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May 6, 2016

Kitching & Friends!

Pick Me Up 2016 at Somerset House

It is very rare we get the chance to go out as a whole bunch of us from Premm, so when Pick Me Up opened its doors at Somerset House for 2016 we were all very much up for it! I mean who doesn’t love seeing what the cultural arts have to offer each year, especially when some bring such a smile to your face like these Little ‘Floam Buddy’s’ did to mine.

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(Pictured: Floam Buddy TRIO, by Julian Glander)

We all had our favourite pieces, Sophie was particularly taken with these beautiful Pastel and glittery type pieces by BEST gallery artist Daisy Emerson. Kevin thought that the work on show from Made North was really interesting, ranging from the Tour de France-themed ‘Yellow Jersey’ to the 50th Anniversary of the British Road Sign project and their North/South Divide work. The latter included a version of the iconic George Hardie image for Pink Floyd – as discussed at the recent Secret 7” event. Adrian was drawn to the beautiful beer/lager/ale labels by the guys at 3rd Rail, part of their ‘ABV – Artist Beer Visions’ collection. We can see why everyone was taking note of the bold designs and eccentric styles which seemed to suit the bizarrely named brews.

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(Pictured top: BEST gallery artist Daisy Emerson, Pictured bottom: Artist Beer Vision by 3rd Rail)

But the pièce de résistance (and Paul’s favourite part!) had to be the final exhibit in the collection which was ‘Alan Kitching, A Life in Letterpress’. Spanning six decades and featuring over 400 prints and articles from Alan’s studio, it was a joy to walk through and experience such a body of work.

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What could have made Pick Me Up better? A talk featuring Alan Kitching?! Why didn’t you say! A panel of ex-students and friends including Anthony Burrill, Sophie Thomas, Henrik Kubel and Alan’s biographer, Eye Magazine editor John L. Walters. Discussing how inspired they all were by Kitching, and how the letterpress workshop at the Royal College of Arts, where Kitching taught, was a sanctuary when they were hiding from the other tutors and bursting with inspiration. Kitching was also up on stage, reminiscing and reflecting on his years as a designer and educator.

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Anthony Burrill asked the one question you always want to ask your design heroes – ‘What is your favourite typeface?’ Staying true to his roots and the typefaces he acquired early on, Kitching raved about Gill Sans and how even now after all these years it is still just as fashionable and versatile as it was. But he did go on to express that ‘Caslon is King’ and how when you really look at a typeface like Johnston Sans (celebrating its centenary this year) you can see just how beautiful and timeless it is.

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(Pictured top left: Work by Artist Camilla Perkins, Pictured top Right: Alan Kitching Exhibit, Pictured bottom left: Work by Artist Alice Bowsher, Pictured bottom right articles belonging to Corin Kennington)

Pick Me Up at Somerset House is on until Monday 2nd May 2016 if you haven’t already been, it’s worth the time to take a look at the beautiful prints and pieces they have on show.