Gabe Monteiro

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PCA x(mas) Tate

For the second year running, Christmas cards designed by Plymouth College of Art students are on sale at Tate

For the second year running, six students from Plymouth College of Art have been selected to join forces with Tate for Christmas, as part of the annual Tate Christmas card commission and competition.

From an open call to all undergraduate and postgraduate Plymouth College of Art students, 150 entries were submitted, up from 80 the previous year. Judges at Tate were hoping to select five designs from Plymouth College of Art, but were so impressed by the quality of submissions that they chose eight designs to go on sale for Christmas 2021. The students whose designs were chosen are paid royalties for the sales of their Christmas cards and get to name Tate as a client when they’re pitching for future work, which will be invaluable for opening doors throughout their careers.

Gabe Monteiro

Gabe Monteiro

Gabe Monteiro, a Portuguese-British illustrator and artist based in Plymouth who graduated from BA (Hons) Illustration at Plymouth College of Art this year with a First Class degree, was selected as the overall Plymouth College of Art winner of the annual Tate Christmas card commission and competition. His winning ‘Ugh’ design was joined by another of Gabe’s designs, ‘Paper Mistletoe’, which was also selected to go into production.

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Gabe Monteiro's 'Ugh' card

Gabe used collage techniques to create his illustrations for the Christmas cards, using paper scraps with coloured paint streaks for colour and texture. His highly relatable ‘Ugh’ design is an expression of some of his own holiday season emotions, captured in an image of the perennially tangled Christmas tree lights that so many of us wrestle with each year.

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Gabe's 'Paper Mistletoe' card

Gabe said: “I was over the moon to hear that two of my designs were chosen by the Tate and that I was the overall winner, especially after seeing so many of my coursemates’ amazing entries! Although I felt the pressure of the competitive element of creating work for Tate, I tried to relax and use the opportunity to have fun with the process. I ended up using collage, which I don’t often do, and as a result I feel like my enjoyment of the process must have showed through in the finished designs.

“Seeing my work on sale at the Tate is surreal, but a big step in the direction I want to pursue with my creative work. I am currently selling work and handmade items online as a freelance illustrator alongside other employment, developing my illustration and staying on the lookout for more opportunities. My experience with Tate has shown me that it works to embrace opportunities, put your own spin on them and take enjoyment from doing the work.”

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Tianna Barnes' 'Cat Christmas' card

From Plymouth College of Art this year, two designs by Gabe and two designs by BA (Hons) Illustration student Tianna Barnes (‘Cat Christmas’ and ‘Snowball Fight’) were selected, along with designs by BA (Hons) Illustration student Honor Jackson (‘Sheila Santa’), BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Milly Iris (‘Tis the Season’), BA (Hons) Printed Textile Design & Surface Pattern graduate Georgia Smelt (‘Beary Christmas’) and BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Savannah Dale (‘The Joy of Winter’). All are now on sale at Tate galleries and shops across the UK, as well as online

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Milly Iris' 'Tis the Season' card

Last year’s winner from Plymouth College of Art was BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Charlotte Leadley’s ‘Decking the Halls’ design, alongside BA (Hons) Fine Art student Stella Olivier’s ‘All that they could pick up on their screens was snow’, BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Matt Brampton’s ‘The Dove’ and BA (Hons) Illustration graduate Emma Groves’ ‘Starlit Cabin’. Since the release of her first Tate Christmas card, Charlotte Leadley has been named one of the Association of Illustrators’ (AOI's) 10 UK Graduates To Watch, in addition to being longlisted for the World Illustration Awards 2021.

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Georgia Smelt's 'Beary Christmas' card

Mel Brown, Assistant Head of School, Design + Communication, at Plymouth College of Art, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Plymouth College of Art students to sell their work in Tate’s network of four of the best-known art galleries in the UK. Joining the Tate team to shortlist the designs was one of my highlights of the year. We were so impressed by the range and quality of submissions, it made the selection process so much more difficult. I’m thrilled for all the students who were chosen and would recommend all current students to look out for news early next year, when we hope to announce the next competition.”

A representative from Tate said: ‘We are delighted to have worked with Plymouth College of Art for a second year, and were really pleased with the standard of the entries. Tate’s Christmas cards are really popular and we love being able to offer our customers new designs each year, whilst also giving students an opportunity to have their work published.”

Visit to find out more about the range of creative BA, MA and post-16 courses offered at Plymouth College of Art, and book your place at the next Open Day on 13 November 2021.