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Hackney artist is the winner of UK Illustration Championship

PUBLISHED: 17:08 28 June 2017

Si Mitchell, winner of this year's Illustration Championship. Picture: Eric Mouroux

Si Mitchell, winner of this year's Illustration Championship. Picture: Eric Mouroux

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Organised by the Illustrated World Series (IWS), the annual championship revolves around a live tournament

There are art competitions aplenty, all with varying entry requirements and months to perfect your creation. Compared with the UK Illustration Championships, that seems almost excessively leisurely.

Organised by the Illustrated World Series (IWS), the annual championship revolves around a live tournament, where artists must draw their pieces under a time limit and directly head to head with their opponents, under the watchful eyes of judges and audience.

This year’s winner, Si Mitchell, who lives between Hackney and Norfolk, had never entered a competition before this one.

“I’m still feeling a bit ‘how the hell did I do it?’” he says. “All the illustrators are really good and somehow I won!”

For those wondering how competitive illustration works, the artists are given 24 hours to prepare with a headline taken from a recent news article. They’re judged on interpretation, technical ability, narrative, personality and social media score by a panel made up of Marc Farrington (IWS founder), Sara Farrell (founder of Sugar for My Soul), Captain Kris (Co-founder of Gums + Tongues zine and Lost Souls Paint Crew).

Mitchell was given the following headlines across the four stages of the competition: “US Navy tests artillery on ‘Killer Tomato’”, “APOCALYPSE WARNING: End of the world and return of Jesus will happen in the next few years”, “Drug smuggler turns meth into art” (“I drew Walter White holding the Mona Lisa but I changed the name to Stoner Lisa”) and “Man tries to sell himself on eBay”.

“I just drew the most disgusting, horrible man that I could.” Mitchell’s work as an illustrator has him creating album artwork for punk and ska bands as well as boy bands, providing covers for Green Day and McFly. He also sells a range of tshirts in Selfridges and Bloomingdales.

That’s not all, though: “I’m a graffiti artist by trade. It’s festival season, so I’m going to a festival this weekend, another festival the weekend after and so on until the end of August.”

Next weekend he is painting the bar at NASS festival, which has music alongside action sports such as BMX and skateboarding.

Mitchell designed a series of skateboards last year which sold out within a couple of weeks and “now people are selling them for stupid prices on eBay which is really nice!”


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