Detail from illustration by Ville Savimaa.
Have you been to see the Pick Me Up show at Somerset House yet? If not why not? if you’re in London get your skates on and get down there before it finishes on Monday (that’s tomorrow): there’s no better way to perk up a rainy Bank Holiday.
If you work in illustration or the graphic arts, this place will really get your juices going: part exhibition, part shop and part working studio space, all the people involved are superbly talented – not for nothing have about a dozen featured in my magazine over the years. Many have now become firmly established illustrators and their work a familiar part of the contemporary visual landscape.
I visited Pick Me Up last week thanks to the prompting of Thereza Rowe, who organised a twitter meetup with some other illustrators. It was an excellent chance for me to meet Kate Slater, who created some wonderful work for issue 10 of Amelia’s Magazine, and Jo Cheung and June Chanpoomidole, who contribute regularly to Amelia’s Magazine online. The lovely Simon Wild came along to meet Thereza, with whom he has helped to launch the Happy Journey Collective.
Jo Cheung, June Chanpoomidole, Kate Slater, Simon Wild and Thereza Rowe outside Pick Me Up 2010.
Thereza Rowe shows us her designs for Poketo.
In the blazing heat we gathered in the courtyard of Somerset House, where Thereza gleefully showed us the new purse she has just designed for the papercut series by Poketo.
Illustrations by Hellovon.
The exhibition is entered via the lower level, and the first gallery was devoted to the artwork of up and coming illustrators as picked out by a bunch of “industry insiders.” I was very pleased to see on display the idiosyncratic work of Jess Wilson, who has worked for me many times over the years and appears in Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration. Hvass&Hannibal were also given space; you can read more about the design duo here.
Illusrations by Jess Wilson.
Also included was a Peepshow stand and a large space devoted to the publications of the Nobrow collective, who have created a huge amount of work in the blink of an eye, and are due to launch a shop in Shoreditch later in May. Issue 3 of the Nobrow magazine was launched for the Pick Me Up exhibition, and I can confirm that Topsy Turvy features another beautiful selection of illustration, printed in another unique colour range.
Peepshow artist Luke Best has appeared in Amelia’s Magazine.
It is clear that Nobrow are sticking to a very specific aesthetic, which is driven by the process of screen-printing and is thus very different to that of Amelia’s Magazine: back in May I posted a blog about the Nobrow open brief for People I’ve Never Met & Conversations I’ve Never Had, but sadly none of the illustrators I recommended to take part were chosen for selection in the book. I look forward to interviewing Alex Spiro and Sam Arthur to find out more about how they work.
The Nobrow stand.
On the upper level each room was given over to a different collective, with the biggest room reserved for a Rob Ryan pop-up studio, the walls lined haphazardly with imagery from Rob’s huge back catalogue. There was a girl beavering away in the midst of it all but I didn’t see Rob, and wonder how much time he will have had to spend at the Pick Me Up exhibition.
This last piece by Rob Ryan is a version of the front cover that he originally designed for issue 02 of Amelia’s Magazine.
In the other rooms there was live screen printing from the Print Club London, a pop up Concrete Hermit shop featuring my very own Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration (I had my launch party at their shop in Hoxton), and work from various other collectives, including Nous Vous, It’s Nice That, Le Gun, Evening Tweed and a live project with Landfill Editions.
Print Club London in effect.
Artwork in the Concrete Hermit space.
Someone flicking through Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration at Concrete Hermit.
Members of the Nous Vous Collective.
Printing live on an old Risograph printing machine Landfill Editions were inviting a series of illustrators to interpret the collection of trinkets previously held in these galleries in Somerset House. The Risograph is an interesting beast, which can be used to overlay separate colours, thus producing a final outcome much like that of traditional screenprinting.
Landfill Editions booklet by Colin Henderson.
Landfill Editions print by Jim Stoten.
Landfill Editions print by Adrian Fleet.
Work on the walls included illustrations by Colin Henderson, who appeared in issue 04 of Amelia’s Magazine, Jim Stoten, who created the front cover of issue 06, Mike Perry, who did the back cover of issue 05 and Adrian Fleet, who produced work for issue 10. Dan Has Potential, who we wrote about here, was working on a piece whilst we were given a tour of the Risograph, and Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration contributor Karolin Schnoor arrived to start on her contribution as we were leaving.
Dan Has Potential gets stuck in to his artwork.
Karolin Schnoor comes pre-prepared.
The illustration and design work at Pick Me Up is fabulous, and there’s a great line up of workshops and visiting artists… but I wish they’d asked me to contribute as well. Not just for purely selfish reasons of ego, but because I can’t help feeling that a certain type of illustration was missing. Maybe something a bit less graphic, a bit more feminine, a bit less obviously of the moment. There were glimpses of this sort of work, particularly in the form of talks from the lovely Anorak Magazine, but not enough. There was also absolutely no consideration of sustainability in design, which I feel is unforgiveable: some of the artists who contribute so readily to Amelia’s Magazine could have filled these gaps and provided some welcome diversity.
I loved this work by Finish artist Ville Savimaa.
In the meantime read on for a few more tasters of the fabulous artwork on offer at Pick Me Up and make sure you get down there whilst you can: not least because of the limited edition prints available exclusively at the shop for the duration of the exhibition only.
Illustrations by Mathis Rekowski.
A huge quilt by Siggi Eggertsson.
Detail from Andy Gilmore.
Part of Peepshow.
Wonderful work from Patrick Gildersleeves.
Wonderful details from work by Natsko Seki.
Fabulous fonts from Alex Trochut.
Wolf poster from Claire Scully.
Typography by Job Wouters.
Prints for sale in the Pick Me Up shop: get on down there quick.
Adrian Fleet, Alex Trochut, Amelia's Anthology of Illustration, Andy Gilmore, Anorak Magazine, Claire Scully, Colin Henderson, Concrete Hermit, Dan Has Potential, Evening Tweed, exhibition, Hvass&Hannibal, illustration, It's Nice That, Jess Wilson, Jim Stoten, Jo Cheung, Job Wouters, June Chanpoomidole, Karolin Schnoor, Landfill Editions, Le Gun, Luke Best, Mathis Rekowski, Mike Perry, Natsko Seki, Nobrow Press, Nous Vous, Patrick Gildersleeves, Peepshow, Pick Me Up, Print Club London, review, Risograph, rob ryan, screenprinting, Siggi Eggertsson, Simon Wild, Somerset House, Thereza Rowe, typography, Ville Savimaa
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