Alta Journal contributor shortlisted for V&A Illustration Award

The Victoria and Albert Museum honored Mark Smith with a shortlist in its annual report V&A Illustration Awards for his work on a feature film, “​​She has a namewhich was published in Alta Journal in December 2021.

Established 50 years ago, the V&A Illustration Awards remain one of the UK’s most prestigious competitions. This year, the V&A Jury received a record 1,440 entries in four different categories: Book Cover, Book Illustration, Illustrated Journalism and Student Illustrator of the Year.

“It’s a huge honor for me to be shortlisted for the V&A Award,” said Smith. “It’s one of the most prestigious awards in the UK and to have this particular image on the list is very satisfying.” The Exeter-based artist was named a finalist in the Illustrated Journalism category.

“​​She has a nameexamines the murders of two women who remained unnamed for more than 40 years. Through hard detective work and using advances in DNA technology, law enforcement identified a victim in 2019, but still trying to name the second. Smith’s images helped amplify a larger point in the story: society often overlooks the plight of missing Indigenous women.

“The stories of High allow me to explore both the conceptual and more narrative aspects of my practice, and from time to time these intersect in the same image. It happened in this case, and I can’t thank High enough to send me these stories to work on,” Smith says.

To create the images, Smith used a mixture of pencil sketches as well as textures found and created by himself. He then used Adobe Photoshop to put together collages and finalize the artwork.

“Mark Smith has done a great job capturing the dark tone and chaotic energy of this piece,” says Highcreative director John Goecke. “High is proud to regularly deploy its talents in its pages. Smith deserves this recognition and we hope he takes home the big bucks.

The 2023 winners will be selected in the coming weeks by a jury chaired by V&A Director Tristram Hunt. Winners of the top three categories will receive £3,000 and their work, along with honorable mentions, will be shown at the V&A South Kensington Galleries from July 20.

The overall winner of the competition will also receive the Moira Gemmill Illustrator of the Year award, an additional £5,000 and permanent entry of their work into the V&A Museum. •

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