Thursday, 10:30am
17 March 2011

Young(-ish) guns, having some fun

john l. walters
the events department
Graphic design
Visual culture

The graphic art of ‘Pick Me Up’ on the banks of the Thames

Pick Me Up starts today at London’s Somerset House, the second outing for this ‘Contemporary Graphic Art Fair’ on the banks of the Thames, writes John L. Walters.

Top: Julien Roure, Pet.

PMU 2011 - Clara Terne, Varsalongen 2011, 2010

Above: Clara Terne, Varsalongen 2011.

PMU 2011 - Annelie Carlstrom, Anakronista Records, 2010

Above: Annelie Carlstrom, Anakronista Records.

In the interest of transparency I should point out that I was a member of the panel nominating the 24 international ‘rising stars’ exhibiting work for sale. It doesn’t seem long since Simon Esterson and I were huddled in a windowless room deep under the embankment, discussing a huge longlist of designers and illustrators with writer / curator Liz Farrelly, Creative Review editor Patrick Burgoyne and Somerset House’s Claire Catterall and Sarah Mann, while various IT people ran in and out with ethernet cables.

PMU 2011 - Stefanie Posavec, Of the Blue Colour of the Sky (5 Syllables), 2010

Above: Stefanie Posavec (in conjunction with Greg McInerny), Of the Blue Colour of the Sky (5 Syllables).

Fortunately we had plenty of print-outs and a big table; the final selection is packed with talented individuals.

PMU 2011 - Kate Moross, Firetrap Watch Collaboration, 2010

Above: Kate Moross, Firetrap Watch Collaboration.

I bumped into Kate Moross at last night’s opening where she expressed some misgivings about being described in the guide as ‘up and coming’ (I imagine that relative ‘veterans’ such as Tom Gauld and Paul Blow might agree.) And nobody wants to be thought of as ‘up and gone’.

PMU 2011 - James Graham, Cyclist, 2009

Above: James Graham, Cyclist.

PMU-2011-Tom Gauld, Untitled (cover for a book), 2009

Above: Tom Gauld, Untitled (cover for a book).

So maybe we should stick with ‘rising stars’. There’s also a lot more to ‘Pick Me Up’ than the 24 graphic artists selected: collectives such as Nous Vous. Ditto Press and Print Club London and a space for the excellent people of It’s Nice That, who have also curated a selection of shorts and animations for their cinema.

Anthony Burrill (see ‘Over the rainbow’ in Eye 75) is this year’s resident designer (it was Rob Ryan last year), running a daily fanzine workshop and performing with Späce Rock, a four piece band with drums, bass, guitar (‘like U2 only better,’ he says) and Burrill himself ‘making noises’.

There’s still time to book tickets for Burrill’s Eye talk next Thursday 24 May at Somerset House at 6.45pm. Eye subscribers can book at a special rate while tickets last.

See Somerset House website for more details of ‘Pick Me Up’.

See also Creative Review’s blog about PMU, with some hot-off-the-phone installation pics.

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions, back issues and single copies of the latest issue. For an extensive, if incomplete text-only archive of articles (going back to Eye no. 1 in 1990) visit For a visual sample, see Eye before you buy on Issuu.