Unsigned Union grew out of the Unsigned showcase launched by BBH five years ago, which was designed to create opportunities for underrepresented talent in the advertising world. “We wanted to look outside of the traditional channels and elevate the most exciting emerging artists,” Stephen Ledger-Lomas, chief production officer at BBH, said of how the showcase came about.
Since 2021, Unsigned Union has been supported by six agencies, which alongside BBH includes Saatchi & Saatchi, Wieden+Kennedy London, Lucky Generals, Mother, Leo Burnett, and VCCP/Girl&Bear. Agencies that take part in Unsigned Union contribute opportunities like mentoring and a programme of events, including the recent exhibition showcase of work discovered through this year’s scheme at BBH’s Soho office.
As usual, the showcase brings together a mix of creators who are at different stages of their career, but who don’t have representation. Many members of this year’s cohort already have industry experience under their belt, and one participant, director and photographer Korrie Powell, has even been working with BBH on films for clients.
The other participants include photographer Adeolu Osibodu, who is interested in capturing transient moments, fashion photographer and portraitist Charles Cave, and Kin Coedel, who creates dreamlike imagery. Imagemaker and Bloomberg photo editor Siqi Li uses photography to examine the impact of social and cultural events on individuals, while Bobby Beasley, who captures obscure everyday moments on camera, uses it as “a good excuse to get chatting to folk”.
Elsewhere, Anais Stupka turns her attention to expanding notions of beauty, Zaineb Abeleque brings together faith and fashion in her photographs, and Kíra Dorottya Krász weaves analogue and digital processes together in her introspective mixed-media practice.
The line-up is completed by Asha Wilson, who creates brightly coloured, densely packed illustrations when not busy on a design job, and illustrator and art director Simone Noronha, who blends airbrushed textures and liquid shapes for a growing list of clients.
The 11 creatives from this year join an impressive list of Unsigned alumni, which includes the likes of Jesse Glazzard, Vivek Vadoliya, María Jesús Contreras, Eric Hart Jr, and Nwaka Opareke, with many past participants going on to have solo exhibitions, artist representation, and collaborations with leading brands.