March is ADC Young Guns Month here on the ADC Blog! As we head towards the deadline for Young Guns 13 entries, we will be featuring the works and thoughts of Young Guns 12, the latest class to join the exclusive club of young creative professionals. We will also be sharing the thoughts of the judges who voted them in. This way, you’ll have some idea of what it takes to become a Young Gun — and the answers just might surprise you.
The next featured YG12 winner of the month is an acclaimed illustrator who definitely hasn’t let success go to his head — although that might change when he see what the Young Guns judges who voted him in have to say!
When did you first hear about Young Guns? Are you a “longtime listener, first time caller”?
My friend Ping Zhu was a Young Gun in the year before me. So yes, this was my first time calling! Can I request “Gravity Begins At Home” by the Scottish poet Ivor Cutler?
What were your impressions of the competition before entering?
To be honest, I haven’t looked through all the previous years’ winners until today. Now I’m impressed!
Did that leave you with any pangs of doubt before entering, thinking you maybe weren’t good enough to join all of the big names that have won before?
Awards are nice, but we’ll all end up in the same place, so that’s a comforting thought.
How did you decide which pieces to submit? Was it a no-brainer or did you have to really think about your entry?
I picked a few popular and previously award-winning pieces and a few of my personal favourites, showcasing both commercial and experimental sides of my work.
“In short, it felt like a welcome affirmation that all the stuff I was doing was really of value.”
Tell us what it was like when you found out you won.
I was surprised! People sometimes consider my work too smarty-pants and bleak, but then I thought it makes sense for the ADC jury to like it. In short, it felt like a welcome affirmation that all the stuff I was doing was really of value.
Which past Young Guns winners do you admire most?
What have you been up to since winning? Has Young Guns opened up any new doors for you since winning last fall?
No, but it led to my students assuming that it did. I’m just happy to share the Youngunnery with some of my favorite artists (see above). And have a semi-transparent cube on my shelf.
What would you tell someone who was deciding whether or not to enter Young Guns 13?
Watch the movie “Young Guns” because people will make references to it once you win the thing. I still haven’t seen it, but at this point I’m refusing it on principle. If you don’t win, remember that happiness is not in awards. It’s in long walks, blueberries, birdsongs and tea. At least for me.
“Why did I vote for Roman? If you take an honest look around and feel like your work reflects a lot of the other work you see, that’s not good. Roman’s work stands out to me. It’s unmistakable and fresh. His content evokes emotion, his craft is impeccable, and the portfolio isn’t lost in the crowd. He is also able to articulate himself. The ability to speak about your work is not to be disregarded.”
“Roman’s illustrations seems completely familiar, yet like something I’ve never seen before at the same time. Though his characters and hand touched approach have a nostalgic quality, his layout and color palette makes it new. I could look at that NPR calendar forever. The maturity of his work is well beyond his years.”
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