Over the last decade, Jonathan Cusick has gained a strong reputation for his work as an illustrator, and particularly his arresting caricatures, which seem to hold a comically distorting mirror up to personalities who are prominent in the contemporary worlds of politics and entertainment. Jonathan Cusick was born in Liverpool on 6 July 1978, the son of a Plant Engineer and a Secretary, both of whom worked for Dunlop. He was educated at Thomas Barnes Primary School, Hopwas, and then at The Rawlett School, Tamworth (both in Staffordshire). He proved his artistic talent at a young age by being awarded a runners-up prize for a self-portrait that he submitted to a ‘Portland Bill’ TV Times drawing competition. Then, while a student of Illustration at the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design, he received three major prizes: the 1995 British Cartoonists’ Association and The Times Young Cartoonist of the Year (under 30) (being given the overall award despite his entry in the under 18 category); a 1998 British Design and Art Direction (D&AD) Student Award (Illustration); and the 1999 Association of Illustrators Student Award. He graduated with a first in BA (Hons) Visual Communication (Illustration) in the latter year.
From that time, Cusick has produced illustrations for many prominent periodicals, including the Daily Mirror, the Guardian, The Times, the Independent on Sunday, Express Newspapers, Asda Magazine, BBC Music Magazine, Men’s Health, New Statesman, Sainsbury’s Magazine, The Spectator, and extensive work for Radio Times (over 60 issues to date).
He has also worked for notable advertising campaigns, including Cadbury Coronation Street sponsorship idents, for which his drawings were brought to life by Hibbert Ralph Animation (courtesy of the advertising agency, Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper). In November 2007, he received the Cartoon Art Trust Award for Caricature for his work in The Times.
Cusick has exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery (as part of the BP Portrait Award), the Mall Galleries (with the Royal Society of Portrait Painters), the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists, The Cartoon Museum and the Shire Hall, Stafford. His first solo exhibition was held at the Coningsby Gallery, London, in 2005. In addition, his work has regularly been selected for the AOI’s Images annuals, for which he has also been a judge. In 2017, he was commissioned by the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, to paint a portrait of the former Keeper, Professor Timothy Wilson. The portrait is held in the museum’s Western Art Collection. Cusick has said of his work and his continued success:
There's a range to my work and different aspects appeal to different clients. It's painterly, which means I can do pastiches, for example. My likenesses have always got noticed. As I'm a caricaturist at heart and there's a strength of character in my figures.
In 2016 he was awarded the Alumni of the Year for Excellence in Sport or the Arts Award by his alma mater, the University of Birmingham, formerly, the University of Central England. Cusick continues to work as a freelance illustrator and caricaturist, his latest clients have included The Times, Radio Times and the Great British Brexit Company. He lives in Tamworth, Staffordshire.