Amber Vittoria has been named 'Professional' overall winner in this year's World Illustration Awards with Mariajo Ilustrajo scooping the top spot for 'New Talent'.
Amber was praised for her project for Facebook's Analog Lab, which focused on the idea of empathy. Inspired by the modern embrace of individuality within office spaces, her risograph poster series leverages bright and colourful portraits of women heading into work.
Mariajo, meanwhile, was recognised for her Flooded picture book, which she created during her Master's degree in Children's Book Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University. "The initial idea was almost a script for a movie," she explains. "A city got flooded and different stories happened to different characters. It was way too long. And I tried to tackle too many things for one project. However, little by little I simplified the story to make it more suitable for a picture book."
Amber and Mariajo were selected by an international jury from over 4,300 entries from 79 countries, answering to the brief: 'Be Ambition, Be Seen and Be Celebrated'. Organised by the AOI, in partnership with the Directory of Illustration, the popular competition also saw winners announced for each of the 10 award categories which include advertising, editorial, children's publishing, design, plus product and packaging.
Peter Phobia is the New Talent winner of the advertising category for 'Neighbors of New York', a project that explores diversity and reflects on the beautiful mix of characters that give New York its "unique flavour". The artworks were created for Link NYC and were displayed in New York on over 1,700 public screens across all five boroughs.
Jan Robert Duennweller, meanwhile, is the Professional winner of the advertising category for his Travel With Purpose series for RIMOWA.
Dion MBD is the New Talent winner of the alternative publishing category for his self-published "passion project", Until We Meet Again. Based on a "former, long-distance relationship", the book took six months to create and is a beautiful tribute to love. "Do something that matters to you, not something you think people deem worthwhile," he says.
A Spot of Loneliness by Aysha Tengiz caught the judge's attention and made her Professional winner in the alternative publishing category. The picture book is based on feeling lonely in London. "Even though the city is bustling with people – we’re constantly surrounded by people at work, on public transport and along the streets – yet feelings of sadness and loneliness can creep up," she says.
Laura Wächter is the Professional winner of the book covers category for her series of four books by author Annie Ernaux, an award-winning French female writer with strong autobiographical and "feminine" content. Laura was commissioned by Tusquets Editores and completed the work under the Art Direction of Carlos Aranda.
"The publishing house was looking for an illustrator that was capable of visually reflecting the mix of sensitivity and rawness that the author has in her texts and has been defined as her personal style," Laura explains. "They contacted me because I've worked mainly with female characters and harsh or unpleasant topics, using sweet and harmonic scenarios, figures and colours, that most of the time result in a contradictory feeling. I wanted the scenes to be intriguing and subtle; beautiful, but holding that inner tension that would make the viewer feel that 'something is not quite right'."
Jacques Kleynhans is the Professional winner of the exploration category for Zeb and the Bungle Bee of Death: an "exploration into the non-linear narrative". As he explains it, "It deals with memory, depression and dreams in a bizarre and cartoonish science-fiction setting. With no left-to-right way of reading the artworks, the result was a few artworks that resemble a board game or crossword puzzle."
Jess Hannigan is the New Talent winner of the exploration category for her series that explores the "small quiet moments that remain in a space after all the people and action have moved away and the stories told through the clutter and debris". It was created for a personal thesis in her last year of school at Sheridan College. "My goal was to explore how to illustrate a room in a way that defies technical perspective and opens up the mind to new ways to perceive 4 walls of a space as a room. The final outcome was four images that feel abstract and surreal, and tell a series of different stories of wild parties and naughty pets," she says.
Other Professional winners include Xavier Segers in the site-specific category for his project for the Welsh National Opera and Arcade London. He was commissioned to illustrate a world based on the opera, The Cunning Little Vixen. This resulted in a large interactive installation of five wooden multi-layered arches where visitors could explore the story via mobile devices using augmented reality.
Also, Eleni Debo was Professional winner of the editorial category for her illustration for the Dutch newspaper, De Volkskrant. "The article I was to illustrate told the story of a Turkish woman marrying a Dutchman, and the intercultural friction that was consequently brought about. The backlash from the Turkish community especially as a response to her leaving behind a couple of Turkish traditions in favour of Dutch ones was what drove her to write about this experience," she says.
To see the full set of winners in the 2020 World Illustration Awards, visit the Showcase.