Last Tuesday I went to a reception in the V&A Museum, having been invited there because I was one of the three judges who chose the prize winners for this years Illustration Awards. It was a happy experience from start to finish.
For a start there was a display of the work of all the prize winners, which was, without exception, stunningly good. And then came champagne and the awards.
Here I am standing beside the overall prize winner, a delightful young man called Richard Allen. His award winning entry was a subtle and brilliantly executed cartoon of Donald Trump as the ‘Hokusai Wave.’ When I first saw it before the judging session, it took my breath away, because it was so apposite and so daring. I was very surprised to think that he could have got away with it in a national newspaper, but he had and it made me want to cheer.
So when I found that I had been the judge chosen to give him his prize, I was really chuffed. An honour, without any doubt. The short speech I had to make before I presented him with the prize was one of the easiest I’ve ever made, for really all I had to do was say how much that drawing had impressed me and how skilled and subtle it was. Then I handed him his envelope and his trophy and discovered that this talented young man was modest. He took the microphone to say thank you and for a few seconds, didn’t actually know what to say, how refreshing is that.
And he wasn’t the only one. All the other prize winners, had come forward looking shy and unsure of themselves. I could have hugged them all and in-fact I did hug some of them! It’s not often you find superb talent linked with such touching modesty.
I salute you, prize winners. Respec’ !