On The Other Side Of Town by Tom Berry

Tom Berry creates intricate drawings mainly with pen and ink. His original illustrations, which often feature animal and nature scenes with incredible depth and detail are then giclée printed in limited editions.

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Recently, Tom launched a Kickstarter to help publish his first illustrated book ‘On The Other Side Of Town‘. The campaign was so successful that it was fully funded in just over 24 hours, and he was able to do a print run of 1000 copies! The book is in a large format, with 24 pages and 15 detailed original illustrations and short poems. Together they tell the story of a busy town and the characters that make it. Each book in this first edition is numbered out of 1000 and signed by Tom.

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As a part of his Kickstarter campaign Tom filmed part of the process of illustrating the book as well as images from his early morning commutes through the city that provided his inspiration. He found that travelling at unusual times of the day revealed further layers of the city, in people and buildings than he would encounter during the day. These layers became the fantastical illustrations and poems found in the book.

We have ‘On The Other Side of Town’ and a number of Tom’s original digital prints in stock in the shop and online.

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An Interview with Freya Cumming

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Spring is just about here. Or at least surely it must be close – we can almost smell it! Also, right around the corner is our brand new exhibition with one of Of Cabbages and Kings’ longest standing collaborators Freya Cumming. Freya will be traveling down from Dundee with her latest collection of screen prints fresh of the drying rack. The private view is on Thursday May 5th from 6:30 – 9pm. We hope you can make it along. In the meantime, we caught up with Freya and found out a little bit more about her art process and influences.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
I use them all, but if I had too choose one, my weapon of choice would be a propelling pencil. I love ’em! 

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Your art features many repetitive motifs (hot air balloons, Victorian figures, the ocean, etc.). Do you feel like you work with themes or that you are drawn to a particular image?
I don’t think that I have any particular themes other than that most of the work I enjoy making has some form of pattern, however small a detail it is, it’ll be in there! The balloon images became a theme by accident, I lived in Bristol for seven years and I thought one day I might try a balloon print, as they are such a familiar sight in the city. I enjoyed the endless possibilities of patterns and colours within the balloons and so I got quite carried away and produced a whole series of these. 

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Your images feature many built up layers. Can you tell us a bit more about that process? 
One of the pleasures of screen printing for me, is the ability to play around with the opacity of the inks when mixing them. Printing in overlapping layers, in varying opacity can come up with colours and effects that I aren’t planned, but that make printmaking more interesting for me. I like making it up as I go along! It makes what can be a very technical process, much more interesting and spontaneous.  

Can you tell us a bit more about founding Snap Studio, the artists co-operative in Bristol?
It all came about very serendipitously. My friend Frea and I were manning a pop-up shop in an old hairdressers in Bristol for a few days. We were chatting about how amazing it would be to have a studio, gallery and printmaking facilities under one roof. The man who had the keys to the hairdressers, just so happened to be the founding member of the ethical property company, and owner of  a beautiful 16th century building across the street. He offered it to us at a really reasonable rate which allowed us to seek help from the co-operative development agency in Bristol and go on to form a co-op with six other printmaking friends. We are all either just graduated/ or graduating, so it was perfect timing. It was the perfect setting- post-uni to have somewhere to work. 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

You recently moved back to your hometown in rural Scotland. Has this move changed or influenced your work? 
I’ve realised with hindsight that it did at the time. I’ve always been inspired by my surroundings so suddenly, instead of urban scenes, I was drawing chickens and squirrels. I found I missed the urban landscape and I realised there was a danger that my work was unintentionally becoming overly countrified, so I moved my studio from the village to nearby Dundee.

How long have you been printing?
I learned to screen print the same year I graduated in 2001 – so on and off, around fifteen years of squeegeeing ! 

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What is your favourite takeaway?
All of them?!. I live in the middle of nowhere though so takeaway is rare! No-one will deliver this far either 😦

Q&A with Tiff Howick

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We are excited to announce our next exhibition will be with Tiff Howick. It will run from Thursday February 4th, with an opening preview on Wednesday February 3rd from 6:30-9pm.

Tiff’s artwork features striking portraits of animals, focusing on dogs and British wildlife. They are done with a loose, expressive style in black ink, printed over a strong colour on crisp white paper.

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What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
It is very hard to choose, I would say overall it’s a paintbrush, I really enjoy experimenting with brushmarks to create different textures.  

Your art features striking portraits of animals. Have you always been drawn to animals?
I have, I grew up with pets – Jack Russells, rabbits and guinea pigs. I also spent my summer holidays in Norway where there were sheep grazing in the forests and we’d see squirrels, deer and elk.  

Your animals are very expressive, like they each have their own personality. Is that something that evolves as each animal is drawn?
Mostly the expression is intentional, I’ll have a reference image with an animal in a pose that I think represents a particular behaviour or emotion such as the spirited French Bulldog or the thoughtful Greyhound.  Sometimes the expressions evolve and either reflect the mood I’m in when I’m drawing or I make subtle changes to the eyes to create an overall feeling that works for the drawing. 

Reading the expressions in my screen prints is subjective, people commenting on my work have seen a variety of different emotions. 

Your art is inspired by your Scandinavian heritage, vintage children’s illustrations, and contemporary fashion illustration. On the surface these styles are quite different, what is it within them that you think draws them all together so successfully?
Over time I have incorporated in to my work the elements of each style that I most admire.  Limited colour palettes from Scandinavian design and the creation of striking images with just one or two colours.  The bold colours are from Scandinavia and my childhood picture books, two of my all-time favourite illustrators are Carl Larsson and Richard Scarry.  The loose, textured brush marks and sketchy lines are inspired by fashion illustration, I am a huge fan of David Downton’s work. 

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One of your most popular prints has been the Yellow Hare, which features a bright splash of yellow. Some of your prints feature colours that are not traditionally associated with the animal depicted. Do you feel that the colour can change the mood of the animal?
I’ve used bright primary colours to represent extreme versions of the animal’s natural colour, using one vibrant colour to simplify the final image. This sometimes ties in with the mood of the piece, the bright red fox staring assertively over it’s shoulder.  The hare is resting but alert, the bright yellow also representing a hot day in a cornfield.  

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How long have you been printing?
I first printed a long time ago on an art foundation course.  I rediscovered screenprinting fairly recently and have been using it to create most of my work for just over three years. Tiff-Howick-screenprinting-work-images

What is your favourite takeaway?
Since starting to work for myself I’ve researched and read a lot about how to make it work.  I would say the best advice, and the hardest for me to stick to, is to focus. Being creative my head is always full of new ideas, there are so many things I want to do and experiment with.  To make a living out of work that I really enjoy I’ve had to pick one idea and work really hard to make my screenprints as good as they can be. 

Or if you mean food it would have to be Indian :o) 

Who Is Mister Peebles?

Who Is Mister Peebles?We’ve got another exhibition coming up, this time with perennial favourite, Mister Peebles! The exhibition will open on Thurs Sept 3, from 7-9pm, here in the shop and continues until the end of October. There will be prints and cards in new and old designs, and even some Peebles originals! We did a little interview with Helen McGinley, the artist behind Mister Peebles to find out a bit more about how those punny creatures come to life.

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
A combination of mechanical pencils, watercolour pencils, water and very small brushes.

Who is Mister Peebles?
Mister Peebles is the man with the animals, he meets them on his world travels. He is quite a shy sort of chap and while at home prefers to sit in his chair, drink tea and read tales. I draw his animals, keep the teapot filled and listen to his stories.

How did you get into the business of drawing punny animals?
A few years ago I was working at a job that wasn’t really going anywhere. I decided to leave a cold January in London and went to summer in Tasmania with my husband to be. I didn’t have a working visa so I spent the days drawing and looking at the Tasmanian landscape. The animals and puns just seemed to introduce themselves to the pages. I would draw plants and food and phrases but most of the sketches seemed to be animal or pun related in the end. Once back in London I decided to start a little range of cards and prints and the puns kept appearing!

Cat Paw

What is your process for creating your pieces?
Each drawing is quite different. Some begin with the word or phrase and others with the creature. Some take a day, other much longer. I like to sketch out a rough idea and then add all the details and textures. Building up the layers of fur, feathers or fabric with watercolours is my favourite part of the process. There are always multiple colours in each texture, even if it ends up looking like a flat colour, it rarely is. I usually colour the eyes in first. I think the eyes are key to giving the creature their personality. Once the drawing is completed I scan it, clean it up and add lettering, either by hand or in Photoshop. Then everything is printed here in the studio or by our helpful printers.

Do you find yourself returning to themes or characters with your work?
I often return to a particular animal over and over. Bears are a current favourite and it’s great to really sit and learn what an animal looks like by drawing them a lot. I love to read about a species and their habits when I am drawing them, I think it helps to inform the illustrations and the themes behind them. I also clearly can’t resist a pun or a play on words so that is often the start of a idea which grows from there.

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How long have you been drawing?
I’ve been drawing since I was small. I was lucky my parents encouraged it and I went to schools with passionate art teachers that helped me keep it going. I studied Costume Design at Edinburgh College of Art and there was a lot of life drawing involved, which I always loved. We got to draw models wearing stripy socks and holding stuffed alligators or surrounded by props. It was great!

I have been drawing the puns and animals since finding Mister Peebles in 2011.

What is your favourite takeaway?
That’s a tough one! It has to be either pizza from Zaza Express or a curry from Bombay Munch, depending on the day. Always with a cold beer. Mister Peebles is a big fan of Sutton & Sons fish and chips. 

Thanks Helen and Mister Peebles! We look forward to seeing you September 3. 

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Just A Card

We have been hearing and listening and watching the Just A Card campaign that has been moving around and making some noise recently. The idea behind the campaign is to bring awareness to how much even the smallest purchases, like a card, can make a huge difference to small businesses.

We have been thinking about how this fits into what’s happening at Of Cabbages and Kings. The shop has been in business for 7 years now. We’re lucky as enough people came and bought just a card to support us and help us grow through some extremely difficult times. Those cards add up to something more significant and we’d like to say a big thanks to those Stokey locals who kept coming back and buying ‘just a card’ over the years. While we’re now past the point where the purchase of a card can make a big difference in the daily or weekly takings, we do remember those days.

However, Of Cabbages and Kings does not exist in isolation. The truth is that selling ‘just a card’ is still important to our business, because it makes a big difference to the artists and makers who’s work we carry. Cards help spread a name, a brand, an idea or aesthetic and it is often the selling cards that allows the artist create their individual paintings, prints and illustrations. The cards that we sell are often miniature versions of bigger pieces of artwork, as in the case with Mister Peebles, who produces their illustrations in many sizes, from cards up to A3. For other brands like Mardy Mabel with her pithy text, cards are created as unique pieces and form the backbone of the business.

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Mardy-Sex

We support the Just A Card campaign because it supports artists, makers and independent businesses that make up the Of Cabbages and Kings shop, community, friends and customers.

Join the conversation using hashtag #Justacard

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Marcelina Amelia Exhibition and Interview

Our next exhibition in the shop is with Marcelina Amelia on May 7, from 7-9pm and will continue through to the end of June. We will be showcasing Marcelina’s limited edition hand-pulled screen prints and original paintings.instagram_ofcabbages

Marcelina’s work combines painting, drawing and screen-printing techniques. Originally from Poland, she draws inspiration from Polish religious iconography, folk tales, childhood memories, dreams, sexuality and human relationships. Her works are an uneasy mixture of lustful darkness and adolescent innocence. Inspired by pot plants, trapped wildernesses in miniature, the overcrowded streets of London and never ending online content, this body of work examines the relationship between humans, individuals and their environment. Marcelina utilises nature as a metaphor for everyday feelings and headaches.

-What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…

I actually use all of them. I always start with the pen or pencil though, and then see where the work takes me. Because of my Fine Art and Illustration background, screen printing came in handy as I can mix both painting and drawing in one.

-What do you miss the most from living in Poland? 

I miss polish food, especially my grandma’s cooking. I also miss polish humour, it is very hard to translate it into another language. Believe me I’ve tried! I also miss the nature, in Poland we have both mountains and the sea, and beautiful countryside too –
and people, obviously.

Marcelina_cabbages_kings-How do Poland and London influence your work? 

Marlene Dumas once said that she never quite knows where she is. I have a similar feeling, that I’m always somehow divided between London and Poland, and that I’m never 100% present in a space and time. Suffering from a typical immigrant expat syndrome made me more aware of my own culture, and it became a source of the inspiration for my work.

Polish folk tales, religious iconography the aesthetics of School of Polish Poster, my own memories of growing up in Poland and the importance of family values have had a strong impact on my work. But, at the same time, London taught me a lot about the freedom of expression and being experimental, which gave me all those feelings that I would never experience if I stayed in a country that I was born in.

London is full of extremely talented people and interesting events, which motivates me. I also think that it made me grow up faster and made my skin thicker. But most importantly London, and its overcrowded alienation, is one of the themes that I find myself attracted to.Marcelina_cabbages_kings_girl

-A lot of your work seems to be very self-referential. Do you see it as a self-portrait?

Sometimes it happens unconsciously, I’m not trying to draw myself, but the final outcome resembles me. When I was a kid and I was learning to draw, sometimes because of the lack of the model around, I would sit in front of a mirror and spent hours drawing myself in different poses and expression just to practice. I would spent a lot of time drawing my younger cousins too, so every time I paint or draw a kid it has something that resembles one of them.

Usually I’m trying to tell a story or to illustrate a certain feeling, and a person that appears on a paper is just like an actor that is helping me to communicate the message.

At the same time, I can’t deny that my work is very personal.

-Do you find yourself returning to themes with your work?

Yes, I do often revisit the themes of my own and my family’s past, of growing up. I constantly find my family photographs as a great source of inspiration. Our relationship with the environment, where are we in terms of time and space, is also one of the themes I find myself going back to. I do often try to illustrate emotions.

– How long have you been printing?  

I’ve started learning about screen printing at the end of 2013. I took a fantastic course at Print Club London, and haven’t stopped printing since then.

-What is your favourite takeaway?

I’m trying to eat healthy these days, but I would not ignore a good kebab from Super Kebab in Stoke-Newington and I love sushi from Wasabi.
I do usually go out for coffee though, they have an amazing flat white in Haberdashery, and fantastic cakes in Bienvenue!

Kid Spirit

Local artist Johnathan Reiner has produced a series of hand-pulled screen prints entitled ‘Kid Spirit’. His masked child figures confront the viewer, questioning relationships, childhood and the expansive and wild possibilities of the imagination.

Johnathan trained as a doctor in Neuroscience, but in recent years he has been devoting much of his time to learning the art of print making. In his screen prints he combines graphic and illustrative components with drawings and the manipulation of photographic textures and details to explore colour, pattern and composition.

 

Kid Spirit I - Maui
Kid Spirit I – Maui

Kid Spirit II - ChicksKid Spirit II – Chicks

Detail from Kid Spirit II - Zoro
Detail from Kid Spirit II – Zoro

Sugar Snap Studio

Sugar Snap Studio was set up in 2012, to house the growing collection of illustrations for children by Jessie Ford. To date, her work has included packaging for Mothercare, suitcase illustrations for Samsonite, children’s books for Abrams Publishing USA, and murals for Sophie Dahl, to name a few.

Last Summer, Sugar Snap Studio’s products were sold in Selfridges, as part of the Bright Young Things show, with the Poundshop Collective. She has exhibited widely, in New York, Milan, London, and this coming Winter, in Japan. Sugar Snap Studio’s graphic and colourful designs are due to hit the shops this Spring, when it’s first stationery line will be launched.
Jessie’s simple illustrations of creatures great and small depicted in bold colours are distinctive in style. Here are a few of our favourites:
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Bear Hunt by Sugar Snap Studio
A young boy consults his book as he wanders through the dark woods on a starry night followed by a procession of bears wearing party hats.
Fox by Sugar Snap Studio
Fox by Sugar Snap Studio
Mr Fox is looking very dapper in this striking orange and back print.
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Bear on a Bike by Sugar Snap Studio
This big smiley black bear peddles through the park on his penny farthing bicycle.

Samples; stories about textiles and people by Jessica Plant

Our new exhibition opened today at the shop. Samples is a collection of stories about fabric, collected from people in Hackney and Newham, told through sound, text and images.

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Samples; stories about textiles and people by Jessica Plant
Samples; stories about textiles and people by Jessica Plant

Samples aims to explore the textile objects we hold onto and reveal the stories and meaning they carry. Jessica put together a book, along with a sound montage and a series of images, which aims to bring these stories and communities together. Featured stories were collected from members of the community at workshops, which took place at local venues including; Hackney Museum, Rosetta Arts and The View Tube.

Samples; stories about textiles and people by Jessica Plant
Samples; stories about textiles and people by Jessica Plant
Samples; stories about textiles and people by Jessica Plant
Samples; stories about textiles and people by Jessica Plant
Made-to-Measure, Dogtooth Suit, 2011
Made-to-Measure, Dogtooth Suit, 2011

Samples was devised by Jessica Plant as part of an MA Arts and Design by Independent Project at the University of Brighton in 2012. Jessica has also made a series of designs inspired by the Samples project; these limited edition prints, postcards and textile images will be available to purchase throughout the exhibition. The exhibition continues until Sunday 3rd November 2013.

Here are a few images from the preview:

Glass of Wine?

Samples; stories about textiles and people by Jessica Plant
Samples; stories about textiles and people by Jessica Plant

Introducing Marc Gooderham

A new exhibition went up in the shop over the weekend and I’m very excited to let you know all about it. There’s an element of the outside coming in here as there’s a few immediately recognisable local street scenes from the surrounding East End.

Marc has put together a series of Limited Edition Prints concentrating on the city’s decaying and unique architecture. They capture the singular beauty to be found in those neglected buildings that have fallen into disrepair as the living city of London continues to evolve around them.

“I had always set out to paint the city I knew and which is close to my heart. Avoiding the repetitiveness of London’s landmarks depicted in many paintings my aim was to capture an alternative view of the city. As much as I love the monumental buildings that create our skyline, it was the side streets and alleyways that seemed to hold a mystery for me.

I love the freedom of the city, getting lost in the crowds. It can be claustrophobic yet there’s also the feeling of loneliness and isolation. It’s these feelings that allow you to create your own world within the city.The atmosphere can change according to weather, season and the time of day, which makes it the perfect subject to paint. It can be the drama of sunlight hitting a window or the glow of a street lamp or chimney tops against an unsettling sky.

I began to explore the East London streets discovering something magical and new each time. I saw the street corners in a different light, almost appearing as cinematic compositions. I was able to visualise them from reality to canvas.”

Fashion Street
Fashion Street by Marc Gooderham

As the face of London changes overnight, it’s apparent that these views of the city, the architecture of crumbling and faded grandeur are beginning to vanish before our eyes. Desolate buildings, with their peeling paint, numberless front doors, and glimpses into empty rooms through uncurtained windows invite contemplation – of the lives once lived here, and the new lives that continue to do so.

Wilton's Music Hall
The Music Maker by Marc Gooderham

The Music Maker illustrates the facade of the famous Wilton’s Music Hall, an example of London’s decaying and unique architecture, beautiful and decorative buildings that appear desolate, living on amidst an ever-evolving city. The layers of paint applied to Wilton’s exterior over the years chime with the generations of Londoners ushered through her doors to enjoy music, variety and spectacle. Even if you’ve ever passed the building you can imagine the revelry and cabaret emanating from within. Though paint may fade, Wilton’s Music Hall remains one of the most colourful places in the East End.

Late Afternoon, Spitalfields
Late Afternoon, Spitalfields by Marc Gooderham

Marc’s prints are currently on display at Of Cabbages & Kings