Stuart Kerr – DRAWN STEEL


Stuart Kerr poster

Exhibition Preview: Thursday 5th September, 6-8pm
Exhibition Continued: 6th – 25th September

Wasps and South Block were delighted to present Drawn Steel, a showcase of illustrations marking a decade of work by Stuart Kerr for his client Kobelco (Kobe Steel). In 2009 Stuart teamed up with client Aki(yoshi) Takamura to illustrate the cover of the bi-monthly magazine that is shared with the company’s 40,000 employees.

Stuart’s style is technical but loose, helping to soften the industrial subject matter. As Aki says, “it even looks Modern Ukiyo-e* which takes on a near-future look”.

Whilst living in Japan, Stuart met Aki by chance when cycling in Osaka in 2006. No details were exchanged and they each carried on their separate ways. Following this first encounter, Aki unexpectedly stumbled across Stuart’s blog and discovered his talent for drawing. Aki soon reached out to Stuart to discuss the potential of working together on a magazine that he described as “larger than the best selling cycling magazine in Japan.”

Kobelco has 218 subsidiary companies spread across Japan and the wider world. The use of a European illustrator helps underline the global ambition of the company.

The original scenes for these drawings are all sourced from locations within Japan. Every two months, Aki shares photos from these sites for Stuart to reference. Three sketch concepts are typically proposed and one is then chosen to be taken through to completion. Final sketches are usually in dip pen, scanned and digitally coloured using Photoshop.

* Ukiyo-e is a genre of Japanese art which flourished from the 17th through 19th centuries

Stuart Kerr is an illustrator, best known for his depiction of the mackerel on the RBS £5 note.

He is also the owner and director of Stuco, an exhibition design studio working with clients such as National Museums Scotland, National Library of Scotland, The Hunterian, Historic Environment Scotland, Scottish Power, Interface and Electrolux.

1997 BA (HONS) Product Design, Glasgow School of Art