The first in our fortnightly pick of new illustration work features a beautifully drawn field guide to East London wildlife, an illustrated guide to the life and work of Francis Bacon, rock-and-roll themed prints from Dorothy and a fascinating mural documenting the history of London’s Becontree Estate.
The mural (pictured top) was painted by Chad McCail and commissioned by public art group Create for This Used to be Fields, a collaborative project from the Barbican, Historypin and Create which aims to document the Becontree Estate’s past through a digital archive and public artworks.
Built as part of the ‘Homes for Heroes’ scheme, an initiative to help house soldiers returning from World War One, Becontree was the largest housing development in the world when it was constructed in the 1920s. It now has over 27,000 houses and covers four square miles of former countryside in Barking and Dagenham.
Lanarkshire-based artist McCail was commissioned to create a mural based on conversations with Becontree residents and has produced a colourful artwork charting key residents and moments in the estate’s history.
The mural begins with images of the first residents moving in, still dressed in their military uniforms. It goes on to depict World War Two bombings, visits from Mahatma Ghandi and the Hitler Youth (both invited by famous pacifist and local resident Muriel Lester), the construction of the Dagenham Ford car plant, which inspired the film Made in Dagenham, and the defeat of the British National Party in 2010 (the party had hoped to take control of the council and held election campaigns in the area, but famously lost all of its seats to Labour).
Stories which inspired the mural have also been uploaded to the archive and This Used to be Fields will be hosting regular events for residents, such as Drop-in Tuesdays and photo and history sharing sessions – see historypin.org for details.
A Field Guide to East London Wildlife
Another East London project, A Field Guide to East London Wildlife, reveals the many animals that roam the streets, fields and parks of the capital, from urban parakeets to foxes, imported snakes and feral cats.
Written by wildlife author Harry Ades and published by Hoxton Mini Press, the book features several beautiful drawings by Ian McDonnell, accompanied by trivia about London’s animal population and bizarre nature-related folklore, from tales of Jimi Hendrix releasing parakeets on Carnaby Street to stories of squirrels digging up gardens to look for drugs.
It’s a lovely collection of images and an intriguing insight into London’s wildlife: the standard paperback costs £8.95 and a collector’s edition with alternative cover is also available for £15.00.
Publisher Laurence King’s This is series aims to provide an accessible visual guide to the work of iconic artists through portable illustrated monographs which feature specially commissioned illustrations. The first three titles in the series (which we wrote about here) covered Dali, Pollock and Warhol, with illustrations by Andrew Rae and Peter Arkle.
The latest instalments chart the careers of Francis Bacon and Paul Gaugin – Bacon’s monograph was illustrated by London-based Christina Christoforou and Gaugin’s features artwork by Polish artist Slawa Harasymowicz.
Each has a very different look – Christoforou’s artwork is rendered in shades of pink and lilac, while Harasymowicz’s appears against deep reds and blues – and as with previous titles in the series, illustrators were chosen for their ability to complement and contrast featured artists’ work.
Both books are priced at £9.95 and you can order copies here.
Wetlands DM campaign
Design consultancy Build recently designed a visual identity, website and interiors for The Stow Brothers: an estate agents run by two brothers in Walthamstow, East London.
The identity combines a black, white and yellow palette with stencil lettering (see images here), and feels considerably more contemporary than most estate agent branding. Build has also since worked on marketing campaigns for the business, and recently created a beautiful series of illustrations for a direct mailer promoting a campaign to turn ten Victorian reservoirs in Walthamstowe into a nature reserve.
The illustrations, which feature local birds and ducks, were used on postcards detailling the project and Build has since released them as A3 and A4 prints, priced at £15 and £20. £5 from each sale will be donated to the London Wildlife Trust, and you can buy them from Build’s online shop.
New menus for The Savoy & The Connaught
Hotel menus aren’t featured very often on the CR blog (the last we wrote about was APFEL’s for One Lecister Street, which featured botanical and slightly psychedelic artwork by Sister Arrow) but in the past few weeks, two designs have caught our eye.
The first is London hotel The Connaught’s new menu, which features a 3D collage by artist Kristjana Williams. The artwork was commissioned by The Partners after the agency was asked to update the hotel’s branding and has been applied to 160 items, from umbrellas and keycards to menus and ‘do not disturb’ signs.
The intricate design is featured in our November issue (seen below) and combines found Victorian imagery and modern elements which reference the hotel building and its history, from an image of a yellow Saluki Hound, the heraldic symbol of the hotel’s founder, to pictures of horse chestnut trees referencing those outside The Connaught’s main entrance:
The Savoy hotel’s Beaufort Bar has also launched a new cocktail menu – a pop-up design by paper artist Helen Friel and illustrator Joe Wilson. Wilson and Friel worked closely with head bartender Chris Moore to design the menu. Inspired by a pop-up brochure made for the hotel in 1938, it features 15 illustrations, each representing a cocktail created by Moore exclusively for The Beaufort. The hotel has also produced a short film on the making of the project, which you can watch below:
Dorothy’s Rock’n’Roll Zoo
For its latest series of screenprints inspired by popular culture, Manchester studio and shop Dorothy worked with illustrator Tracy Worrall to create 77 animals inspired by rock’n’roll song titles. Animals range from Crazy Horses (Neil Young) to Beetlebum (Blur), Superfly (Curtis Mayfield) and The Love Cats (The Cure).
The collection includes a 50x70cm print:
And four box sets (packaged in a vinyl style slipcase) containing 3 12″ prints of individual characters:
It’s a fun idea and a lovely collection of illustrations from Worrall – you can see the full set of prints here.
Fredun Shapur – Kemistry Gallery
Posters on display at Kemistry Gallery, via Kemistry on Instagram
The latest exhibition at London gallery Kemistry showcases the work of Fredun Shapur, a graphic artist who designed toys for Naef in Switzerland, Galt in the UK and Creative Playthings in the US between the 1960s and 80s (he also created Creative Playthings’ logo and visual identity).
An RCA graduate, Shapur was taught by Abram Games and Edward Bawden and set up his own office in 1959. The Kemistry show includes a brilliantly crafted selection of children’s products – from sculptural animal toys to four-way puzzles – as well as illustrations, packaging and record sleeve designs.
Record sleeve design for Tropic Records and a 1964 puzzle by Shapur, on show at Kemistry (via Kemistry on Instagram)
The exhibition is open until November 15 (details here) and if you can’t make it to the show, you can read more about Shapur’s work in Playing with Design, a retrospective published by PiqPoq earlier this year and edited by his granddaughter Mira.
Advice to sink in slowly
Founded by John Stanbury in 2006, Advice to sink in slowly provides free illustrated posters to first year art students bearing wise advice and words of inspiration from established creatives. The aim, says Stanbury, is to provide advice in a creative format that “people will want to live with, and which can let advice sink in slowly and be there to help out later on.”
The project has recently launched its first wall calendar, priced at £15, with all proceeds going towards producing and distributing new posters. It’s a worthy cause, and features work by Supermundane, Lizzy Stewart, Eleni Kalorkoti and Gemma Correll – plus a great cover illustration by We Three Club.
Buy a copy at advicetosinkinslowly.net