Connecting contemporary Australian illustrators to a diverse range of local and international clients, the Jacky Winter Group has a knack for selecting eye-catching talent.
This year the boutique illustration agency was voted as the pick of the crop and emerged as Hotshop Illustration category winner. With offices in both Sydney and Melbourne, the agency represents nearly 100 artists across four distinct agencies, including The Hatch, which represents emerging artists, and The Bowery, which manages more traditional artists working across areas such as storyboarding, visualisation and 3D rendering.
Established in 2007 by Jeremy Wortsman, a designer and art director by trade, the agency has consistently worked on award-winning projects spanning editorial spots to fully integrated campaigns.
Comprised of a select group of professional illustrators from all corners of Australia, each artist represented has been selected for their inimitable style and vision, which fall somewhere between fine art and traditional illustration.
Last year saw the agency working with more international clients, including commissions for Whybin\TBWA Los Angeles for client Energizer, McCann Erickson New York on a project for Verizon, along with work for the Commonwealth Bank via Goodby, Silverstein & Partners out of San Francisco.
The agency also saw a steady stream of editorial work come through the door for publications including BusinessWeek, Playboy and WIRED magazine.
On home soil, the agency has strengthened its relationship with ad agencies, collaborating with the likes of Clemenger BBDO, The Furnace, Grey, Publicis Mojo and Droga5.
Illustration entered into this year's awards included work for Complex Magazine, Myer's Spring Racing, adidas, John Brown Publishing and American Express, through Singleton Ogilvy & Mather.
Judges singled out the Jacky Winter Group as the agency stretching the boundaries of creativity with its knack for representing unique artists with a stylish delivery.
"What the agency does for illustrators is awesome," said one judge. "If I need illustration done, I'll go to them," said another.
2009 also proved a satisfying year for this year's category finalist, Sydney-based illustrator Nathaniel Eckstrom.
Proving that a one-man band can take on large agency style set-ups, Eckstrom has enjoyed the fruits of his labour.
Eckstrom’s Bravery illustration, published in Australian Art Review, was selected for the upcoming Lüerzer's Archive 200 Best Illustrator's Worldwide Book.
Continuing on with his successful collaboration with Home and Human Fashion's new label Lalaland, Eckstrom illustrated a set of four tea boxes, which were selected to appear in the book Boxed and Labelled – New Approaches to Packaging Design, published by Gestalten Verlag in Germany.
Design event Semi Permanent also included his Victory illustration in its 2009 showcase book. As well as working on various magazine editorial projects, Eckstrom was also able to work on some personal pieces and exhibited at international gallery spaces.
Last year, two of his illustrations were showcased at the first Blue Book Group Show for 2009, which took place at the Momaeye Art Gallery in Tehran, Iran. The travelling exhibition also visits Spain, Germany and Japan.
He also exhibited at Power In Numbers 4 Show (PIN4), held at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California.
(PIN4) invites artists and illustrators from all backgrounds, industries and aesthetics to take part in creating art for a good cause. Summing up Eckstrom's year, one judge said: "Great work, industriously applied – shine on you crazy diamond!"