London’s Somerset House is planning to hold an annual graphic design selling exhibition from next year, in an attempt to bring the discipline to a wider audience.
The Pick Me Up: Contemporary Graphic Art Fair will include an exhibition of the work of 25 international graphic designers and illustrators. Somerset House will commission each illustrator to create an ‘affordable’ limited-edition print for the show, possibly priced at about £300. It is whittling down a longlist of about 50 designers, roughly half of whom are UK-based.
Anthony Burrill, who is creating the branding and marketing campaign for the event, will also be participating in the exhibition’s live element. Burrill will join paper-cutting artist Rob Ryan, who is setting up his studio there for the duration of the show.
Ryan may host the live event, either working with or presenting a different big-name designer every day. Somerset House also intends to approach designers including Stefan Sagmeister and MM Paris to participate in the live event. Illustrator Ian Wright will also take part in the show.
‘The obvious audience for Pick Me Up is the graphic design community, but we would also like to bring graphic design to a really mainstream audience,’ says Somerset House Embankment Galleries curator Claire Catterall. She talks about breaking graphic art out of its ‘East End ghetto’, and giving it a wider, consumer audience.
‘There isn’t anywhere that you can get to see really good graphic design, let alone buy it,’ she says.
The name Pick Me Up is intended to communicate that the event will be ‘incredibly lively, fun and celebratory, but it also refers to people being able to take the work home with them’, says Catterall.
Art and design collectives and galleries Print Club London, Peep Show, No Brow and Concrete Hermit are being invited to participate in an ‘alternative trade fair’, where they will be able to exhibit and sell their work. Somerset House is looking for between six and ten such groups to participate.
‘The idea is that Pick Me Up will be a mixture of the up-and-coming, young, edgy designers, and some of the wonderful establishment heroes of graphic design,’ says Catterall.
Publish and Be Damned, which runs an independent- and self-publishing fair that showcases fanzines and print designers’ work, has agreed to appear on the last Sunday of the show. It will offer an abridged version of its traditional event.
‘Depending on how the show goes next year, we would very much like to make it an annual event,’ says Catterall.
Meanwhile, Johnson Banks has created the marketing campaign for Somerset House’s winter ice-skating event, Skate. The campaign, which features tiny dancing ice figures and an ice-crystal Christmas tree, launches in the coming week.
Pick Me Up runs at Somerset House’s Embankment Galleries from 22 April to 3 May.
Pick Me Up
Selling show – 25 graphic designers and illustrators from around the world will create and sell exclusive prints at the show, priced around £300
Live element – with Rob Ryan in residence, joined by Anthony Burrill and other big-name designers to work on projects
Trade show – about ten art collectives and galleries to show and sell their graphic art and design work