From screen-printing workshops to the chance to create your own alphabet, audience interaction is again at the heart of this year’s graphic arts festival
Pick Me Up Graphics Arts Festival is back at Somerset House for the seventh year, filled as always with graphics and prints by both up-and-coming and established talent. Lending weight to this year’s proceedings is ‘A Life in Letterpress’, a major retrospective of graphic artist Alan Kitching. Spanning six decades, the show features completed prints alongside sketches and equipment from his studio. It’s exciting to see his early work juxtaposed against later ones, and to know that Kitching himself will be printing a utopia-themed artwork in live demonstrations during the show.
The Selects section is a display of work by international artists selected by an industry panel. We loved the installation by Icon contributors Isabel and Helen – a series of self-playing instruments in an arrangement inspired by Alexander Calder. Corin Kennington, whose work mixes traditional sign-painting with modern graphic design, showed a set of typographic prints alongside hand-printed pieces. Alice Bowsher was another favorite – her bold, playful work was displaying in the form of large, monochrome, lithographic prints, as well as in a book.
The Collective section was a hub of activity, with pinch-pot making, bookbinding and screen-printing taking place live. 3rd Rail offered visitors the chance to experiment with screen-printing their own tote bag, while with Peso Press you could produce your own unique print. There will be daily workshops and demonstrations in the events space, from fashion-illustration to clay-building, as well as a series of talks.
Hato Press this year designed the branding for the festival and is enlisting the public to develop a ‘collaborative alphabet’. Submit your own letter at http://pickmeup.somersethouse.org.uk/#/type-tool
Pick Me Up Graphic Arts Festival 2016