Amelia’s Magazine | Fashion listings 7 December – 13 December

photo_1
Fashion in Motion: Erdem
11 December (1pm, pharmacy 3pm, 5pm, 8pm)
V&A Museum, Cromwell Road, SW7
Free entry
Known for his bold use of colour, Erdem will present a selection of his favourite pieces during the latest in the series of free catwalk shows in the V&A’s striking Raphael Gallery- this is a do not miss event!

mangleFFINAL
The Mangle Christmas Sale
12 December (11am-6pm)
Shoreditch Tabernacle Baptist Church, 1 Godfrey Place, E2
Free entry
If you’re looking for some serious shopping, mince pies and general festivities this weekend then head to the Mangle Christmas Sale. With brands as varied as Tatty Devine, Ryan Town, Peepshow, Mark Pawson, Mimi, Deathrace 3000, Dandy Star, Hazel Nichols, Get Casual, Lovenskate, Luckybird, Barbara bearo, Pinky Studio, Caridio Studiage, Nervous Stephen, Amanda Featherazi, Marcus Walters, Twisted Twees – you’re sure to find the perfect stocking filler.

Jumble Monthly presents…..It’s a jammin’ Christmas
13 December (12-6pm)
Liquid Nation, 161-165 Ladbroke Grove, Notting Hill, W10
Free entry
From vintage clothing and jewellery to illustration and cakes there is something for everyone across the 15 stalls on site. With a special Christmas tree piñata, mistletoe and a snowball throwing competition there is lots to see and do. If that wasn’t enough also expect performances from Tracey Chin, Shadowlands UK and Coco Malone. Don’t forget to dress to impress in your finiest 1950s attire!

xmasfrockme_0Frock Me vintage fashion fair
13 December (11am-5:30pm)
Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, Chelsea, SW3
£4 entry, £2 students and under 16s go free when accompanied by an adult
Head down to Chelsea Old Town Hall this weekend and pick up some bargain pieces of vintage clothing and accessories, whilst enjoying the pre-Christmas cheer.

Designer Sales UK Christmas Classics sample Sale
9 December (10am-10pm)
The Music Rooms, 26 South Molton Lane, W1
£1 entry
Brainchild of Elaine Foster-Gandey, the DSUK website was founded 20 years ago and is the first in its kind to sell samples and stock directly from the biggest fashion houses to customers at seriously discounted prices. Expect to find great value womenswear, menswear, kidswear and accessories, perfect for all those Christmas parties. With over 100 different labels to choose from during this 12 hour extravaganza you’re sure to find a bargain.

Categories ,Amanda Featherazi, ,Barbara bearo, ,Caridio Studiage, ,Chelsea Old Town Hall, ,Coco Malone, ,Dandy Star, ,Deathrace 3000, ,Designer Sales UK, ,Fashion in Motion: Erdem, ,Frock Me vintage fashion fair, ,Get Casual, ,Hazel Nichols, ,Jumble Monthly presents…..It’s a jammin’ Christmas, ,Liquid Nation, ,Lovenskate, ,Luckybird, ,Marcus Walters, ,Mark Pawson, ,Mimi, ,Nervous Stephen, ,Peepshow, ,Pinky Studio, ,Ryan Town, ,Shadowlands UK, ,Shoreditch Tabernacle Baptist Church, ,Tatty Devine, ,The Mangle Christmas Sale, ,The Music Rooms, ,Tracey Chin, ,Twisted Twees, ,V&A Museum

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Amelia’s Magazine | Soma celebrates 10 Years: an interview with founder Fiona Hamilton

Soma Gallery - 10th anniversary prints

Like Amelia’s Magazine, the fabulous Bristol based Soma Gallery launched in 2004. Founder Fiona Hamilton was a big supporter and stocked Amelia’s Magazine in print from the very outset. Since then we have kept in touch and Amelia’s Compendium of Fashion Illustration visited Soma Gallery on tour back in 2011. I caught up with Fiona to talk about ten years of working with emerging and established artists. Read on for more and to view all ten of the wonderful prints featured in the 10th anniversary celebration show and box set.

Soma Gallery - spencer wilson
Print by Spencer Wilson, available here.

How did Soma begin, and how has it changed over the years? Can you give us a short potted history…
Soma started way back in June 2004 and opened with an exhibition by Anthony Burrill, Jon Burgerman, Richard May, Container and Dettmer Otto. The original idea was to exhibit work by a mixture of illustrators and graphic designers alongside ceramics, jewellery and textiles. In that respect, things haven’t changed all that much in the last 10 years! We started off in a small single room space in Clifton Arcade and in 2010 moved to a much larger space on two floors over the road. We are now able to have larger exhibitions in a separate gallery space and we’ve also been able to hold events like book signings and a Tatty Devine jewellery making workshop in this space. We’re currently in the process of installing a small print workshop in a small room at the back of the shop.

Soma Gallery - peskimo
Print by Peskimo, available here.

Soma Gallery - Graham Carter
Print by Graham Carter, available here.

How did you pick the artists who have contributed to your 10th anniversary collection of limited edition prints?
It was very hard to choose just 10 artists. Some of the artists we have chosen have worked with Soma since the early days including Adam Bridgland and Lucy Gough who both exhibited in our second exhibition in 2004 and have continued working with us. Alice Pattullo is one of our newest artists and joined us before Christmas last year. Hazel Nicholls joined us for Pick Me Up graphic art fair in 2013 and has continued to work with us ever since. Andy Smith, Peskimo, Gemma Correll and Crispin Finn have also exhibited with us at Pick Me Up as well as many solo and group exhibitions in our gallery. Graham Carter and Spencer Wilson are both original founding Peepshow (illustration collective) members and have been with us for a long time!

Soma Gallery - gemma correll
Print by Gemma Correll, available here.

Out of the 10th anniversary collection can you recommend your top tip: for a child’s room? for a new boyfriend? and for a mother in law?
The perfect print for a child’s room would be either Peskimo’s ‘Flying Saucers’ (which glows in the dark!) or Spencer Wilson’s ‘Bring the Noise’. For a new boyfriend, Crispin Finn’s ‘Double High 5’ or perhaps Graham Carter’s ‘Oh James!’. A good mother in law print would be HelloMarine’s ‘Jungle’ print.

Soma Gallery - crispin finn
Print by Crispin Finn, available here.

Which other artists are amongst your favourites at the moment?
Tom Frost and Nicholas John Frith are other artists I would have loved to have been part of the 10. Both were unfortunately too busy to take part, Tom was working towards his solo show at Yorkshire Sculpture Park which opened just after the prints were launched. There will be other projects in the future, I’m sure!

Soma Gallery - hellomarine
Print by HelloMarine, available here.

Soma Gallery - hazel nicholls
Print by Hazel Nicholls, available here.

What are the biggest trends (that you have spotted) in prints in 2014?
We don’t tend to follow trends here at Soma, but something I have noticed is that tropical plants, birds of paradise and very bright colours are very much on trend. One thing about not being led by trends too much is that we hope people will treasure our prints for years to come and so for that reason don’t want anything that might date too quickly. Bright colours are definitely something we fully embrace at Soma though!

Soma Gallery - andy smith
Print by Andy Smith, available here.

Which artists should we look out for in the coming years?
I think it’s worth keeping an eye on Alice Pattullo and Hazel Nicholls. And maybe the next young artist who joins us!

Soma Gallery - Alice Pattulo
Print by Alice Pattullo, available here.

What do you love most about producing prints and selling specialist designer goods?
One of the nicest things is working directly with the artists and building good relationships with them. We work with a great bunch and it’s a pleasure selling their prints and goods.

Soma Gallery - adam bridgeland and lucy gough
Print by Adam Bridgeland and Lucy Gough, available here.

What have been the high points and low points of the past ten years?
There have been some great high points. The most memorable are moving to the larger space in 2010 and exhibiting in Pick Me Up for the first time in 2012. Andy Smith’s solo exhibition, ‘Sunny Side Up’ in 2011 was a huge success. Our 10th anniversary print project and event was also quite a high! The low points are thankfully few, but the long hours and how hard you have to work as a small creative business can feel quite thankless at times. But in the end it’s all worth it!

Each print is 30 x 40cm to fit in a standard size frame. They are available as singles at £30 each or as a boxed set of all 10 at £275. All prints are printed on GF Smith Colorplan or Mohawk Superfine.

Categories ,10 Years, ,10th Anniversary, ,Adam Bridgland, ,Alice Pattullo, ,Andy Smith, ,Anthony Burrill, ,Bristo, ,Clifton Arcade, ,Container, ,Crispin Finn, ,Dettmer Otto, ,Fiona Hamilton, ,GF Smith Colorplan, ,Graham Carter, ,Hazel Nicholls, ,HelloMarine, ,Jon Burgerman, ,Lucy Gough, ,Mohawk Superfine, ,Nicholas John Frith, ,Peepshow, ,Peskimo, ,Pick Me Up, ,Richard May, ,Soma Gallery, ,Spencer Wilson, ,Tatty Devine, ,Tom Frost

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Amelia’s Magazine | Pick Me Up Contemporary Graphic Art Fair at Somerset House: Review

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, advice I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, side effects since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, capsule but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the N.W.3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacobs sheep in Scotland and a pretty digital print was manipulated from a posy of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, and her elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars is a dead giveaway of her past employment. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, buy information pills I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, more about since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, approved but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the N.W.3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacobs sheep in Scotland and a pretty digital print was manipulated from a posy of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, and her elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars is a dead giveaway of her past employment. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, buy information pills I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the NW3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs’ strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacob sheep in Scotland and a pretty digital print was manipulated from a posy of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, and her elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars is a dead giveaway of her past employment. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, view I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, stuff since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the NW3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs’ strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacob sheep in Scotland and a pretty digital print was manipulated from a posy of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, where her trademark style – elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars – was given credit for turning around the once fusty label. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, help I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, cialis 40mg since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the NW3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs’ strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacob sheep in Scotland and a pretty digital print was manipulated from a posy of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, where her trademark style – elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars – was given credit for turning around the once fusty label. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, approved I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, viagra 100mg since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, sildenafil but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the NW3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs’ strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacob sheep in Scotland and a pretty print was manipulated digitally from a photo of a posy of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, where her trademark style – elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars – was given credit for turning around the once fusty label. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, no rx I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, symptoms since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, website but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the NW3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs’ strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning pleated evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacob sheep in Scotland and a pretty print was manipulated digitally from a photo of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, where her trademark style – elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars – was given credit for turning around the once fusty label. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins used in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, buy more about I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, price since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, clinic but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the NW3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs’ strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning pleated evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacob sheep in Scotland and a pretty print was manipulated digitally from a photo of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, where her trademark style – elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars – was given credit for turning around the once fusty label. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins used in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Pick Me Up- 2010 Ville Savimaa
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.

Pick Me Up 2010

If you work in illustration or the graphic arts, generic 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.

Pick Me Up 2010 Jo Cheung, June Chanpoomidole, Kate Slater, Simon Wild, Thereza Rowe
Jo Cheung, June Chanpoomidole, Kate Slater, Simon Wild and Thereza Rowe outside Pick Me Up 2010.

Pick Me Up- 2010 Thereza Rowe Poketo
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.

Pick Me Up- 2010 Hellovon
Pick Me Up- 2010 Hellovon
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.

Pick Me Up- 2010 Jess Wilson
Pick Me Up- 2010 Jess Wilson
Pick Me Up- 2010 Jess Wilson
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.

Pick Me Up 2010 Peepshow
Pick Me Up 2010 Peepshow Luke Best
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.

Pick Me Up-2010 Nobrow
Pick Me Up-2010 Nobrow
Pick Me Up-2010 Nobrow
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.

Pick Me Up-2010 Rob Ryan
Pick Me Up-2010 Rob Ryan
Pick Me Up-2010 Rob Ryan
Pick Me Up-2010 Rob Ryan
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.

Pick Me Up-2010 Print Club London
Pick Me Up-2010 Print Club London
Print Club London in effect.

Pick Me Up 2010 Concrete Hermit
Artwork in the Concrete Hermit space.

Pick Me Up 2010 Concrete Hermit
Someone flicking through Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration at Concrete Hermit.

Pick Me Up-2010 Nous Vous
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.

Pick Me Up-2010 Landfill Editions
The Risograph.

Pick Me Up-2010 Landfill Editions Colin Henderson
Landfill Editions booklet by Colin Henderson.

Pick Me Up-2010 Landfill Editions Jim Soten
Landfill Editions print by Jim Stoten.

Pick Me Up-2010 Landfill Editions Adrian Fleet
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.

Pick Me Up 2010 Landfill Editions Dan Has Potential
Dan Has Potential gets stuck in to his artwork.

Pick Me Up 2010 Landfill Editions Karolin Schnoor
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.

Pick Me Up 2010 Ville Savimaa
Pick Me Up 2010 Ville Savimaa
Pick Me Up 2010 Ville Savimaa
Pick Me Up 2010 Ville Savimaa
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.

Pick Me Up-2010 Mathis Rekowski
Pick Me Up-2010 Mathis Rekowski
Pick Me Up 2010 Mathis Rekowski
Pick Me Up-2010 Mathis Rekowski
Illustrations by Mathis Rekowski.

Pick Me Up-2010 Siggi Eggertsson
A huge quilt by Siggi Eggertsson.

Pick Me Up-2010 Andy Gilmore
Detail from Andy Gilmore.

Pick Me Up 2010 Peepshow
Part of Peepshow.

Pick Me Up 2010 patrick gildersleeves
Pick Me Up 2010 patrick gildersleeves
Pick Me Up 2010 patrick gildersleeves
Pick Me Up 2010 patrick gildersleeves
Wonderful work from Patrick Gildersleeves.

Pick Me Up 2010 Natsko Seki
Pick Me Up 2010 Natsko Seki
Pick Me Up 2010 Natsko Seki
Pick Me Up 2010 Natsko Seki
Wonderful details from work by Natsko Seki.

Pick Me Up2010 Natsko seki

Pick Me Up 2010 Alex Trochut
Fabulous fonts from Alex Trochut.

Pick Me Up 2010 Claire Scully
Wolf poster from Claire Scully.

Pick Me Up 2010 Job Wouters
Typography by Job Wouters.

Pick Me Up2010
Prints for sale in the Pick Me Up shop: get on down there quick.

You can see a fab set of Flickr images courtesy of Jo Cheung here and she blogs about her visit to Pick Me Up with reference to this article here.

Categories ,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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Amelia’s Magazine | Pick Me Up Contemporary Graphic Art Fair at Somerset House: Review

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, advice I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, side effects since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, capsule but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the N.W.3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacobs sheep in Scotland and a pretty digital print was manipulated from a posy of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, and her elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars is a dead giveaway of her past employment. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, buy information pills I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, more about since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, approved but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the N.W.3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacobs sheep in Scotland and a pretty digital print was manipulated from a posy of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, and her elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars is a dead giveaway of her past employment. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, buy information pills I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the NW3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs’ strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacob sheep in Scotland and a pretty digital print was manipulated from a posy of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, and her elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars is a dead giveaway of her past employment. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, view I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, stuff since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the NW3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs’ strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacob sheep in Scotland and a pretty digital print was manipulated from a posy of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, where her trademark style – elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars – was given credit for turning around the once fusty label. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, help I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, cialis 40mg since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the NW3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs’ strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacob sheep in Scotland and a pretty digital print was manipulated from a posy of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, where her trademark style – elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars – was given credit for turning around the once fusty label. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, approved I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, viagra 100mg since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, sildenafil but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the NW3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs’ strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacob sheep in Scotland and a pretty print was manipulated digitally from a photo of a posy of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, where her trademark style – elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars – was given credit for turning around the once fusty label. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, no rx I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, symptoms since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, website but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the NW3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs’ strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning pleated evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacob sheep in Scotland and a pretty print was manipulated digitally from a photo of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, where her trademark style – elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars – was given credit for turning around the once fusty label. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins used in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

Now, buy more about I don’t normally write blogs about high street clothes shops. But I’m gonna break my rule this time. Earlier this week I went along to the Hobbs press day in their flagship store in Covent Garden – basically just because I was invited and I’ve never been to one of their press days before. I had absolutely no expectations of it, price since I’ve rarely set foot inside a Hobbs store since I developed a bit of a Bertie shoe fetish in my teen years (the late 80s if you must know). Bertie was once associated with the Hobbs brand, clinic but I’m not sure if it is anymore.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I managed to sashay confidently past the girl on the door girl, “where did you say you were from?” said she, eyeing up my haphazard approach to dressing with curiosity. Then I manoeuvred myself away from what promised to be a lengthy guided tour through each garment in the collection, nearly sending a mannequin crashing in my eagerness to reach the back of the room. And, I was how shall we say it… pleasantly surprised. Straight away I made a beeline for a lovely gold pine cone necklace, taking in the general fruity folk colours of the NW3 collection. Accessories are one of Hobbs’ strongpoints and there was a nice display of cute jewellery and coloured patent bags.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

But I was anxious not to waste too much time, so when one of the immaculate PR ladies glided over (I always feel like a bedraggled mess by comparison) I quickly explained that I was only looking for either designer led collaborations or ethical ranges. AHA! She led me towards a young man, standing in front of a rail and eager to pounce on journalists. I was introduced; this was Dean Thomas, designer of the high end Artisan collection, which sources all materials and is manufactured within the UK.

Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Dean Thomas
Dean Thomas describes the Artisan collection.

Dean was chosen straight out of Central Saint Martins precisely because he found all the materials for his final collection from within a 50 mile radius of his home town in Somerset. He held up a few pieces from the AW10 collection for me and I have to say, it was absolutely gorgeous. He’s created a stunning pleated evening dress out of the most unlikely of materials: a waxed cotton similar to the type that gets used in Barbour jackets. Then there’s a lovely stripy mohair coat and a super long evening dress with an elegant train. All the wool comes from Jacob sheep in Scotland and a pretty print was manipulated digitally from a photo of virulent purple Scotts thistles. I was pretty impressed I tells thee. Apparently in 2008 Hobbs was given a good shake up with the appointment of Sandy Vernon as creative director (she used to work at Next and Jaeger), and if this is what she’s doing then she’s onto a winner.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day AW2010

I then got pulled over to meet Karen Boyd, formerly of Boyd & Storey, and shown through her domain; the Limited Edition collection. She too has moved over from Jaeger, where her trademark style – elegant tailoring mixed with feminine details such as faux embroidered prints and little lace collars – was given credit for turning around the once fusty label. This collection is beautiful too, but sadly only the goat skins used in the long haired cape are sourced locally. “They’re a by-product of the meat industry, we don’t use fur.” Most of the clothes are of course made in the far east. As, no doubt, is the pine cone necklace that I had so admired earlier, but I was nevertheless a super happy bunny to discover the very same necklace in my press goodie bag. Comfortingly heavy, it’s been living around my neck ever since, a rare accolade.

Hobbs-Press Day AW2010
Hobbs-Press Day 2010-Karen Boyd
Karen Boyd talks me through the Limited Edition collection.

All in all I left pleasantly surprised. I think it is to be applauded when a large high street retailer such as Hobbs is confident enough to produce a whole range of beautifully made clothes in the UK, at a price point that will still be affordable to many (if not me). Now if only more retailers were to sit up and take note.

Pick Me Up- 2010 Ville Savimaa
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.

Pick Me Up 2010

If you work in illustration or the graphic arts, generic 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.

Pick Me Up 2010 Jo Cheung, June Chanpoomidole, Kate Slater, Simon Wild, Thereza Rowe
Jo Cheung, June Chanpoomidole, Kate Slater, Simon Wild and Thereza Rowe outside Pick Me Up 2010.

Pick Me Up- 2010 Thereza Rowe Poketo
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.

Pick Me Up- 2010 Hellovon
Pick Me Up- 2010 Hellovon
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.

Pick Me Up- 2010 Jess Wilson
Pick Me Up- 2010 Jess Wilson
Pick Me Up- 2010 Jess Wilson
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.

Pick Me Up 2010 Peepshow
Pick Me Up 2010 Peepshow Luke Best
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.

Pick Me Up-2010 Nobrow
Pick Me Up-2010 Nobrow
Pick Me Up-2010 Nobrow
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.

Pick Me Up-2010 Rob Ryan
Pick Me Up-2010 Rob Ryan
Pick Me Up-2010 Rob Ryan
Pick Me Up-2010 Rob Ryan
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.

Pick Me Up-2010 Print Club London
Pick Me Up-2010 Print Club London
Print Club London in effect.

Pick Me Up 2010 Concrete Hermit
Artwork in the Concrete Hermit space.

Pick Me Up 2010 Concrete Hermit
Someone flicking through Amelia’s Anthology of Illustration at Concrete Hermit.

Pick Me Up-2010 Nous Vous
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.

Pick Me Up-2010 Landfill Editions
The Risograph.

Pick Me Up-2010 Landfill Editions Colin Henderson
Landfill Editions booklet by Colin Henderson.

Pick Me Up-2010 Landfill Editions Jim Soten
Landfill Editions print by Jim Stoten.

Pick Me Up-2010 Landfill Editions Adrian Fleet
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.

Pick Me Up 2010 Landfill Editions Dan Has Potential
Dan Has Potential gets stuck in to his artwork.

Pick Me Up 2010 Landfill Editions Karolin Schnoor
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.

Pick Me Up 2010 Ville Savimaa
Pick Me Up 2010 Ville Savimaa
Pick Me Up 2010 Ville Savimaa
Pick Me Up 2010 Ville Savimaa
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.

Pick Me Up-2010 Mathis Rekowski
Pick Me Up-2010 Mathis Rekowski
Pick Me Up 2010 Mathis Rekowski
Pick Me Up-2010 Mathis Rekowski
Illustrations by Mathis Rekowski.

Pick Me Up-2010 Siggi Eggertsson
A huge quilt by Siggi Eggertsson.

Pick Me Up-2010 Andy Gilmore
Detail from Andy Gilmore.

Pick Me Up 2010 Peepshow
Part of Peepshow.

Pick Me Up 2010 patrick gildersleeves
Pick Me Up 2010 patrick gildersleeves
Pick Me Up 2010 patrick gildersleeves
Pick Me Up 2010 patrick gildersleeves
Wonderful work from Patrick Gildersleeves.

Pick Me Up 2010 Natsko Seki
Pick Me Up 2010 Natsko Seki
Pick Me Up 2010 Natsko Seki
Pick Me Up 2010 Natsko Seki
Wonderful details from work by Natsko Seki.

Pick Me Up2010 Natsko seki

Pick Me Up 2010 Alex Trochut
Fabulous fonts from Alex Trochut.

Pick Me Up 2010 Claire Scully
Wolf poster from Claire Scully.

Pick Me Up 2010 Job Wouters
Typography by Job Wouters.

Pick Me Up2010
Prints for sale in the Pick Me Up shop: get on down there quick.

You can see a fab set of Flickr images courtesy of Jo Cheung here and she blogs about her visit to Pick Me Up with reference to this article here.

Categories ,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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Amelia’s Magazine | Pick Me Up Contemporary Graphic Art Fair 2011: Mokita Symposium

amos_plastic_workshop_london-portrait
Wisdom of Caleb bare leaves

James Jarvis spoke at Mokita, approved where he was asked to address the role of illustration in commerce. The insights below have been put together from comments he made both in his talk and in the following conversation with others on the panel of Mokita.

James Jarvis Degree Show poster
James Jarvis’ Brighton Degree Show poster.

A character artist.
The baggage of being an illustrator is confusing so he prefers to think of himself as a graphic artist. It’s a journey into self awareness. He recently found his old degree graduation poster and realised that you can see his style developing even then, information pills when it was all done by hand. He has become very well known for drawing funny characters in depressing situations but he doesn’t like being seen as a character artist only.

Sole Inspector by James Jarvis
Sole Inspector by James Jarvis.

He knew the route.
James’ mother was an art history tutor and he knew he wanted to be an illustrator from an early age. The plan was to make kids books but nobody wanted his work and editorial art directors thought he was too kiddy in style, so he was stuck in no mans land. But he was accepted within the skateboarding world, where his work was discovered by the forward thinking art directors at The Face. He was lucky in that his images were companions to the articles, and he didn’t really have to answer any briefs. The magazine was a massively influential shop window that gave him credibility in the mainstream.

Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos
Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos.

ATP Amos concert poster
An Amos collaboration with ATP music festival.

People just want funny characters.
From working with The Face he became involved with clothing brand Silas, and together they created a toy to publicise the brand. It became an object in its own right and soon after he started Amos, his own toy making company; it doesn’t make him much money but he is involved with lots of other projects as a result: he now makes films, t-shirts and curates music festivals. He wants his characters to be more than just toys, avatars for a more substantial world. Even now though, many years later, advertisers still just want to buy into his associations with Streetwear culture and The Face; everyone wants a potato head character. For instance he’s currently working on something to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Only the most enlightened art directors ask for something different and new: most just want something he produced a long time ago so it’s up to him to keep pushing ideas forward.

James Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino print
James Jarvis lino prints.

Self publish for sanity.
Making products is a different world to the one of illustration. He started to make ‘plastic illustrations’ from his toys but soon found that he was getting farther and farther away from his unmoderated link to thought. So much intermediate process meant he was at danger of losing his core spirit. To keep sane he now maintains a practice of self published work, which he publishes online. For example he’s been very disciplined, creating The Wisdom of Caleb, a daily cartoon strip for 150 days (this has now been taken offline). He rejoices if he gets a few hundred hits – but it’s important to build up an audience over time, and if you keep your conviction then the work will find that validity. The comic strips are very basic, with no retouching.

James Jarvis lino work
Working with lino print.

Back to basics.
He’s been inspired by Roger Hargreaves to create some very minimal characters. He has also been creating a lino print every week in editions of seven, which provides a grassroots connection with his audience that is direct and democratic. He sells the prints directly and finds there’s an honesty in taking them to the post office himself.
He’s aware that he’s “highly involved with filling the world with plastic” and it makes him quite uncomfortable. He likes the simplicity and honesty of making things by hand at home, such as resin figures – and using the web to sell them direct. This kind of work never felt accessible when he was at college.

wisdom of caleb worksheetWisdom of Caleb safe squirrelWisdom of Caleb
Cartoons for the Wisdom of Caleb.

His greatest hits.
He has sold 10,000 toys over the years and he’s grateful for that because there’s a bond with his audience. He would be stupid not to engage with what people want. But James also concedes admits that he has been massively lucky – tons of people at college were better drawers, and his success has been as much down to circumstance as being clever.

James Jarvis hosts the Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop at KK outlet in Hoxton between 6-31 May, 2011.

Wisdom of Caleb bare leaves

James Jarvis spoke at Mokita, page where he was asked to address the role of illustration in commerce. The insights below have been put together from comments he made both in his talk and in the following conversation with others on the panel of Mokita.

James Jarvis Degree Show poster
James Jarvis’ Brighton Degree Show poster.

A character artist.
The baggage of being an illustrator is confusing so he prefers to think of himself as a graphic artist. It’s a journey into self awareness. He recently found his old degree graduation poster and realised that you can see his style developing even then, web when it was all done by hand. He has become very well known for drawing funny characters in depressing situations but he doesn’t like being seen as a character artist only.

Sole Inspector by James Jarvis
Sole Inspector by James Jarvis.

He knew the route.
James’ mother was an art history tutor and he knew he wanted to be an illustrator from an early age. The plan was to make kids books but nobody wanted his work and editorial art directors thought he was too kiddy in style, so he was stuck in no mans land. But he was accepted within the skateboarding world, where his work was discovered by the forward thinking art directors at The Face. He was lucky in that his images were companions to the articles, and he didn’t really have to answer any briefs. The magazine was a massively influential shop window that gave him credibility in the mainstream.

Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos
Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos.

ATP Amos concert poster
An Amos collaboration with ATP music festival.

People just want funny characters.
From working with The Face he became involved with clothing brand Silas, and together they created a toy to publicise the brand. It became an object in its own right and soon after he started Amos, his own toy making company; it doesn’t make him much money but he is involved with lots of other projects as a result: he now makes films, t-shirts and curates music festivals. He wants his characters to be more than just toys, avatars for a more substantial world. Even now though, many years later, advertisers still just want to buy into his associations with Streetwear culture and The Face; everyone wants a potato head character. For instance he’s currently working on something to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Only the most enlightened art directors ask for something different and new: most just want something he produced a long time ago so it’s up to him to keep pushing ideas forward.

James Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino print
James Jarvis lino prints.

Self publish for sanity.
Making products is a different world to the one of illustration. He started to make ‘plastic illustrations’ from his toys but soon found that he was getting farther and farther away from his unmoderated link to thought. So much intermediate process meant he was at danger of losing his core spirit. To keep sane he now maintains a practice of self published work, which he publishes online. For example he’s been very disciplined, creating The Wisdom of Caleb, a daily cartoon strip for 150 days (this has now been taken offline). He rejoices if he gets a few hundred hits – but it’s important to build up an audience over time, and if you keep your conviction then the work will find that validity. The comic strips are very basic, with no retouching.

wisdom of caleb worksheetWisdom of Caleb safe squirrelWisdom of Caleb
Cartoons for the Wisdom of Caleb.

Back to basics.
He’s been inspired by Roger Hargreaves to create some very minimal characters. He has also been creating a lino print every week in editions of seven, which provides a grassroots connection with his audience that is direct and democratic. He sells the prints directly and finds there’s an honesty in taking them to the post office himself. He’s aware that he’s “highly involved with filling the world with plastic” and it makes him quite uncomfortable. He likes the simplicity and honesty of making things by hand at home, such as resin figures – and using the web to sell them direct. This kind of work never felt accessible when he was at college.

James Jarvis lino work
Working with lino print.

His greatest hits.
He has sold 10,000 toys over the years and he’s grateful for that because there’s a bond with his audience. He would be stupid not to engage with what people want. But James also concedes admits that he has been massively lucky – tons of people at college were better drawers, and his success has been as much down to circumstance as being clever.

amos_plastic_workshop_london-portrait
James Jarvis hosts the Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop at KK outlet in Hoxton between 6-31 May, 2011.

Pick Me Up runs until Sunday 27th March.

Wisdom of Caleb bare leaves

James Jarvis spoke at Mokita, decease where he was asked to address the role of illustration in commerce. The insights below have been put together from comments he made both in his talk and in the following conversation with others on the panel of Mokita.

James Jarvis Degree Show poster
James Jarvis’ Brighton Degree Show poster.

A character artist.
The baggage of being an illustrator is confusing so he prefers to think of himself as a graphic artist. His job is a journey into self awareness. He recently found his old degree graduation poster and realised that you can see his style developing even then, when it was all done by hand. He has become very well known for drawing funny characters in depressing situations but he doesn’t like being seen as a character artist only.

Sole Inspector by James Jarvis
Sole Inspector by James Jarvis.

He knew the route.
James’ mother was an art history tutor and he knew he wanted to be an illustrator from an early age. The plan was to make kids’ books but nobody wanted his work and editorial art directors thought he was too kiddy in style, so he was stuck in no mans land. But he was accepted within the skateboarding world, where his work was discovered by the forward thinking art directors at The Face. He was lucky in that his images were companions to the articles, and he didn’t really have to answer any briefs. The magazine was a massively influential shop window that gave him credibility in the mainstream.

Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos
Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos.

ATP Amos concert poster
An Amos collaboration with ATP music festival.

People just want funny characters.
From working with The Face he became involved with clothing brand Silas, and together they created a toy to publicise the brand. It became an object in its own right and soon after he started Amos, his own toy making company; it doesn’t make him much money but he is involved with lots of other projects as a result: he now makes films, t-shirts and curates music festivals. He wants his characters to be more than just toys, avatars for a more substantial world. Even now though, many years later, advertisers still just want to buy into his associations with Streetwear culture and The Face; everyone wants a potato head character. For instance he’s currently working on something to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Only the most enlightened art directors ask for something different and new: most just want something he produced a long time ago so it’s up to him to keep pushing ideas forward.

James Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino print
James Jarvis lino prints.

Self publish for sanity.
Making products is a different world to the one of illustration. He started to make ‘plastic illustrations’ from his toys but soon found that he was getting farther and farther away from his unmoderated link to thought. So much intermediate process meant he was at danger of losing his core spirit. To keep sane he now maintains a practice of self published work, which he publishes online. For example he’s been very disciplined, creating The Wisdom of Caleb, a daily cartoon strip for 150 days (this has now been taken offline). He rejoices if he gets a few hundred hits – but it’s important to build up an audience over time, and if you keep your conviction then the work will find that validity. The comic strips are very basic, with no retouching.

wisdom of caleb worksheetWisdom of Caleb safe squirrelWisdom of Caleb
Cartoons for the Wisdom of Caleb.

Back to basics.
He’s been inspired by Roger Hargreaves to create some very minimal characters. He has also been creating a lino print every week in editions of seven, which provides a grassroots connection with his audience that is direct and democratic. He sells the prints directly and finds there’s an honesty in taking them to the post office himself. He’s aware that he’s “highly involved with filling the world with plastic” and it makes him quite uncomfortable. He likes the simplicity and honesty of making things by hand at home, such as resin figures – and using the web to sell them direct. This kind of work never felt accessible when he was at college.

James Jarvis lino work
Working with lino print.

His greatest hits.
He has sold 10,000 toys over the years and he’s grateful for that because there’s a bond with his audience. He would be stupid not to engage with what people want. But James also concedes admits that he has been massively lucky – tons of people at college were better drawers, and his success has been as much down to circumstance as being clever.

amos_plastic_workshop_london-portrait
James Jarvis hosts the Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop at KK outlet in Hoxton between 6-31 May, 2011.

Pick Me Up runs until Sunday 27th March.

Wisdom of Caleb bare leaves

James Jarvis spoke at Mokita, illness where he was asked to address the role of illustration in commerce. The insights below have been put together from comments he made both in his talk and in the following conversation with others on the panel of Mokita.

James Jarvis Degree Show poster
James Jarvis’ Brighton Degree Show poster.

A character artist.
The baggage of being an illustrator is confusing so he prefers to think of himself as a graphic artist. His job is a journey into self awareness. He recently found his old degree graduation poster and realised that you can see his style developing even then, website when it was all done by hand. He has become very well known for drawing funny characters in depressing situations but he doesn’t like being seen as a character artist only.

Sole Inspector by James Jarvis
Sole Inspector by James Jarvis.

He knew the route.
James’ mother was an art history tutor and he knew he wanted to be an illustrator from an early age. The plan was to make kids’ books but nobody wanted his work and editorial art directors thought he was too kiddy in style, so he was stuck in no mans land. But he was accepted within the skateboarding world, where his work was discovered by the forward thinking art directors at The Face. He was lucky in that his images were companions to the articles, and he didn’t really have to answer any briefs. The magazine was a massively influential shop window that gave him credibility in the mainstream.

Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos
Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos.

ATP Amos concert poster
An Amos collaboration with ATP music festival.

People just want funny characters.
From working with The Face he became involved with clothing brand Silas, and together they created a toy to publicise the brand. It became an object in its own right and soon after he started Amos, his own toy making company; it doesn’t make him much money but he is involved with lots of other projects as a result: he now makes films, t-shirts and curates music festivals. He wants his characters to be more than just toys, avatars for a more substantial world. Even now though, many years later, advertisers still just want to buy into his associations with Streetwear culture and The Face; everyone wants a potato head character. For instance he’s currently working on something to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Only the most enlightened art directors ask for something different and new: most just want something he produced a long time ago so it’s up to him to keep pushing ideas forward.

James Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino print
James Jarvis lino prints.

Self publish for sanity.
Making products is a different world to the one of illustration. He started to make ‘plastic illustrations’ from his toys but soon found that he was getting farther and farther away from his unmoderated link to thought. So much intermediate process meant he was at danger of losing his core spirit so to keep sane he now maintains a practice of self published work, which he publishes online. For example he’s been very disciplined, creating The Wisdom of Caleb, a daily cartoon strip for 150 days (this has now been taken offline). He rejoices if he gets a few hundred hits – but it’s important to build up an audience over time, and if you keep your conviction then the work will find that validity. The comic strips are very basic, with no retouching.

wisdom of caleb worksheetWisdom of Caleb safe squirrelWisdom of Caleb
Cartoons for the Wisdom of Caleb.

Back to basics.
He’s been inspired by Roger Hargreaves to create some very minimal characters. He has also been creating a lino print every week in editions of seven, which provides a grassroots connection with his audience that is direct and democratic. He sells the prints directly and finds there’s an honesty in taking them to the post office himself. He’s aware that he’s “highly involved with filling the world with plastic” and it makes him quite uncomfortable. He likes the simplicity and honesty of making things by hand at home, such as resin figures – and using the web to sell them direct. This kind of work never felt accessible when he was at college.

James Jarvis lino work
Working with lino print.

His greatest hits.
He has sold 10,000 toys over the years and he’s grateful for that because there’s a bond with his audience. He would be stupid not to engage with what people want. But James also concedes admits that he has been massively lucky – tons of people at college were better drawers, and his success has been as much down to circumstance as being clever.

amos_plastic_workshop_london-portrait
James Jarvis hosts the Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop at KK outlet in Hoxton between 6-31 May, 2011.

Pick Me Up runs until Sunday 27th March. A more in depth article about Mokita will follow shortly!

Wisdom of Caleb bare leaves

James Jarvis spoke at Mokita, sales where he was asked to address the role of illustration in commerce. The insights below have been put together from comments he made both in his talk and in the following conversation with others on the panel of Mokita.

James Jarvis Degree Show poster
James Jarvis’ Brighton Degree Show poster.

A character artist.
The baggage of being an illustrator is confusing so he prefers to think of himself as a graphic artist. His job is a journey into self awareness. He recently found his old degree graduation poster and realised that you can see his style developing even then, about it when it was all done by hand. He has become very well known for drawing funny characters in depressing situations but he doesn’t like being seen as a character artist only.

Sole Inspector by James Jarvis
Sole Inspector by James Jarvis.

He knew the route.
James’ mother was an art history tutor and he knew he wanted to be an illustrator from an early age. The plan was to make kids’ books but nobody wanted his work and editorial art directors thought he was too kiddy in style, more about so he was stuck in no mans land. But he was accepted within the skateboarding world, where his work was discovered by the forward thinking art directors at The Face. He was lucky in that his images were companions to the articles, and he didn’t really have to answer any briefs. The magazine was a massively influential shop window that gave him credibility in the mainstream.

Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos
Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos.

ATP Amos concert poster
An Amos collaboration with ATP music festival.

People just want funny characters.
From working with The Face he became involved with clothing brand Silas, and together they created a toy to publicise the brand. It became an object in its own right and soon after he started Amos, his own toy making company; it doesn’t make him much money but he is involved with lots of other projects as a result: he now makes films, t-shirts and curates music festivals. He wants his characters to be more than just toys, avatars for a more substantial world. Even now though, many years later, advertisers still just want to buy into his associations with Streetwear culture and The Face; everyone wants a potato head character. For instance he’s currently working on something to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Only the most enlightened art directors ask for something different and new: most just want something he produced a long time ago so it’s up to him to keep pushing ideas forward.

James Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino print
James Jarvis lino prints.

Self publish for sanity.
Making products is a different world to the one of illustration. He started to make ‘plastic illustrations’ from his toys but soon found that he was getting farther and farther away from his unmoderated link to thought. So much intermediate process meant he was at danger of losing his core spirit so to keep sane he now maintains a practice of self published work, which he publishes online. For example he’s been very disciplined, creating The Wisdom of Caleb, a daily cartoon strip for 150 days (this has now been taken offline). He rejoices if he gets a few hundred hits – but it’s important to build up an audience over time, and if you keep your conviction then the work will find that validity. The comic strips are very basic, with no retouching.

wisdom of caleb worksheetWisdom of Caleb safe squirrelWisdom of Caleb
Cartoons for the Wisdom of Caleb.

Back to basics.
He’s been inspired by Roger Hargreaves to create some very minimal characters. He has also been creating a lino print every week in editions of seven, which provides a grassroots connection with his audience that is direct and democratic. He sells the prints directly and finds there’s an honesty in taking them to the post office himself. He’s aware that he’s “highly involved with filling the world with plastic” and it makes him quite uncomfortable. He likes the simplicity and honesty of making things by hand at home, such as resin figures – and using the web to sell them direct. This kind of work never felt accessible when he was at college.

James Jarvis lino work
Working with lino print.

His greatest hits.
He has sold 10,000 toys over the years and he’s grateful for that because there’s a bond with his audience. He would be stupid not to engage with what people want. But James also concedes admits that he has been massively lucky – tons of people at college were better drawers, and his success has been as much down to circumstance as being clever.

amos_plastic_workshop_london-portrait
James Jarvis hosts the Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop at KK outlet in Hoxton between 6-31 May, 2011.

Pick Me Up runs until Sunday 27th March. A more in depth article about Mokita will follow shortly!


Mokita by Catherine Askew.

Mokita was billed as a chance to discuss the role of illustration today and specifically what it means to be an illustrator, more about and how that definition is changing. Compared with fine art the applied art discipline of illustration is indeed under-critiqued, side effects so I was keen to take part in the discussion and hear what others have to say. Convened by illustration lecturers Geoff Grandfield, viagra Roderick Mills and Darryl Clifton, from departments at Kingston University, Brighton University and Camberwell College of the Arts, this was destined to have a highly theoretical flavour. We were presented with a lovingly put together booklet on arrival in the bowels of Somerset House, but then, really, would you expect anything less?! Inside it politely asked that shy audience members should text questions to the panel – a nice touch.

Adrian Shaughnessy by Harriet Fox
Adrian Shaughnessy by Harriet Fox.

Proceedings kicked off with an introduction from Adrian Shaughnessy, who describes himself as a self-taught graphic designer. He co-founded Varoom, writes for numerous publications and is now a visiting professor at the RCA. Mokita is a Papua New Guinean word that means “the truth we do not talk about” and as Adrian said, “the subject never gets discussed, it’s as if illustration has a permanent Mokita moment.” How often do illustrators discuss what they actually do? As Darryl would later state, there are no textbooks on the subject: instead you’re more likely to discover books on how to airbrush, or more recently, how to photoshop. Adrian described how graphic designers can hide behind typefaces, layout and rules, whilst illustrators must reveal themselves, appearing naked from the get-go. Interestingly, all of his recent students at the RCA have chosen to work on projects for social good, an area which he believes is becoming increasingly important. We were assured that this would not be a whinging session, though “most commissioners are mean as hell, blind and defective” – I do hope I don’t fall into this category.

Mokita 2011-booklet

Next up Darryl Clifton raised the idea that commerce is not the only context for illustration – a hypothesis that I would have thought was pretty obvious. But I think that what he was really getting at is that where once illustrators relied on relatively expensive technology nowadays it is now possible to disseminate images cheaply without the aid of large corporations – through zines and online for example. Both he and Geoff were keen to emphasise that the discipline of illustration gives a good visual education for life: an illustrator must learn to construct a rich inner world, interpret ideas, experiment and problem solve: all transferable skills even if there is no obvious job market for a graduating illustrator.

James Jarvis gave an intriguing talk about how he sees himself as an illustrator in the context of the commercial world, which included the intriguing fact that he prefers to call himself a graphic artist because it encompasses a wider range of possibility (witness the subtitle of Pick Me Up) You can read a summary of this talk on this blog.

Roderick Mills by Harriet Fox
Roderick Mills by Harriet Fox.

We then moved onto a debate on ‘self-authorship’ between Roderick Mills and Peepshow illustrator and former Amelia’s Magazine contributor Luke Best. I found Illustrator as Author, new paradigm or death of a discipline? a confusing and circuitous conversation. As Luke rightly pointed out, the illustrator as author is not a new concept. Some people seemed particularly riled by the success of the Four Corners Books, which famously works with fine artists rather than illustrators to re-imagine famous texts, including Vanity Fair (my boyfriend has a copy, it is very beautiful) and Dracula.

mokita1-by-catherine-askew
Mokita by Catherine Askew.

I think the main issue is that illustrators would ideally like to be accorded the same amount of responsibility for interpretation of a story or idea – something which is clearly the case in the Four Corners projects. As a member of the audience pointed out, the best thing would be if a dual voice spoke to the reader: an eloquent marriage of equal weight – as is afforded the soundtrack for the movie Taxi Driver.

Vanity Fair published by Four Corners. Illustrations by Donald Urquhart
Vanity Fair published by Four Corners. Illustrations by Donald Urquhart.

Adrian told us that American illustrator Brad Holland was famously asked to illustrate for Playboy, which not only offers an amazing shop window but pays well too – yet he refused to do so unless he had the same brief to work from as the author. Periodically we returned to the theme of illustrator as mediator for ideas about social engagement: and it was pointed out that this has a long long history.

Norman Rockwell - Christmas Homecoming, 1948
Norman Rockwell – Christmas Homecoming, 1948.

Geoff Grandfield then led us on a whistlestop tour of the Theory of Illustration, which was a potted history of its use across the years, from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, via illuminated manuscripts, William Blake’s Line of Beauty and on to the propaganda images of Norman Rockwell. Throughout time the role of illustration has been to act as a visual memory, inform us of abstract ideas and critique personal, social and political relationships across language boundaries. Illustration has an especially important role in the development of children, for whom characters are invented to communicate all sorts of ideas.

Roald_Dahl_Day_Children
Children by Quentin Blake.

In a perfect world there is a symbiotic relationship between author and image maker – just think of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake – its often hard to separate their visions. The most recent incarnation of illustration rose in popularity alongside the rise of print media from the 1950s onwards. There followed a discussion with Sam Arthur, one of the founding members of Nobrow Press, who was drafted in to replace Simone Lia at the last moment. You can read about this conversation in my separate blog.

Mokita by Catherine Askew
Mokita by Catherine Askew.

We finished off the day with a panel discussion: Do we need a theory of illustration? Again, a bit of a confusing title given that we’d just had a potted guide. For this all six men sat in a row at the front of the room, with Adrian adjudicating from the side. It was postulated that illustration needs a structure to become a transformational experience that will allow illustrators to engage with ideas outside themselves. I think that’s over-complicating the matter – most illustrators work intuitively and that’s the very beauty of their drawings – as Darryl said, the very diffuseness of the topic may be a benefit, allowing the idea of what illustration is to remain malleable.

Mokita 2011-James Jarvis
One of the more minimal pieces by James Jarvis.

After an audience member introduced himself as happy to say he was an illustrator James Jarvis conceded that he might actually be happy to call himself an illustrator again too. “The trouble is that you feel like you are at the bottom of the pile as an illustrator… but it’s not important what I call myself anyway, I change my ideas all the time.” It was mentioned that often an illustration degree is the last place to teach really good drawing skills, but Geoff and Darryl feel that the subject still needs greater structural depth. I think maybe there’s a book that needs to be written, and who better to work on it than these two? Sam counteracted that it shouldn’t really be necessary to know where it comes from… “shouldn’t the work do the talking?” which I have to say is my opinion too. No amount of theoretical framework is going to ensure a good illustration alone, though it may well be helpful in an illustrator understanding their place and method of working within a historical context.

Mokita 2011-sketching

In the past five years the popularity of illustration has grown exponentially, mainly because of the huge amount of self-initiated work now available online – something which worries Roderick Mills. He feels that illustrators should be careful how they represent themselves, self-editing way more before posting work online. Because illustrators are always evolving, even when they graduate, they should ensure there is enough time for self-reflection or we run the risk of being “paralysed by vacuous images with which we have no attachment.” Yes, by all means be careful what you represent in a proper online portfolio and in mailouts but this isn’t an opinion I agree with – I think it’s brilliant that illustrators put their work online, especially on blogs, where it’s possible to see the development of their work over time, a very exciting thing to watch.

Mokita by Catherine Askew
Mokita by Catherine Askew.

As the symposium drew to a close Geofrey Zeel asked why there were no women on the panel. Then, to my absolute delight, two other women commented, saying “maybe because we’re not at the pub with you?” and “it feels like a boys’ club” – both phrases that I had been thinking myself (Geoff admitted that Mokita came about via conversations in the pub) and intended to write in this piece. To disbelieving gasps from the audience Roderick stated that “maybe it’s the male ego, more outward going”. Geoff assured everyone that he had tried his hardest to get more females on the board. This isn’t strictly true – I volunteered to take part but when Simone Lia dropped out they asked Nobrow to join the panel. I love Nobrow’s work but given the lack of women and the fact that most of my work is based on the power of illustration to inspire social change I think that was a pretty weird decision. I do think it’s shocking that more was not done to address what was a totally male representation of a subject that is made up of more than 50% female practitioners.

Mokita by Paper Peggy
Mokita by Paper Peggy.

The first Mokita symposium was an interesting starting place but I feel it could be so much more: the audience was predominantly students (all busily sketching away) and lecturers, and it would have been nice to feel that practitioners too were present and welcome as well as other interested parties, and that more discussions could have been had in smaller groups, especially when it came to some of the more nebulous topics that went around in circles – to which surely the audience (whom were mostly silent apart from a vocal few) would have been able to contribute just as much as those up front.

I also felt that hardly anything was done to address the rise of illustration on the internet – perhaps because some of those running the conference have very narrow profiles online and don’t engage with it much themselves. Here’s hoping that the next Mokita will be bigger, more interactive, more ambitious and open in its scope…. and led in tandem with some inspiring women from the field.

Mokita 2011-Valerie Perezon
Valerie Perezon.

You can read another blog about this event here: by former Amelia’s Magazine art editor Valerie Perezon, who like me was perturbed by the lack of females present.

You can read my review of Pick Me Up here, it’s open until Sunday 27th March.

Categories ,Adrian Shaughnessy, ,Book of the Dead, ,Brad Holland, ,Brighton University, ,Camberwell College of the Arts, ,Catherine Askew, ,Darryl Clifton, ,Donald Urquhart, ,Dracula, ,Four Corners, ,Four Corners Books, ,Geoff Grandfield, ,Geofrey Zeel, ,Harriet Fox, ,illustration, ,James Jarvis, ,Kingston University, ,Line of Beauty, ,Luke Best, ,Mokita, ,Nobrow Press, ,Norman Rockwell, ,Paper Peggy, ,Papua New Guinea, ,Peepshow, ,Pick Me Up, ,Playboy, ,Quentin Blake, ,rca, ,Roald Dahl, ,Roderick Mills, ,Sam Arthur, ,Simone Lia, ,Symposium. Somerset House, ,Taxi, ,Theory, ,Valerie Perezon, ,Valoche Designs, ,Vanity Fair, ,Varoom, ,William Blake, ,Zeel

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Amelia’s Magazine | Pick Me Up Contemporary Graphic Art Fair 2011: Mokita Symposium

amos_plastic_workshop_london-portrait
Wisdom of Caleb bare leaves

James Jarvis spoke at Mokita, approved where he was asked to address the role of illustration in commerce. The insights below have been put together from comments he made both in his talk and in the following conversation with others on the panel of Mokita.

James Jarvis Degree Show poster
James Jarvis’ Brighton Degree Show poster.

A character artist.
The baggage of being an illustrator is confusing so he prefers to think of himself as a graphic artist. It’s a journey into self awareness. He recently found his old degree graduation poster and realised that you can see his style developing even then, information pills when it was all done by hand. He has become very well known for drawing funny characters in depressing situations but he doesn’t like being seen as a character artist only.

Sole Inspector by James Jarvis
Sole Inspector by James Jarvis.

He knew the route.
James’ mother was an art history tutor and he knew he wanted to be an illustrator from an early age. The plan was to make kids books but nobody wanted his work and editorial art directors thought he was too kiddy in style, so he was stuck in no mans land. But he was accepted within the skateboarding world, where his work was discovered by the forward thinking art directors at The Face. He was lucky in that his images were companions to the articles, and he didn’t really have to answer any briefs. The magazine was a massively influential shop window that gave him credibility in the mainstream.

Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos
Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos.

ATP Amos concert poster
An Amos collaboration with ATP music festival.

People just want funny characters.
From working with The Face he became involved with clothing brand Silas, and together they created a toy to publicise the brand. It became an object in its own right and soon after he started Amos, his own toy making company; it doesn’t make him much money but he is involved with lots of other projects as a result: he now makes films, t-shirts and curates music festivals. He wants his characters to be more than just toys, avatars for a more substantial world. Even now though, many years later, advertisers still just want to buy into his associations with Streetwear culture and The Face; everyone wants a potato head character. For instance he’s currently working on something to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Only the most enlightened art directors ask for something different and new: most just want something he produced a long time ago so it’s up to him to keep pushing ideas forward.

James Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino print
James Jarvis lino prints.

Self publish for sanity.
Making products is a different world to the one of illustration. He started to make ‘plastic illustrations’ from his toys but soon found that he was getting farther and farther away from his unmoderated link to thought. So much intermediate process meant he was at danger of losing his core spirit. To keep sane he now maintains a practice of self published work, which he publishes online. For example he’s been very disciplined, creating The Wisdom of Caleb, a daily cartoon strip for 150 days (this has now been taken offline). He rejoices if he gets a few hundred hits – but it’s important to build up an audience over time, and if you keep your conviction then the work will find that validity. The comic strips are very basic, with no retouching.

James Jarvis lino work
Working with lino print.

Back to basics.
He’s been inspired by Roger Hargreaves to create some very minimal characters. He has also been creating a lino print every week in editions of seven, which provides a grassroots connection with his audience that is direct and democratic. He sells the prints directly and finds there’s an honesty in taking them to the post office himself.
He’s aware that he’s “highly involved with filling the world with plastic” and it makes him quite uncomfortable. He likes the simplicity and honesty of making things by hand at home, such as resin figures – and using the web to sell them direct. This kind of work never felt accessible when he was at college.

wisdom of caleb worksheetWisdom of Caleb safe squirrelWisdom of Caleb
Cartoons for the Wisdom of Caleb.

His greatest hits.
He has sold 10,000 toys over the years and he’s grateful for that because there’s a bond with his audience. He would be stupid not to engage with what people want. But James also concedes admits that he has been massively lucky – tons of people at college were better drawers, and his success has been as much down to circumstance as being clever.

James Jarvis hosts the Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop at KK outlet in Hoxton between 6-31 May, 2011.

Wisdom of Caleb bare leaves

James Jarvis spoke at Mokita, page where he was asked to address the role of illustration in commerce. The insights below have been put together from comments he made both in his talk and in the following conversation with others on the panel of Mokita.

James Jarvis Degree Show poster
James Jarvis’ Brighton Degree Show poster.

A character artist.
The baggage of being an illustrator is confusing so he prefers to think of himself as a graphic artist. It’s a journey into self awareness. He recently found his old degree graduation poster and realised that you can see his style developing even then, web when it was all done by hand. He has become very well known for drawing funny characters in depressing situations but he doesn’t like being seen as a character artist only.

Sole Inspector by James Jarvis
Sole Inspector by James Jarvis.

He knew the route.
James’ mother was an art history tutor and he knew he wanted to be an illustrator from an early age. The plan was to make kids books but nobody wanted his work and editorial art directors thought he was too kiddy in style, so he was stuck in no mans land. But he was accepted within the skateboarding world, where his work was discovered by the forward thinking art directors at The Face. He was lucky in that his images were companions to the articles, and he didn’t really have to answer any briefs. The magazine was a massively influential shop window that gave him credibility in the mainstream.

Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos
Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos.

ATP Amos concert poster
An Amos collaboration with ATP music festival.

People just want funny characters.
From working with The Face he became involved with clothing brand Silas, and together they created a toy to publicise the brand. It became an object in its own right and soon after he started Amos, his own toy making company; it doesn’t make him much money but he is involved with lots of other projects as a result: he now makes films, t-shirts and curates music festivals. He wants his characters to be more than just toys, avatars for a more substantial world. Even now though, many years later, advertisers still just want to buy into his associations with Streetwear culture and The Face; everyone wants a potato head character. For instance he’s currently working on something to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Only the most enlightened art directors ask for something different and new: most just want something he produced a long time ago so it’s up to him to keep pushing ideas forward.

James Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino print
James Jarvis lino prints.

Self publish for sanity.
Making products is a different world to the one of illustration. He started to make ‘plastic illustrations’ from his toys but soon found that he was getting farther and farther away from his unmoderated link to thought. So much intermediate process meant he was at danger of losing his core spirit. To keep sane he now maintains a practice of self published work, which he publishes online. For example he’s been very disciplined, creating The Wisdom of Caleb, a daily cartoon strip for 150 days (this has now been taken offline). He rejoices if he gets a few hundred hits – but it’s important to build up an audience over time, and if you keep your conviction then the work will find that validity. The comic strips are very basic, with no retouching.

wisdom of caleb worksheetWisdom of Caleb safe squirrelWisdom of Caleb
Cartoons for the Wisdom of Caleb.

Back to basics.
He’s been inspired by Roger Hargreaves to create some very minimal characters. He has also been creating a lino print every week in editions of seven, which provides a grassroots connection with his audience that is direct and democratic. He sells the prints directly and finds there’s an honesty in taking them to the post office himself. He’s aware that he’s “highly involved with filling the world with plastic” and it makes him quite uncomfortable. He likes the simplicity and honesty of making things by hand at home, such as resin figures – and using the web to sell them direct. This kind of work never felt accessible when he was at college.

James Jarvis lino work
Working with lino print.

His greatest hits.
He has sold 10,000 toys over the years and he’s grateful for that because there’s a bond with his audience. He would be stupid not to engage with what people want. But James also concedes admits that he has been massively lucky – tons of people at college were better drawers, and his success has been as much down to circumstance as being clever.

amos_plastic_workshop_london-portrait
James Jarvis hosts the Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop at KK outlet in Hoxton between 6-31 May, 2011.

Pick Me Up runs until Sunday 27th March.

Wisdom of Caleb bare leaves

James Jarvis spoke at Mokita, decease where he was asked to address the role of illustration in commerce. The insights below have been put together from comments he made both in his talk and in the following conversation with others on the panel of Mokita.

James Jarvis Degree Show poster
James Jarvis’ Brighton Degree Show poster.

A character artist.
The baggage of being an illustrator is confusing so he prefers to think of himself as a graphic artist. His job is a journey into self awareness. He recently found his old degree graduation poster and realised that you can see his style developing even then, when it was all done by hand. He has become very well known for drawing funny characters in depressing situations but he doesn’t like being seen as a character artist only.

Sole Inspector by James Jarvis
Sole Inspector by James Jarvis.

He knew the route.
James’ mother was an art history tutor and he knew he wanted to be an illustrator from an early age. The plan was to make kids’ books but nobody wanted his work and editorial art directors thought he was too kiddy in style, so he was stuck in no mans land. But he was accepted within the skateboarding world, where his work was discovered by the forward thinking art directors at The Face. He was lucky in that his images were companions to the articles, and he didn’t really have to answer any briefs. The magazine was a massively influential shop window that gave him credibility in the mainstream.

Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos
Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos.

ATP Amos concert poster
An Amos collaboration with ATP music festival.

People just want funny characters.
From working with The Face he became involved with clothing brand Silas, and together they created a toy to publicise the brand. It became an object in its own right and soon after he started Amos, his own toy making company; it doesn’t make him much money but he is involved with lots of other projects as a result: he now makes films, t-shirts and curates music festivals. He wants his characters to be more than just toys, avatars for a more substantial world. Even now though, many years later, advertisers still just want to buy into his associations with Streetwear culture and The Face; everyone wants a potato head character. For instance he’s currently working on something to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Only the most enlightened art directors ask for something different and new: most just want something he produced a long time ago so it’s up to him to keep pushing ideas forward.

James Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino print
James Jarvis lino prints.

Self publish for sanity.
Making products is a different world to the one of illustration. He started to make ‘plastic illustrations’ from his toys but soon found that he was getting farther and farther away from his unmoderated link to thought. So much intermediate process meant he was at danger of losing his core spirit. To keep sane he now maintains a practice of self published work, which he publishes online. For example he’s been very disciplined, creating The Wisdom of Caleb, a daily cartoon strip for 150 days (this has now been taken offline). He rejoices if he gets a few hundred hits – but it’s important to build up an audience over time, and if you keep your conviction then the work will find that validity. The comic strips are very basic, with no retouching.

wisdom of caleb worksheetWisdom of Caleb safe squirrelWisdom of Caleb
Cartoons for the Wisdom of Caleb.

Back to basics.
He’s been inspired by Roger Hargreaves to create some very minimal characters. He has also been creating a lino print every week in editions of seven, which provides a grassroots connection with his audience that is direct and democratic. He sells the prints directly and finds there’s an honesty in taking them to the post office himself. He’s aware that he’s “highly involved with filling the world with plastic” and it makes him quite uncomfortable. He likes the simplicity and honesty of making things by hand at home, such as resin figures – and using the web to sell them direct. This kind of work never felt accessible when he was at college.

James Jarvis lino work
Working with lino print.

His greatest hits.
He has sold 10,000 toys over the years and he’s grateful for that because there’s a bond with his audience. He would be stupid not to engage with what people want. But James also concedes admits that he has been massively lucky – tons of people at college were better drawers, and his success has been as much down to circumstance as being clever.

amos_plastic_workshop_london-portrait
James Jarvis hosts the Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop at KK outlet in Hoxton between 6-31 May, 2011.

Pick Me Up runs until Sunday 27th March.

Wisdom of Caleb bare leaves

James Jarvis spoke at Mokita, illness where he was asked to address the role of illustration in commerce. The insights below have been put together from comments he made both in his talk and in the following conversation with others on the panel of Mokita.

James Jarvis Degree Show poster
James Jarvis’ Brighton Degree Show poster.

A character artist.
The baggage of being an illustrator is confusing so he prefers to think of himself as a graphic artist. His job is a journey into self awareness. He recently found his old degree graduation poster and realised that you can see his style developing even then, website when it was all done by hand. He has become very well known for drawing funny characters in depressing situations but he doesn’t like being seen as a character artist only.

Sole Inspector by James Jarvis
Sole Inspector by James Jarvis.

He knew the route.
James’ mother was an art history tutor and he knew he wanted to be an illustrator from an early age. The plan was to make kids’ books but nobody wanted his work and editorial art directors thought he was too kiddy in style, so he was stuck in no mans land. But he was accepted within the skateboarding world, where his work was discovered by the forward thinking art directors at The Face. He was lucky in that his images were companions to the articles, and he didn’t really have to answer any briefs. The magazine was a massively influential shop window that gave him credibility in the mainstream.

Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos
Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos.

ATP Amos concert poster
An Amos collaboration with ATP music festival.

People just want funny characters.
From working with The Face he became involved with clothing brand Silas, and together they created a toy to publicise the brand. It became an object in its own right and soon after he started Amos, his own toy making company; it doesn’t make him much money but he is involved with lots of other projects as a result: he now makes films, t-shirts and curates music festivals. He wants his characters to be more than just toys, avatars for a more substantial world. Even now though, many years later, advertisers still just want to buy into his associations with Streetwear culture and The Face; everyone wants a potato head character. For instance he’s currently working on something to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Only the most enlightened art directors ask for something different and new: most just want something he produced a long time ago so it’s up to him to keep pushing ideas forward.

James Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino print
James Jarvis lino prints.

Self publish for sanity.
Making products is a different world to the one of illustration. He started to make ‘plastic illustrations’ from his toys but soon found that he was getting farther and farther away from his unmoderated link to thought. So much intermediate process meant he was at danger of losing his core spirit so to keep sane he now maintains a practice of self published work, which he publishes online. For example he’s been very disciplined, creating The Wisdom of Caleb, a daily cartoon strip for 150 days (this has now been taken offline). He rejoices if he gets a few hundred hits – but it’s important to build up an audience over time, and if you keep your conviction then the work will find that validity. The comic strips are very basic, with no retouching.

wisdom of caleb worksheetWisdom of Caleb safe squirrelWisdom of Caleb
Cartoons for the Wisdom of Caleb.

Back to basics.
He’s been inspired by Roger Hargreaves to create some very minimal characters. He has also been creating a lino print every week in editions of seven, which provides a grassroots connection with his audience that is direct and democratic. He sells the prints directly and finds there’s an honesty in taking them to the post office himself. He’s aware that he’s “highly involved with filling the world with plastic” and it makes him quite uncomfortable. He likes the simplicity and honesty of making things by hand at home, such as resin figures – and using the web to sell them direct. This kind of work never felt accessible when he was at college.

James Jarvis lino work
Working with lino print.

His greatest hits.
He has sold 10,000 toys over the years and he’s grateful for that because there’s a bond with his audience. He would be stupid not to engage with what people want. But James also concedes admits that he has been massively lucky – tons of people at college were better drawers, and his success has been as much down to circumstance as being clever.

amos_plastic_workshop_london-portrait
James Jarvis hosts the Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop at KK outlet in Hoxton between 6-31 May, 2011.

Pick Me Up runs until Sunday 27th March. A more in depth article about Mokita will follow shortly!

Wisdom of Caleb bare leaves

James Jarvis spoke at Mokita, sales where he was asked to address the role of illustration in commerce. The insights below have been put together from comments he made both in his talk and in the following conversation with others on the panel of Mokita.

James Jarvis Degree Show poster
James Jarvis’ Brighton Degree Show poster.

A character artist.
The baggage of being an illustrator is confusing so he prefers to think of himself as a graphic artist. His job is a journey into self awareness. He recently found his old degree graduation poster and realised that you can see his style developing even then, about it when it was all done by hand. He has become very well known for drawing funny characters in depressing situations but he doesn’t like being seen as a character artist only.

Sole Inspector by James Jarvis
Sole Inspector by James Jarvis.

He knew the route.
James’ mother was an art history tutor and he knew he wanted to be an illustrator from an early age. The plan was to make kids’ books but nobody wanted his work and editorial art directors thought he was too kiddy in style, more about so he was stuck in no mans land. But he was accepted within the skateboarding world, where his work was discovered by the forward thinking art directors at The Face. He was lucky in that his images were companions to the articles, and he didn’t really have to answer any briefs. The magazine was a massively influential shop window that gave him credibility in the mainstream.

Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos
Caleb toys by James Jarvis for Amos.

ATP Amos concert poster
An Amos collaboration with ATP music festival.

People just want funny characters.
From working with The Face he became involved with clothing brand Silas, and together they created a toy to publicise the brand. It became an object in its own right and soon after he started Amos, his own toy making company; it doesn’t make him much money but he is involved with lots of other projects as a result: he now makes films, t-shirts and curates music festivals. He wants his characters to be more than just toys, avatars for a more substantial world. Even now though, many years later, advertisers still just want to buy into his associations with Streetwear culture and The Face; everyone wants a potato head character. For instance he’s currently working on something to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Coca-Cola. Only the most enlightened art directors ask for something different and new: most just want something he produced a long time ago so it’s up to him to keep pushing ideas forward.

James Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino printJames Jarvis lino print
James Jarvis lino prints.

Self publish for sanity.
Making products is a different world to the one of illustration. He started to make ‘plastic illustrations’ from his toys but soon found that he was getting farther and farther away from his unmoderated link to thought. So much intermediate process meant he was at danger of losing his core spirit so to keep sane he now maintains a practice of self published work, which he publishes online. For example he’s been very disciplined, creating The Wisdom of Caleb, a daily cartoon strip for 150 days (this has now been taken offline). He rejoices if he gets a few hundred hits – but it’s important to build up an audience over time, and if you keep your conviction then the work will find that validity. The comic strips are very basic, with no retouching.

wisdom of caleb worksheetWisdom of Caleb safe squirrelWisdom of Caleb
Cartoons for the Wisdom of Caleb.

Back to basics.
He’s been inspired by Roger Hargreaves to create some very minimal characters. He has also been creating a lino print every week in editions of seven, which provides a grassroots connection with his audience that is direct and democratic. He sells the prints directly and finds there’s an honesty in taking them to the post office himself. He’s aware that he’s “highly involved with filling the world with plastic” and it makes him quite uncomfortable. He likes the simplicity and honesty of making things by hand at home, such as resin figures – and using the web to sell them direct. This kind of work never felt accessible when he was at college.

James Jarvis lino work
Working with lino print.

His greatest hits.
He has sold 10,000 toys over the years and he’s grateful for that because there’s a bond with his audience. He would be stupid not to engage with what people want. But James also concedes admits that he has been massively lucky – tons of people at college were better drawers, and his success has been as much down to circumstance as being clever.

amos_plastic_workshop_london-portrait
James Jarvis hosts the Amos Miniature Plastic Workshop at KK outlet in Hoxton between 6-31 May, 2011.

Pick Me Up runs until Sunday 27th March. A more in depth article about Mokita will follow shortly!


Mokita by Catherine Askew.

Mokita was billed as a chance to discuss the role of illustration today and specifically what it means to be an illustrator, more about and how that definition is changing. Compared with fine art the applied art discipline of illustration is indeed under-critiqued, side effects so I was keen to take part in the discussion and hear what others have to say. Convened by illustration lecturers Geoff Grandfield, viagra Roderick Mills and Darryl Clifton, from departments at Kingston University, Brighton University and Camberwell College of the Arts, this was destined to have a highly theoretical flavour. We were presented with a lovingly put together booklet on arrival in the bowels of Somerset House, but then, really, would you expect anything less?! Inside it politely asked that shy audience members should text questions to the panel – a nice touch.

Adrian Shaughnessy by Harriet Fox
Adrian Shaughnessy by Harriet Fox.

Proceedings kicked off with an introduction from Adrian Shaughnessy, who describes himself as a self-taught graphic designer. He co-founded Varoom, writes for numerous publications and is now a visiting professor at the RCA. Mokita is a Papua New Guinean word that means “the truth we do not talk about” and as Adrian said, “the subject never gets discussed, it’s as if illustration has a permanent Mokita moment.” How often do illustrators discuss what they actually do? As Darryl would later state, there are no textbooks on the subject: instead you’re more likely to discover books on how to airbrush, or more recently, how to photoshop. Adrian described how graphic designers can hide behind typefaces, layout and rules, whilst illustrators must reveal themselves, appearing naked from the get-go. Interestingly, all of his recent students at the RCA have chosen to work on projects for social good, an area which he believes is becoming increasingly important. We were assured that this would not be a whinging session, though “most commissioners are mean as hell, blind and defective” – I do hope I don’t fall into this category.

Mokita 2011-booklet

Next up Darryl Clifton raised the idea that commerce is not the only context for illustration – a hypothesis that I would have thought was pretty obvious. But I think that what he was really getting at is that where once illustrators relied on relatively expensive technology nowadays it is now possible to disseminate images cheaply without the aid of large corporations – through zines and online for example. Both he and Geoff were keen to emphasise that the discipline of illustration gives a good visual education for life: an illustrator must learn to construct a rich inner world, interpret ideas, experiment and problem solve: all transferable skills even if there is no obvious job market for a graduating illustrator.

James Jarvis gave an intriguing talk about how he sees himself as an illustrator in the context of the commercial world, which included the intriguing fact that he prefers to call himself a graphic artist because it encompasses a wider range of possibility (witness the subtitle of Pick Me Up) You can read a summary of this talk on this blog.

Roderick Mills by Harriet Fox
Roderick Mills by Harriet Fox.

We then moved onto a debate on ‘self-authorship’ between Roderick Mills and Peepshow illustrator and former Amelia’s Magazine contributor Luke Best. I found Illustrator as Author, new paradigm or death of a discipline? a confusing and circuitous conversation. As Luke rightly pointed out, the illustrator as author is not a new concept. Some people seemed particularly riled by the success of the Four Corners Books, which famously works with fine artists rather than illustrators to re-imagine famous texts, including Vanity Fair (my boyfriend has a copy, it is very beautiful) and Dracula.

mokita1-by-catherine-askew
Mokita by Catherine Askew.

I think the main issue is that illustrators would ideally like to be accorded the same amount of responsibility for interpretation of a story or idea – something which is clearly the case in the Four Corners projects. As a member of the audience pointed out, the best thing would be if a dual voice spoke to the reader: an eloquent marriage of equal weight – as is afforded the soundtrack for the movie Taxi Driver.

Vanity Fair published by Four Corners. Illustrations by Donald Urquhart
Vanity Fair published by Four Corners. Illustrations by Donald Urquhart.

Adrian told us that American illustrator Brad Holland was famously asked to illustrate for Playboy, which not only offers an amazing shop window but pays well too – yet he refused to do so unless he had the same brief to work from as the author. Periodically we returned to the theme of illustrator as mediator for ideas about social engagement: and it was pointed out that this has a long long history.

Norman Rockwell - Christmas Homecoming, 1948
Norman Rockwell – Christmas Homecoming, 1948.

Geoff Grandfield then led us on a whistlestop tour of the Theory of Illustration, which was a potted history of its use across the years, from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, via illuminated manuscripts, William Blake’s Line of Beauty and on to the propaganda images of Norman Rockwell. Throughout time the role of illustration has been to act as a visual memory, inform us of abstract ideas and critique personal, social and political relationships across language boundaries. Illustration has an especially important role in the development of children, for whom characters are invented to communicate all sorts of ideas.

Roald_Dahl_Day_Children
Children by Quentin Blake.

In a perfect world there is a symbiotic relationship between author and image maker – just think of Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake – its often hard to separate their visions. The most recent incarnation of illustration rose in popularity alongside the rise of print media from the 1950s onwards. There followed a discussion with Sam Arthur, one of the founding members of Nobrow Press, who was drafted in to replace Simone Lia at the last moment. You can read about this conversation in my separate blog.

Mokita by Catherine Askew
Mokita by Catherine Askew.

We finished off the day with a panel discussion: Do we need a theory of illustration? Again, a bit of a confusing title given that we’d just had a potted guide. For this all six men sat in a row at the front of the room, with Adrian adjudicating from the side. It was postulated that illustration needs a structure to become a transformational experience that will allow illustrators to engage with ideas outside themselves. I think that’s over-complicating the matter – most illustrators work intuitively and that’s the very beauty of their drawings – as Darryl said, the very diffuseness of the topic may be a benefit, allowing the idea of what illustration is to remain malleable.

Mokita 2011-James Jarvis
One of the more minimal pieces by James Jarvis.

After an audience member introduced himself as happy to say he was an illustrator James Jarvis conceded that he might actually be happy to call himself an illustrator again too. “The trouble is that you feel like you are at the bottom of the pile as an illustrator… but it’s not important what I call myself anyway, I change my ideas all the time.” It was mentioned that often an illustration degree is the last place to teach really good drawing skills, but Geoff and Darryl feel that the subject still needs greater structural depth. I think maybe there’s a book that needs to be written, and who better to work on it than these two? Sam counteracted that it shouldn’t really be necessary to know where it comes from… “shouldn’t the work do the talking?” which I have to say is my opinion too. No amount of theoretical framework is going to ensure a good illustration alone, though it may well be helpful in an illustrator understanding their place and method of working within a historical context.

Mokita 2011-sketching

In the past five years the popularity of illustration has grown exponentially, mainly because of the huge amount of self-initiated work now available online – something which worries Roderick Mills. He feels that illustrators should be careful how they represent themselves, self-editing way more before posting work online. Because illustrators are always evolving, even when they graduate, they should ensure there is enough time for self-reflection or we run the risk of being “paralysed by vacuous images with which we have no attachment.” Yes, by all means be careful what you represent in a proper online portfolio and in mailouts but this isn’t an opinion I agree with – I think it’s brilliant that illustrators put their work online, especially on blogs, where it’s possible to see the development of their work over time, a very exciting thing to watch.

Mokita by Catherine Askew
Mokita by Catherine Askew.

As the symposium drew to a close Geofrey Zeel asked why there were no women on the panel. Then, to my absolute delight, two other women commented, saying “maybe because we’re not at the pub with you?” and “it feels like a boys’ club” – both phrases that I had been thinking myself (Geoff admitted that Mokita came about via conversations in the pub) and intended to write in this piece. To disbelieving gasps from the audience Roderick stated that “maybe it’s the male ego, more outward going”. Geoff assured everyone that he had tried his hardest to get more females on the board. This isn’t strictly true – I volunteered to take part but when Simone Lia dropped out they asked Nobrow to join the panel. I love Nobrow’s work but given the lack of women and the fact that most of my work is based on the power of illustration to inspire social change I think that was a pretty weird decision. I do think it’s shocking that more was not done to address what was a totally male representation of a subject that is made up of more than 50% female practitioners.

Mokita by Paper Peggy
Mokita by Paper Peggy.

The first Mokita symposium was an interesting starting place but I feel it could be so much more: the audience was predominantly students (all busily sketching away) and lecturers, and it would have been nice to feel that practitioners too were present and welcome as well as other interested parties, and that more discussions could have been had in smaller groups, especially when it came to some of the more nebulous topics that went around in circles – to which surely the audience (whom were mostly silent apart from a vocal few) would have been able to contribute just as much as those up front.

I also felt that hardly anything was done to address the rise of illustration on the internet – perhaps because some of those running the conference have very narrow profiles online and don’t engage with it much themselves. Here’s hoping that the next Mokita will be bigger, more interactive, more ambitious and open in its scope…. and led in tandem with some inspiring women from the field.

Mokita 2011-Valerie Perezon
Valerie Perezon.

You can read another blog about this event here: by former Amelia’s Magazine art editor Valerie Perezon, who like me was perturbed by the lack of females present.

You can read my review of Pick Me Up here, it’s open until Sunday 27th March.

Categories ,Adrian Shaughnessy, ,Book of the Dead, ,Brad Holland, ,Brighton University, ,Camberwell College of the Arts, ,Catherine Askew, ,Darryl Clifton, ,Donald Urquhart, ,Dracula, ,Four Corners, ,Four Corners Books, ,Geoff Grandfield, ,Geofrey Zeel, ,Harriet Fox, ,illustration, ,James Jarvis, ,Kingston University, ,Line of Beauty, ,Luke Best, ,Mokita, ,Nobrow Press, ,Norman Rockwell, ,Paper Peggy, ,Papua New Guinea, ,Peepshow, ,Pick Me Up, ,Playboy, ,Quentin Blake, ,rca, ,Roald Dahl, ,Roderick Mills, ,Sam Arthur, ,Simone Lia, ,Symposium. Somerset House, ,Taxi, ,Theory, ,Valerie Perezon, ,Valoche Designs, ,Vanity Fair, ,Varoom, ,William Blake, ,Zeel

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Amelia’s Magazine | Made You Look Kickstarter Campaign

Made you Look-Work by Anthony Burrill 5
Made You Look is a documentary about the contemporary DIY graphic arts scene in the UK, lovingly put together by Anthony Peters of Imeus Design. Via candid interviews with top British creatives, publishers and agency owners the film explores how people are turning towards analogue means of creating things, even though we are living at the height of the digital era. The film is due for limited theatrical release in 2015 and will be premiered at a major UK Arts festival. I asked Anthony to write me an exclusive piece about his project, so read on, be inspired, and back the project here: this is a film that deserves to do well.

Made You Look is a documentary that began life in mid 2013 as a film about the DIY scene in UK graphic design and illustration. We take the rich graphic arts scene for-granted now but back in the early 2000’s there were very few key figures, and many of those people are now held in high regard.

Made you Look-Work by Ben The Illustrator 2
Ben The Illustrator.

Made you Look-Work by Anthony Burrill4
Made you Look-Work by Anthony Burrill stickers
Anthony Burrill.

Made you Look-Work by Nobrow Books
Nobrow Books.

Along the way a different story began to emerge, there seemed to be an unusually large amount of artists using traditional methods of making things. Letterpress, linocuts, screenprinting, live drawing, riso, papercraft… all these methods and many more were now increasingly popular.

Made you Look-Work by Helen Musselwhite
Helen Musselwhite.

Made you Look-Work by Ed Cheverton
Ed Cheverton.

Made you Look-Work by Brecht Vandenbroucke print for Nobrow
Brecht Vandenbroucke print for Nobrow.

So our subtext became our core story, and using candid interviews with artists such as Anthony Burrill, Hattie Stewart, Helen Musselwhite, members of Peepshow collective, Ian Stevenson, Ben O’ Brien and Kate Moross we managed to create a story which discusses the perils and pitfalls of creativity in the digital age.

Made you Look-Work by Andrew Rae
Made you Look-Andrew Rae
Andrew Rae.

Made you Look-Print Club London 2
Print Club London.

So many of us are living our lives skipping from screen to screen, viewing the world through a pixelated filter, creating things that only ever exist on hard drives. It’s the height of the digital era, yet many cultural movements are taking things back to basics, we have slow culture movements and craft based movements popping up all over the place. These movements aren’t really about nostalgia, rather a way to stay connected to the tactile, real world that exists beyond the screen.

Made you Look-Will Hudson It's Nice That
Will Hudson, It’s Nice That.

Made you Look-Pete Fowler
Pete Fowler.

We do live in an incredible age. Regardless of what medium an artist uses, its fair to say that very few contemporary creatives could have a career without the trappings of the internet, and this is where the tension lies in the film.

Made you Look-L&Y 2004
Look & Yes 2004.

Made you Look-kate Moross
Kate Moross.

Its beautiful to hear the surprising responses from some artists when asked seemingly naïve questions such as ‘how would you feel if the internet was switched off forever tomorrow?

But of course we won’t spoil the film by sharing any of these answers yet!

Made you Look-Hattie Stewart
Hattie Stewart.

Made you Look-Ben The Illustrator
Ben The Illustrator.

We have had an incredible response to our trailer, with over 30,000 views, and have had invitations to film festivals and to educational Q&A screenings across the globe.

We are now running a Kickstarter campaign to be able to find the resources to finish the film. We have a few final bits of filming to do, plus post production tasks like Grading and audio post work. We would also love to be able to license music from artists like Bibio, CFCF, ISAN & Zoon Van Snook as well as having a score composed by Mathieu Karsenti.

Look us up if you would like to be part of the film!

Made you Look-Anthony Burrill _ Adams of Rye 2
Anthony Burrill, Adams of Rye.

Made you Look-Adrian-Johnson
Adrian Johnson.

So what are you waiting for? Get involved and help make Anthony’s film a great one.

Categories ,Adrian Johnson, ,Andrew Rae, ,Anthony Burrill, ,Anthony Peters, ,Ben O’ Brien, ,Ben the Illustrator, ,Bibio, ,Brecht Vandenbroucke, ,CFCF, ,Creativity, ,diy, ,documentary, ,Ed Cheverton, ,film, ,Hattie Stewart, ,Helen Musselwhite, ,Ian Stevenson, ,Imeus Design, ,ISAN, ,It’s Nice That, ,Kate Moross, ,Kickstarter, ,Kickstarter Campaign, ,Look & Yes, ,Made You Look, ,Mathieu Karsenti, ,Nobrow Books, ,Peepshow, ,Pete Fowler, ,Print Club London, ,Will Hudson, ,Zoon Van Snook

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Amelia’s Magazine | Fifty Years of Illustration: an interview with coauthor Lawrence Zeegen

Fifty_Years_Of_Illustration_Cover
The definitive Fifty Years of Illustration by Lawrence Zeegen and Caroline Roberts was published by Laurence King late last year. This beautiful volume charts contemporary illustration’s rich history, starting with the rampant idealism of the 1960s, moving onto the bleak realism of the 1970s, the over-blown consumerism of the 1980s and the digital explosion of the 1990s, followed by the increasing diversification of illustration that represents the discipline in the early twenty-first century.

The book explores the contexts in which the discipline has operated and looks historically, sociologically, politically and culturally at the key factors at play across each decade, whilst artworks by key illustrators bring the decade to life. Contemporary illustration’s impact and influence on design and popular culture are investigated through introductory essays and profiles of leading practitioners, illustrated with examples of their finest work.’

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Lawrence Zeegen is currently Dean of the School of Design at London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, where he leads pre-degree, undergraduate and postgraduate courses and research in animation, book arts, branding and identity, illustration, interface and interaction design, graphic communication design, spatial design and typographic design. In this in depth interview he tells us more the process of making this must have book.

Why did you decide to concentrate on the last 50 years of illustration in this book?
My book Fifty Years of Illustration charts the birth of contemporary illustration at the start of the 1960s to the present day. The sixties was the moment in time when illustrators first had an opportunity to create work away from the restrictions of the commercial client – underground publications sprang up as the counterculture evolved in San Francisco on the West Coast of the US and in London, whilst in New York studios such as Push Pin began to create and publish work that was more expressive and experimental than had previously been seen.

Contemporary illustration was born in the sixties and the discipline has undergone massive flux and a huge transformation during the five decades the book charts. From the energy and idealism of the sixties, the dreamlike escapism and contrasting bleak realism of the seventies, the over-blown consumerism and ‘greed-is-good’ ambitions of the eighties to the digital explosion of the nineties and the increasing diversification of illustration during the early 21st century, Fifty Years of Illustration explores the discipline through the key factors historically, sociologically, politically and culturally that determined each decade.

On a personal note, I turned 50 last year so the book covers illustration’s recent history aligned to my own development too. I’ve been working as an illustrator for 30 years, teaching illustration as an educator for 25 years and writing about illustration for 10 years so the book became a natural extension of my own interests in the subject.

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How did you pick the artists to represent each era?
That’s a good question – it started some years ago with conversations, often over a glass or two of red wine, with Professor John Lord at University of Brighton and with others including Professor George Hardie and Ian Wright. Ultimately though the final long list was one I discussed with the publishers, of course, and with Caroline Roberts, who worked on the book with me. Caroline pointed me in the direction of a few illustrators I hadn’t considered and also helped to source a few from the 1960s and 1970s that weren’t easy to locate.

One consideration, not really visible to the reader, is a few restrictions placed on a project like this for a couple of very valid reasons – the publishers have co-publishers in mind from a variety of other countries so were keen that illustrators from these countries were represented in the book and the other issue that cropped up a few times was the cost in reproducing some of the images. Most illustrators allowed us to reproduce their work without a fee but a few, mainly those from a few decades ago and no longer alive, were represented by picture libraries and agencies and these charged for the rights to reproduce the works; fair enough, of course, but the picture budget was soon eaten up.

There will be those illustrators that weren’t included in the book that my fellow illustrators and academics will think should have been selected and there will, inevitably, be those illustrators that I have chosen that some will wonder what warranted their inclusion – ultimately, it really did come down to personal choice. I had a list for each decade in a notebook that I carried around for a couple of years and would update from time-to-time, scribbling down names and crossing out others. It is a personal selection and most definitely not the list to end all lists – there are a few illustrators that I’d have loved to include but in having to make a tight selection it just wasn’t possible to include everyone. I’ll be interested to see from the most recent decades, which illustrators stand the test of time – and would still make the grade when I revise the book for the 2nd edition in a few years time…

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Do you have any personal favourites, and if so who are they and why?
Of course, it is impossible not to have a few favourites, even though the entire selection has been made up of my choices and ended up being quite subjective really. I guess I have favourites that span each decade. Having been born to young parents in the mid sixties I grew up to the soundtrack of the Beatles, so Klaus Voormann’s cover for Revolver still resonates very strongly for me. I met him recently and he is such a great guy and supremely talented – we’re talking about how to best celebrate the fifty years since Revolver was released next year.

Another favourite from the 1960s has to be Milton Glaser’s portrait of Dylan that ran as a poster inserted into the Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits album released in 1967. Glaser is another hero I was fortunate enough to meet recently, this time in New York, and I asked him if the urban myth I had heard was true – did he hide the letters to spell out the word in E L V I S in Dylan’s hair, his response? ‘Yeah, I heard that too.’ He gave nothing away, and why should the guy that created one of the most iconic pieces of branding ever – I ♥ NY feel he has to confirm or deny rumours?

From the 1970s I would have to say my favourite images in the book are either Guy Peellaert’s gatefold album sleeve illustration of David Bowie for Diamond Dogs or perhaps Philip Castle’s poster for Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange, although George Hardie’s images have always been at the top of any of my lists too. From the 1980s Ivan Chermayeff’s graphic images at pretty unbeatable – yet another hero I was fortunate enough to meet last year, and Patrick Nagel’s rather cool expressionless models, as featured on Duran Duran’s Rio, have always been pretty special. Andrzej Klimowski was my tutor at the Royal College of Art at the end of the eighties, as was Dan Fern, and they both created some very iconic and influential work during that period.

More recently, during the 1990s, I have always liked the work of Andy Martin and John Hersey – both leading lights of the early digital era, and think illustrators Kam Tang, Brett Ryder and Kate Gibb are rather fantastic. Of the bunch, though, it would have to be MariscalCobi, his character for the Barcelona ’92 Olympics, was simply brilliantly envisaged and Mariscal himself is a character to behold, I met Mariscal at a lecture he gave at Central Saint Martins a few years ago and he knocked me out and again last year at a conference in Toronto I witnessed him entertain a crowd of 2000+ with a magnificently surreal talk and performance.

Bang up to date and through the 2000s and 2010s I would have to say that Jasper Goodall, Marion Deuchars, Airside, Antony Burril, Patrick Thomas, Jason Ford, Roderick Mills, Peepshow, Paul Davis, Adrian Johnson and Ian Wright are all firm favourites, but then I would say that – they’ll all old friends.

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In your own artistic practice what era or style of illustration has been the biggest influence?
I can’t say that other illustrators have really ever influenced my own work – I have admired many but not drawn direct lines or references into my illustration practice, and that’s perhaps why I feel drawn (excuse the pun) to write about the subject. I have written seven or eight books on illustration featuring the work of thousands of illustrators but think I find my inspiration in the work of untrained jobbing graphic artists of yesteryear – I love old clip art, tattoo art, rubber stamp graphics and the images that once adorned the back pages of cheap magazines and comics.

If I had to name the artists that have inspired me – Patrick Caulfield, Warhol, Kurt Schwitters, Julian Opie would be up there but the list goes on, and I think I’ve been just as inspired by music, TV, literature, film and popular culture generally. I grew up listening to the Clash, reading Colin Maccinnes, watching Tomorrow’s World and dancing to soul music – these have all been as a big an influence on my work as any artist I think.

Fifty_Years_Of_Illustration_5
How long did it take to put this book together?
A good question and if I’m honest – far too long! I originally had the idea over a decade ago but I couldn’t get a publisher interested. Illustration was very much out of favour during the 1990s and it wasn’t until I had written a few other books on contemporary illustration that sold pretty well and illustration itself had come in from the cold, that I managed to persuade a publisher it would be a good idea.

How-to-do illustration books and how-to-work-in illustration books are ten-a-penny nowadays but ten years ago this wasn’t so, and this is what publishers wanted – and I was happy to oblige, of course. Getting a book published on the history of illustration, however, was more of a challenge. It was tricky for a few reasons – publishers weren’t sure that an audience for this type of book existed, but I was convinced that student and professional illustrators, and designers, would be interested. The other reason – books such as Fifty Years of Illustration can be a nightmare to publish is the sheer volume of images that require usage clearance and the coordination and communication with so many illustrators can be daunting and seemingly never-ending.

I have to say that Laurence King Publishing were behind the project from the start and were very supportive – they were also very patient too. It was the publishers that suggested to me that we bring in Caroline to share some of the workload, a good idea. I decided on the structure of the book, made the decisions on the list of illustrators – who should be in to represent each decade, and I wrote the introductory essay and each of the chapter essays and Caroline worked on the profiles – it was a fairly easy process once I’d established the illustrators but certainly the project as a whole was very time-consuming. Books such as this one are very labour intensive, and I had to fit it around the rest of my work. I’m the Dean of the School of Design at London College of Communication and that’s a pretty demanding role – I have 2000 students across a multitude of undergraduate and postgraduate design courses within my remit and even with research as an aspect of my role as the Professor of Illustration for University of the Arts London writing is only an element of what I do.

Fifty_Years_Of_Illustration_4
Who designed the cover and why did you choose them? (do you feel their style represents the ‘now’ and if so why?)
The cover was always going to be tricky, and we did commission a very internationally known illustrator to create a bespoke cover image and then waited about six months before it was delivered. And it wasn’t right. We, myself and Angus Hyland the Pentagram partner and Creative Director at Laurence King, then decided to ask Jeff Fisher. I knew I wanted a cover that was made up of hand rendered letterforms – with the book packed with illustration it was never going to work to have an illustration on the cover. Jeff did, I think, a magnificent job – the cover fits the book, feels right and has enough gravitas, without being formal or stuffy, to present the subject as both readable and approachable. I always wanted the book to appeal to a wider audience than simply illustrators and designers, and I think it has achieved that and a great cover helps a book increase interest.

What in particular determined inclusion for the artists representing The New Wave, who are working today?
Presenting a new wave of artists is always going to be challenging – it is the biggest section of the book and it is about the here and now, or at least those working that have made most impact onto the illustration scene, as I see it, from the beginning of the 2000s to the present day. I would argue that Jasper Goodall was one of a small elite that had a huge influence across design for his approach to fashion illustration, that Shepard Fairey, whilst a street artist rather than an illustrator, contributed hugely to putting the first black man into the White House with his illustrated poster campaign supporting Obama and that Airside, Marion Deuchars and Alex Trochut, to name but a few, also brought illustration to new audiences because of the appeal, accessibility and the visible platforms for their work.

What are the biggest challenges facing an illustrator working today?
Where to start? Illustrators have it all and yet have nothing at all too. You want great flexibility in your working life, want to work where and when you want then illustration may well be the right career choice for you. But it really isn’t that simple – illustration is a tough industry to break into, tougher still to maintain a presence in and even if you are flavour of the month, and who says it will last any longer, you will still find it hard to call the shots. Illustrators are guns-for-hire and style is king – when you’re style is in vogue you can do no wrong, but when its been seen and done and the art directors, designers and those who commission have moved on, if you’ve not moved on too – then the phone stops ringing and emails stop pinging through. It can be a tough, and brutal existence and can be totally dictated by demand – unless you’re smart enough to have other outlets for your illustration work, of course. For those illustrators that create their own prints, products and paraphernalia there can be life after the commercial commissions, but making a genuine living from this is increasingly difficult I think. There is a reason that most working illustrators are under the age of thirty.

At the risk of sounding far too negative though, I do think that working as an illustrator is great fun; I spent 10 years working out of a studio in Hoxton, Big Orange, that a gang of us set up upon graduation from the Royal College of Art in 1989 and enjoyed every minute of the experience – the studio is still in existence today but with not a single founding member still present, and I guess that does say something of how important younger illustrators constantly coming onto the scene is.

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At the back of the book you state that there is still a lot left to do to record the impact of illustration on art, design and society – why do you think this is the case?
Because illustration has, until now, been treated as a subsection of graphic design, as a footnote in graphic design’s rich history. I believe that there is a vital history that needs to be documented – that illustration has played a major part in defining the 20th and now the 21st centuries and is an aspect of our visual culture that hasn’t been consdiered seriously enough. The first visual communication between humans, before written language, was most likely scratched or drawn in the sand of dirt by a finger or a stick – this wasn’t cave art; it was illustration. Illustration was the earliest form of graphic communication – we encourage young kids to draw, to express themselves through illustration but yet we don’t take the discipline seriously enough, we don’t reflect on how illustration shapes, entertains and informs us. I hope that Fifty Years of Illustration is just one chapter in the recording of illustration’s great history and that others recognize the value of the subject. I’m not done on the subject myself, that’s for sure, I have other opinions, views and ideas about the discipline and will be writing, lecturing and presenting on illustration for a few more years yet, but this is call-to-arms for others to join me in celebrating, and berating illustration (because not everything is perfect) – we have to talk about the good, the bad and the ugly of the discipline and to a wider audience too.

Who do you hope will read this book and why would you recommend it?
As I’ve said really – art and design students and design and illustration professionals as well, but I really hope too that this book is picked up, looked at and read by those with an interest in the subject. Illustration is the ‘people’s art’ so I hope that people will see something of interest in the book – from the children’s illustrated book they loved reading or being read to at bedtime to the record they loved as a teenager, with artwork they stared at for hours whilst listening to the music, illustration has had an impact into our lives in so many ways and is a fascinating subject to read about and look into.

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On a personal level why do you love illustration so much?
I grew up with it, from my first love of illustration through the Ladybird books of my childhood, to the 7-inch single sleeves of my teenage years and life as an art student I always came back to the illustrated image as a means of visual communication. I like being around illustrators too – I like their sense of the world, their desire to tell stories and communicate and the incredible skills many illustrators demonstrate through their work. I also like that illustration is accessible and everyday – you don’t need to go to a gallery to see illustration – pick up a book or newspaper, you don’t need to ‘understand’ illustration – it isn’t complex, it is what it is.

You have said you should “feed your brain, feed your eyes, feed your soul” – where do you go to do this?
Anywhere and everywhere – personally, I read newspapers and magazines, I was once a magazine fiend and every copy of The Face ever published for example, I see movies, I listen to music, I trawl the internet – all the same stuff we all do.

I’ve been fortunate to travel a lot and wherever I am in the world I bring back ideas, references, research – last year I took photographs and inspiration from trips to South Korea, Turkey, Italy, Canada, USA, Hong Kong, China… it is hard not to draw influences from such fascinating places.

I meet many people too, in my line of work, and much of my thinking comes from conversations and meetings with great students, great academics and great practitioners – I am a great believer in surrounding oneself with smart people that challenge you to think smarter, work harder and keep you focused on doing great work – whether it be an illustration, a lecture on illustration, an article or book on illustration. And I am also a great believer in having an opinion, a point of view, and getting it out there.

Buy Fifty Years of Illustration here.

Categories ,Adrian Johnson, ,airside, ,Alex Trochut, ,Andy Martin, ,Antony Burril, ,Big Orange, ,Bob Dylan, ,Brett Ryder, ,Caroline Roberts, ,Clockwork Orange, ,Cobi, ,David Bowie, ,Fifty Years of Illustration, ,George Hardie, ,Guy Peellaert, ,Ian Wright, ,Ivan Chermayeff, ,Jason Ford, ,Jasper Goodall, ,Jeff Fisher, ,John Hersey, ,Julian Opie, ,Kam Tang, ,Kate Gibb, ,Klaus Voormann, ,Kurt Schwitters, ,Laurence King, ,Lawrence Zeegen, ,London College of Communication, ,Marion Deuchars, ,Mariscal, ,Milton Glaser, ,Patrick Caulfield, ,Patrick Nagel, ,Patrick Thomas, ,Paul Davis, ,Peepshow, ,Philip Castle, ,Professor George Hardie, ,Professor John Lord, ,Professor of Illustration, ,Revolver, ,Roderick Mills, ,Royal College of Art, ,The Face, ,University of Brighton, ,University of the Arts London, ,Warhol

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