The work of the commercial artist or illustrator is destined to only ever be seen in its final, complete and signed-off state. ’It exists within a context divorced from us artists,’ says illustrator Holly Wales. ’The work is no longer viewed on its own visual merits, but in relation to a product or story. I wanted to look more at the process before final artwork becomes attached to any external context.’
Wales’ preoccupation with this fate drove her to organise Community! What Should I Do! The exhibition – at London ad and design agency Fallon – brings together seven illustrator-designers, who were challenged by Wales to respond to the brief, ’What do you wish you were working on right now?’, with personal or formal change as a running theme.
Joel Evey, Kim Hiorthøy, Ryan Todd, Melvin Galapon, Nathan Cowen, Tobias Roettger and Wales herself are all contributing. Artists were chosen carefully – not for their style, but for their experimentation with visually interesting processes, from paper-folding and Xeroxing to screen-printing with different consistencies of ink and hand-cut vinyl.
Wales collaborated with Loren Filis of independent screen-print studio Loligo. To explore the idea of changing author halfway through an image, she gave Filis an open brief to print on top of the artwork.
All work is large-scale posters (A1- to A0-sized), a deliberate decision by Wales. ’You only need to have seen Mad Men to know that subtlety can’t survive [in an ad agency],’ she says. ’To enlarge something is to give it more power.’
Community! What Should I Do! is on at Fallon, 20-22 Great Titchfield Street, London W1 from 31 March to 9 April (by appointment only)