Tenerife Paper Chase

How can recording something say something?


.......at the risk of sounding rhetorical.  Highly compact visuals (yes, I got the watercolours out.... approximately postcard sized, with luggage weight restrictions in mind) of miscellaneous holiday impressions, which then turned in to a highly mobile glass (plastic) vitrine cabinet exhibition, which travelled around various parts of two Birmingham City University buildings (October 2016).  Being mobile and restless it was able to choose and chase it's audience in the most inconvenient, but visible places.


I was subsequently asked to present a short lecture to students about to embark on a foreign trip, reflecting on spontaneous forms of visual research.  This caused me to to interrogate and categorise what I had otherwise quite casually recorded in Tenerife.  So, I extracted more value from the experience, hopefully without over-analysing the whole thing?

I arrived at some loose classifications of what I had done; what might constitute visual research, and I was able to pool them in to five tentative groups:






Extrapolate might be my favourite, but mostly because I think it's a marvellous word... 

Olivier Kugler - intrepid reportage illustrator

Acclaimed reportage illustrator gave free talk at Birmingham City University

Acclaimed illustrator, Olivier Kugler, who uses his art to report on major humanitarian events like the Syrian refugee crisis, gave a free public lecture, at the Invitation of the Graphic Arts Facility on 18th October 2016.  He talked in depth about his work and caught the imagination of students, staff and general public with his many human anecdotes.

Olivier highlighted his achievements in a career which has seen his work featured in publications including The Guardian, GQ, Le Monde Diplomatique and The New York Times.

Award-winning Kugler is known for his interviews with subjects, who he also illustrates by hand before digitising, to create a report made up of quotes and illustrations, often set over dozens of pages.

The German-born illustrator has interviewed and illustrated people from across the world, and most recently began meeting and drawing Syrian refugees as part of a new project to create a book telling the stories of those displaced by the conflict in the area.

The project began after humanitarian aid organisation, Doctors Without Borders, asked Kugler to visit refugee camps to help publicise its work.

After meeting a number of refugees he decided to expand the project and it is currently also being supported by funding from Arts Council England.

Olivier Kugler said: "Over the last few years I have had the privilege to meet Syrians in Iraqi Kurdistan, the Greek holiday island of Kos, the Calais 'Jungle' camp, Switzerland, Colombia and the UK.

“I am excited to work on an illustrated sequential book which will portray the people I have encountered and which will raise awareness about their circumstances."

Kugler began his career as a graphic designer before winning a scholarship to study at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2000.

He has since built a reputation for his style which presents subjects in their own environment and surrounds them with phrases spoken during his interview sessions.

His unique talent for visual representation has seen him win awards including first place in the V&A Illustration Awards in 2011 and the Association of Illustrators World Illustration Award 2015


Olivier Kugler, Syrian Refugee image, copyright Olivier Kugler 2016

Olivier Kugler, Syrian Refugee image, copyright Olivier Kugler 2016