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Thursday, 24 April 2014

PICK ME UP: GRAPHIC ARTS FESTIVAL 2014. 24 April – 5 May 2014. Somerset House, WC2R. £10, concessions £8, Festival pass £17.50

Woolly Bear © Julia Pott

I was already “late”. Well, we never know with buses. The preview started at 6.30pm and for sure it would be crowded. A quick stopover @ M&A Express in Lea Bridge Road to recharge my Oyster, put some money on my phone and buy some juice... after two years of going there, they made me understand they don’t earn money from recharging Oyster and phones, so juice. Only when I sat on the bus, did I realise, they once again ripped me off... neighbours, boat people... always!

Over one hour on 55 to relax and be angry and think “this time I’ll talk to them... and the exhibition better be good because I will roll on the floor and show off my tantrums
I arrived just on time. Rolling on the floor was not an option as it was quite crowded + accidentally... this year festival was full of talented young artists – not that I went the other years – but I did get hooked.
Since, there is very little time, I’ll show off my little selection of my favourite. Just bear in mind it is in the same space as the Isabella Blow Fashion Galore, so it’s big.
-       Julia Pott. Some drawings but her animations “The Event” & “Belly” are greatly weird. She is inspired by Davis Lynch, Jon Irving, JD Salinger and Wes Anderson.
-       Isabel Greenberg. Comic and “Russian” dolls. Quite dark.
-       Kyle Platts from Sheffields (just saying). A feel of Pierre La Police. He is inspired by Yayoi Kusama and John Cooper Clark.
-       Carine Brancowitz. Studied @ Ecole Estienne. About drawing, she says “It’s what keeps me out of touch from reality and allows me to flirt with the irrational”. She is inspired by ancient Greek and Roman sculptures. One of her drawing between two women, one says “Je n’ai pas très envie de rentrer dans la vie” (I don’t really want to get into life).
-       Edward Carvahlo Monaghan. Strong colours for his titles Standard Bearer, Alchemist and Nomad.
-       Lynnie Zulu. Born on the border of Scotland and her mother is Tanzanian. It’s her afro side that attracted me from the other end of the room.
-       Edward Cheverton. He is simply funny: it was a lie... but an honest lie.
-       Jessica Das. Some of her pieces were already sold when I got there. To those who love cats... it’s called The Cat Island. She will lead a workshop on how to draw cute and cheeky cats on 27 April.

© Isabel Greenberg

Don’t miss the DJ – Radio room with old (I mean old) videos, film extracts = “New for 2014 is Pick Me Up Radio presented by Comms Bureau , which will stream live from Somerset House.  With specially invited DJs, interviews and take-over days, festival goers will be able to see the radio broadcasts being put together live and listen online remotely.” 

Check the event zone below for the family space

From the PR
Now in its fifth year, the UK’s original contemporary graphic arts festival Pick Me Up showcases graphic art in all its forms. Aimed at being the antithesis of a traditional art fair, Pick Me Up is a fun and informal festival featuring quirky studio spaces in which to shop for affordable artwork from the great and good of graphic arts, and a daily, lively line-up of events which encourage both budding and bonafide artists of all ages to get involved. Pick Me Up 2014 promises to be bigger and better than ever, with events led by the likes of family favourite Judith Kerr who is famed for the acclaimed Mog series and The Tiger Who Came To Tea, more late nights and an even wider range of illustration and design represented, from fashion and architectural drawing to comic books and album covers.

© Carine Brancowitz

Furthermore for the first time, Pick Me Up is collaborating with signature skate brand DC Shoes to commission t-shirts from ten artists to be exclusively launched and sold at the festival. The dazzling designers involved include former Pick Me Up Select and professional doodler Hattie Stewart and Andy Rementer, whose colorful and vibrant work has been featured through a variety of platforms including MTV, Urban Outfitters and Warner Brothers.

The festival is split into three main sections – events, collectives and galleries, and Pick Me Up Selects:

On each day of the festival there will be an exciting and eclectic schedule of events, activities, and special guests leading talks and workshops, all free with entry. Following its phenomenal success last year, the Children’s Choice Weekend will return with more interactive family-friendly fun from 3 - 4 May. Judith Kerr will be the guest of honour at the weekend and hosting an ‘in conversation’ event with her art director Ian Craig in which they will look back at her literary legacy and explain why she chooses to continue working with the publication of her new picture book set for later this year. Kerr’s name will be familiar within generations of families after writing and illustrating children’s classics such as the acclaimed Mog series and The Tiger Who Came To Tea. Kerr is also known for her celebrated novels for older children, such as the autobiographical When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, which gives a child's-eye view of the Second World War as a young Jewish girl is forced to flee Nazi Germany, much the same as Kerr’s own experience.
Hagoromo © Isabel Greenberg

This year Pick Me Up is proud to welcome illustrators at the forefront of a new wave of fashion imagery to host one-off events with a sartorial slant - Daisy de Villeneuve, Jason Brooks and Jo Ratcliffe.  Fashion illustrator Daisy de Villeneuve, whose funky felt-tip illustrations are some of the fashion world’s favourites and can be seen everywhere from Topshop to Vogue, will be leading activities on the opening weekend which will be focused on all things fashion. Fashion artist and author Jason Brooks, whose computer-combined illustrations are instantly recognisable and often imitated from his work on the identity for record label Hed Kandi and other luxury lifestyle brands, will be running a day of workshops on Saturday 3 May. Art director and animator Jo Ratcliffe, who drew and directed the animation in Lady Gaga’s ‘Applause’ video, designed the typography of Katy Perry’s ‘Teenage Dream’ album, and counts Louis Vuitton, Chloé and Kenzo as clients, will also join the line-up for a style special.

On Sunday 27 April cartoonist Gemma Correll will be running an event inspired by her celebrated portrayals of animals, particularly her Pugs not Drugs portfolio which has a string of celebrity fans. She will be joined by Pick Me Up Select artist Jessica Das who will lead a workshop on how to draw cute and cheeky cats to round off a jam-packed pet-themed Sunday.

On Tuesday 29 April celebrated current affairs artist George Butler, whose work covering civil war in Syria, G20 riots and soldiers in Afghanistan has been reproduced in the world’s most respected newspapers, will be talking about his work and astounding experiences. Graphic artist, print-maker and designer Anthony Burrill, best known for his typographic compositions, including the now-famous “Work Hard and Be Nice to People”, will also be leading a workshop.

On Thursday 1 May Camberwell Press presents 'Let's Get Quizzical' as a late night event. The Pick Me Up edition of London's premier pub quiz for creative minds will include question categories on illustration, art history, design, general knowledge and film.

Collectives and galleries

Cutting-edge collectives and contemporary graphic art galleries will each curate a customised studio space in the Embankment Galleries of Somerset House, where they will present a bountiful body of new and existing work. The Puck Collective, an evolving group of illustration collectives, will be curating their space with a war theme and building an arsenal of weaponry in card form throughout the duration of the festival in preparation for Andy War Wall on 2 May. This will be a unique interactive gaming event in which festival goers can join in or watch this World of Warcraft style game unravel, as people roll the dice to determine how the war will unfold. By the end, Puck will have produced a modern tapestry telling the epic story of the battle of Andy War Wall.

Also for 2014, Shoreditch’s Beach London gallery will launch exclusive new limited-edition products including t-shirts and skateboard decks, themed around the role graphic art has played in subculture. Unlimited, a Brighton-based independent shop, gallery and studio, will showcase and sell an exciting selection of concept-led, unique and innovative work. Galleries Handsome Frank, who represent top talent across five continents, and Outline Artists, who present limited-edition prints and original pieces from artists such as Rob Bailey, Kate Moross and James Joyce, will also be taking part at Pick Me Up.
Pick Me Up Selects

Alongside the collectives and galleries, Pick Me Up Selects are a group of international rising stars who have recently graduated or set up new studios chosen by the Pick Me Up curators and a guest panel of industry insiders.  They are all commissioned to create new work specially for Pick Me Up, so visitors can browse and buy a bargain from the next generation of graphic artists.  Past Pick Me Up Selects participants have gone on to achieve artistic and commercial acclaim across the globe like Jean Jullien, Mr Bingo and Sarah Maycock. This year the selection includes: Julia Pott, an animator based in Brooklyn whose can already call Bat for Lashes, Hermes, J. Crew and MTV clients; Kyle Platts, who creates colourful but creepy characters with a playful irreverence towards contemporary society; Thibaud Herem, a French illustrator based in Hackney specialising in architectural drawing with hand drawn detail; and Isabel Greenberg, a London-based comic artist who has produced work for publications including The Guardian and the V&A.

Dates:  24 April – 5 May 2014
Opening Hours:  10am – 6pm Daily. Late night openings on Thursdays and Fridays until 10pm
Address:  Embankment Galleries, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Admission: £10, concessions £8, Festival pass £17.50
Transport: Temple, Embankment  Charing Cross, Waterloo
Somerset House Facebook:
Somerset House Twitter: @SomersetHouse (
Pick Me Up Twitter: @PickMeUpLondon  (
Festival hashtag: #pickmeuplondon

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