Artist lands top prize

Alex Hedworth with his award-winning artwork.

Alex Hedworth with his award-winning artwork.

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A STUDENT is over the moon after landing a prestigious art prize.

The iconic image of man’s first landing on the moon proved the inspiration behind Alex Hedworth’s illustration.

Sunderland University’s Alex beat hundreds of entries from across the UK to win first prize in this year’s AVA Academia creativity competition.

Based on the theme of “what inspires you?” the 23-year-old used the televised still images of the 1969 first manned mission to the moon as the basis for his eye-catching creation of an astronaut sitting in a boat at sea, to capture a sense of isolation.

Alex, who is now in the final year of his illustration degree, said: “The moon landings have been the source of inspiration for a graphic novel I am currently working on about the loneliness of an astronaut and I thought the illustration would be ideal for the competition.

“I was delighted when I found out I’d won. It was so unexpected. It’s also a confidence boost as I’d like to pursue as career as a book illustrator.”

Content editor Katharine Nelson at AVA Academia, one of the UK’s leading publishers of design and communication books for education, said: “We were impressed with Alex’s entry because the relationship between the two images he submitted was clear and the idea behind the competition was to show the process of inspiration.”

Alex’s prize is an AVA book of his choice and the chance for his work to appear in a forthcoming publication.

This is the latest accolade the former call centre worker has achieved since beginning his degree.

Last year his illustration of three jazz musicians was selected for the final stages of a high-profile national advertising campaign for Lloyds TSB, which saw his work hanging in the Saatchi Gallery in London.

Alex also recently discovered that an illustration he produced reflecting the work of popular novel American Psycho, is to be featured in the Association of Illustrators Images 35 annual.

Alex said: “Before I started my course at Sunderland I had been working in call centres, which just wasn’t for me. I’ve had a passion for drawing since childhood and really appreciate the opportunity I’ve been given.”

Alison Barrett, illustration lecturer at Sunderland Univeristy, said: “Alex is a very talented and motivated illustrator. We’re really proud of his success.”