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"Travelling 'Explore Victoria' 2015 Alphabet Show"

Happy New Years wishes from 20 members of the Island Illustrators Society! 20 members of the Island Illustrators Society create alphabet Illustration works inspired by the architecture, artists, gardens and sights of Victoria. The artwork for this alphabet series has been created in all media, creating not only the full alphabet but also a few extra alphabet letters in ready to spell "Happy New Year" for the new years edition of The Times Colonist. This years artists include the following: Kathy Cameron, Dawn Joy Ritchie, Sharlene Stushnov-Lee, Karine Gordon-Beaumier, Verna Linney, Jessica Milne, Judy Hilgemann, Kristi Bridgeman, Geoff Smith, Allegra Vernon, Catherine Campbell, Ruth Bowman, Sandy Terry, Lynn Kingham, Marcia Semenoff, Lorne Miller, Iris Churcher, Amy Frank, Ken Faulks and Diana Grenkow.

The Island Illustrators members have been fortunate to find the perfect fit for their children’s alphabet exhibit in the Greater Victoria Public Libraries. The libraries have invited members to demonstrate their medium or host interactive hands-on workshops or book illustration projects. Travelling ‘Explore Victoria’ Alphabet Exhibit Schedule: Jan- Juan de Fuca Branch (Happy New Year!) Feb- Esquimalt Branch March- Nellie McClung Branch (Illustration Demo) "I is for Book Illustration", Jessica Milne April- Emily Carr Branch May- Bruce Hutchison Branch (Illustration Demo) "C is for Collage Illustration", Kathy Cameron. June- Central Saanich Branch July- Oak Bay Branch (Illustration Demo) TBA August- Main Branch (Illustration Demo) "P is for Portrait Photography", Geoff Smith. History of the Island Illustrators Society annual partnership with Times Colonist - January 1st Edition of the T/C Over 20 years ago, the Island Illustrators Society coordinated a New Years exhibit for ‘First Night’ celebrations. Our very first exhibit was in the old Harbour Centre Mall, which featured an exhibit and film about the Society. One of our founding members, Ron Stacey, contacted Peter Salmon at the TC, who had written a story; this was then illustrated by the membership. This began our annual partnership with the TC. When First Night was no longer being celebrated, members continued to hold New Years exhibits in various locations around Victoria, including the Eatons Center, Chapters Books, The BC Provincial Museum, Langham Court Theatre, St. Anne’s Academy, Craigdarroch Castle, Butchart Gardens, Empress Hotel and many more. Themes have been everything from Emily Carr, Theatre (masks), The Circus, Black and White, and works were painted around and about venues such as Craigdarroch and St. Anne’s. When the Island Illustrators first began, our images would be carried in large vans to be photographed on site at the Times Colonist building by TC photographer Mathew Lambert. With the advent of digital cameras -the artists began to submit work on their own.* It has been a long and enjoyable relationship. The idea for a travelling illustrated alphabet was conceived at an evening gathering of the membership. As illustrators, we tend to work alone in our studios, so the monthly drop-in meetings are something we all look forward to. Members bring in current projects, share stories, swap techniques. Four years ago, during a current work show and tell, a member mentioned an alphabet book contract she was working on, and before we knew it, we had coordinated a group alphabet theme show. This is just the kind of inspiration that gets the creative juices flowing for our group of illustrators. There is a certain set of skills required to be a successful illustrator: the ability to work within parameters, (size, style, theme, medium, etc.) and to a set deadline. The alphabet idea took off and suddenly members were putting their hands up and swapping letters. Artists are free to interpret the letter/word, in any medium and style they choose. The results are always an interesting cross-section and showcase of talents. In past, we have explored tiny alphabet board books, and created posters with the letters. This year, we are again looking for places to both host and publish the collection of the ‘Explore Victoria’ Alphabet letters. There is no shortage of abundant visual inspiration in Victoria! Thank you to the Times Colonist for their annual support and to the GVPL for theirs. We invite you to ‘Explore Victoria’ as the artwork tours the GVPL locations. Feel free to contact us to participate in either hosting the show or suggesting ideas for publication. What message would you like us to spell out? Next fall, as the yearly travelling show winds down, the alphabet letters will be dispersed back to the artists, often to find homes in the community. Letters and commissioned letters can be displayed to spell children’s names, etc. We are already discussing next years alphabet show!

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