An exhibition of 16 Illustrators over 2 separate weeks.
Something pretty magical has been happening over these past few months, in and amongst all this commotion, stress and trouble. (There’s some good things happening going on too, not all bad). A good amount of us illustrators decided to get together and see if we can create something magical between us, and we chose to do this in Bristol. It had been spoken of briefly at the beginning of the year, and began to materialise as we got closer to christmas. We had to began thinking about which venue we wanted to use so that we could get some dates set in stone and so that we could finally start working towards something. Eventually we found a nice range of galleries in bristol that were able to exhibit all 16 of us. Af few of us went down to Bristol and decided to check these places out and get a feel of which one will be most suitable for the exhibition we’d like to show. For the people that couldn’t make the trip down to check them out, the others took photographs in order to show the others once they get home.
In the end, we decided to go for PAPER Arts. This venue is extremely central to Bristol and right next to Cabot Circus shopping centre and car park, so it’s a great location to have an exhibition. We emailed PAPER Arts to see what a weekly package included so that we could get an understanding of how much money we will be needing for the show. For that venue, it would be £200 a week, with 0% commission on all artwork, so the artist takes 100% profit. They offer assistance during the installation of the show and free invigilating throughout the show. This is handy for us seeing as we are all in the depts of finishing up our years work, so we will gain back some of our time that we thought we would be losing. They also provide A2 gallery posters and wall stickers from the designs of the posters we make. There’s also an opportunity for a personal artist interview and social media coverage on PAPER Arts online platforms. This enables us to get a lot more coverage for our show and hopefully increase our number of viewers. If we decide to go with PAPER Arts, they give us20% discount on all fine art and printing services. Again, this will definitely benefit the vast majority of us who will want to print copies of their work to sell, or even for the exhibition work itself.
Jamie Stevenson kept on top of all of the organising for this degree show, with help from the most of us. He kept in close contact with the gallery and eventually we had 2 weeks booked in at PAPER Arts. 30th of March until the 13th of April. The thing with this venue is that it couldn’t really fit more than 7-8 people at a time (depending on the sizing of the work), so we therefore had to book two weeks, one after the other, and have two shows under the same title. This also means that we will then have 2 opening nights and 2 closing nights. When it came to paying for this adventure, we did what we do best and began making and baking. We figured out that for the 2 weeks, at £200 a week and then adding on costs for the music, alcohol, snacks and so on, we would be looking at around £700. We divided this by 16 and it came to £43, suggesting we pay that out of our own pockets to put towards the show. We decided that if we got some bake sales in there we would probably be able to cut that in half, and not be so out of pocket ourselves. We eventually managed to cut this down, and instead everyone was asked to pay £25 each instead of £43. A nice saving.
The next thing we had to do is think about themes and titles for the show. Some people already had previous completed work that they wanted to put in the show, and others were creating something new. Originally we were running with the name and theme ‘Inside / Outside’; we decided to have two titles names mixed into one separated by ‘/’ to highlight that there will be two consecutive weeks. We decided this would just be a starting point and imagined that when peoples work began to develop more and we began to see what people were creating, we would be able to better define our title. After this process, we finally came up with out title. WITHIN / WITHOUT. After deciding this, a brief described of the show was sent off to be included in their brochure:“The emphasis is on illustrative work that looks sensitively at both personal and social issues; exploring both the inner world of body and mind, and the outer world of human action and interaction.” We thought this would be an extremely good title, as it can be interpreted however; thoughts, dreams, the conscious and subconscious it taken more literally and showing in the inside and outside of something and so on. Now that we have finally got the title of our show, we began to put a poster together. Originally we were going to design it ourselves, and Sara Christova stepped forward and offered to design it. Anyhow, some time passes and Jamie asked the lovely people at PAPER Arts what we should do about the poster and they kindly offered to design it for us. They asked for a few photos of peoples work to include on the poster, so my work along with a few others were sent off. Here’s what we received back!
We were all extremely happy with the poster. One thing we were worried about was being able to make clear that there would be two separate open evenings for the beginning of each week, and that people would remember to attend the second after already attending the first. After we OK’d the poster, they got them printed and we began to distribute them about town, both Bristol and Cardiff. Something else we spoke about in our meetings (The 16 of us usually met up after the 12pm weekly meeting on Wednesdays) was producing our own leaflet. There wasn’t too many of us in the group that were particularly savvy and confident with using photoshop or indesign to make something like this, however Jake Rowles stepped up to the mark. The majority of his work is digital and he has a unique way of using these devices to create an individual style, and he managed to incorporate this into our leaflet. We decided to keep the leaflet rather simple and not overload it with information, just to have a small thumbnail image next to each persons details. These were out contact details, and most people just included their emails, blog addresses, websites and any social media sites also. Jake managed to design the leaflet in a way that clearly shows there will be two different weeks. By using a concertina design, he design one week on one side and the second week on the other. Our posters were already design by this point, so Jake took the colour scheme from this and used it for the leaflets also. Here’s what the end product looked like, and again we were all very happy:
After all these designing tasks were out the way, we began to focus on our own works. We decided who would be going in each week, and this was mostly decided on who could do what (due to it being in the easter holidays). I opted to be in the second week. For this exhibition I decided to include a piece of work that I had already completed last December. This was due to a few factors. There was the time that would be going into a piece of work for the show that I would be conscious of being spent more productively on my degree show work, so it seemed much easier to use something already finished. I also wanted to keep a sort of continuous theme and way of working throughout my exhibitions. The work that I decide to create outside of university is completely different to the work that I produce in the studio. I find this very sitting for me personally. I fully understand that the work I could have produced for this show could have also been included in my degree show work and my project work for university, however I decided to keep these two separate. Another reason is that I throughly enjoy this way of working and find it extremely therapeutic and rewarding, and I feel combined with the subject matter, they have a strong relationship and work well together. Previous tutorials with both Amelia and Anna have also proved that they aren’t keen on the techniques used, due to it being a rather common and popular way of working as an illustrator, and that I should try and keep away from it. I accepted and agreed with these comments (hence me not working in this way with my university work) so exhibitions like this one give me the chance to show another side of my illustration approach, and show the work that I can’t show in university. The work I decided to show is from the exhibition I did before this one, titled ‘-Exposure’ (see blog post). Here is the work itself:
When I exhibited this work in The Abacus last December, I didn’t use anything to hang it with other than nails. As it was part of a residency, I didn’t work to any particular size, I just cut out a piece of paper that felt big and daring enough and drew up my design. As it was for the residency, I didn’t have any plans to frame it or show it in a particular way. I wanted to keep the piece rather raw and unkept, much like the residency. We were all extremely tired and the gallery soon enough stopped looking like a gallery and more like a studio, but that was the whole point so it doesn’t really matter. To keep this rawness and originality, I simply just used nails to hang the piece up in the Abacus. I decided to use quite thick nails and left them partially sticking out. However, for this Bristol show I didn’t want the same effect. I wanted a much cleaner finish and a more professional appearance, so I decided to get a frame. I took a trip down to IKEA and tried to find a frame that would fit my image. I thought I would struggle with it but thankfully, I found a lovely white frame that only set me back £15. I didn’t actually take my image with me when buying the frame so it was a total gamble, but thankfully everything turned up roses.
When buying the frame, it came with an inner-frame/border which worked as a great stencil for where I needed to cut my original image down too. Once I had cut my image down, I got it into the frame and the job was done. I didn’t realise when buying my frame that it didn’t have a glass front, and it was in fact plastic. Once I had peeled of the protective layering the plastic was clean and clear, so I wasn’t too upset about it. Next part of the adventure was to set up the show!!
As I was in the second week our set up was later than the others. We began setting up on April 6th. As my frame measured up as just a little larger than A1, I had asked people in the group if any of them were driving down to Bristol and if I could pop my frame in their car. I was more than happy to get the train down there, but then Ayu said she would give me a lift down along with my work, so that was great! We arrived with and began to set up the second half of the exhibition as soon as everyone else had arrived. The people that were in the week before us had come along earlier that day and taken down their work for us to put up ours. Alongside showing the work, I had some prints left over from last year that I thought I could throw in to sell, and they were illustrated in the same way as the work I am exhibiting.
The initial setting up of the show went really well. It seemed to be quite a slow process and me and Ayu were the first to arrive, so we couldn’t begin setting up anything until everyone else got there so I feel as though there could have been better organisation within us all to make sure we all got there at the same time so it could have been a quicker set up, but apart from that it worked well. We got everyones work out on the floor and tried to imagine who’s would look good where, and who’s work complemented who’s the best. Our main issues were the sizing of the works and colours. There were 3 pieces in particular that were pretty colourful, and then the rest were more greyscale. We needed to find a nice balance of colour and alongside this, there were only 2 large frames pieces, mine included. So we had to make sure the work had a flow to it. Eventually we figured out a successful composition and we set it all up.
Unfortunately I couldn’t make the opening evening so I could not be there to celebrate with everyone what we had achieved, however the experience as a whole has been a lot of fun and it feels good to have an exhibition up in a different city to here in Cardiff, spreading out our wings and sharing our delicious art with the world. We managed to get a few little online responses and promotions, here are the links below: