Dr Barbara Brownie, online co-ordinator for the School of Creative Arts, University of Hertfordshire interviewed Victor Melamed, one of our graduates from MA Illustration (online). Here is his story...
Victor Melamed is a former student of the online MA Illustration. He has an international career, spanning the UK, USA and Russia, and currently illustrates for magazines including Rolling Stone and The New Yorker, while lecturing in Moscow at the British Higher School of Art & Design.
His work first appeared in Rolling Stone in a special illustrated issue featuring young and up-and-coming artists. Having made that connection, he worked to maintain it, and continued to make himself available for further freelance illustration. Victor found success through contacts, and furious self-promotion on the web. He is dedicated to maintaining a strong web-presence, with profiles on sites such as Behance and Livejournal.
Victor proposes that his work promotes itself. By placing strong images online, in as many places as possible, he is able to rely on networks of web audiences to share his illustration.
Victor understands that, as a freelance illustrator, there is strength in numbers. He co-founded Tzeh, an illustrators’ collective which has helped him to remain part of an active creative community. He feels that new illustrators find much more commercial success if they can align themselves with a group. In particular, he suggests, when a new illustrator’s work is considered radical or innovative, it helps to create connections to established practitioners. He feels that it is through this kind of artistic community that practice can move forward and incorporate new developments.
Last year he established a year-long Illustration course, the first of its kind in Russia. He aims to integrate ideas from diverse disciplines into the course, including poetry, anthropology, and choreography.
Although his new course leaves him little time for self-initiated work, he has found opportunities to continue to develop his practice. He is currently experimenting with new materials, including plasticine.
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