The Print Club London Pop-Up

The Print Club London gathers up their roster of illustrators and screenprinters for their pop-up shop in Brick Lane

By Damien Frost.
Set up in 2007 by Fred Higginson, Rose Stallard and Kate Newbold, The Print Club London has been reviving screenprinting by providing a laid-back, affordable environment, which enables designers and illustrators to go from laptop to inky hands. As well as running their studio empire, they curate one of the UK’s biggest screenprinting poster shows each year, working with and selling affordable prints by some of the UK’s most prolific illustrators, designers and street artists. This Christmas they are opening a pop-up shop at 214 Brick Lane, a one-stop destination for Christmas shopping, with limited edition, signed, silk screenprints by the likes of Joe Wilson, Hennie Haworth, Rose Stallard, The Ministry of Love and Tinsel Edwards starting at £35.

TPC's director Kate Newbold-Higginson has joined forces with Cure Studio's James Hurst, selecting from the wealth of illustrators that pass through TPC doors to set up new illustration agency HigginsonHurst. Two of the artists they are taking under their wing are Damien Frost and Paul Bommer , who talked us through the world of illustration today.

Dazed Digital: You both have a very distinctive aesthetic – is this something that's developed gradually over time, or have you always drawn in one specific style?
Damien Frost: I've always been a big fan of old master and renaissance painting and I guess my illustrations have followed on from my painting, which is figurative and relatively traditional. With each new project, I always try and loosen things up a bit but nature over nurture seems to always win and I end up coming back to what I feel more comfortable with.
Paul Bommer: When I first started working professionally, I was creating very digital and vector-based images, but ultimately found it stifling, cold and limiting. My first love is drawing and always has been –  I adore the energy and immediacy of the characters and line-work fresh from the pen tip. Starting my blog (http://paulbommer.blogspot.com) a few years ago really helped free up the way I work, and it continues to do so. This last year or so, I've been focusing a lot on screen-printing as well, and that's had a huge impact on my work.

DD: What are your favourite materials to work with?
DF: I love painting in oils, but my illustration work tends to be a mismatch of pencil, pen and computer. I usually have several drafts with different materials taking greater prominence. Usually, it's the computer that wins.
PB: 
I love to work using a variety of media, depending on what's to hand and the mark and feel I'm after. The graphic pens I use the most are Staedtler pigment liners and Edding 1800 profipens. I tend to work directly into my notebook and then scan into Photoshop to further work up or use as screen print stencils. Generally, I try to keep the digital input to a minimum - I prefer the simplicity of the image itself to do the talking without too much 'garnish'.

DD: Where do you find inspiration?
DF: Walking or riding my bike around the streets. There's always so much to look at, both physically and emotionally. I'm originally from coastal Australia and it used to be that while surfing I'd always go over projects in my head. I guess riding my bike around the London streets kind of fills that void.
PB: I find inspiration everywhere, in the work of other artists past and present and in the world all around me – from illuminated Medieval manuscripts, folk art, pub signs and 18th century woodcuts to the work of Edwards Lear and Bawden, and Czech book and poster design of the 60s and 70s.

DD: Who are your favourite illustrators at the moment?
DF: I love Marcel Dzama's work, and the comic artist Chris Ware. Some younger illustrators I really like are Staffan-Larsson and Karolin Schnoor whose work always bring a smile to my face.
PB: There is a wealth of great image-makers out there. A few of my favourite illustrators at the moment are the Canadian Guillaume Pelletier, Köln-based Michael Zander, Marco Wagner, the superb John Broadley, and Robert Rubbish & the Le Gun crowd.

DD: What would your dream commission or collaboration be?
DF: Working with or for, or just seeing how Michel Gondry works would be simply amazing! There would be a list longer than my arm of the bands I'd love to collaborate with... It sounds terrible, but I think my dream commission would be just to have the money to work on my own little projects. I've always got several on the boil, but never the time nor money to get them done satisfactorily. Illustrating a children's book would also be a lot of fun!
PB: I love to collaborate with any clients who value imaginative graphics and design, are willing to take a few risks. My ideal commission would be one where I'm given free rein to flesh out a past and/or a fictional world, and give it colour and form. I would love to do posters for  theatre, film and opera productions, as well as illustrate the works of the likes of Henry Fielding, Thackery, James Joyce, Charles Dickens or the lives of characters like Ben Franklin, Samuel Pepys or Dr Johnson.

Print Club Pop-Up Shop open Saturday 19 and Sunday 20 December from 11am to 6pm at 214 Brick Lane, London E2
New prints from Si Scott, Anthony Peters, Paul Bommer, Emily Forgot, Celyn Brazer, Hennie Haworth, Malika Favre, Luke Whittaker and more.
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