There are 6m postcodes in London, what's happening in yours?
When you think of illustration, you think of children's books, school textbooks and info graphics in the press. Well, you're right. Only now, it's a part of street art and pervades everything. As our world becomes more and more visual, it pervades your life even more. Illustrated 2015 showcases the best in contemporary illustration and street art today, which takes on a variety of techniques from pyrographs to digital rendering.
Bettie Page, Katie Perry, who is she?
What caught my eye was Jarmila Mitrikova and David Demjanovic's folk art influenced illustrations that use Pyrography, a technique common in Czechoslovakia during the 60's, 70's and 80's. They burn the patterns and shapes into the wood to produce the images, which are stained. These illustrations that result use themes from socialist realism and folk art to explore Czech and Slovak society today. One image that caught my attention was a bucolic rural idyll that centres around a tractor and trailer with a ladder atop the latter, ridden by gymnasts. This echoes how totalitarian states used the body to celebrate strength of the regime and the worker and his place on the collective as one body, mind and society. The real clincher for me was that these themes are still relevant today. Look at the Mass Games and parades in Pyongyang, for starters.
Other than that, the works that caught my attention from other artists was Just's cartoonish illustrations that playfully and humorously has sexiness and surrealism in equal measure. Her work entails bright colours and unnatural occurrences, like an eye in bubblegum bubbles, as s girl's Afro hides her eyes. The sense of fun in her work really shows what illustration can do in terms of pleasure. I was transfixed on one classic pin up image of a smoking girl that suggested Louise Brooks, Bettie Page and even Katie Perry. Her bubblegum blue hair challenges our idea of what is natural and suggests a refusal to be constrained by any ideas around naturalism or realism, but also suggests an otherworldly nature to her as well.
The diversity of work on display at the exhibition shows that this is an art form going from strength to strength, but also its relevance is greater than ever.