Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published June 29th 2013
Brilliant Graphic Art
The other week I heard about a gallery that was exhibiting Harry Potter poster prints. I was interested in going to see it, but I mistakenly read that it was only open again on the following Thursday. It turns out that Thursday was just a special extended hours evening, and the exhibit was in fact on all week. As a result, I almost missed the event, but fortunately looked back at the website just in time to find that I could still go.
The gallery exhibiting the posters is called Coningsby, and specialises in contemporary illustrations and graphic art. Coningsby Gallery stages about thirty exhibits a year by the members of Debut Art. These artists work mainly in the commercial industry, for companies such as Coca-Cola, Apple, Penguin Books, and in the case of MinaLima, The Harry Potter Franchise.
Whenever I hear the word 'gallery', I always make the mistake of imagining large buildings like the Tate, with room upon room of paintings on display. So when I went to Coningsby Gallery, I was expecting to see an emporium of artwork from the Harry Potter films. There were eight after all, so there must be thousands of prints, designs, and models.
I was therefore a bit disappointed when I got to Tottenham Street to find a small building with only two viewing levels/rooms. Despite this, I enjoyed seeing what was on show. All the prints were by Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, the graphic designers who established the look of practically everything in the films. This includes wanted posters, book covers, newspapers, and advertisements.
It was interesting to be able to see these items up close, but in the films, you only ever get a passing glance, and don't get to see all the details. For example, The Daily Prophet includes a horoscope at the top of every issue, as well as several ads (such as a family size broom that everyone can fit on). I tried to read the small print on the articles, but could only make out a few words because the font is so stylised.
A lot of the designs never made it on screen, and this includes my favourite print at the exhibit: a book cover titled When Muggles Attack. All the prints were part of an exclusive collection limited to 250. Most of these prints were on sale, and signed by the artists.
The Coningsby sell most of their clients work, and provide a price booklet at the front window for easy reference. This is useful because it means that they don't have to label all the pictures on display with price tag; it also means you can take the booklet home with you and think about more considered purchases, instead of having to buy on the spot. Coningsby sell prints both framed and unframed. For example, issues of The Quibbler range from £279-£349 unframed and £359-£499 framed.
As well as prints, Coningsby also have a display case for models, sculptures, etc (although these are not for sale). Among the Harry Potter goods, was a replica of The Monster Book of Monsters, and Harry's train ticket to Hogwarts.
The Coningsby Gallery is definitely worth a visit if you have an interest in graphic design or looking to buy, but as it is such a small place (I took an hour's journey for a fifteen minute browse), I recommend that you plan it in as a part of a day out, or shopping trip, to make it worth the trip.