Hosting a palette of activities from artist exhibitions to portfolio reviews, the festival kickstarted with a massive opening party at the
church attracting throngs of youthful trendsetters who religiously queued in the chilly drizzle.
Despite being held in the confinements of the fenced premises of an old church, the Illustrative Festival packed in an almost-endless flow of creative-minded participants from other European cities in the first 3 days of the festival. Though it's a predominantly-European crowd which showed up and mingled at the artists' brunch, attendees were pleasantly surprised to find that more than half of the crowd present are beyond Berliners. The TAXI crew managed to meet participants from Japan, USA, and Argentina who confessed that they 'flew in specially for the event.'
As part of the festival program, the TAXI crew was on location to deliver a presentation on the subject "Opportunities Beyond Boundaries", an informative session on how illustrators can promote their portfolios, as well as conducting a members portfolio showcase towards advertising agencies, publishers, and prominent representatives.Sponsored by Swatch, one of the main highlights to the festival is definitely the coveted Young Illustrator Award which top prize eventually went to Julia Bruderer from Switzerland. Katja Fouquet from Berlin received the second prize, followed by Paul-Henri Masson from Paris. The three winners received prizes worth 6,000 Euros. The Swatch Special Prize – the design of a limited Swatch watch – was awarded to Japanese designer Takashi Koshii. Takashi will thus join the ranks of artists such as Kiki Picasso, Pedro Almodóvar, Robert Altman and Keith Haring.
Beyond Villa Elisabeth, the Illustrative will continue its final leg of activities, the Degree shows, from October 23th to November 1st, 2009, at ÏMA Design Village, featuring works from some of Europe's best art institutions -- Royal College of Art (London), Central St. Martins (London), University College Falmouth (Cornwall), Züricher Hochschule der Künste (Zürich) and the Kunsthochschule Weißensee (Berlin).
In summary, the Illustrative Festival proposed to be an ideal twice-a-year gathering for creative-types to network in a relaxed, non-formal setting. Oh yes, we heard the next one is happening in New York. Keep your fingers crossed for now.