Anne Howeson is a Jerwood Drawing Prize winner, with work in permanent collections including the Museum of London, the Guardian and Imperial College Art Works, London.
Anne worked as an illustrator for many years in Europe and the USA, with clients including Esquire and GQ New York, the Sunday Times, the Guardian and the Telegraph. She is represented the UK in publishing commissions from the European Union. Currently she develops drawing projects concerning time, place and people. Recent exhibitions have focused on regeneration at King’s Cross, and have included three London solo shows: Remember Me at the Guardian News and Media, Present in the Past at Collyer Bristow, and Imagining King’s Cross at Cross Street Gallery.
In 2014 she was shortlisted for the Derwent Art prize and the National Open Art Award. In 2011 and 2016 she was an invited artist at Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London. Her film Midland Line Railway Works was shortlisted for the 2017 Ruskin prize. In 2018 she was invited to take part in Motive / Motif (V&A East), an exhibition in collaboration with the London College of Fashion celebrating 100 years of women’s suffrage.
Anne's recent research sources reference historic drawings and prints from the collections of the Museum of London and London Metropolitan Archives.
The central research focus for her work is ‘place’ and the impact of time and memory on the lives of the people who exist within it. Working from personal memory, observation and written sources, drawing is used as a primary method because its shorthand character facilitates thought and connects directly with memory and the unconscious. ‘Memory, even if you repress it, will come back at you and it will shape your life’ (W.G. Sebald).
Ideas around culture and history are woven into an overall narrative, demonstrating that the artist ‘has a duty as a bearer of cultural memory’ (Rainer Maria Rilke).
Current and recent projects
King’s Cross and St Pancras Regeneration
Anne began a research project around regeneration developments at King’s Cross some time before the first Eurostar Train left St Pancras in November 2007.
Research included a range of activities: looking at early photographs in the Holborn Library archives, publications by the Camden History Society and by local contemporary photographers, making ongoing digital photographic records, (by day and night) as well as drawn responses on site. Arranging official and unofficial site visits to ensure that the drawings looked at local people’s everyday lives, both currently and historically. Reading biographies of the many deceased literary residents, including Dickens, Blake and Wollstonecraft.
Early work responded to the idiosyncratic mix of architecture, communities and cultures, depicting the shop fronts of Caledonian Road, and the prostitutes who stood in Goods Way (as seen in Neil Jordan’s film, Mona Lisa). Later drawings recorded old tenement blocks and warehouse buildings, and landmarks of recent regeneration like the Barlow Shed and Eurostar.
A selection of this work was shown in November 2007 during the Arrivals festival. This exhibition made connections between the architecture of the past and future, focusing on the idea of journey and arrival. Some of the images were in monochrome others in a limited colour range of blue and orange suggesting twilight and street lighting. The drawings celebrated the early Victorian buildings surrounding St Pancras and King’s Cross, contrasting them with the modern Eurostar track emerging from the Barlow shed en route to Europe.
King’s Cross Regeneration Part Two
This project has been ongoing, because the area of King’s Cross/St Pancras will be in transition for some years. The Guardian show focus in 2009 was the exploration of architectural change, and its impact on communities. In addition to making a simple commemoration of the old and lost buildings, the drawings invented a semi fictional near future in the transformed neighbourhood. Most of the work was architectural, with occasional figures having supporting, semi abstract roles.
An exhibition of the King’s Cross drawings Remember Me was held at the Guardian News and Media headquarters, 90 York Way, London, N1 in October 2009. Present in the Past and Imagining King’s Cross were held in February and September 2015.
Anne's work uses drawn imagery to create atmosphere and tell stories about everyday life and memory. Her practice focuses on the act of making and combines archival, photographic, film and literary research in addition to working from life. She aims to produce and exhibit work in a personal, aesthetic and accessible language, that explores ideological subjects of collective and public interest.
She is known as a commentator on relationships and her work can be seen as documentary, both fictional and real. She was part of the Radical Illustrators group and developed a reputation for focusing on socio/political issues. Partly as a reaction against this, partly for the pleasure of working outside during the summer months she has had commissions and exhibitions (The Gallery Cowcross Street, London, and The Padstow Studio, Cornwall) on the subject of formal gardens. The narrative element in these stage-set like images references travel and journeys.
Publications, Exhibitions and Other Outcomes
Selected Group Shows
- Motive / Motif (2018) V&A East, London
- Ruskin Prize (2017) Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
- 51% Remember Her (2017), Tower Gallery, Barking, London
- ING Discerning Eye (2016), Mall Galleries, London
- ING Discerning Eye (2011), Mall Galleries, London
Selected Solo Exhibitions
- Imagining King’s Cross (2015), Cross Street Gallery, London
- Present in the Past (2015), Collyer Bristow Gallery, London with accompanying Conversations with Archives: Talk and discussion with Archivist Jeremy Smith
- Remember Me (2009), Guardian Media funded by The Guardian
Selected Talks, Publications & Conferences
- Howeson, A. (2018) ‘Drawing and the Remembered City’, Journal of Illustration (Intellect), (5) 1.
- Howeson, A. (2018) 'Drawing and Memory' in: Embury, G. and Minichiello, M. (eds) Reportage Illustration: Visual Journalism, London: Bloomsbury Books.
- Howeson, A. (2017) ‘The Endless Edifice of Recollection’, Drawing Research Forum. Drawing Room, 11 September 2017.
- Howeson, A. (2017) 'House/City/Landscape: appropriation of Found Images', Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Visuels, La Cambre, Brussels
- Howeson, A. (2016) 'Drawing and the Remembered City' at Shaping the View: Understanding Landscape through Illustration, The 7th International Illustration Research / Journal of Illustration Symposium. Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland, 10 -11 November 2016.
- Howeson, A. (2016) ‘Metropolis Transformed’, One Day in the City, University College London, London, 27 May 2016.
- Howeson, A. (2015) ‘Present in the Past - Renovation and Revival in Kings Cross Central’, London Metropolitan Archives, London, 10 February 2015.
- Howeson, A. (2015) Research Talk at the RCA: specific focus on use of archive material, Royal College of Art London, April 2015.
- Howeson, A. (2015) ‘Drawing/Memory/Theft’, Guild of Pastoral Psychology, London, March 2015.
- Panelist on ‘Visual Narrative / Narrative Illustration’, House of Illustration, January 2015.
- Howeson, A. (2015) ‘Practice as Research’, School of Media and Performing Art, University of Portsmouth, January 2015.
- Howeson, A. (2014) ‘Memory, Drawing, Place and Appropriation’, The Itinerant Illustrator, Shrishti School of Art, Design and Technology, Bangalore, India, December 2014.
- Topolski Studio Masterclass (October 2013, 2014 and 2015)
- Howeson, A. (2014) Work featured in 'Documentary/Topography', in: Brazell, D. and Davies, J. (eds) Understanding Illustration, London: Bloomsbury Books.
- Howeson, A. (2014) ‘Witness', Falmouth University Symposium, Falmouth University, UK, March 2014.
- Howeson, A. (2014) 'Drawing, Memory and Theft', Daniel Blau Gallery, London, 22 January 2014.
- Guest Lecturer, Govt. College of Fine Arts, Kerala, India
- Panelist for 'Designing Critical Messages' conference, Plymouth University, June 2013
External collaborations and activities
Previous academic posts: regular lecturing at Central St Martins and Camberwell College of Art.
External Examining: Middlesex University, John Moores Liverpool, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, and Anglia Ruskin University.