Somerset House may be best known amongst fashion folk as the established home of London Fashion Week, but last April it was the temporary home of the best, boldest and brightest of the world’s up and coming graphic designers.
Currently in its fourth year, Pick Me Up Graphic and Illustrative design festival drew together creatives from around the globe to celebrate, display and promote the industry, its artists and inspire future designers.
On entry to the bustling Embankment galleries (with would-be viewers queuing down the block) the first level in its gallery format features illustrators and graphic artists carefully chosen for their techniques, styles and methods, contrasting and complimenting one another. All have set up their galleries or graduated in the last 7 years and with all shown pieces available to purchase, this is art at its most innovative and accessible.
From hand-embroidered typography to ‘Doodle-Bombing’, street painting, graphic design and Gouache on paper to name a few, this seventeen strong selection of artists draws from all corners and creations.
Make your way upstairs and discover a playground of in-the-moment screen-printing, stamping, book illustration, interactive workshops, music and more, where your imagination comes alive and creative day-dreams can become reality.
Face Stamp! By Human After All allows festival-goers to take part in an ‘ink-teractive art experience.’ Making faces using ink stamps by illustrators at Pick Me Up, participants become part of the ever-increasing online gallery of unique character faces created as the festival continues.
Brothers of the Stripe, the ‘image making’ collective that hail from up and down the UK, stretching from Brighton to Bristol, Liverpool to Glasgow and beyond, come together in London to create live action art and illustration; showing their graphic letter illustrations from A-Z drawing on childhood memories for inspiration.
A few feet away, the Fatherless Print Posse, hailing from Rockford, Illinois creates hand-printed, limited edition prints. Since coming together two years ago this collective of artists, designers, graffiti writers and educators have built up an impressive following who ensured they made it to the London festival, with their entire journey for the artists and equipment funded through fan pledges on kickstarter.
Naming their collective ‘Fatherless’ because their intense collaboration means it is impossible to pinpoint a print to one individual, they increased their creative circle by striking up an in-house collaboration with Brothers of the Stripe. As fast as Brothers of the Stripe were illustrating graphics and letters Fatherless were printing over the top to create totally unique on the spot pieces.
It is this kind of interaction and live action art that makes Pick Me Up such an exciting event, an annual venue where artists, creative agencies, illustrators and designers can be inspired by their contemporaries and their audience alike, while viewers become participants to be part of a continuing creative process. Once you visit Pick Me Up, you won’t want to put it down.
Artists and illustrators represented by Handsome Frank Agency
WORDS & IMAGES: MARISSA BAXTER