The Hamilton King Award, Illustration’s most prestigious honor since 1965, is presented each year to a Society of Illustrators member for outstanding accomplishment and repeated excellence. he award spotlights one of the artist’s best works for that year, representative of their career, and can only be received once in their lifetime. The achievement reflects how the artist’s work advances the Society’s mission to bring attention to the importance of illustration and the role the Society plays in it.
This year’s Award goes to Kadir Nelson, whose career began with his recognition in the Society of Illustrators Student Scholarship in 1996. Since then, Kadir’s work has been exhibited in major national and international publications, institutions, art galleries, and museums. Nelson earned a Bachelor’s degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and has since created paintings for a host of distinguished clients including Sports Illustrated, The Coca-Cola Company, The United States Postal Service, Major League Baseball, and Dreamworks SKG where he worked as a visual development artist creating concept artwork for feature films, “Amistad”, and “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”.
Many of Nelson’s paintings are in the collections of notable institutions and public collections, including the U.S. House of Representatives and the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as well as in the private collections of actors, professional athletes, and musicians. Nelson has also gained acclaim for the artwork he has contributed to several NYT Best-selling picture books including his authorial debut, “WE ARE THE SHIP: The Story of Negro League Baseball”, winner of the Coretta Scott King and Robert F. Sibert Awards, and was published by Disney/Hyperion in the spring of 2008. Currently, Nelson’s cover artwork is featured on the album “MICHAEL”, by the late pop singer icon Michael Jackson, Jackson’s first posthumous album release. Nelson’s upcoming literary effort, “HEART AND SOUL: The Story of America and African-Americans,” was published by HarperCollins in the fall of 2011.
Kadir Nelson is receiving the Hamilton King Award for his illustration “Prison”, from the book “Nelson Mandela”, published by HarperCollins.