While enjoying my last few days of mid-week freedom, I have become decidedly retrospective and nostalgic for this time last year, when I was finishing University. This has not the least been helped by the influx of End of Year shows that I have noticed popping up on Facebook through my UCA connections. Luckily, I have found help to relieve this itch in the form of the 2nd Year Illustration show in Stepping Stones Studio.
Placed in the middle of town, within a supremely funky cafe by day/bar by night, it is great to see an independent arty hub not only opening but succeeding in Maidstone- especially with the controlled decline of Maidstone UCA.
As my first time visiting there was much to take in, but what I did see was an assault of colour, style, texture and talent. Large group shows always provide a feast for the eyes and the illustrators here were no exception, with individual styles placed deliberately to contrast and harmonise. With delicate, understated advertising, exhibition catalogues, contact cards and display ephemera, the work on display definitely took centre stage in the space (in a way in which I felt was more successful than my graduation exhibition in Free Range). That is of course subjective, but the location was certainly well chosen and sympathetic to the feel of the exhibition.
Pictures after the jump…
In the way that I think humans are inclined, I have a great admiration for those with skills that I do not possess. For me, this extends heartily to illustrators who wield their chosen medium/s and style with confidence. Studying a corridor away from a bustling Illustration department was so inspiring, seeing something new and different that made me strive to develop in new ways. Seeing this show recaptured that feeling, and while provoking a little pang for my weaknesses as an all-round designer/creative, has done more to boost my conviction to start practising some of my lesser used abilities. There was certainly a wonderful cross-section of personalities embodied in the work on display, enough to inspire any casual visitor. It would have been great to attend the private view and capture the buzz of the creators directly,
As it so happens, the timing of this has coincided brilliantly with my hunt for an illustrator to create the finishing touches to the microbrewery project I am currently finishing off. Ideally by the handover date, I will have created the framework for ongoing label changes that can showcase different artists… So how could I pass up the opportunity to scout out some local talent for some potential commissions?
Unfortunately the exhibition Wix page does not seem to work at the moment, but these links should be just as helpful. If you find yourself with some spare time in Maidstone in the next seven days, make sure you check out the exhibition- its worth venturing down a far-flung alley for!
Stepping Stones Studio, Maidstone : http://www.steppingstonestudios.co.uk
Outline Exhibition Tumblr page : http://outline-uca.tumblr.com
Outline Exhibition Facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Outline-An-Illustration-Exhibition/479678165436489 (Alternatively, a quick search for Outline: An Illustration Exhibition should do the trick)