When I was growing up, I was pretty ambivalent towards school, and then college and in some respects then University. I often think how much more ready I am to go now. It’s not that I completely wasted my (after the age of 16 it was almost exclusively musical) it’s just I needed pushing, and cajoling and someone to grab my interest. I think the three teachers I hold with the most respect are the three that were most successful in motivating and just plain firing my imagination. I won’t go into details but two taught me a-level music, both of which were two of the most brilliant musicians I have ever met, and the third was a hard-drinking former concert pianist who dressed-down (one of my friends thought he was the caretaker for the entire three years of the course, it transpired later) before it became fashionable, and swore like Shaun Ryder in front of the class, usually about contemporary music since 1945, but from all era’s (sample quote – this, this here, is Hayden taking the piss) However he was simply the only lecturer that inspired me into the library/practise rooms after his lessons.
I’ve never met Frazer Hudson, so whether or not he would match up to the two brilliant and one entertaining sweary teachers I remember, I have no idea. But what I do know is this. Everywhere I look there are graduates from the Sheffield Hallam University illustration course (of which he is a senior lecturer, and has been since 2002) that are producing brilliant work of an incredible standard (to my admittedly untrained eye) so he must have something special about him.
Born in Sheffield at the end of the 1960s Frazer studied at Leicester Polytechnic then Central St. Martins college of Art & Design graduating before venturing out into the real world armed with a Postgraduate Diploma in Illustration. In a lesser talent, a life of drawing mix-tape cassette covers, roll-ups and ill-fitting clothing beckoned, but Frazer quickly established himself as an illustrator with huge talent, wit and a great sense of concept. During a glittering (there’s probably a joke in there) career, Frazer has been awarded Victoria & Albert museum award on three occasions, (once with fellow illustrator Andrew Foster for work under the name Red Dot). Not only that, he added an Association of Illustrators gold award, the ALPSP/Charlesworth award for Learned journals, and in 2010 gained an advertising merit from the (apparently, I mean what do I know) internationally renowned 3×3 journal professional show.
After twelve years in the capital, grumbling about the way Londoner’s drive, and paying far too much for a pint I imagine (well, that’s all I did when I lived there)he came back to his birthplace, where he lives combining a freelance career with his lecturing commitments.He has worked for everyone from the broadsheets to Mini Cooper to The Lancet to The national Geographic Channel. The list goes on and on.
Another thing that makes me suspect he is a little like my former teachers is that now its his turn. His place of work have honoured him with his own exhibition, titled ‘Cocktails and Champagne’, describing it as
Looking back over 20 years of commissioned work for publications such as The Guardian and The Observer, this retrospective of renowned illustrator Frazer Hudson uncovers the relationship between art direction, art editor and artist, from working drawings to fully realised illustrations, understood through the cultural, political, social and economic events of the time.
I hope if I ever meet Frazer Hudson, he is either one of the most inspiring Artists I have ever met (after all, everyone can see he is brilliant) or he swears a lot, quotes from Paul Whitehouse and other much ruder comedians in his lectures, and is generally charismatic and entertaining. Or, in a perfect world, a bit of both. If you’re in or around Sheffield, catch it till the 24th February, between 10am-5pm daily (until 8pm on Wednesday evenings) at:
Sheffield Institute of Arts
Sheffield Hallam University
153 Arundel Street
Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 2NU