One Maltese visual artist has reached new heights of recognition as he features in the World Illustration Awards’ coveted longlist, having managed to snag a spot out of over 5,000 entries.
A freelancer, this is Julian ‘Julinu’ Mallia’s fourth experience with the awards since he was a student in the UK in 2015. This time, he has managed to land a position on the longlist for his work on the album artwork he made for UK-based progressive metal Midge Nuun’s new album.
Julinu, who is also a drummer for the band Weeping Silence, was asked to help create “a visual that communicated themes such as duality, intricacy, chaos, conundrums and inner turmoil”.
Inspired by both the album’s music and title, the pair settled on the visual idea featuring a swan-snake hybrid intertwined with an impossible triangle.
In particular, Julinu sound that this album cover was particularly special for him due to it combining his various passions. He was able to be a guest-drummer in a yet-unreleased, 10-minute track from the album while also fusing together idea generation, visual art and drumming.
“Idea-generation and visual-wit run at the core of my creative practice – so I shift between traditional oil painting and digital painting depending on the situation,” Julinu told Lovin Malta.
The World Illustration Awards are a prestigious title whose impartial, independent judges include heavyweights from the industry including art directors from the Washington Post and Penguin Random House as well as editors, publishers and art directors of companies such as TIME Magazine, Twitter and Wired.
Longlisted entries are now in contention to be shortlisted until one winner from each category (eg. Advertising / Book Cover / Editorial / Design / etc) is announced later this year.
“I made it a point to submit one illustration every year as a way for me to not rest on my laurels and keep on striving to do quality work of an international standard,” he told Lovin Malta when asked why he signed up.
“My reasoning is that getting recognition from impartial, reputed judges seems to me, to be a more weighty measure of progress than fleeting IG/FB likes from my limited social media bubble.”
Being drawn to idea-generation, music and visual art, Julinu is able to create vibrant and unique pieces of art that draw on his passions. In the case of the album artwork, his passions seamlessly aligned to create a work that he considers to be very special.
“My inspirations are varied and my visual output tends to be surreal, moody, conceptual and at times laced with dry humour,” he explained.
“But, I find that the most important thing is to keep on creating/ploughing through – irrespective of the medium, the setbacks etc… As Picasso famously said, ‘inspiration exists, but it has to find you working,’.”
Through his work, Julinu hopes to continue to find instances where he can fuse art and music together, as “those are the areas I seem to thrive most in”, creating his own niche to flourish in as a result.
You can follow Julinu’s work here:
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