#StudentSpotlight: Interview with Shaun Parr, Prize Winner at LMJU Degree Show

by Cass Art

The John Lennon Art and Design Building hosts an annual celebration for students to showcase their final projects. The Liverpool School of Art and Design Degree Show ran for two weeks and presented a variety of exhibitions, performances and displays curated by students and staff.

This year the LJMU Degree Show Cass Art Prize, a £100 goodie bag of art materials, went to Shaun Parr, a BA Graphic Design and Illustration student with an impressive collection The Chelonian Archive, featuring intricate illustrations inspired by science and geology. One of Cass Art's staff from our new Liverpool shop, Chelsea, caught up with Shaun to find out about what makes his art tick.

Shaun, congratulations on winning The Cass Art Prize! Have any items inspired you?

Thank you, I am thrilled! I can’t wait to experiment with the Cass Watercolour pencils. I normally work in black and white but I’m definitely going to experiment with colour in my illustrations.

Cass Art Prize to Shaun Parr 

Your work focuses on nature, geology and science. Are there re-occurring ideologies in your work?

I am a collector at heart and a museum based artist. I believe in presenting science through art. My passion is in collecting unusual items such as fossils and stones and trying to display them in different ways. I present items that are hidden or forgotten about and display them through complex illustration.

Where do you take your inspiration from?

Mostly through travelling and visiting museums, and sometimes even from family items. There’s always a link to science, I try to use a 19th century approach to story-tell items that I have discovered. I believe there is a link between science and art and it’s important to illustrate hidden and complex items from nature, in an educating and visually pleasing way.

Crocodile illustration 

Your work in the Chelonian Archive demonstrates such intricate detail, what are some of your processes?

I try to find the finest line weight possible in my pens. I’m always looking for the perfect tool - but the Rotring and Derwent Graphik pens are ideal; they are delicate and unique in their single line quality and allow me to craft those intricacies.

I’ve discovered that the environment you’re working in affects the Rotring result. If the temperature is too high, too much ink is produced and can pose serious issues. I’ve found that working in a cooler environment allows for a more controlled use of fine line pens and their accuracy. 

Illustration with such fine detail can be a long, taxing process and can put strain on your hands and fingers. A good tip is to put a small cutting of Mountboard under your wrist to cushion the weight and ease the strain.


What are your aspirations post-graduation?

I would love to go into a career as a museum archivist or in education, perhaps as a scientific illustrator. There’s also a Master’s degree in Art and Science that greatly interests me.

Do you have any advice for future/current Illustration students?

Be yourself, know what your strengths are and play to them. Be different and allow your personal interests and passions to influence your work. Experiment with materials and stay true to what you want to do.

 Scientific illustration

 By Chelsea B. Bassnett, Cass Art Liverpool

Feeling inspired?

Check out the newest Cass Art Shop in Liverpool.

Use the hashtag #StudentSpotlight to find our other blogs on student degree shows this year. 

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