For the April / May issue of Aesthetica, Sailor Jerry called for artists to submit flash illustrations that reflected the brand and demonstrated something new. The top five entrants were shortlisted by acclaimed artist and Glasgow School of Art alumnus Peter Rossi, with over 11 years of experience and over 30 international awards including Graphis Design Annual, New York, and press in Creative Review. The winners – Alice Hill-Woods, Jack Goozee, Rachel Hardy, Sine Harris and Graham Morton – reflect upon the role of competitions and where they find inspiration today.
A: Why did you enter the competition, and what is it about the brand that you respond to personally?
AH-W: I engaged with the brand as one that explored human connections and pushed boundaries. I wanted to enter the competition because it gave me an excuse to try an aesthetic style I haven’t touched upon for years. The brief was fairly flexible as well, so it gave me the opportunity to expand my own ideas and intentions behind the piece.
A: How did you begin to put together your piece, and what inspiration did you take from Sailor Jerry?
JG: Before I put together my piece I looked extensively through examples of art and tattoos in the classic style that’s synonymous with Sailor Jerry. The bold lines and the limited colours makes it a recognisable style. So, I began my piece by sketching out a single figure drinking from a bottle, as many Sailor Jerry designs involve a central figure. From there I took a picture of the sketch and traced over it on my iPad using Adobe Illustrator. This when I start to apply colour and start to mess around with how the devil in my design can echo the look of work from Sailor Jerry. Simple, bold and identifiable.
A: How long have you worked in illustration, and how does the winning piece for Sailor Jerry differ to your previous pieces?
RH: I’ve worked in illustration since 2015. I had my first opportunity to design a Logo for Mach Aviation, which is an aviation consultancy/broker company. Ever since, I’ve done commissioned portraiture and paintings in a range of mediums. The piece for Sailor Jerry wasn’t at all structured or planned before I started. I was inspired by the boldness of Sailor Jerry’s designs through his strength of line weight and colour, so I at least knew I wanted to personify this, prevailing my own illustration through colour and simplicity. The outcome of my design is relatable to society, in the way that people are silenced. The piece is about protest, for those in need of courage, or those seeking it. This is how art can be a mechanism.
A: How do you think that your work compares to the other winners, and what kind of consistency is created across theme or subject matter?
SH: I think there was a really interesting range of responses – all quite visually distinct. We all had quite a strong sense of what we wanted to get across, which is a consistency in itself, I suppose.
A: Why do you think that competitions are important within the role of the artist?
GM: Competitions allow you to not only be judged but judge yourself. I guess if you give a group of people the same rules to a subject it’s really interesting to view how the perceive, ingest and apply those rules in completely different ways.
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1. Courtesy of Sailor Jerry and Campus Group.