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Varoom 11 – Illustration, Culture, Society
Published by the Association of Illustrators three times a year

Legends from the Pantheon of illustration, an illustrator who makes his own newspaper, and Christmas cards from the very first, to post-Santa post-Christmas post-Capitalist festive cards (don’t ask!). All this, and our cover feature on how Japanese picture-making has changed contemporary Western culture and society, make Varoom 11 our biggest and most comprehensive issue yet.

The New Wave Old Wave features some illustration legends including Seymour Chwast (founder of Push Pin Studios), Ralph Steadman (long-time Hunter S. Thompson collaborator) and Shirley Hughes (author of children’s classic Alfie). They discuss three significant pieces from a lifetime of work, and select a contemporary illustrator they keep an eye on. Academic Des McCannon’s From Folk Culture To Modern British explores how illustrators inspired by folk art are creating a new image of British Nationhood. In The Hood Life, London Journalist Liz Farrelly visits Scottish illustrator Peter Arkle in his Lower East Side neighbourhood, and delivers an intimate portrait of an illustrator whose newspaper of his everyday life fuels a highly successful career creating work for clients such as The New York Times and Nike.

2009 was the year of Japan, from Kuniyoshi at the Royal Academy to the release of a major monograph on Osama Tezuka, the inventor of Manga, to Takashi Murakami’s occupation of an entire room in the Tate show Pop Life. Our cover story Japanism: That Obscure Object Of Desire, by journalist Peter Lyle traces the evolution of Japanism in the West, from the opening of trade in the 18th Century, through to Beardsley and the tragedy of the Detmold Brothers at the beginning of the 20th Century, right through to Murakami’s work for Louis Vuitton and illustrator James Joyce’s Swiss Army Knife for Wallpaper magazine. Joyce created the enigmatic cover for this issue.

Aimee and the Illustrators is an insider’s account of how illustration shaped musician Aimee Mann’s career. In The House That Quentin Built, Jo Davies reveals why icon of illustration, Quentin Blake, needs £6 million, Shynola’s Richard Kenworthy shares work and reflections on late collaborator Gideon Baws, and Tom Gauld selects Chris Ware’s New Yorker cover for I Wish I’d Done This. Varoom 11 is jam-packed with memorable pictures, big stories, and illustration’s unique perspective on contemporary society and culture.

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