Thursday, 27 November 2014

Illustrated Brum In The House

It's been a hectic fortnight donning my Illustrated Brum cap and getting to work with Sarah Isaacs to deliver our first ever exhibition install together, ready to showcase our latest project One Hundred Thousand Welcomes. The opportunity to take over a linear corridor space at mac birmingham was both exciting and challenging, and we've decided to fill it with creative 'welcomes' ie. introductions, invitations, instigations and reflections on the City of Birmingham forming a collection of engagements. Currently existing as a blog online and within us as a creative partnership, we are excited to break Illustrated Brum out into a physical space and allow other people to become a part of it: artists, students, passers by; making mac the perfect location to tap into.

Opting for a colourful graphic approach to the base design, we allowed ourselves to be led by a process in the space rather than realising a prefabricated idea, yet sought to reflect some of Birmingham's architectural shapes, including forms inspired by Central Library, The Mailbox and mac's very own Hexagon Theatre. The colours are linked to the categories on our blog, anchoring the exhibition in a series of signs and visual signifiers centred around reading meaning and creating understanding. Currently structured to receive welcomes and generate initial interest, in January we will build on the space by showcasing specially commissioned prints by local artists alongside all submissions we have received.

The fluidity of the project at this stage makes it both wonderful and terrifying, but above all it has already begun to connect us with new people and organisations through a concept that means something to us; one centred on openness, generosity and (re)discovery. It has also shown me that it's very special to have someone to work alongside jovially and cohesively, even when things get stressful.

Papped by the one and only Kate Andrews.
For more information on the installation process, such as where we washed our brushes, head over to Illustrated Brum to read our joint blog post. Also, we ask that you submit a welcome to our project, as without you guys we don't have an exhibition. For more information on how to get involved visit our One Hundred Thousand Welcomes Campaign page or email us at

Friday, 21 November 2014

Glug Birmingham

As showcased proudly in my previous post (like a child's best drawing put up on a fridge) me and Laurie Ramsell submitted a design to glug birmingham's poster design competition, and after breathing a sigh of relief at making the deadline it was quickly revealed that we had, infact, got the gig. Yes, we only went and bloody won.

This was very exciting news, but meant speaking at the Midlands Masters event that we were already due to attend on a casual basis, no longer destined to simply be a chilled out attendee with a hot dog in one hand and a beer in the other (at least not until later), but instead ones who had to get onto the stage and say words at the crowd and try not to get said refreshments thrown at them.

Echoing the speedy nature in which our design came together, we created a short presentation detailing the idea behind the image and how we got to the final stage. As we had explored the concept fully together during the design process it wasn't too taxing to put this information into slides, but I was uncharacteristically nervous, and due to the quick turnaround wondered if we could pull it off, without boring people, talking over each other, or one of us vomiting through fear.

Photograph by Jack Spicer Adams.

It wasn't so bad though, at all, and not only did someone cheer when Laurie mentioned his local town of Stourbridge (represent) but we also felt the support of both Lisa & Kerry, and the rest of the glug team. It was an amazing chance for us to be listened to by the creative public; by everyone from industry insiders to starry-eyed students, with us lying very much somewhere in between the two - with lots to learn but still, irrevocably, something to say.

Coverage of the competition can be found over on Inkygoodness, where you can see the other lovely designs selected for exhibition, and we would like to thank glug for this opportunity over and over again.


"We received some fantastic entries, but Louise and Laurie’s design was unlike anything else! Their clever interpretation of the theme makes great use of the limited colour palette, whilst combining hand made and digital image-making to produce a fun and playful design that really stands out."

- Lisa Hassell, Director of Inkygoodness

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Bit Forward

Embarking on a short-term collaborative project with artist Laurie Ramsell, above you can see our physical recreation the City of Birmingham crest, dedicating its representation of the arts and trade industries to the creative sector. It depicts creativity as a personal expression and philosophy (a way to explore the world more deeply) but also a trade and a craft, something that we think resonates with Birmingham's industrious values and history as a city, as well as us both as individual artists. 

This particular creation was all in aid of designing a poster for 
glug birmingham, and whilst the crest was something that had interested us since returning to the city, in this instance the research and the brief just fit together in harmony making it the right time to realise and share the idea. We built the crest out of cardboard at 'life size' and assembled it for a tableau-style photograph at our old college in Stourbridge, putting ourselves in the picture. Thanks to the supportive staff and our own lack of fear for paper cuts or splinters, this image was born a few hours later, applying a colour palette specific to the brief digitally to tie the whole thing together, a mock-up for which can seen on the original crest here:

 I would urge you all to play around with your craft and let other people shape it, because through this little project I've learned that as well as being a delicate balance between multiple viewpoints, it can be very very fun, and it will feed back into your own ideas in a positive way if you let it.

To close, here is a picture of us larking about on set.

Precious Flower Feathers

As many of you will know Amelia's Magazine is currently going full pelt to make a magical special edition book laced with gold, centred around the theme of That Which We Do Not Understand.

Forming my submission to her open call out, this image is my take on Xochiquetzel, a goddess in Aztec mythology associated with concepts of fertility, beauty, and female sexual power. Serving as a protector of young mothers and a patroness of pregnancy and childbirth, the name 
Xochiquetzal is a compound of xochiti (“flower”) and quetzalli (“precious feather”) and she is always depicted as a youthful woman, richly attired and symbolically associated with vegetation and in particular flowers. Upon reading about this character I became interested in the parallels she holds with ideals of modern womanhood, and the mystery that continues to surround what it means to be feminine and how beauty & female sexuality is perceived. I love the fact she is engulfed by nature and surrounded by so much wondrous flora, and I see this as a exemplifying the natural beauty of womankind; radiant and sweet-swelling, with an effortless allure and grace.

It's been something very different for me that I've really enjoyed making, retaining a roughness of pencil but working harder to create intense detail and depth of colour alongside looser marks.