Monday, November 28, 2011

John Holder - Honorary Doctor of the Arts

Super news comes in the form of artist John Holder and his very prestigious award of Doctor of the Arts. It is a most deserved accolade. Please read the citation below:

John Holder 
Honorary Doctor of Arts 
Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences

Alumnus John Holder is a veteran illustrator who is known internationally for his phenomenal creative talent. He specialises in classic pen drawing with a generous twist of humour and these intricate, expressive and mood-setting drawings have been acclaimed by art critics from every corner of the globe. 

John is a published author illustrator. His published credits include distinguished authors, john Steinbeck, Dickens, Evelyn Waugh, Kurt Vonnegut, Graham Greene and Henry James. John has exhibited his drawings, paintings and illustrations in England, Croatia, France, Poland and the USA. His work is seen across the UK, Europe and the USA appearing in books, magazines and newspapers as well as for advertising and packaging. He penned the distinctive illustrations that helped to put Phileas Fogg crisps on the world map. 
An alumnus of our Cambridge School of Art, John has kept a close connection with us for the past 50 years as a teacher, mentor and friend to our many art, design and media students. He is among a number of other famous former students of Cambridge’s only university-level art school, including classmates and lifelong friends Spitting Image creators Roger Law and Peter Fluck and the illustrator of the world-famous St Trinian’s school cartoons, Ronald Searle. John attributes his career success to the fact that he was top of his class in art at school and cites his biggest inspiration as Paul Hogarth, his former tutor. 
John was most recently a Visiting Fellow of the Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences specialising in Illustration. Today, when he could be long retired, he still enjoys working from his 17thcentury home and studio near Cambridge. 
His vast portfolio of work includes original and highly creative drawings commissioned by governmental organisations, corporate contacts and private individuals. Some of his most notable clients include Penguin Books, Harper Collins, Random House, Saatchi & Saatchi, BBC, Macmillan, The National Trust, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Observer, Prospect and New York Times. 
A man with many creative talents, John founded the first ‘bluegrass’ bands in Europe in the 1950s and helped set up the Cambridge Folk Festival a decade later, which still today enjoys huge success. 
In the mid 1980s, he co-established the Friends of Cambridge School of Art (more affectionately and less reverentially known as ‘Posers’) and set up a weekly ‘Life Drawing’ session which still takes place in the Ruskin Building. He is currently working with Philip Hodkinson of the Simmons Group, to whom he is mentor, to arrange drawing trips in innovative commercial buildings around the country. 
John has ensured that, while being open to the public, current students of the Cambridge School of Art do not have to pay the nominal fee to attend the weekly drawing sessions in Ruskin building. He has also insisted that surplus revenues from this project together with Philip Hodkinson’s philanthropy, be used to subsidise the cost of the annual European drawing field trip. This has enabled students with limited means to attend an incredibly worthwhile trip that they would often otherwise not be able to attend. 
A lifelong follower of both Cambridge School of Art and the discipline of drawing, John has been a great ambassador for the school and the Ruskin Gallery and is an inspiration to budding artists everywhere. 
Vice Chancellor, it is my pleasure to present John for the award of Doctor of Arts, honoris causa.

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