Friday, 6 January 2017

Eye Candy Festival

Bet y'all were worried when I posted on Halloween night and then didn't return 'til next year, huh? *shuffles awkwardly* Well, I came back! Those ghouls couldn't defeat me, even if they did beseech me with a hectic winter.

And now who is this smug little pug? Well, it's me, 2016 me that is, with a victorious (read: weary) smile having made it to St Martin in the Bullring for 10am (just) after about 30 minutes sleep, back on October 1st. What was this in aid of? I hear you cry. And I only really need 2 words for my answer: EYE CANDY. Organised by the brilliant creators of Fused magazine, once a year design, graphic art and illustration are the words on everybody's lips as Birmingham gets the Eye Candy treatment, previously with bespoke commissions adorning the city's spaces and this year complete with an Art & Illustration fair (seen here avec tired me) along with a pop-up store.

After a very happy and, rarely profitable, day selling my wares as part of the fair, the following day I popped up at the pop-up store in the historic Great Western Arcade, ready to (temporarily) tattoo the good people of the city. The store was a gorgeous mix of rough & ready wood and exquisitely designed things, and very quickly I decided I wanted it to, well, stay forever, actually, i.e. never 'pop-down' again, when in fact it was only open a week more.

For the temporary tattoos in my temporary temporary tattoo parlour, I took the opportunity to create some designs especially for Eye Candy, a set entitled 'Birmingham's Lament'. As shown below, it featured 3 designs -

1. 'Birmingham, I Love You (But You're Bringing Me Down)' - the city's paradox, inspired by LCD Soundsystem's song about New York.

2. 'Second to None' - because I'm tired of Birmingham's constant comparison to London in its (disputed) role as second city.

3. 'Paradise Lost' - in memoriam of brutalist playground and past Central Library library complex Paradise Forum as we witness its demolition.

The punters to the pop-up were engaging, smart and creative, and I loved my day spent chatting to people, hearing their stories and rubbing their skin tenderly in the least weird way possible (which was still pretty weird) as they spoke. My new style icon is this chap with an electric blue beard, who also commented 'perhaps paradise isn't lost, just not yet found...' Hats off to the Eye Candy team for such a fabulous and well-organised weekend, that I was so chuffed to have been able to contribute to. Birmingham needs these high quality independent creative interventions, perhaps now more than ever, and I would love to see lots more design and illustration love spreading throughout the city all year round in the way the festival sparks, hints at, and basically urges.

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