Katie Ponder is a London-based freelance illustrator and recent grad of Falmouth University, whose work “often has a narrative behind it.” As Ponder explains, “I have enjoyed using music rather than literature as a catalyst for a narrative. I also enjoy the conceptual challenge of working on editorial illustrations.”
That catalytic power is absolutely flooring in Ponder’s illustrated interpretation of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which won a 2014 AOI award. Like many of Ponder’s other illustrations, her Stravinsky-inspired series balances a mix of collage, ink, and photoshop to create a wholly immersive and dreamy space that’s equal parts curious and macabre. That mixture of beauty and the ill-at-ease is perfectly apt for a symphony known for causing a full-blown riot when it premiered.
Terror and dissonance are far less apparent in most of Ponder’s other works, however. There’s a playfully sardonic quality to much of it, a sometimes-eerie symbolic flair, but Ponder’s consistently attentive and sophisticated infusion of emotion and subtlety into her work prevents it from ever falling wholly into darkness.
The spotted handfish (Brachionichthys hirsutus), an amazing creature that walks the ocean floor, is a rare Australian fish from the family Brachionichthyidae. It is classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List 2002. is the first Australian marine species to be threatened with extinction.
The greatest threats to the handfish appear to be siltation and invasive species. The Derwent Estuary where the fish lives is highly urbanised and industrialised, and a range of marine pests have been introduced through shipping. One key pest is the Northern Pacific Seastar (Asterias amurensis), a particularly large and voracious predator that is now abundant in the estuary. Studies by CSIRO show that the seastars eat the stalked ascidians that the handfish use to attach their eggs.