The Lilla Rogers GTS – my personal favorites!

Well the results are in, and ta-daaah!! I didn’t make top fifty. But seeing the sheer volume of submitted work – not to mention the quality – makes it hard to be too disappointed.

One thing I’m genuinely grateful for is the fact that this year Lilla’s team published every single submission – so we can browse the winners and the non-winners too. Needless to say it’s much easier to understand what qualities help pieces qualify if you can see the wider context, and not merely the shortlisted semi-finalists. It’s a very large gallery, but I found myself mesmerized by it, hunting for treasures. I dug up a few I just have to share with you.

First off let me say I did absolutely love many of the short-listed pieces, and I will list my favorite three below – but I won’t give them too much room, since I’m sure they’re already feeling rightly proud and giddy 🙂 I’m just going to focus on those who didn’t make it, and whose work – for one reason or another – left me enchanted. I’m really dying to share all the hidden gems I discovered among the remaining 949.

MY TOP 10 FROM THE NON-PLACING ENTRIES

Chang Huiyuan, Flower Studio

Chang Huiyuan, Flower Studio

No. 1 This is probably my favorite out of the whole lot. The colorway is absolutely unique and unexpected for this theme but it works so well. The piece feels crafted with as much love as the sweet lady who works at the Flower Studio seems to be putting into arranging those pretty branches. The piece suggests the free flow of watercolor while being extremely neatly constructed. I’m in love with it. Just look at the face on that darling cat.

Claudio Rodriguez Valdes, Little Terrarium

Claudio Rodriguez Valdes, Little Terrarium

No. 2 This striking composition just sets my eyes on fire – the passionately saturated colors that flow so well together, that cutey little gnome who is adorable without being saccharine, the light green vines with little pods dancing in the background like a string of music notes. That whole scene is dancing, and its restricted space tightly packed into the white surface around it really makes me want to reach in there and attempt to crawl through it.

Adrienne Vita, Flourish

Adrienne Vita, Flourish

No. 3 I love how the colors were handled here, suggesting night time without ever really getting dark. The little elk in the distance, the bear (hippo? All the more wonderful!) on the hillside above the little house, the adorably naked figure running around wildly on the highest mountaintop – the background wash simulating aurora borealis, and the delightful starry treatment of type.

Joanna Mora, Light

Joanna Mora, Light

No. 4 The concept here is so strong it literally sings off the page – I get such a powerful insight into this little kid’s character and inner world through the delightfully wrought projection on the wall. I’d have made the panther’s eyes glow, but the whole piece just fills me with some strange excitement and joy. The composition represents the space of the room so well. I’d love this on my wall to stare at daily.

Este MacLeod, Look Closely

Este MacLeod, Look Closely

No. 5 I sure am looking closely – I’m going up and down and back and forth through this image that at first appears chaotic only to show you its little secrets one by darling one. This piece reminds me very much of a beautiful exhibition of Paul Klee paintings I stumbled upon once by complete accident in Kamakura, Japan. Think Fish Magic or Bird Garden. There’s a little Chagal somewhere in there too, but above everything a wonderful personality and vibrance that just keeps me staring at it.

Erin McManness, Home Sweet Home

Erin McManness, Home Sweet Home

No. 6 This style, with clean outlines on painted shapes, always looks so elegant and crisp. The leaves are so lightly ruffled by the wind that the composition remains perfect, yet I feel they’re all dancing. The label might have needed a little of that dance. The tiniest house looks like it would make a magical home, and the color palette makes me want to eat something with peaches in it. So great.

Lianne Tokey, Bloom and Grow

Lianne Tokey, Bloom and Grow

No. 7 I can’t quite make out what this is but it makes me feel like it could be anything. The terrarium floats clean and desaturated in a swirl of acidic color like an astronaut’s helmet among black stars. A river flows around it, an ice cream lolly melts over it, some diamonds float in the background, and I am confused, but also delighted.

Sandra Eterovic, Terrorium

Sandra Eterovic, Terrorium

No. 8 I just laughed and laughed and laughed when I saw this one. If the name Terrorium isn’t enough to crack you up, check out the terrified plastic toy soldier, the paralyzed-with-fear gnome, the plastic beast of a t-rex, the evil glare of that mushroom. I love the unexpected and eclectic color scheme, that gives off the feeling that it has been very carefully constructed in order to appear casually patched together and thus fresh and energetic. Love the colors in the leaves, the purple rocks, and that demonic Venus flytrap, which has got to be my favorite plant of all time.

Jenni Saarenkyla, Sirulus Glanis

Jenni Saarenkyla, Sirulus Glanis

No. 9 I love the multiple play on scale here, where somehow the whole shown world is tiny, the boat is minuscule, and the catfish is somehow absolutely ginormous. Also that catfish face, I want to kiss him. Also the delightfully limited color treatment and lines that look carefree, and still each one is in its perfect place.

Candace Camling, Explore

Candace Camling, Explore

No. 10 Love how this simultaneously looks like a shady garden corner or a comfy patch at the bottom of a clear pond. Somehow it feels from this one scene like the characters have a great little life set up in there, with chores all divided out and great teamwork that allows them more time to have fun discovering the world around them. The palette is soothing to the point where it feels the piece has a silky surface.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I spent hours dreamily leafing through the full 999 gallery. I’m glad I was part of this amazing collective outpouring of creativity.

MY FAVE THREE FROM THE TOP 50

Chris Lensch, Happy Place

Chris Lensch, Happy Place

Liz Ablashi, Miniature Aviary

Liz Ablashi, Miniature Aviary

Kat Kalindi Cameron, Magic

Kat Kalindi Cameron, Magic

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are my faves, and you can pick out your own here, or check out the shortlisted fifty semifinalists here. Did we like any of the same ones? Let me know in the comments. 

 

 

 

 

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18 thoughts on “The Lilla Rogers GTS – my personal favorites!

  1. Lidija thank you so much for letting me know about your blog, in particular this article. Your own entry is fantastic — I could definitely imagine someone buying a print of it and looking at it daily while sipping a cup of tea. It alone made me feel gobsmacked at the standard of this competition!! I’m so glad that you liked mine, too. I must admit that I didn’t look at all of the non finalist entries. There was a sameness to the finalists that made me feel a bit despondent. Lilla Rogers certainly is after an incredibly commercial look, which is fine, but I guess it’s not ‘me’! I love all of your choices above, and I agree with your no.1. It’s really enchanting. It reminds me of the work of one of my favourite British illustrators, Emily Sutton (but not in a copycat way, just the sensibility).
    Thanks again Lidija. All the best! 🙂

    • Your blog was a great find for me too! 🙂 I’ll definitely keep an eye on it in the future!

      The competition level was stunning and I found it an amazing opportunity for observation, with a thousand different takes on a single subject. The picked semifinalists certainly seem to have a certain theme running through them, and it was stated that around 80% of them were alumni of Lilla’s MATS course, so it makes sense that they were close to that feeling she wants to cultivate with her art. I think my picks have a theme running through them as well – I can see them all being turned into storybooks for kids. They have that strong sense of narrative that is for me completely captivating.

      I couldn’t track down the artist of no. 1, and it’s driving me mad!!! I want to see more of her stuff 🙂 Emily Sutton is delightful, I must feature her in my art crush section at some point. Thanks for taking the time to give me such a thoughtful reply. I’m sure we’ll run into each other again while bouncing around the illustrators’ community 🙂

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Your work is wonderful, I’m looking forward to seeing more of it in the future. Your piece is definitely in the top three for me, out of the whole 999. I hope you make children’s books because my kid would love them.

  2. I’m so glad to have read this post – I’m shocked that these didn’t make in the top 50! All wonderful pieces, with some looking to me as if done by longtime, successful illustrators. Very sobering.

    • Right? Many of those are successful, long-time illustrators. It just reminds you of how many aspects this industry has, and how much crazy talent is out there. And how little the outcome of a single competition means in global terms 🙂

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