Vixen" included 3-dimensional sculptural collages "with letterforms and fiat colour", which proved difficult to translate technically into sets.
Ian Massey suggests that Hughes "uses collage elements as accents or as punctuation," and he concurs, noting that he has used simple collage elements from some of his earliest work. Hughes particularly favours the use of
postage stamps in his work, not just because of what they evoke::"...you look at old letters, people write beautifully, and you see the stamps, the seal, the frank mark," but also because he is an avid collector - "cigarette cards, bubble gum cards, stamps, matchbox labels, beermats..." and the like.
Hughes' alter-ego "Sandy Turner" was first credited in 1999 in "
The New Yorker", and is therefore said to have been born in New York (in 1952). The name is described as "bland... bi-sexual... kind of American sounding, Scottish maybe, it's beachy, it's optimistic, it's ordinary", and is seen as some to be a 'light' couterpart to Hughes' often-darker work. [http://www.imagesofdelight.com/gallery25.htm "Sandy Turner" biography at "Images of Delight"] . Accessed February 7, 2008] "Sandy Turner" 'died' in Norfolk, England in 2005, having produced four books and illustrated a fifth.
tyle and other credits
His work incorporates aspects of illustration, graphic design, photography and animation, and his
satiricaldrawings (often on the themes of "war, politics and social crisis"), have appeared in "Punch", The Observerand The New Yorker, as well as being exhibited internationally. [http://www.imagesofdelight.com/client.asp?id=66 David Hughes biography at "Images of Delight"] . Accessed February 7, 2008] He cites among his many influences L. S. Lowry, David Hockney, Egon Schiele, Peter Blake, Diane Arbus, George Hardie, Bush Hollyhead, [http://www.artrobins.com/ Arthur Robins] , Tony Meeuwissen, [http://www.mickbrownfield.com/ Mick Brownfield] and Richard Avedon. Hughes states that he rarely uses references, favouring "develop [ing] forms through drawing"::"You don’t think of ideas.., you know, sometimes an idea pops into your head but rarely for me. ideas come through drawing."
His work has also appeared in the "
Evening Standard", " GQ", "Esquire", " Today", " The Washington Post" and " The New Yorker", while Hughes has also produced work for UK TV station Channel 4. [ [http://www.alibaba-verlag.de/LitKunst/othello_english.htm David Hughes bio from Alibaba Verlag] . Accessed February 7, 2008] His design work for the stage includes two operatic productions at Spoleto, in 1993 and 1998. [ [http://www.alibaba-verlag.de/LitKunst/othello_english.htm David Hughes bio from Alibaba Verlag] . Accessed February 7, 2008]
Widely acclaimed as a children's book illustrator, Hughes also writes some of the books he illustrates, as well as illustrating the work of others. In autumn 2006, he provided the illustrations of
Jan Needle's retelling of Victor Hugo's " The Hunchback of Notre-Dame". His artwork has also adorned the covers of books published by Faber and Faberand Picador. [ [http://www.alibaba-verlag.de/LitKunst/othello_english.htm David Hughes bio from Alibaba Verlag] . Accessed February 7, 2008]
Awards & nominations
"Strat and Chatto" (by
Jan Mark), won Hughes the Mother Goose Awardfor "most exciting newcomer to British children's book illustration" in 1990."Bully" was shortlisted for the Smarties Book Prizein 1993."Little Robert" was selected by the Association of Illustratorsin 1997 for "Image 22", and was subsequently exhibited at the Royal College of Art, and later touring. [ [http://www.alibaba-verlag.de/LitKunst/othello_english.htm David Hughes bio from Alibaba Verlag] . Accessed February 7, 2008] In 1999 he received a D&ADSilver Award for his illustrations of " Othello", which he worked on with Ben Casey and The Chase.In 2003 he received the Pentagram Awardafter being "selected from the hundreds of talented graphic artists involved in the Association of Illustrators' Images 28 project, and for his outstanding contribution to the art of illustration." [ [http://www.creativematch.co.uk/viewnews/?88491 David Hughes - Pentagram Award] . Accessed February 7, 2008]
*"Little Robert" (Alibaba) - "only printed in German"
*Mark, Jan, "Strat and Chatto" (1990)
*"David Hughes: Drawings" (Kerber Verlag 2003)
As "Sandy Turner"
*"Grow Up" (Joanna Cotler Books/
HarperCollinsUS 2003) ( Walker BooksUK 2003)
*"Silent Night" (Joanna Cotler Books/
HarperCollinsUS 2003) ( HarperCollinsUK 2003)
*"Otto's Trunk" (Joanna Cotler Books/
*Steig, Jeanne, "Tales from Gizzard's Grill" (Joanna Cotler Books/
* [http://www.davidhughesillustration.co.uk/ David Hughes' Illustration website]
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