It’s pretty clear by now that when it comes to the affordable art world, I have some firm favourites who I go back to time and time again, even when my walls are already bursting at the seams. One of those companies I adore is Print Club London – a studio and workshop based in Dalston, founded by managing director Fred Higginson, creative director Rose Stallard and director Kate Higginson.
Over time I’ve got to know the team pretty well and their support and dedication to providing a platform for independent artists while keeping art affordable is absolutely second to none. They work super closely with a variety of artists and are constantly on the hunt for upcoming creatives to champion whether that be via shows such as their incredible Summer Screen Prints exhibition or their online store which continually changes with new releases. They’re even supportive with their cheap studio offering where you can grab a membership for £100pcm (see how my fabric screen print workshop went here to find out more).
Okay, so you’ve got it, I’m into them. I’ve bought from them in the past and occasionally we’ll collaborate. One of those brilliant relationships where it works both ways. When the team very kindly invited me to a preview evening about a month ago, I was more than happy to oblige and it was so good that I simply have to let you know how to get in on the action too.
The preview night in question was for Print Club’s long-awaited Blisters show – an exhibition of prints from some of the best artists and illustrators around. After a three year hiatus, the show is finally back and looking set to be better than ever!
Set in Print Club’s neighbouring event space, MC Motors, truth be told it’s worth a visit to nosy around the site itself. Metal lockers, marble plaster walls and amazing prop lighting, the space is simply divine and the perfect backdrop for a showcase of artwork. The idea behind the exhibition is simple, 50 artists, 50 editions of 50 prints, 50 different book titles and all at £50 a pop. 50 is the magic number, you get me? Featuring work from Davey Podmore, Cassandra Yap, Naomi Edmondson, Oli Fowler, Lucille Clerc and Ornamental Conifer, there is so much amazing talent on offer. I did only have the privilege of viewing 10 pieces of work so you bet I’m excited to see the rest. Wanna come? RSVP here.
The guys were also very kind to send me my favourite print from the preview and I’m SO super chuffed with it that I had to ask the artist a few questions ahead of the preview. Doesn’t it look super in our abode? Introducing Davey Podmore and his Blisters edition – can you guess what the book is?
Firstly, can you tell me a little about yourself and your background?
I’m 44 and married to the lovely Garry Shrimpton. Currently, I am living in Cambridgeshire and working as a Creative Director.
I studied graphic design at Stafford College and then the University of Wolverhampton. I have always been interested in design from graphics through to architecture and animation. After leaving uni I got a job with IKEA in their sign room creating graphics for their new Nottingham store before moving on to different agencies where I worked for brands such as Hotpoint, Anglian Water and St Paul’s Cathedral. I’ve always loved my job and in my spare time I enjoy entering competitions include designing a 50p piece for the London Olympics and taking part for the last few years in the Secret 7’s sleeve design exhibition.
How did you hear about Blisters and why did you want to be involved?
I first heard of Print Club at one of the Pick Me Up graphic fairs at Somerset House. It may have been their first in 2010 where they were printing live and showing the work of some fantastic artists. After that, I started following them and visited their now closed shop on Brick Lane where I picked up a piece by Clifford Richards. I decided to enter the Blisters show in 2012 when they announced the theme was movies. I had just watched Richard Ayoade’s Submarine. I loved the style of it so much I based my piece on that. I received an e-mail saying they loved it but “no thanks” but it gave me hope, and when the next show was announced with a music theme, I entered two items – a Bowie print and a Dolly Parton print – I was blown away when Bowie was accepted.
It’s several years since I had screen printed so I got their Tuckshop to print it for the show. Garry and I went to the opening night and had a fabulous night. I felt like the coolest person on the planet for a few hours! My work stood alongside my hero Fred Deakin and my print sold out. I even Tweeted: “This is what it must be like to be Olly Moss” – another of my graphic design heroes.
And how have you worked with Print Club since?
I really loved the whole process of Blister and felt it validated what I was doing. When Bowie tragically died in 2016 I felt I wanted to do something in his memory. I had the idea to re-issue my Bowie print with a final layer based on his Lazarus video. I approached Printclub and they said they would love to be involved. They produced the print in an edition of 69 – Bowie’s age when he died. It was priced at £100 and it sold out again with all proceeds going to Cancer Research. They went above and beyond on that project so I’m always interested if there is a chance to work with their team again.
Why did you choose to base your print on Mr Tickle?
It’s one of the first books I remember as a kid. Mr Tickle always seemed to be having the most fun and I got a bit obsessed with the oversized shoes. I always wanted a pair! What really appealed was the idea of it being a literature show with pieces representing classics such as Don Quixote, The Iliad and Little Women with my Mr Tickle in the middle of it all.
I love your abstract interpretation. How did your vision come about?
I love to strip an image right back to its simplest form. Using colour and shape, I like to give clues as to what it’s all about and then let the brain join up the dots. The Mr Men are embedded deep in our memories so such a simple image can really work well as part of the Blisters’ brief not to disclose the title of the book represented.
What other prints will you have your eye on at the exhibition?
I have not seen too many of the other prints but so far I’m loving Cassandra Yap’s Wizard of Oz and I’ve heard Dave Bouonaguidi has done a piece based on the Kama Sutra – that should be good. And I really like Clare Halifax’s work as well. I can’t wait to see that one – her style is so different to mine and I love it.
SO, if you’re not sold after that, I don’t know what else I can do. Click the link to add your name to the guest list and make sure you say hi if you pop by. If you can’t make it to the preview, you will be able to shop the prints online!
MC Motors Venue, 28 Miller’s Avenue, London, E8 2DS
Fri 27 October 2017, 6pm-10pm
Davey Podmore’s Mr Tickle print was kindly gifted to me but you can bet I’ll be spending my dollar on some more from the Blisters collection. ALL LOVE FOR PRINT CLUB LONDON ABSOLUTELY MY OWN.