Thursday, 28 April 2016

Pick Me Up 2016

On Monday we took a very well-earned day off and hopped up to London to visit the 7th annual Pick Me Up Graphic Arts Festival at Somerset House. If you follow us on social media you'll probably know that Pick Me Up is our ultimate favourite thing EVER, we visit every year, it was one of the main catalysts that made us start up hello DODO and that last year we were incredibly lucky to exhibit there (dreams do come true kids). 

So with all those high expectations, it was with a mixture of excitement and trepidation that we entered Somerset House! We need not have worried though as Pick Me Up is always a delight for the eyes. When you first enter you're in the 'Selects' section of the show which is international 'fresh talent' from the graphic art world. Usually the Collectives is our favourite part of the show but this year the Selects really blew us away, every single one of them. Reading that a few of the Selects artists had literally only just graduating made us both wince but also be seriously impressed. 

Boom! As soon as we walked in there was Alice Bowsher's work in all it's black ink glory. We became aware of Alice's work at last year's Pick Me Up where she exhibited with Niles Collective and have seen her go on to do loads of amazing things and it's awesome to see her being recognised in Selects. We love how bold, simple, confident and playful her work is. 
Seriously, I won't keep banging on but I think her work is genius. Go follow her on Instagram!

Another fave from Selects was Dutch artist Aart-Jan Venema whose paintings had so many stories going on and little details to spot we could have stared at them for hours. Sorry for the appalling photos by the way, I'm not sure if it was the poor lighting or my overexcitement. See below for a close up of this piece 'The Gardens' in a terraced house we totally identify with this one!
Sooooooooooooo good, right?? 
What I also love about Pick Me Up Selects is you get to have a peek in to the artists working process, like with this sketch and paint palette from Aart-Jan Venema.
Here's an adorable and strange creature from Julian Glander!
We both really loved Jack Sachs work 'Inside Ya Body'. Whilst studying Jack badly injured his drawing hand and so decided to learn how to use 3D animation software. His hand has since recovered and now he combines these two forms of practice. 'Inside Ya Body' is a project which stems from the experience of this injury. Jack was actually our only print purchase from PMU this year (shock horror), we bought his heart print which you can see here.
Aarrgg, again a TERRIBLE photo but I couldn't not include one of these HUGE pieces by Dan see that? It's enormous and it's made of Hama beads! I am so so impressed by the planning and patience this body of work would have taken and in the flesh it looks AWESOME. And I've tried making things with Hama beads, it's not that easy!
Here's a Reclining Worm by Carlotte Mei which made me smile :o)
I thought Rachel Lillie's installation was really interesting and beautiful. Based on walks around the outskirts of London, the work featured observational drawings and sculptures made from the wood of fallen trees. 

Again, these photos don't do the work of Camilla Perkins justice. Camilla is inspired by African sub cultures, particularly from a fashion perspective and we loved her use of colours and patterns. So so happy! Plus she's Brighton based, HURRAY!
Here's Camilla painting live in the Selects Booth upstairs where you can watch the artists work and buy their pieces for a crazy bargain-ous £15 a pop. I was gutted because I wanted this particular piece but someone else snapped it up just before I could! It's a good job Alice Bowsher wasn't there or we would have bought everything she created.. It was amazing to see the work being created right in front of you but I do wonder if the artists feel a bit like a zoo animal!
So that's probably the biggest feature I've ever done on Selects! Let's move upstairs... We really enjoyed the Made North room which felt a lot more graphic design than a lot of the rest of the show. Made North represents and promotes northern design and craft and for Pick Me Up they showed their project 'North & South', prints by leading designers showing what the North or South means to them. They also had pieces on British Road Signs which were really interesting!
We loved these illustrated vases by Louise Madzia in the Best room! We also loved Daisy Emerson's hand painted signs in all their pastel pink and glittery glory but all my photos of them were really rubbish! Waaaah. Go follow her on instagram though!
This massive cheery head is from the Beach London installation. For Pick Me Up, gallery and agency Beach are presenting Cuckoo's Nest, a group of artists response to objects from The Museum of British Folklore. Having grown up in a rural village a lot of this resonated with me!
Jam admiring the prints in the Hato Press room.
I was excited to see Clay Collective at Pick Me Up as I'm loving the ceramics craze that seems to be in full swing right now. I really love that Pick Me Up embraces graphic art in all forms, not just the 2D and I think that's what makes it such an inspiring and exciting show. 
If you're visiting PMU and you're interested in clay then check the schedule as Clay Collective are running a series of introductory workshops.
Screens ready to go in the 3rd Rail section, sadly not while we were there though (one of the downfalls of visiting on a quiet Monday).
Lastly, there's a HUGE retrospective exhibition of letterpress legend Alan Kitching's work. This was really cool and spanned his whole career so far, plus the smell of the letterpress ink reminded us of our uni days. On certain dates Alan is doing live demonstrations so if you're interested in his work check those out. 

So there we have it! Have you visited this year or any previous years? Are you planning to? If you visited what did you love? :o)

P.s. If you're interested in my previous Pick Me Up round up posts you can find them here:


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