The Society of Illustrators: Illustrators 55 Awards

Sam Weber, Jillian Tamaki, Sam Wolfe Connelly, Anna and Elena Balbusso — all Folio Society illustrators — were in the same room at the Society of Illustrators awards ceremony in New York on Friday, February 1st. The Balbusso sisters, red-headed identical twins from Milan, accepted a Gold Medal for the third year running (and the second year for a Folio edition) for ‘Tatyana’, one of their illustrations in Eugene Onegin, pictured below.

The Balbusso sisters pose with their award

It was a pleasure to spend time with them, and to chat about their New York visit and their work with Folio. The twins made several mentions of Folio in their award acceptance speech, sending their thanks. Accepting awards for art direction on behalf of Sheri Gee and Raquel Leis Allion, I returned the thanks alongside praise for the twins’ breathtaking work.

The acceptance speeches had everything from the tearful to the profane, with many jokes peppered throughout; The ‘galleries’ were packed with awardees and friends, and the convivial atmosphere soon became infectious. The artwork on display recalled anything from Yoshimoto Nara or James Jean to Norman Rockwell. Sam Weber, familiar to Folio enthusiasts for his work in our edition of Fahrenheit 451, also won a Gold Medal, for a photorealistic portrait of Nabokov’s infamous Humbert Humbert, to be included in a compilation of essays and reimaged covers on Lolita. Jillian Tamaki, who illustrated our Goblin Market and Irish Myths and Legends, was one of the emcees. Sam Wolfe Connelly is currently working with our Art Director Sheri Gee on Folio’s much-anticipated new edition of The Great Gatsby.

Artist Jonathan Burton won a Silver award in the Sequential category for his design of our new Folio Playing Cards, during an earlier segment of the Society’s awards ceremony held in January. The Balbussos’ illustrations from Eugene Onegin and Burton’s Playing Cards will be included in the forthcoming US Communication Arts Illustration Annual 55, with the Balbussos winning the magazine’s Award of Excellence. Congratulations to all, and well done!

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