An Interview with Sarah Beaton

Ahead of her upcoming show IN + OUT at Of Cabbages and Kings, Sarah Beaton talks through the processes that go into creating her bold expressive brush strokes.

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Sarah Beaton’s Studio in Shoreditch

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, digital….

I love the bleeding of water and paint – watercolour is probably my favourite.

How long have you been painting for? When did you start out?

I have enjoyed painting and drawing from a very young age. My dad was an art teacher so art was always a celebrated skill to explore in my family.

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Brush stroke experiments with watercolour

Your pictures evoke landscapes. Do you start with that in mind or do you let the brushstrokes inspire you?

I am inspired by nature and find it to be my escape from the busy London life. I don’t usually have a particular image in mind. I enjoy being spontaneous and seeing what develops from the brushstrokes.

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To The Edge And Back by Sarah Beaton

Where did the idea for including the figures come from?

I was working in my studio listening to the Damian Rice album, My Favourite Faded Fantasy. On the album cover, there is a series of figures on a large wall with a ladder. I loved the illustrative nature of it and decided to try and make my own little images.

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A selection of brushes used to create various marks in Sarah’s work

You use a deep dark blue in your work, what drew you to that colour?

I love water and blue, for me, is the most calming of colours. It can be intense but also very tranquil. I enjoy the extremes of it.

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You are also a theatre designer, do the two influence each other?

I feel they cross fertilise. Designing for theatre is all about telling stories through a visual narrative. I work in scale all the time and I feel this feeds into my watercolours: finding stories and compositions within an abstract image.

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Each print is professionally scanned and printed onto Hahnemuhle German Etching 310 gsm

What is your favourite takeaway?

I love Thai food. So anything vegan and Thai is a winner.

You can see more of  Sarah’s work on our website or in the shop. Feel free to pop by on Tuesday 14th August from 7-9pm to meet her in person, view the work up on the walls and enjoy a glass.

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On The Crest of A Wave – Sarah Beaton
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An Interview with Lauren Mortimer

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Our next exhibition will be with London based illustrator Lauren Mortimer. The opening night is on Thursday September 1, from 7-9pm, and the show will hang until the end of October.

We love Lauren’s graphite illustrations that combine nature elements in unexpected ways, and so it was very exciting when we got to sit down with Lauren for an interview and find out more about the lady herself and her artistic process.Lauren Mortimer_Profile

What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
The pencil is pretty much my best friend!

You originally studied Fashion Promotion at Central St. Martins. Has that influenced your current illustration work?
I think that it must have influenced my current work on some level, though if it has, not purposefully. By not having an illustration background, it allowed me to have more freedom and find my style quickly. My work does lend itself well to the fashion world though… I do a lot of editorial work for instance for fashion magazines.Lauren Mortimer Prints_2Many of your pieces include visual puns and hidden meanings, as well as surrealist combinations. How do those themes come together for your pieces?
I think the wonderful thing about illustration is that you can create anything you like on a piece of paper. There are no limits. Though my work is very realistic, I like to mix themes and merge objects together to create something more visually exciting – something that isn’t a reality. Patterns and texture play a huge part of my work too. I like to change the meaning of the objects, and nature will always be huge starting point for me.
 

Some of the projects you’ve worked on include illustrating books. Can you tell us a bit about the process for a larger project like that?
I’ve got 5 books under my belt so far, and I’m working my way through the final artwork of my 6
th, a colouring book. The wonderful thing about big projects like these is that you have a physical product at the end of it with all of your artwork put together. You see it in a different context to the piece of paper you created it on, and you have that proud moment. When my two cocktail books, Tequila Mockingbird, and Gone With The Gin arrived in the post from the publisher, it was really exciting, and definitely a highlight for me.Lauren Mortimer_Gone With The Gin Cover GWTG_Lauren Mortimer_Blade Rummer

There is a slightly macabre and dark undertone to many of your pieces, is that something you find yourself consciously drawn to? Do you find that graphite lends itself particularly well to those themes?
I think that it’s just my style and my interests that come together that way. By contrasting an object that’s soft and beautiful with something that’s hard, for instance, enhances each of them, and creates something poetic in my eyes. For me it’s more about how the viewer interprets it. Everyone should take what he or she wants from it in their own way.

How long have you been making prints?
I’ve been producing limited edition prints for about 4 years now! Time flies!

What is your favourite takeaway?
That’s easy… Pizzzzaaaaaaa!  

Thanks so much! You can see more of Lauren’s work on our website or in the shop. Feel free to pop by on Thursday the 1st to meet her in person, enjoy the work up on the walls and have a glass of wine.

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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. 

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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 😦

Made You Look screening and Q&A

When we heard about the documentary Made You Look we just knew that we had to get involved. The film is primarily about printmaking and the digital age. The documentary interviews a number of established artists from across the UK about their work and how they view art and making in the middle of a digital revolution.

Process of an Anthony Burrill print.
Process of an Anthony Burrill print.

In our gallery and shop space we work with a number of artists who also print at Print Club London, a studio space that gives artists access to screenprinting equipment on a membership basis. Many of the artists in the film are also members of Print Club, which is located down the road from us in Dalston.

Hattie Stewart in the Made You Look documentary
Hattie Stewart from Made You Look documentary

We have organized a screening of the film on Monday October 26, at 6:00pm, at the Hackney Picturehouse. There will be a Q&A afterwards with one of the co-directors, Anthony Peters, and producer David Waterson. You can purchase tickets through Ourscreen for the event. We need to sell a certain number of tickets before October 18 in order to have the screening go ahead, so please purchase your tickets soon or we’ll all miss out!

You can watch the trailer for the movie here.

The synopsis of the film is below.

The last 15 years has seen a boom in the UK graphic arts and illustration industry, with a DIY scene emerging and prospering alongside new and affordable leaps in technology.

So much of our lives is now spent in the virtual digital realm, so what will become of the tactile objects we all hold so dear? Will we see books disappear in our lifetime? And why are more and more creatives moving away from the computer and getting back to using their hands to create art, both commercially and for art’s sake.

Made You Look is a documentary which sets out to explore the landscape of the commercial arts in the 21st Century. It’s a film that gives an insight into how modern creative people feel about the challenges and triumphs of living in a hyper digital age.

This film is a rare and candid insight into the work of some of the UK’s top creative talent, including beautifully shot footage of artists at work and play in their own creative environments.

Pete Fowler painting from the documentary Made You Look
Pete Fowler painting.

Anthony did a keynote talk at the Blogtacular conference in June, which they have just released for the public to watch. He talks about how he got the idea for the movie, some sneak peeks into the making of, and the importance of making.

We hope to see you at the screening!

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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Ashley Amery Inverview and Exhibition

We are excited to announce the next exhibition in the shop. Ashley Amery will be displaying new prints and drawings on July 2 from 7-9pm. If you are interested in attending you can RSVP with our Facebook event.

We were able to grab Ashley for a little interview about her work and inspirations, as well as a preview of some of her pieces that will be displayed in the show.
Web Banner OCK show_2What is your artistic weapon of choice? Pencil, pen, paintbrush, printing squeegee…
A pigment liner pen, or a small paint brush.

You have studied art in California, Italy and in London. Did you find that there were different approaches to art in each place? Has that influenced your work?
I think place always influences work, the landscape as much as the people. In California, I studied under artists influenced by Abstract Expressionism, who focused on the act of painting as an expression of the unconscious. California felt big and open. Large canvases layered with paint made sense in the space there. When I moved to Italy, it was a different world, packed with detail, and an extensive past. I had access to darkrooms and printmaking studios, and a library full of art theory books. I became interested in photography and how an art piece can embody a concept. I wanted to live in London partly because I read about ideas coming from the art colleges there. I loved the work of artists who used their practice as a way of thinking philosophically, often humorously. During my MA at Camberwell I began to draw about my internal struggles to define my identity. Since then I have circled back to the unconscious, approaching it with illustrative imagery rather than painterly gestures. Using the narrative aesthetic of illustration can be an unsettling way to point toward questions about limitations. Opposition within a piece creates energy.Ashley Studio shot

Your pieces evoke storytelling, imagination and play, while also hinting at darker mysteries. Can you tell us a bit more about your inspiration for creating these pieces?
For me, art is play that helps me access my thoughts. I like to think of my drawings as a way of looking for the unknown self.

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Swimming by Ashley Amery 420×594 mm.

You also run a business (White Wall Yellow Door) creating children’s resources for museums and galleries. Do you find it very different to create art for children than adults?
The work I do with WWYD is about creating space for children to use their imaginations, which often means having to think about bigger ideas and take away much of my own detail work. I co-direct with an artist friend of mine, Sophy Rickett, and we enjoy the challenge of getting ideas about art across to young people. Each project has a direct aim and a client, providing a nice structure to work within. It’s exciting to make something kids spend time with, giving them ways to discover their own ideas and abilities.

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Story no. 1 by Ashley Amery. Gouache on paper.

Do you find yourself returning to themes with your work?
I am fascinated by the idea of the human mind, memory, and the unconscious, especially Jung’s archetypal Shadow. I have returned to this in a number of drawings and prints.
How long have you been printing?
I have been printmaking in some form since 2005, and I’ve always been drawing.

What is your favourite takeaway?
Bos Cirrik

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!

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