Adrian Chesterman came to my attention several years ago through the creative resource agency, Carole Newman & Associates, when my firm was looking for someone who could retouch tires for one of our clients. It was only after we had been working with him for some time that we became aware of the tremendous scope and the creative inspiration available from this master illustrator.
I decided it was about time to share some of his work here after I had posted one of his projects on my Facebook business page, the princess and the unicorn (shown just below), and it was deluged with “likes” and comments from many of my FB friends, especially the ladies.
Adrian Chesterman studied fine art at Norwich School of Art and illustration at the Royal College of Art in Kensington, London. Since leaving the R.C.A. Chesterman has worked in nearly every sphere of the art world. “Someone who wants to spend his life working solely as an artist has to be a Jack-of-all-arts and spread himself very thinly across to world looking for commissions.”
Chesterman started with an illustration technique of his own invention which employs airbrush and painted gouache and acrylic inks on artboard or canvas. This technique won commissions from around the world not to mention a few prizes including the Gold mecanorma award in Paris in 1989, but around the turn of the millennia Chesterman switched to digital illustration. “I saw the pixelated light and there was no turning back. Of course I still paint and draw as much as possible as it is the only way to keep the artist’s eye sharp. Computers make mistakes, only the artist’s eye can really see the visual truth.”
As an illustrator he has worked for just about everyone, on just about everything, just about everywhere. From film Publicity art for Stephen Spielberg in Los Angeles, to stage-set art for Andrew Lloyd-Weber in Frankfurt. Advertising commissions for Coca Cola in Atlanta, Singapore Airlines in Singapore, Busch Beer in St. Louis, Pioneer in Paris, Seaworld in Orlando, Ralph magazine in Sidney and Southern Sun hotels in Capetown. “Not forgetting Rolls-Royce in Derby, and the Mars corporation in Slough… in case this was starting to sound too glamorous.”
Chesterman has illustrated book covers for Jackie Collins, Jack Higgins and Dick Francis, a science-fiction series for Penguin, many books on dinosaurs and a children’s encyclopedia amongst innumerable others. He has illustrated many music album covers including ‘Bomber’ for Motorhead and ‘The Road to Hell’ for Chris Rea, produced an animated music video for the Eurythmics and even built and painted a skull and crossbones shaped guitar for Adam and the Ants. “Although they never paid… me so after two years I took it back after one of their concerts and I still have it hanging on my wall.”
Portraiture is another of Chesterman’s artistic directions. Previous Commissioners include Prince Adan Czartoryski-Bourbon, the cousin of King Juan Carlos of Spain’, Mikael Baryshnikov the ballet dancer, A certain captain in the Welsh Guards, a few Hollywood actors, innumerable children, cats, dogs and a horse called George. “Oh… and a nude portrait of ‘Wolf’, the T.V. ‘gladiator’, that somehow ended up on page 5 of a national daily newspaper, but the less said about that, the better.”
Murals have made an enjoyable variant in Chesterman’s artistic odyssey. It is usually a huge operation involving at least two assistants and a lot of equipment. “We’ve created murals from Twickenham stadium to mansions in Marbella, from boardrooms in the city to swimming pools in Los Angeles, although I have to remember not to step back to admire my work when I’m up the ladder”.
Chesterman had his first exhibition of paintings at Liberty’s in London’s Regent Street while still at college, progressing to exhibitions in the Pompidou centre in Paris and Gallerie Schémes in Lille, France, the International Contemporary Art Fair, Spinks, Kensington Town Hall and the BBC centre also in London, the Batey gallery in Singapore, the Madison gallery in Los Angeles and numerous exhibitions in Spain. He has appeared on The Riverside Show, 01 for London, Artrage and other Arts programs in the U.K. as well as many T.V. appearances in Spain. “The occasional exhibition is great fun… but they usually turn out to be little more than a good party with a few pictures on the wall.”
Teaching is yet another artistic discipline to which Chesterman has turned his hand. He has lectured at Chelsea, Ealing and Wolverhampton Schools of Art in the UK and Marbella College of Design in Spain, but prefers the solitude of creativity. “Teaching is basically long periods of boredom waiting for the students to make it back from lunch… broken by short flurries of tuition so intensive they leave you completely exhausted.”
Chesterman lives in Andalucia in Spain and has also been designing gardens and parks for the rich and the famous. “I love designing gardens… When I’m painting a picture or a mural I am usually copying nature, but when I’m designing a garden I’m working with nature as my paint box.”
Chesterman considers that his creative zenith has just been achieved with the recent completion of a highly controversial book called God And Bad. This is a tough, satirical and humerous look at what ‘God’ would have to say to the human race today. It is written and fully illustrated by Chesterman to appeal to the young adult market and is hopefully going to offend just about everyone on the planet. “Take a look at www.godandbad.com… but don’t say you haven’t been warned!”
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