Alumnus Andrew Marathus Awarded Best of Illustration Show

February 11, 2013

After the Illustration Department’s Annual Theme Show, Science!, chose Illustration alumnus Andrew Marathus ’07 as the recipient of the ‘Best of Show: Alumni’ award, he wrote “To Montserrat College of Art’s illustration class and faculty of 2013 – a thank you letter…” on his blog. Read it here or visit

As most other artists and illustrators similarly associated with Montserrat’s community do (whether they be former students, alum, former faculty, etc.), I find myself anticipating Montserrat College of Art’s illustration department’s theme show each year – this year has been no different. The winter months come and the theme is announced and there’s this general buzz in the community as artists prepare their efforts and bring pieces to life. It’s great! I found my standing excitement for the event made greater this year in particular by the idea that I am far enough away from my experiences taking classes in Beverly to, now, experience a different and fun level of inclusion in an show that is now predominantly hosted for students that I have no educational overlap with. Said another way – the show brings new, fresh faces of young people I have no class experiences with. You and I are from different artistic generations within Montserrat, and this is a great thing and a true joy when it comes to sharing my work.

When I was a younger illustrator within the department, the idea of showing my work on the walls of 301 with known faculty and potentially (for me) unknown alumni consistently, year after year, ended up being a real treat for reasons I didn’t pin precisely enough until months or years later, and it proved to be the base for my enjoyment of the show for years after graduating. As an illustration student at Montserrat, you’re allowed to show starting in your early years with the school in a venue that is normally reserved for external professional artists or seniors working on their thesis. The reality that you happen to end up showing with, for all intents and purposes, professionals is outstanding. You’re given a great opportunity with the idea in mind that you’re putting your work and your practice directly next to the work and practice of professional artists and illustrators that have been honing their craftsmanship, their concepts, their ability to present work. The health of this opportunity is given to by a spirit of competition, too. I can remember seeing great work by faculty and alum and considering one plain, driving idea – “I will be able to get to that point.”

As an alum, the excitements are different. The details for entering work are different. Different faces greet you and wander 301. One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the way that the show suddenly acts as a kind of opportunity to either try new things or resolve traditions in work and, in a real sense, bring them back home to a safe, comfortable venue. It’s a show that I personally use as a capstone to other things I do during the year with an idea in mind that I want to show where I’ve come and gone since graduating in 2007. I get to do this and I get to show with students whose work is as exciting and fearless as I remember it being when I, as well, was a student. The show is great and it encourages the kinds of drives, examples, and excitements that help make good artistic communities great artistic communities, make hobby work meaningful work, and ultimately create longstanding traditions of staying connected with the programs your work matures in. May it never change.

So, I’d like to say thank you – that’s the idea here. Not only did I consider the show the regular kind of success that I’ve become familiar with in my years since starting participating in it, but I was also flattered. I submit my work gladly to share with others, and it’s a pleasure to hear from you – students and faculty, alike – when you respond positively to it. The treat for me is this: hop the train from North Station to Beverly, grab a coffee, snag a slice at Maria’s ($1.50?!), maybe visit Dane St. Beach, and genuinely relive a bright part of my past for a few hours before getting down to business with, honestly, one of the best illustration department’s in the country. Simple.

All my best. Here’s to next year’s show!


To see more of Marathus’ work visit