Scholarly biography and interests

Paul Burgess leads the Illustration strand at the University of Brighton alongside his own practice as a freelance illustrator, designer, photographer, and writer. He has recently developed courses that cross into screen arts and digital media for both illustrators and graphic designers

Practice-led research

His practice has focused on contemporary collage, image making, graphic design from the Punk Rock movement and the possibilities offered by embracing error and the art of the accident within illustration and graphic design. Burgess is also interested in amateur and folk art, self-publishing, found ephemera, and collecting and collections.

Paul’s graphic artistic practice investigates the potential of collage within contemporary visual communication, recognising the revival of collage in advertising, magazine covers, and TV title sequences and its response to the overtly digital images in the early twenty-first century.

His works tests the possibilities of collage as a touchstone for more general cultural phenomenon from music sampling to fashion and internet “mash-ups”. It is also recognises a potency in collage regarding the representation, in images, of society's shared fears: terror, political corruption, banker bonus mayhem, an unending war and the recession.

An essential element of this practice is an understanding of the means through which, as an expert illustrator, the histories of image-making can be felt and developed. Found images with nostalgic overtones are reworked, edited, cut and pasted to portray the spirit of the diversity and multiplicity of contemporary culture, with a notion of almost violent "cutting into" of images from the past together with a wry reappropriation that comes from interplay of new and often semi-accidental recontextualisation. 

Paul Burgess's practice, informed by location in the ongoing global illustration scene, draws on important research questions: How does nostalgia operate between its comedic, anarchic and wistful possibilities? How does historical referencing stand up to a practice that is invasive in nature? How are the uses of this technique, particularly in commercial contexts, taking advantage of a susceptibility towards childhood memories and the roots of identity?

Documenting contemporary culture 

Paul's understanding of the intersection of the contemporary and the nostalgic is heightened through his projects with leading musical innovators. In 1994 he started a six year photography project with Jarvis Cocker of Pulp, to photograph and document live gigs, video-shoots and other events. The results were a collection of over 2000 photographs and exclusive video footage that inform personal research projects.

Paul Burgess also worked with the Sex Pistols on a number of occasions as a photographer and designer. He is also co-author of the book Satellite: Sex Pistols published by Abstract Sounds in 1999. In 2000 he designed the film poster and promotional material for the film The Filth and the Fury directed by Julien Temple. In 2002 he provided archive material and Art Direction for the Virgin Sex Pistols Box Set. Burgess also photographed the band on the British tour in 1996, the American tour in 2003 and the 2007 gigs at Brixton Academy. He has written numerous articles on the subject in the music press, worked with the group as a graphic designer and is an adviser to Sotheby's on the subject of 'Punk Graphics and Clothing'.

Freelance practice 

Since graduating from Camberwell School of Art in 1984 and the Royal College of Art in 1986, Burgess' freelance illustration client base has included: The Guardian, Penguin Books, Jonathan Cape, Island Records, Pepe Jeans, Ecover, American Health Magazine, The Observer, Elle, Orion Publishing, GQ Magazine, Radio Times, Forward Publishing, Ammirati & Puris/Lintas, The Partners, Wolff Olins, Greenpeace, Harper Collins, New Scientist, The Independent, Sunday Times, The Delays, TBWA, Sex Pistols, Rough Trade Records, Top Shop, Vintage Books, MTV, and many other editorial, design and advertising.

He has been on the judging panel for 'Images'/Association of Illustrators, in 2001 and 2005, and the 3x3 Awards NYC in 2015. Burgess has exhibited his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions in both this country and abroad, and has delivered papers at conferences in Europe, the USA and the UK. 

Further examples of his work can be seen at

How I like to teach

Research activity


  • Guest Speaker at the 'Interpretation' Illustration Symposium, 18 - 19 September 2014, AUB, Bournemouth. in conjunction with VaroomLab / AOI. Title of paper: 'Make Room for Error'.
  • Guest Speaker at 'Illustrative '09', Berlin October 2009. Title of paper: 'Rip It Up and Start Again: What makes a good illustrator today?'
  • The Power of Ten - Two day Graphic Design Conference at Central Saint Martins, Cochrane Theatre, London. Exploring the world of Graphic Design and Narrative Environments. 17 & 18 November 2005. Key speaker - Paul Burgess in conversation with Glen Matlock, original bass player with the Sex Pistols. Theme: My work in relation to punk graphic design aesthetics


Secret Behavior magazine

NYC 2014 – Publisher: James Gallagher Issue 2: Family

Varoom magazine
Varoom 19 – the illustration report
Illustration, Culture, Society Autumn 2012
Gee Vaucher - Interview and article by Paul Burgess

‘The Future Is Junk’: Contemporary Collage / Varoom magazine

12 page lead article on contemporary collage. Varoom magazine, Issue 12, 2010

‘Cutting Edges: Contemporary Collage':

The new heyday of collage in current art, illustration, and design’ Paul Burgess: 6 page portfolio 

Cutting Edges: documents the new heyday of collage in current art and visual culture. 224 page book / ISBN: 978-3-89955-338-3 

Publishers: Gestalten/Berlin January 2011 

 'Illusive 3: Contemporary Illustration' (Gestalten 2009

'What Is Illustration?’ by Lawrence Zeegen (Rotovision 2009)

'Text and Image' by Mark Wigan (AVA 2008) 

‘The Illustrated Brighton Moment’ by Susanna Jones and Lawrence Zeegen (UnMadeUp Arts 2008

'Beards, Brighton and Beadsley: Four generations of Illustrators', Varoom magazine, issue 7 2008. 

Interview by Paul Burgess with John Vernon Lord, Jasper Goodall and Jim Stoten.

'Digital Illustration: A Master Class In Creative Image Making' by Lawrence Zeegen (Rotovision 2005). 

'The Fundamentals of Illustration' by Lawrence Zeegen (AVA Publishing 2005). 

'Satellite: Sex Pistols, Memorabilia, Locations, Photography, Fashion'

Paul Burgess and Alan Parker (Abstract Sounds Publishing 1999). Published in English, German and Japanese.

The authors have spent 20 years compiling research material for this best selling reference book, including rare, previously unseen posters, records, flyers, clothing, photograph, press-kits and artwork. A full discography, listing official releases and a plunge into the murky world of The Sex Pistols bootlegs and semi-official recordings. Includes examples of clothing by Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren. The phenomenon of punk was more than just the music, it was a lifestyle, its own fashion, art and attitude stamped all over it. "PUNK ROCK STARTS HERE." 

Contact Illustration Annual - 1995 - 2005. 

Images Illustration Annual (AOI), 1995 - 2005. 

Marmalade Magazine, 2004

Various Editorial Magazines, 1995 - 2005. 



‘Out of the Box’ - Box Art exhibition No Format Gallery, London, SE18 5NR 22 November – 22 December 2014

 ‘Art In Pop’

Art In Pop curated by Magasin’s Yves Aupetitallot with John Armleder, Young Kim of the Malcolm McLaren Estate, John Miller and Paul Gorman.

Oct 11th 2014 to 4thJanuary, 2015

Le Magasin, Site Bouchayer-Viallet, 8 Esplanade Andry Farcy, 38028 Grenoble.

‘Let It Rock: The Look Of Music The Sound Of Fashion’

Curated by Young Kim of the Malcolm McLaren Estate and Paul Gorman

3rd – 6th August 2014 as part of the Copenhagen International Fashion Fair.

Latitude Festival 2014

(July 2014)
Curating the ‘Big Screen’ film/video art screening stage. Curating a programme of live artists
Southwold, Suffolk, 2014 (19-21 July)


‘Virgin Records: 40 Years of Disruptions’

An exhibition to celebrate 40 years of Virgin Records. Curated by Adrian Shaughnessy
24th - 29th October 2013

Studio B1,
Victoria House, Southhampton Row, London,
WC1B 4DA disruptions

Latitude Festival 2013

(July 2013) Curating the ‘Big Screen’ film/video art screening stage. Curating a programme of live artists
Southwold, Suffolk, 2013 (18-21 July)


Group show / 35 artists

Electro Studios Project Space is an independent new space for curated projects in St.Leonards-On-Sea.

The exhibition features work by 35 artists, including Andrzej Jackowski, Jeb Haward, Susan Haward and Paul Burgess who teach at the University of Brighton and Sussex Coast College, Hastings.

Electro Studios Project Space Seaside Road
St Leonards-On-Sea
TN38 0AL

Private View: Saturday 2nd February 2013 from 4-6pm
Open to the public: 3rd, 9th, 10th Feb



A survey of recent work from graduates & staff from the University of Brighton. The exhibition aims to reflect the diversity of work coming out of the Illustration department at Brighton over the last 40 years, and to celebrate what has been achieved and to offer possible futures for the practice of illustration.

The exhibition included work by over 130 illustrators including: Sir Quentin Blake, Raymond Briggs, George Hardie, John Vernon Lord, David Foldvari, Emily Gravett, Simone Lia, James Jarvis, Peepshow Collective, Jasper Goodall, Its Nice That and many others.

Brighton Illustration: Then, Now, After...
18 January - 14 February 2013
Private View Thursday 14th February 2013 5.30 - 8.30pm

University of Brighton Gallery 58-67 Grand Parade, Brighton, BN2 0JY

Mon - Sat 10am - 5pm

Latitude Festival 2012

(July 2012)
Curating the ‘Big Screen’ film/video art screening. Curating a programme of live artists
Southwold, Suffolk, 2012 (13-15 July)



October 21st - November 19th, 2011

Ugly Art Room (via Picture Farm)
338 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn,
NY 11211


Contemporary Collage
A Group Exhibition Curated by James Gallagher 29th April - 28th May 2011

Gestalten Space Sophie-Gips-Höfe Sophienstraße 21
10178 Berlin

Latitude Festival 2011
(July 2011) Curating the ‘Big Screen’ film/video art screening. Curating a programme of live artists
Southwold, Suffolk, 2011 (14-17 July)

‘Cutters/Cork’ – Group Exhibition / Contemporary Collage / Group Exhibition

February 7 - March 12 2011
West Cork Arts Centre, Cork, Ireland

Latitude Festival, Group Exhibition: ‘Nature Is The Church Of Satan’

Southwold, Suffolk, 2010 (15-18 July)

Whitstable Biennale Satellite Programme, Group Exhibition: ‘Nature is the Church of Satan’, (3rd July 2010)

International Poster and Graphic Arts Festival of Chaumont

France / Exhibitor / 29 May – 20 June 2010


‘Just Like That’, Group Show, Studio 1.1 Gallery, London, September

Latitude Festival

One Man Show, Southwold, Suffolk, 2009 (16-19 July 2009)

‘This Was Now: The Russell Herron Collection’, Sartorial Contemporary Art, London,

(8 July – 30 July 2009)

'Stolen Recordings', Group Show, Aquarium Gallery, London 2007
'If You Could Do Anything Tomorrow'... It's Nice That - Exposure Gallery, London

'Dr D and the Faith Healer', Joint Exhibition, Hotel Pelirocco, Brighton 2004

'One Man Show', Hotel Pelirocco, Brighton

One Man Show, Hotel Pelirocco, Brighton

'Orrible Little Bastards', Group Show, Neon Gallery, Shoreditch, London,

'All That Chazz', One Man Show, Simultane, Brighton


'Pop', One Man Show, Burro, Covent Garden, London

'Ever get the feeling you've been . . . Cheated', A22 Projects, London. Paul Stolper Gallery.

Group show featuring Gavin Turk, Fiona Banner, Paul Burgess and others. 

'Images', AOI touring Illustration exhibition in1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 2005.


'3D Illustrators Show', New York (1992) Bronze Prizewinner

'Art In Boxes', England & Co, London (1992/1993)

'South Bank Picture Show', Royal Festival Hall, Prizewinner (1991/92)

'The Box Show', The Roupell Gallery, London (1991)


'Homage To The Square', Flaxman Gallery, London (1989)

'New British Design', Tokyo, Japan (1988)

'Open Exhibition', Whitechapel Gallery, London (1988)

'New Spirit In Craft and Design', Crafts Council national touring exhibition through UK and USA (1988-1989)

Teaching practice

2006 - present

Senior Lecturer for BA(Hons) Illustration at the University of Brighton 

2010 - 2014

Course Leader for BA(Hons) Illustration at the University of Brighton 

2006 - 2010

  • Acting Course Leader for Graphic Design and Illustration at the University of Brighton
  • Senior lecturer in Illustration / Level 5 Year Coordinator at the University of Brighton
  • Senior lecturer in Graphic Design and Illustration / Level 6 tutor

2003 - 2006

  • Senior Lecturer / BA(Hons) Illustration / University of Hertfordshire

2004 - 2005

  • Senior tutor, MA Graphic Communication University of Hertfordshire

Other teaching experience includes: Royal College of Art, Camberwell School of Art, Winchester School of Art, Middlesex University, Northbrook College, Chelsea School of Art.

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