Stuart Whitton picks the phone up, having just done ‘two all-nighters’ finishing off work, and now 40 pieces have gone off to the framers, giving him a few days grace before his exhibition Origin starts.
The first Solo exhibition from Welsh illustrator Whitton brings with it some weighty collaborations, a lot of new work, and some retrospective, giving an insight into working methods and techniques.
Origin is so called as it will explain the evolution of Whitton’s work, but is also a nod to his own development and stands as ‘a thank you’, he says to the family members – brother, cousins and parents, who have been the subject of some of his studies. Notably illustrations of his parents, as children form the cover image for his invites.
Collaborations with Peter Crawley, Claire Scully and Pomme Chan will feature. Whitton’s been in touch with Chan since he contacted her speculatively while still at The West Wales School of The Arts.
Humbled by her acceptance of a collaboration, Whitton proposed a typographic piece. A fortuitous practicality revealed itself as the left handed Whitton and the right handed Chan began working on the same piece of paper over an afternoon.
They developed a typographic piece in Ariel with a few embellishments. Chan, in experimental mood, worked in nail varnish and Whitton in pencil, creating a black and white marbling pattern.
In a separate study, a large part of the gallery will be given over to an entire typeface, developed from the contents of Whitton’s wardrobe.
Meticulously shaping and photographing items of clothing, chosen for their form, a set of 26 letters has now been drawn from the original photos.
All of Whitton’s work comes from photographic assembly on a computer, where he often overlays images to form a composition – also allowing him to scale up and down for fine detail. This provides a constant reference point for his free hand illustration.
And, a playground for experimenting. Aesthetically this can come across as a scrunched up, folded or cut-out effect – see title image, Origin.
The savvy among you will be able to get your hands on a small run of Origin postcards, signed and numbered, which Whitton will give out at his private view on 6 October.
The runs from 7 – 31 October at the Exposure Gallery, 22-23 Little Portland Street, London, W1W