Thursday February 23, 2017
Armando Veve was recently awarded two gold medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York City, the oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to the art of illustration in America. The artist, a 2007 graduate from South Burlington High School (SBHS), won the prestigious awards in two categories, advertising, for his illustration for Felt and Fat, and in the editorial category for an illustration for the New York Times. The international competition receives over 10,000 entries annually. “Two gold medals validate that my work is worth a second look,” says Veve, adding, “Receiving this award is a huge affirmation that I am heading in the right direction.”
Veve’s gold medal in the editorial illustration category was published in the New York Times Book Review last February for an article reviewing Christopher Logue’s War Music, a modern adaptation of Homer’s Iliad. The gold medal in advertising was for an illustration reimagining new products by Felt and Fat, a collaborative design and manufacturing studio based in Philadelphia. According to Veve, it was printed as a folded poster and distributed in the studio’s booth at Sight Unseen OFFSITE during New York Design Week 2016.
Veve, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), currently resides in Philadelphia. His work has been commissioned by notable publications like Conde Nast Traveler, John Hopkins Magazine, Mother Jones, and Village Voice, as well as advertorial work with companies like Urban Outfitters. Most recently, Veve’s work was featured on the January 2017 cover of Poetry magazine. Art director Fred Sasaki wrote, “I was immediately captivated by his meticulous and prolific work. We loved so much of his stuff but got stuck on his densely black ‘Fly Ampersand.’”
Veve speaks fondly of his years in the South Burlington school system and recalls that his first editorial illustration was published in the Burlington Free Press when he was in fifth grade. His first illustrated children’s book was made the same year while at Rick Marcotte Central School. “We were asked to develop a story and illustrate it in the form of a book. My story was based off of a partially-autobiographical fishermen story my dad told me. Obviously it was not published, but now that I look back on it, it was one of the first times I really dedicated myself to telling a cohesive story through pictures. That assignment has stuck with me, and I look at the book every time I visit my family in South Burlington.”
At Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School and SBHS, Veve’s talents continued to expand. From painting and designing sets for theater productions to competing on a state and national level playing flute and being a member of the Vermont Youth Orchestra. He particularly notes, “I had great art teachers at FHTMS and SBHS, Mrs. Coleman in middle school and Mrs. Kimball and Mrs. Divoll-Painter in high school.” He adds, “They pushed me to continue practicing outside of classes and inspired me to take on self-initiated projects. This is so important in establishing a sense of self discipline.”
In addition, Veve’s art teachers encouraged him to enter statewide art contests like the Congressional Arts Competition, where he won the People’s Choice Award. Veve says, “Opportunities like this exposed me to a community of ambitious young artists outside of South Burlington. There were many talented students in my classes too. A few continued to pursue careers in the arts at prestigious art schools like RISD, Cooper Union, and Colombia University.”
Today, Veve continues to add to his creative and unique inventory, including working on a full page illustration for the MIT Technology Review for a feature story on new developments in gene therapy. He is also in preparation for an upcoming exhibition at the Harpy Gallery in Rutherford, New Jersey, which opens February 18.
“I think the most important thing to remember is love what you do. Initially I was hesitant to approach editorial clients because I thought I would be asked to do work that I was not interested in. I have only found the opposite to be true,” shares the artist. Veve affirms, “When you do what you love, it will show.”