Neil Packer (b.1961)
Neil Packer was born in Trinidad with a varied and itinerant childhood spent there as well as in Libya, Scotland, Wales and England. He studied graphics, illustration and printmaking at Colchester and he has spent many years working not just in publishing but also in advertising and graphic design.
He has now lived in London for many years and is fascinated by the changing face of the city. Old haunts disappear; favourite pubs vanish, only to be replaced by more blocks of flats and corporate architecture. He's best known for the magnificent editions of The Odyssey and The Iliad produced by Walker Books/Candlewick Press and written by Gillian Cross. But there's much more than that. For the Folio Society he's illustrated everything from Catch 22 to Foucault's Pendulum. From One Hundred Years of Solitude to The Arabian Nights. He tackles the most difficult subjects with a great deal of care and expertise - and the results have been hugely successful.
His most recent book is the illustrated children's edition of Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan. He chose to illustrate the various different periods by using art styles of that time, a feat which most artists would find daunting but he strode through the whole process in great style and the book has attracted a lot of interest. Now produced in twelve different foreign editions, it was particularly satisfying to receive both Chinese and Russian editions, two of the countries most relevant to this magnificent book.
Neil is photographed here with his mother at his solo exhibition at the Illustrationcupboard Gallery, London, in 2012