Best Student Art in North goes to Manchester's Mr Thomas's Chop House

The best student illustrators in the North are to be celebrated through a competition and exhibition housed at a listed Manchester public house.

The competition and exhibition showcases the best of the final year illustration student degree shows from leading art schools all over the north, including Manchester Metropolitan University, Edinburgh College of Art, and Liverpool School of Art.

This year there were over 180 entries submitted from 13 art schools. The work will be exhibited at Mr Thomas’s Chop House, Manchester, transforming a public house into an original new art gallery.

An independent jury of industry heavyweights including illustrators David Hughes and Peter Horridge, have selected the top 25 pieces, which will be auctioned at an awards night at at Mr Thomas’s and will raise money for the North West Air Ambulance. All the art is for sale with proceeds divided equally between the students and the charity. Last year’s event raised £14,000 for the North West Air Ambulance. (The nominations are shown in the gallery panel below).

UNLEASHED has been headed up by Ben Casey – Professor of Visual Communication at The University of Central Lancashire and Creative Director and Founding Partner of award winning creative agency The Chase.

He has called upon the expertise of other creative professionals such as Andy Cheetham, Creative Director from Cheetham Bell JWT, and gallery owner Wendy J Levy to join the judging panel to help ensure that the competition has a more tangible outcome for the students.

UNLEASHED hopes to help kick-start the careers of the emerging artists by introducing them to agents, gallery owners and design agency creatives, as well as to prospective art buyers whilst the art is on display.

Ben says: “There is a huge amount of talent in the North West but these are tough times. The words ‘struggling’ and ‘artist’ were made for each other. This competition, exhibition and sale is not only a showcase for young talent and creativity – it’s also a way to help them get ahead in their careers by

getting their work in front of the right people, plus it gives them the chance to have their work sold, supporting their new careers.”

Last year’s winner Kirtsy White, a graduate from Liverpool Johns Moores University, went on to complete a work placement at Penguin Books, and designed two book covers for them. She now works as a freelance illustrator and designer.

Where: Mr Thomas’s Chop House Manchester, 52 Cross Street, Manchester, M2 7AR

When: Exhibition runs from 23rd June until 31st August,

Awards presentation, auction night and gala dinner: 14th July.

The shortlist includes:

Jasmine Edwards, Batley School of Art & Design at Kirklees College

Kirsty Wilkinson, Blackpool & the Fylde,

Jojo Norris, Edinburgh College of Art

Sam Jones, University of Huddersfield

Josephine Dellow, University of Huddersfield

Rosie Weeldon, Hull School of Art and Design

Abby Wright, Hull School of Art and Design

Lauren Hessey, Leeds Metropolitan University

Sam Hunt, Leeds Metropolitan University

Phil Nodwell, Liverpool School of Art & Design

Phil Nodwell, Liverpool School of Art & Design

Faye Johnson, Manchester Metropolitan University

Nele Anders, Manchester Metropolitan University

Tom Ball, Sheffield Hallam

Tom Buswell, Sheffield Hallam

Rob Griffiths, Sheffield Hallam

Rebecca Roberts, Sheffield Hallam

Will Ballance, Salford University,

Hannah Henderson, University of Salford

Craig McGarry, Salford University,

Simon Lee, Salford University,

Janet Kershaw, Stockport College

Jane Richardson, Stockport College

Imogen Wood, University of Central Lancashire

Naomi Jones, University of Central Lancashire

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