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Illustration student’s work goes global


A student at the University of Wolverhampton is set to have their creative work showcased in some of the world’s most iconic cities - New York’s Times Square and the Louvre Museum in Paris.  

Sam McCracken, 33, is celebrating worldwide recognition for the work he created while studying for a degree in Illustration in the University of Wolverhampton’s School of Art.  

“GLORYBOX XL” is the outcome of one of the final projects that Sam is making as part of his degree. The project is inspired by Queer Cruising Culture, Consensual Non-Monogamy, Polari Language and Public Sex Spaces.  

Photo of Illustration student Sam McCracken taken with his artwork GloryBox XL

Sam’s artwork is set to be broadcast by The Holy Art Gallery over the infamous advertisement screens in New York’s Times Square from the 22 to the 24 March.  

The Holy Art Gallery has rapidly gained recognition as a leading force in the contemporary and modern art scene, both locally and internationally. As a group of galleries, with locations in London, New York and Athens, they specialise in curating art exhibitions in the UK, Europe and internationally, inviting artists from all backgrounds to submit their work for consideration. 

As well as his work being on display in New York, Sam was also approached by a curator of The Holy Art Gallery in London for his work to be exhibited in Athens, London or Paris. Sam was offered the opportunity to exhibit in all three locations and after choosing Paris out of the three historic options, it was confirmed that The Louvre was set to showcase “GLORYBOX XL” from the 5 to the 7 April.  

Being the first time that his artwork is going to be displayed in a gallery setting, it will be a very special moment for Sam. Speaking about his reaction after hearing the news, Sam said: “When I heard the news, I sat in my room and I just wept for hours, I called my mum and I was like ‘don’t worry, I’m not sad!’ 

“My work celebrates the historical presence of the spaces, the moves into sexual suggestion of modern-day, and discreetly highlighting the world's need for censorship.” 

Unlike in New York, Sam is going to be able to make the trip to Paris to see “GLORYBOX” being exhibited in the Louvre Museum. He’ll be counting down the days until he sees in person his own project being displayed in the same building as some of history’s most famous creative work, such as the Mona Lisa. 

Alongside being on display in Paris and New York, Sam’s work will also be exhibited at the School of Art’s end-of-year Degree show in June in Wolverhampton. 

Sam’s advice for anyone who is considering studying for the Illustration course would be “not to second guess it. If you really think it’s what you want to do, by all means do it. Illustration is not just about children’s books. My work is very clearly indicative of it being anything - it can be sculpture, it can be homeware, it can be interiors - it can be fine art or it can be very traditional. It can be whatever you want it to be.” 

Amy Dewhurst, Lecturer in Illustration in the School of Art, said: "The tutors that have supported Sam's growth through the illustration course are delighted by his news. We are so pleased that Sam has been able to use the course and the self-authored projects in his final year to not only develop his subject specific skillset in illustration and image making practice, but also transferable skills that will enable him to have a flexible, sustainable, cross disciplinary practice within the creative industries.

"This global opportunity, which is an incredible chance for Sam to step outside of the traditional role of an illustrator and grow arms to his practice as an exhibiting artist, is a great example of that."

For more information about the University of Wolverhampton and the School of Art check out the University’s official website. 


This article was written by Media and Journalism student, Callum Burgess. Picture and video filming and edits credit to Callum.


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