Friday, 3 December 2010
I went to see the Mary Greg collection over the summer. It's part of the City Art Gallery and unusual as it is so different from the fine art. It consists of objects of ephemera and as in some of the collections you saw last week, the space it takes up in storage is contentious. However the collection has many beautiful items and has recently inspired an art-based project, "Mary, Mary, quite Contrary". This site (on which you can view many of the items) is worth a look...
Wednesday, 1 December 2010
It was a mission to find this place but what an unbelievable gallery, set in an atmospheric space. We saw an exhibition called 'A Night at the Opium Den'. The exhibits both in terms of content and through the use of materials really intrigued the viewer. Although very quiet when we visited (eerie!) it was a magical entrance into a new world. I see from the opening night of this event on their blog that the gallery was transformed into an almost theatrical space. Lots of ideas about exhibiting illustration work and how anything is possible.
Links to other exciting projects and events were found here.
Monday, 29 November 2010
Following up from Jo's earlier post here are a few more images and observations from other studio visits and exhibitions we were lucky enough to experience whilst in Berlin.
A small group of us trotted off to prostrate ourselves at the pixel based alter of Eboy. Svend Smital was our gracious host (the other two eboyers now living and working in Canada) After navigating a warren of courtyards and stairwells we found Svends studio stacked high with a dizzying array of pixel based madness. Half studio half warehouse as the space is used to create the famous Eboy imagery but also as a base to mail out all of their merchandise. Eboy sneakers, iphone covers, posters, toys, apps, books, stickers, stakeboards, snowboards, toasters (only joking)
The detail of the imagery and the multitudinous contexts was mind blowing, three of them there maybe but they must work 24 hours a day. In this reassuringly cluttered abode Svend generously gave us an hour plus of his time, answering questions from students, flicking though portfolios and revealing the working methodology of the E-boy team. We are sworn to secrecy.
Our next illustrative pilgrimage was to the rather swanky apartment of Mr Henning Wagenbreth. Henning was kind enough to invite us (about 10 plus.....gulp think I said 8 max) to his studio and home, all around were the collections that feed his expressionistic highly coloured imagery, African masks, wooden sculptures, musical instruments, textiles, Japanese prints, all of these items were referenced at some point and fed directly into his work. Living testimony that life and work are often totally intertwined for illustrators.
He showed a range of work from beautifully crafted stamp designs for the German Football League through crazily coloured textiles to huge silk screened posters for a jazz festival. He tackled any project with confidence because he made it his own, found his own way into difficult potentially dull projects and made them come to life with strange stories and facts. A truly inspiring visit.
The anthology was beautifully designed by two third year graphic design students also from Stockport College. If I said it went smoothly I'd be lying through my teeth, the project was plauged by technical difficulties, and often tempers flared. But this was a sign that all involved wanted it to be a success, from an educationally stand point there was a lot of learning taking place throughout the project, technically, professionally and emotionally we were all tested. But that's what college is for, to create those situations in which real life learning can happen within a safe environment.
The images and the animations worked supremely well and complemented the stories wonderfully. Thanks to all those involved, hopefully we'll be back next year, older and wiser (well one out of two ain't bad)
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
I went to an Arts Council Funding meeting last week and though this might seem a strange time to promote looking for public funding after graduating, the good news is that the "Grants for Arts" scheme will not receive a funding cut. Grants for Arts supports and funds proposals from artists and you can find all the information needed, plus examples of successful bids and projects at the Arts Council website. I bumped into a friend there, who has been able to fund his publishing company Comma Press through this scheme for several years. Ra Page (of Comma Press) also runs Comma Films, a springboard site for new graduates to showcase their work. Much of this is animation, all drawn from poetry. He will be holding a screening for Comma Press this Saturday and you're all welcome to attend, here's a link:
Or follow on facebook ('Vresion Fest' and 'Comma Film')
Monday, 22 November 2010
A super find in Berlin, a dream shop called 'Do you read me?'. As you can see I have also greatly added to the list of magazines that we hope you will absorb yourselves in and seek inspiration. Many of them were on sale here and some titles were new to me.
We have just returned from a great trip to Berlin - even in the rain! We packed a lot in to the 5 days. First stop was a visit to Olaf Hajek's studio. Olaf was very welcoming and made room for the 12 or so students who appeared on his doorstep. He let his riffle through his book collection, talked about his career, the industry and how he firmly rejects working digitally. He finds that there is so much work being produced digitally, he feels that the work is "too much the tool". He talked to the group about how he has to explain his working process to clients who sometimes don't understand how long it takes to produce his images using traditional techniques. The studio was filled with brushes, inks, paints and reference books. Olaf exhibits his wonderful paintings as well as working as a commercial illustrator. He feels that he has been able to sustain his career as he has stayed true to himself and while at one time thought that his work would be deemed old fashioned as it was not produced using digital media, he now feels this is his strength and one of the reasons why clients like his work.
We learnt that he shared the studio space with Martin Haake (one of my hero's!), who then arrived and I nearly fell over. Martin had just returned doing a talk at a college in the UK, so did not mind casually showing us the presentation that he had put together for this. In contrast Martin had let his work develop naturally with digital processes. He found the advantages were that it made his work more flexible and he could make changes for clients. Thankyou to Olaf and Martin for letting us be so nosey!
First prize a £4,000 commission from The Folio Society. House of Illustration’s are working with The Folio Society on this competition and have chosen 'The Outsider' by Albert Camus as the book to be illustrated. The judges include Quentin Blake & Laura Carlin. The competition is open to anyone over 18 who is not a Folio Society published illustrator. The deadline is 10 January 2011. This website tells you everything you need to know about how to enter.
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
I came across this website by Dr Chris Mullen, a while ago and it has recently been updated. It began as course support for the MA Narrative Illustration/Editorial Design course at the University of Brighton for part-time working illustrators and designers, much of the material can not be found elsewhere on the internet and comes from Chris's own archive. It us unlike most websites I have been on and more like a bizarre delve around an Aladdin's cave. It is a rich resource for any magpie illustrator. Take a look!
Monday, 8 November 2010
A date for you diary: Friday 3rd DecemberDrawing can be used in a number of ways and settings. From a pictogram that transcends language barriers, a visualisation of topography, an emotional response to words or thoughts and as a formal means of communication - working drawings are the (sometimes instant) solution to many problems.
The exhibition includes drawings by Jill Calder, Roderick Mills, Ken Garland, Ed Fella, Abram Games, Alan Fletcher, Saul Steinberg, Jason Ford, Lee Ford, Frazer Hudson, Lydia Monks and Simon Spillsbury.
Here is the link to book your tickets http://www.shu.ac.uk/ad/workingdrawings/
Monday, 1 November 2010
The wonderful Riitta Ikonen is coming to do a talk for us on Dec 7th. She will share with us her wonderful world. A description of her work explains,
"My work is concerned with the performance of images, through photography and costume design. Certain items, usually small and insignificant, excite me to the point where I have to wear them and then document that process. The super- garments I make open up new experiences. In my costumes tremendous things happen - to me and to the people I work with. Today I exploded an egg in the microwave. Next, I want to make an egg costume."
If you aren't familiar with her work read more here (source of quote).