Manchester music company Quenched has teamed up with artists, illustrators, musicians and comedians to launch a new campaign, Xpress, on behalf of male suicide prevention charity the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM).
Led by Quenched creative director and freelance illustrator Ben Tallon, the company has produced an album with tracks by artists including The Strokes, The Libertines and Reverend and the Makers; and a magazine-style website featuring interviews with comedian Stephen Merchant, retired WWE wrestler Mick Foley and writers, illustrators, designers and photographers including Waldo Lee, Tom Gauld and Andy Thomson.
As well as raising awareness of male suicide- the biggest cause of death in men under 35 – the campaign aims to highlight the positive effects of creative expression.
“We wanted to get across just how empowering being creative is but we also wanted the campaign to be accessible, and we wanted people to know that they don’t have to be skilled or educated in something particular – even just watching an independent film or going to an open mic night might help them find something they love doing or get chatting to someone with similar interests,” explains Tallon.
Tallon has been working on the campaign since late last year, along with art director Sam Price (who has worked on layouts for the Big Issue and Dennis publications), photographer Danny Allison and web designer Ryan Addams. It has cost around $6,000 – $1,600 of which was raised through crowdfunding site IndieGoGo – and as the album (curated by DJ and poet Danni Skerrit) has been paid for in advance, every penny of sales proceeds will go directly to CALM.
The striking album artwork was designed by artist Hannah Ward. “I met Hannah a while ago and loved her paintings right from the start. When I told her about the album, she wanted to be involved and when I saw the final painting, I thought it was perfect. It’s quite a powerful statement, and something I think people will be drawn to – I couldn’t stop looking at it,” says Tallon.
Whatever your musical tastes, Xpress deserves support: on a small budget, Tallon and co have created a campaign that could directly help and inspire the people it is asking for money to support, while showcasing a range of UK talent and encouraging more people to take an interest in the arts. It’s a great looking website with some impressive photography and illustrations and it’s all for a worthy cause.
“When I found out the statistics on male suicide, I was shocked – I think it’s tragic that people aren’t aware of just how big a problem it is. I hope that with Xpress, we’ve managed to use our skillset to do something positive for CALM and something that’s different,” adds Tallon.
Xpress: the album is on sale from May 24. For details, visit xpressofficial.com
Images (from top): Xpress: the album, designed by Hannah Ward; The Xpress website; The Xpress team (from l-r Sam Price, Ben Tallon, Danni Skerrit and Danny Allison); and an illustration of Stephen Merchant by Tallon.
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