Magazine covers draw attention to students’ stunning artwork

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Striking artwork by two students has been chosen to feature on the cover of the official magazine for University of Chester graduates and alumni. 

Fine Art student, Alex Dai Williams’ artwork has been selected for the cover of the 2021 digital edition of ACH1EVE and Interior Design student Alexandra Costache’s illustration stood out to editors as the cover choice for the print edition.

Both Alex and Alexandra are the 2021 recipients of the ACH1EVE Prize run by the University’s Development and Alumni Relations Office. The Prize, which was established in 2020 in partnership with the Department of Art and Design, is funded by alumni donations. The Prize invites Art and Design students to submit their artwork to appear on the digital and print front covers of ACH1EVE, and also receive a monetary prize. The digital front cover is displayed on the website and sent out to digital subscribers, while the print copy is sent to more than 4,000 postal subscribers and is available at events.

Here the students give us insights into the artwork and the inspiration behind each, as well as sharing how it felt to win the cover competition.

Describing his work, Alex Dai Williams said: “Clouds cover the person’s mouth, symbolising physically how we have covered ourselves. As a student, I don’t know my classmates faces in person, only through a screen or from the eyes up. I placed clouds around the person to represent how this facial covering has already lifted for people in other places. I wanted to present that as a wisp because a mental and emotional weight is also being lifted, and the bright colours represent hope and a positive energy.

“I feel society has shifted, especially at the beginning of this year, following dropping COVID cases and the distribution of the vaccine. The unusual appearance of the figure represents a fantasy theme, as for many the idea of changing back to the normality of pre-COVID seemed far away and unattainable, however now it seems possible again.”

On featuring on the cover, he added: “To receive the email that my artwork had been chosen was incredible. The confidence and happiness that washed over me was unreal. In high school I was the kid who hid their drawings, so for my artwork as an adult to be shared through my university was unlike any experience I have ever had.

“I feel I have made myself, and my family very proud. I definitely hold myself to a higher esteem knowing I was chosen for my artwork by my university. I am grateful for the opportunity, and astounded to have been chosen.”

Alexandra Costache said: “My artwork, titled ‘Back into the Future’ is about the idea of moving forward with our lives by going back to the way things used to be, with a greater appreciation for what we have.

“The illustration is divided into two parts: the background which represents the past, and the main colourful figure that represents the future. The link between them is the holding hands, a symbol of unity, showing that we can only move forward together.”

She continued: “I was extremely pleased when I found out that my illustration was chosen for the magazine cover, it somehow validated that the message I wanted to communicate was clearly understood and I am glad that was very well received.

“I am also grateful that the university gave us this chance, I think that any positive feedback is a boost for any artist, especially when it is curated and shared.”

Hayley Naldrett, Editor of ACH1EVE and Engagement Officer in the Development and Alumni Relations Office, said: “This year we received some fantastic entries for the ACH1EVE Prize, but Alex and Alexandra’s artwork really stood out to us.

“Alexandra captured our theme of ‘looking to the future’ perfectly, encapsulating elements of 2020 that have defined such a turbulent year. Alex’s abstract artwork for the digital front cover is exactly the kind of visionary artwork that defines our students and sets them apart. I am positive that both students have an extremely bright future in the world of art and design.”

If you would like to contribute to the next issue of ACH1EVE, or be notified when the next ACH1EVE Prize cycle begins, please email ACH1EVE@chester.ac.uk.

To see more of the students’ work, visit: