VPA’s Thompson garners top illustration award
VPA’s Thompson garners top illustration awardMay 05, 2006Jaime Winne Alvarezjlwinne@syr.edu
John Thompson, professor of illustration in the School of Art and Design at Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, was recently honored with the 2006 Hamilton King Award for the best illustration of the year, as presented by the Society of Illustrators. The Hamilton King Award is the highest achievement an illustrator can receive in any year.
Each year, the Society of Illustrators recognizes the top achievements within the field of illustration, encompassing all genres, every medium and every range of practitioner, from students all the way up to lifetime members. The Society of Illustrators sponsors the Annual Exhibition of American Illustration, a juried show with more than 5,000 entries. This year, more than 500 pieces were selected for the show from 240 artists, and two of Thompson’s pieces were selected. The judges then determine the gold and silver medal winners, and one piece from the entire show is selected as the best illustration by a member of the Society — The Hamilton King Award.
Thompson’s winning illustration (above) is part of the new children’s book “The Flying Bed” written by Newberry Award-winning author Nancy Willard. “The Flying Bed” — to be published in spring 2007 by Scholastic Blue Sky Press — is set in Florence, Italy, and is a project Thompson started while teaching in Italy for SU.
Thompson is a painter, illustrator and professor of art, and has been featured in Communication Arts magazine, Step-By-Step Graphics and Art Direction magazine. The internationally known illustrator has won gold and silver medals from the Society of Illustrators, The New Jersey Art Directors Club, The Denver Art Directors Club and The Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles, as well as the CEBA Award for Communication Excellence in Black Publishing and Advertising and awards of excellence from Communication Arts magazine and Print magazine. As a children’s book illustrator, he has won three American Library Association Notable Book Awards. Thompson is included in “The Illustrator in America, 1860-2000” (Watson-Guptill, 2001) by Walt Reed.
A select list of his clients includes Scholastic Books, Dial Books for Children, Harper/Collins Publishing, The Creative Company, Time magazine, Newsweek magazine, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Coast Guard and NASA.
Thompson’s work has been included in such shows as “200 Years of American Illustration,” New York Historical Society (New York City); Miami University’s “50th Anniversary of Outstanding Graduates”; “Reflections” at the Aldrich Museum (Ridgefield, Conn.); “Selected Works” at the Mendenhall Gallery (Pasadena, Calif.); “Syracuse University Faculty Exhibition,” Lowe Art Gallery; “Every Picture Tells a Story,” Norman Rockwell Museum; and the “Syracuse University Florence Center 40th Anniversary Faculty Exhibition” at the U.S. Consulate (Florence, Italy.)
Thompson has received two fellowships from the State of New Jersey, including the designation of Distinguished Artist. He received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is presently working on two new children’s books.
In addition to his teaching in VPA, he served as chair of the Department of Visual Communication from 2003-05 and is now the program and thesis advisor for the Independent Study Degree Program-M.A./Illustration. In 1998-99, he was professor of painting and chair of the studio arts program for SU in Florence, Italy.