Somerset House recently hosted its annual graphic arts festival Pick Me Up, which ran from 18th – 28th April.
A few of us at MinaLima went along to see what new and inspiring graphic artists are in the spotlight at the moment!
The 11-day festival showcased work by illustrators, graphic novelists, cartoonists and graphic designers from around the world. It was a very creatively lead exhibition overall, with music, drinks and all sorts of activities to get involved in alongside the art on display.
There was quite a distinguished divide between graphic arts studios who were exhibiting their collections of work and individuals showcasing their own personal range of design. The larger collections were more commercially lead in comparison to the individual and one off pieces from the independent designers.
We have picked some of our favourite pieces from the festival below. It certainly did highlight the extraordinary talent that is out there amongst aspiring & established graphic artists. There are definitely quite a few to watch who I’m sure will shine even brighter in the coming years.
And talking of exhibitions… watch this space for 2 upcoming MinaLima exhibitions. Clue: the first one has something to do with Clerkenwell Design Week… hint hint, our last blog post!
Launched a few years ago, CDW has now established itself as the UK’s leading independent design festival, and a well recognized event internationally within the design industry.
Clerkenwell is a fitting location for this 3-day event, being a thriving hub of design in London. The exhibitor list includes a vast array of design disciplines, including graphic design, architecture, product design, ceramics, interior and textile design.
CDW boasts that they will have more architects per square mile than anywhere else on the planet during the 3-day event. There will be over 60 showrooms and we will be exhibiting our prints in one of them!
We’re looking forward to being part of this exciting design event and happy to be getting our name out there amongst a wider audience, not just for our association with the Harry Potter legacy, but also for our graphic design work itself.
If you’re planning on coming along, please pop in and visit us! We will have some new prints (and not only Harry Potter ones!) on display so hopefully it will be worth your while, and maybe you will be able to take home your own bit of Printorium graphic design magic!
The Printorium – stand V07 – The Farmiloe Building, 34, St John Street, London, EC1M 4AY – From 21st – 23rd May
World War Z, the latest Brad Pitt film, is due to be released in the coming months and we were lucky enough to work on it!
We produced some of the graphics used to dress the sets, including the plane and the ship which are featured in the trailer below. We were also thrilled that our very own WOOP Studios compilation print was used by the set designers to decorate the family kitchen scene, which can also be spotted in the trailer!
It was a brilliant project to be involved in, especially when we were on the set surrounded by actors dressed up as zombies…. And the highlight of course was meeting the lovely Brad Pitt.
We have a wonderful book in our collection that warrants a mention in this week’s blog. It’s all about Children’s books and mainly focuses on the cover artwork and how this has developed through the 20th Century.
Children’s book cover design varied greatly between the Victorian era and the 20th Century due to developments in book production and binding. Originally the cover design was produced on the cover itself, however as production moved into the 20th Century, designs began to feature on loose book jackets rather than directly on the cover.
The development of children’s books has come a long way in the 20th Century; in comparison to today they didn’t always hold such an important place in society.
Between 1940 and 1950, book production was affected after the Second World War as materials were in short supply. Paperbacks began to replace hardbacks and books took on smaller formats. Picture books for children at this time did start to emerge and flourish however.
Through the 60’s and 70’s children’s book production was improving, in both production and distribution. So more and more children were able to benefit from a vast array of books in libraries and bookshops, covering many topics and story lines.
The 80’s and 90’s were known as the ‘golden age’ of children’s books as they gained increasing importance and took centre stage due to authors and illustrators such as J.K.Rowling and Quentin Blake.
J.K.Rowling in particular changed the landscape and perception of children’s books for many around the world with the Harry Potter series. If she had never put pen to paper, we wouldn’t be doing what we are today at MinaLima!
‘Children’s Book Covers’ is written by Alan Powers and we definitely recommend taking a look!
We have been captivated by this video of traditional signwriting by the artist David A. Smith. It is a rare and unique skill and this video really captures the detail and patience which goes into creating such inspirational work.
David A. Smith is a traditional sign-writer/designer specialising in high-quality ornamental hand-crafted reverse glass signs and decorative silvered and gilded mirrors. David recently produced a wonderful turn-of-the-century, trade-card styled album cover for popular American singer/songwriter John Mayer.
This film captures the ‘Behind The Scenes’ creation of the ‘Born & Raised’ and ‘Queen of California’ artwork, as well as 2 unique reverse glass panels, hand-crafted in England by David A. Smith.
See more incredible work by David on his website.
At MinaLima we are big admirers of the talented work by Roy Lichtenstein. He is best known as an American Pop artist who rose to fame in the 1960s with his bold, eye-catching work.
Lichtenstein was born in 1923 and died at the age of 74 in 1997. The most famous work he produced through his career was heavily influenced by the original comic strip style and retro advertisements, from which he created tongue-in-cheek compositions.
Lichtenstein became famous for incorporating Ben-Day dots throughout his work. It is a printing process dating from 1879 named after the illustrator and printer Benjamin Henry Day. The technique involves evenly spaced coloured dots which are either isolated or overlap to create shading, comic books from the 1950s and 60s used this technique heavily!
Later this became a hallmark of Lichtenstein’s work who enlarged and exaggerated the style in many of his paintings and sculptures.
When Lichtenstein’s work rose to fame in the 1960s he received a lot of negativity from art critics calling his work ‘vulgar and empty’ and they challenged its originality. However, Lichtenstein is today considered an iconic artist of his era and he played a key role in the development of modernity in 20th Century art.
Some of his most famous work is featured below, including ‘Whaam!’ and ‘Drowning Girl’ (Both 1963).
The Lichtenstein exhibition in the Tate Modern is definitely worth a visit. It is the first full-scale retrospective in over 20 years and is running from 21st Feb – 27th May in London. The exhibition features 125 of his most definitive paintings and sculptures, proving his legacy which remains strong into the 21st Century.
Let us know if you have been, we’re certainly planning a visit!
Chinese New Year was celebrated worldwide on Sunday 10th February and brought an array of colour and joy to the normally bleak winter weekend. The New Year is referred to in a number of ways, as it’s also known as the Spring Festival or the Lunar New Year due to the Chinese calendar being Lunisolar. It is also the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays!
There is a lot of symbolism involved in the celebration of Chinese New Year. One of the most well known symbols is the red diamond (seen below), which is displayed typically in the entrances of Chinese homes. This symbol represents blessings and happiness.
Red is the predominant colour used throughout the New Year celebrations, and it is seen commonly amongst other Chinese art as well. This colour represents joy, virtue, truth and sincerity and many items associated with the New Year are decorated in this colour, including cakes and candies!
A popular sight associated with the celebrations is the use of either a dragon or lion in a New Years parade. It is believed that the beats of the drums and the clangs of the cymbals, together with the Lion or Dragon model, evicts bad or evil spirits.
The Chinese Zodiac is another culturally rich tradition which is admired and followed internationally. If you didn’t know already, 2013 is the year of the snake! The Zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle, and each year is attributed to a different animal and it’s reputed qualities, believed to be reflected in those born in that particular year.
We think that Chinese artwork and graphics, some of which stem from these well known traditions, are hugely inspirational. The reasons behind the symbols and colours gives Chinese artwork a respected position in the design world. You can see some of our work below that has been influenced by Chinese design, particularly from our graphic design work on the Harry Potter films!