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Two Wellingtonians become Arts Foundation Laureates

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Wellingtonians Kris Sowersby and Ruth Paul have received Arts Foundation 2019 Laureate awards.

Ruth Paul received the Mallinson Rendel Illustrators Award.

Kris Sowersby received the award for design & typography.

Ruth Paul is a Wellington-raised writer and illustrator. She completed a Bachelor of Arts at Victoria University of Wellington, and a Diploma of Visual Communication Design at Wellington Polytechnic (now Massey University Wellington). In 1991, she became a freelance illustrator. As an illustrator only, Paul’s works include Tom’s Story (Mallinson Rendel Publishers, 1997) by Mandy Hager, Penguin’s Day Out (Mallinson Rendel Publishers, 1999) by Vivienne Joseph, and the Mini Whinny series by Stacy Gregg (Scholastic NZ, 2018). In 2002 she began to write her own books, with her first publication as an author/illustrator being The Animal Undie Ball (Scholastic, 2004). She has since written and illustrated more than 18 books, including The King’s Bubbles (Scholastic, 2007), Two Little Pirates (Scholastic, 2010), Stomp! (Scholastic, 2011), Hedgehog’s Magic Tricks (Walker Books 2012), Bad Dog Flash (Scholastic 2013), I Am Jellyfish (Penguin Randomhouse 2018) and the Little Hector series (Penguin RandomHouse 2018).
Ruth Paul’s books have been translated into different media forms. The Animal Undie Ball was produced by Capital E as a stage performance with the Java Dance Company in their 2007 Children’s Arts Festival. The Animal Undie Ball, Superpotamus and Two Little Pirates have all featured on Wurrawhy, Channel 10 Australia’s preschool television series, and Stomp! has appeared on the ABC network’s children’s show Playschool. Bad Dog Flash has also been published as an ebook via its US publisher (Sourcebooks, 2014).
Paul’s poem ‘Sparkle’ is included in A Treasury of NZ Poems, edited by Paula Green (Random House NZ, 2014), and a number of her stories have been read on Radio New Zealand’s Storytime programme. Her books have been translated into Māori, Korean, Chinese, French and Spanish. Her books have been published in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, China and Korea.
The King’s Bubbles won the Children’s Choice Award at the 2008 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Stomp! was also a finalist in the Best Picture Book category of the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, and I Am Jellyfish won Picture Book of the Year in the same awards in 2018, with Mini Whinny Happy Birthday to Me shortlisted for 2019.
The King’s Bubbles won the 2008 PANZ Book Design Award in the children’s category, and I Am Jellyfish was shortlisted for the same awards in 2019. Bad Dog Flash was selected for the Kids Indie Next List (Autumn, 2014) by the American Booksellers Association after is publication in the United States. Many of her books have been included in the Storylines Notable Books list.

Typeface designer Kris Sowersby founded Klim Type Foundry (Klim) in 2005. Since releasing his first retail typeface, Feijoa, in 2005, Kris has received numerous awards and accolades, including a Certificate of Excellence from the New York Type Directors Club for his second typeface, National. In 2008 he was named an ADC Young Gun, in 2010 he was accepted as a member of the prestigious Alliance Graphique Internationale (the second New Zealander to do so), in 2013 he received the John Britten Black Pin and in 2015, the highest award given by the Designers Institute of New Zealand.
Kris has designed custom fonts for such clients as The Financial Times, PayPal and National Geographic. Kris is internationally recognised and has received many New Zealand design awards. In 2008 Kris explored the idea of a typeface for Aotearoa and released National and then in 2017, he released National 2. In 2018 Objectspace hosted his exhibition There is no such thing as a New Zealand typeface. In this exhibition Kris questioned if there was a relationship between a typeface and a place and whether a typeface can have a regional accent.
His typefaces are in use all over the world. National and National 2 are seen in many places including the cover of Anthology of New Zealand Literature and in the New Zealand Fashion Design encyclopedia, it’s at Te Papa Tongarewa, the Christchurch Art Gallery, and throughout the branding of Victoria University. They are also used by Z, Xero and on newzealand.com for New Zealand Tourism.

Arts Foundation Laureate Awards celebrate and empower artists with outstanding potential for future growth whose practice has an impact on New Zealand. Every year the Arts Foundation recognise ten exceptional artists with a $25,000 award.

The laureate awards have kicked off Aotearoa’s first ever Arts Month, 30 days dedicated to celebrating, acknowledging and exploring the arts in our communities. During September, we want Aotearoa to show us what ‘art is’ to them. Arts Month is a month-long conversation about what art is, uncovering what creativity means to New Zealanders, and exploring the value the arts bring to our society. Head to www.artsmonth.co.nz and get creative with the pencil, paintbrush, text, image, or spray-paint icons, then hit “post” to share your definition with the nation. #ArtsMonthNZ

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