I was thrilled to receive over 40 submissions for my Valentines Open Brief, nine of which were chosen by East End Prints to appear in their True Romance exhibition, open now (full listing here). Here is my first round up of the other submissions with text by the artists and links to their websites – I’m sure you will agree there are some stunning images here.
Chantelle Bell (above)
I heard this quote in a Twilight film and found it really sweet, no matter how cheesy it is. I think that the time we spend with our loved ones isn’t what is important, however what happens during this time is. We don’t have limitless lifespans, unlike some film characters, so we can only offer what we have, with the promise that if we had more, we would spend it with the one we love. I created this paper cut illustration with bright colours to keep it cheerful and drew the text with a fine liner before gluing it all down. The love hearts continue off the page to signify the infinite aspect of love. However childish or naive it may seem to believe love can last, there are the hopeful few who do, and these are the few who keep the hope alive.
The Owl and the Pussycat: The poem is about an unlikely union between owl and pussy cat. It speaks of their complete devotion to one another and willingness to sail away together towards adventures unknown. The poem suggests the couple sacrifice their most worldly possessions to escape together and concludes as they dance by the light of the moon hand in hand. It’s a nursery rhyme with romantic sentiment, and I wanted the illustration to reflect this with a stark yet organic feel. I wanted the illustration to have a fluid quality with its linear linework and limited palette.
I love the concept of alternative film posters. And a lot of my illustrative influences come from cult film poster artists such as Robert McGinnis. I wanted to depict romance via the classic film Pretty Woman (1990) and it’s more modern use of romantic language. We like our romances with a certain edge these days, and this is a film that is close to the hearts of many generations, not only because it stands the test of time, but also because it’s such a colourful representation of it’s era. I think this iconic film deserves referencing in fashion and art for future generations to come. And for me, is the ultimate romantic film.
A print inspired by the Valentine’s Day tradition of giving flowers. I like to capture little domestic scenes in my prints, and these flowers are somehow in keeping with this. The print is designed to be celebratory and noisy, so I’ve included some process colours (and clashing colours) to really make it pop! The print is designed in Illustrator, and is made by creating lots of individual shapes to build up the image, then overlaying the outlines so the structure is visible. I like to show off the digital elements and background of a composition in a lot of my work. I’ve also played with transparency to add a bit of extra depth.
Here at hello DODO we love creating simple graphic tricks that make people smile. We are a husband and wife team and are self-taught screen printers based in Brighton, designing and printing from our home studio. Over the years we’ve been hugely influenced by design legends such as Alan Fletcher & Milton Glaser and their witty eye for creating fun, timeless designs. This particular design was actually born when we sent Milton Glaser himself a little Christmas greeting with our own adaptation of his timeless ‘I heart NY’ design including this little bearded guy. Milton’s response is still one of our most treasured things and continues to encourage and inspire us:
“Thank you for your greeting, it is by far the best and cleverest adaptation of my time-worn logo and a Merry Christmas to you as well. Milton”
After graduating from Leeds Metropolitan University with a First Class (Hons), Jenny has developed a quirky and unique style based upon her pencil drawings which she combines with bold acrylic paint markings and collage.
This is a re-working of a collage piece I did a few years ago, that’s where the text is from. I have hand rendered the found text in this version, but evoke the cut and paste aesthetic by keeping it in irregular boxes. The imagery is inspired by classic romance movies like those ones with Fred Astaire, Katherine Hepburn, suits, dresses, dancing dancing dancing and oh so meaningful glances. I painted everything first and just suggested some tones before adding the outline at the end, I like to do this with watercolour and ink as it keeps a sense of fluidity and motion in the work and it doesn’t get too exact or cartoony. The serendipity which led to the original wording was perfect, and I like how it adds a second reading to the picture as the cynical aside both laughs at the romance of the image and to some extent grounds it, as these onomatopoeic breathy words remind us of the physicality of love – heart racing, palms sweating etc. and certainly of dancing too.
I’ve always loved this film – How to Steal a Million. Since I was a child I always thought this is the best way to start a relationship. Hah, of course I do not think so now. But I think Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole were such a great and beautiful couple. The ARE such a great and beautiful couple even after almost 50 years later. And when I feel myself sad in some cold winter evening I adore to watch this film seating in my chair with a cup of my Earl Grey.
My illustration, entitled ‘I smelt you from across the park’ is about True Love. Although the scene centres around two dogs who have found romance in a busy park, it also shows love in other forms. A man reads his favourite newspaper, a group of friends share a picnic, and a dog chases deer despite the wishes of his owner (Fentooooonnn!). Rather than planning an image before I start, I paint as ideas come into my head, which I hope makes the illustration feel more alive. My inspiration for this drawing came from a walk in St James’s Park in London last weekend, where I noticed that everyone seemed to be having a really, really good time. I don’t think love is limited to the feeling felt between two people, and this is what I hope to show in this illustration.
When I started thinking of a Valentine’s day illustration I immediately decided to base it around a heart image. But I didn’t want this heart to be a conventional one. Then for no particular reason I remembered how I had noticed in the past that two question marks facing each other look very much like a heart.That was it! That would be my idea for the Valentine’s illustration. Everyone’s familiar with the feeling of wondering whether a person you love/like/fancy has some feelings for you too. Well a question mark can easily be a symbol of that feeling. The characters in the illustration aren’t human for two reasons. Mainly because animal characters are sometimes more fun and secondly as a small tribute to one my most favourite romantic movie scenes: the candlelight dinner from Disney’s Lady and the Tramp. When it comes to the technical details now the illustration has been hand drawn with water colours and scanned. Hope you like the result.
This piece was inspired by a love of Eastern European Folk Art- it’s colours, patterns and forms. My process is rooted in the tactile, my love of drawing and painting.
More recently my work is based upon a love of nature, and constant observational drawing, an environment in which I can explore narrative and new techniques in my artistic practices. I use both traditional drawing skills and a digital environment to create my final pieces. This piece was inspired by my early teenage obsession with the 1960′s, and the music, illustrations and clothes from that era. Particularly, The Beatles and The Yellow Submarine, my favourite film at the time
Susie La Fou
My work is a combination of pencil drawing / water colour / and digital art.
The inspiration behind my work, is how two hearts find each other and fall in love in a seemingly random way. With so many hearts around us – i think its amazing that somehow we manage to seek out the one thats right for us.
This quote is based on a line from Baz Lurhman’s film version of ‘The Great Gatsby’, spoken by Daisy to Jay Gatsby “I wish I’d done everything on earth with you”. It was apparently a line taken from a letter that Zelda Fitzgerald had written to her husband, F. Scott Fitzgerald (the books’ author). It’s so romantic but has an element of sadness in the context of the story so I altered it to the slightly more hopeful phrase “Lets do everything on earth together”. I wanted to create a simple image to encapsulate the idea of the scope and expanse of love, and the idea of hope and adventure.
My work always begins in a sketchbook. In this case the typography is hand painted and digitally coloured and the imagery began as a cut paper collage, which I have manipulated and layered digitally with different textures. I love reading classic fiction, and I am inspired by bold simple shapes and patterns. happy colours and the fun and excitement in the world all around me.
More to come in Part 2 tomorrow!
- Valentines Open Brief: Submissions Part 2
- Introducing True Romance: Print Designs chosen for an exhibition curated by East End Prints
- Valentines Day 2013: Jewellery, Handmade Gifts & Discounts on Chocolates
- An interview with artist EJ Major
- London Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2010 Menswear Catwalk Review: JW Anderson