Outline: Illustration Exhibition, Maidstone

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…
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Pick Me Up 2013: Midweek Wonderland

Having spent a promising morning commute wondering whether I would be able to fit in a visit to Pick Me Up this year, I was pleasantly surprised when I was encouraged to take a couple of hours out of the office around lunchtime and visit the graphic arts festival at Somerset House.

The walk from Blackfriars to Somerset House could not be faulted in the glorious weather, and I was confused to discover that contrary to my discovery last year, there was no queue of any kind at the entrance! As I was to discover, the galleries inside were just populated enough to create a good atmosphere but not so much that I couldn’t press my nose against a piece and worry whose view I was blocking. It was just as well that I could take my time to soak up the work however, as unfortunately, I had neither a notepad or  decent quality camera to document pieces that I liked! Luckily I rummaged long enough to find pen and note some artist/collective names on the back of some postcards.

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Pick Me Up Goodies from London

Trinkets and useful info from my first visit to Pick Me Up.

So many beautiful things to buy and unfortunately my student budget (and somewhat lacking in a house of my own to place them in) couldn’t afford them all.

Unfortunately Strangely enough, I was fascinated with a set of enamel painted modelling clay bones, in the Peepshow Collective area. From a set of 15 or so and at £25 a piece, it was a struggle to choose just one of the ‘Tattooed Bones’ to take home.

Handmade by the collective artist Andrew Rae, a quick look-up on the internet reveals that he truly is an individual of multiple talents. Having exhibited as sculptor and illustrator, he wins a special place in my esteem for having illustrated for The Mighty Book of Boosh. After attending an interesting evening with JAKe, I seem to be collecting the great and good from the circle of Boosh! Not that I mind in the least…

I genuinely can’t put my finger on why I find it so intriguing. The feel of the object itself is soft and gentle, and fits across my four fingers when in a fist. The colours are beautiful and theres something about that look on the moon’s face thats a little sad but resolute (if not deliberately emotionless). But the brush strokes are small and certain, and there is a balance that pleases me in the images. Out of genuine interest I may email the artist and ask, because nothing is quite like hearing someone talk about their work, to really get a feel as it was intended.

As the lineup of the full set shows, the choice of images on each bone is eclectic, intriguing and deliciously surreal in some cases.

If you’re out there Mr Rae, I only wish I could have bought them all. Alas…

Andrew Rae homepage here

A more detailed (read, image laden and flabberghast) post rolling up right after this one.

Pick me up is running until 1st April 2012: homepage