When I was asked by the nice people at TMT if I’d like to write a bit about the things I like and see happening in the world around me for their sexy new website, I thought “who wants to read what some simple Northerner thinks about the creative world at large, I’m just an ordinary type?”, but after another little think and a look out of the window, I exclaimed “Balls to it, I quite like arty stuff, why the buggery shit not?”. They did suggest I might want to rein in the sweary when I write (kindly keep the effing and jeffing to a minimum, pottymouth), so that’ll be the last time you see me emptying my sack of wordfilth onto their lovely pages. Maybe. Unless something makes me overexcited or a bit cross (then stand back and hold on to your Homburg).
It was a joy to discover that one of my favourite design galleries and champions of all things graphic, Kemistry, has been aided by the generosity of the common man – that’s us. They blew their trumpet for help on Kickstarter, and you answered their clarion call. As is often the case nowadays, property developers had their eye on this Shoreditch prize’s building (more luxury flats, anyone?), so the labour of love started by Graham McCallum and Richard Churchill back in 2004 is on the move.
Funds raised by the Kickstarter campaign, and with a wee helping hand from the good folks of the Arts Council, mean that Kemistry Gallery will continue to show us the very finest in graphic design, not just with their current pop-up exhibition at Protein Studios (100 Years Of Graphic Design – check out that poster – now THAT is what I call a roll-call of excellence), but also with a series of talks by some bloody wonderful people over 3 nights this week 10/11/12 March – see the Kemistry site for ticket info). There’ll be a bar (which means
booze) and a café (which means tea and cake), so they’re kindly nourishing your innards as well as your creative minds and souls.
Whittling down a list of favourites from the wealth of great and varied graphic design and illustrative art Kemistry has treated us to over the years is tricky (have a look on their archive if you’ve never had the good fortune to visit –L@@K what you’ve been missing!), but I have to say that a couple of stand-out shows for me featured two masters of the art form, Alan Fletcher and Saul Bass.
To see Mr. Fletcher’s wonderful tome ‘The art of looking sideways’ in its barest original form -the scribbled pages, doodlings, broad strokes of fun - all from the pen of a clever witty man who was so at ease with his work brought me such a
huge amount of pleasure (it brought me huge pleasure at least 4 times, the Kemistry staff must have been sick of the sight of me).
Viewing some of the most iconic, yet simple, film posters ever created less than 100 yards from my swivel chair was another (lazy) treat – the Saul Bass exhibition showed us how smart graphic design can bring a film plot to life in the viewer’s mind using only the simplest of visual triggers. Cinephile heaven in my lunchbreak.
Having worked nearby in Shoreditch for over 4 years, I’ve had the good fortune to see so much gorgeousness grace their walls – and all for FREE. That’s right – gratis, for nowt. Now’s the time to support this beautifully curated treasure trove – like most things, you won’t miss it until it’s gone – and their vision for the future means that, for the very first time, a National Centre for Graphic Design will exist – what’s not to like about that?
Need more encouragement? Here’s some chap called Milton Glaser (you might have heard of him, he’s done some decent bits of work himself) giving his thoughts on the matter: The Kemistry Gallery has been one of the few dependable venues for first class work and I urge all concerned to support funding their efforts.
Couldn’t have put it better meself, MG. Go see the exhibition, support Kemistry and help them continue to support emerging talent, buy tickets and hear inspirational voices from the design world speak – and be inspired yourself.
An Ordinary Type Writes, March 9th 2015, 11am.
(Typed using Courier c/o Howard Kettler, 1955, which I know is a pointless bit of info now, seeing as though you won’t let me choose my font, you meanies)
Kemistry @ Protein, 27-31 New Inn Yard EC2A 3EY. Exhibition runs 7 – 15 March 2015