Kiki Ljung is an Italo-Swedish freelance illustrator and designer currently living in Paris. Having graduated from CSM in 2014, she’s now making a name for herself with distinctive bold and colourful illustration.
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Marta Gawin is a Polish multidisciplinary graphic designer with some great experimental visual identity, sign system, poster, information, exhibition and editorial design work. Since her MA in Graphic Design (Academy of Fine Arts, Katowice) in 2011, she has been working as a freelancer for cultural institutions and commercial organisations.
International Editorial Design Conference QVED 2015 is entering its third year and takes place in Munich from 26-28 February. The annual event brings together designers, publishers, editors and journalists from across the globe, and acts as a platform for sharing and discussing ideas and current work. This year’s line up includes: art director, designer and consultant Roger Black; Ricarda Messner and Michelle Phillips of Flanueur Magazine; award-winning art director, critic, author and editor Steven Heller; founding editor of Anorak Magazine Cathy Olmedillas; creative director of quarterly food journal Lucky Peach Walter Green; Sven Ehmann creative director of Gestalten plus many more.
This year’s conference boasts three carefully curated sessions: photography for magazines, illustration and infographics, each hosted by a special guest speaker. A particular focus will also be drawn on City Magazines with QVED co-curator and publisher of award-winning Paperjam, Mike Koedinger hosting the strand which will explore how city focussed publications shape future urban living. QVED is a platform not only for the makers of magazines, but for designers, journalists, editors and publishers to share and discuss the work they are creating. With an international lineup mirrored by an international audience, the conference brings together the best editorial minds from across the globe. QVED is co-curated and hosted by Boris Kochan, Mike Koedinger, Jeremy Leslie and Horst Moser. The conference takes place at Alte Kongresshalle in Munich. Get your Tickets!
In this second of our year end reviews we’re looking again at publishing, this time focussing on books. Who better to speak to on the subject than the duo responsible for FFF-favourite Unit Editions – Adrian Shaughnessy and Tony Brook. With Manuals 2 [Unit 18] still flying off the virtual shelves we hear their individual reflections, highlights & predictions…
Tell us what it is you do, and why you do it..
AS/ I’m a graphic designer, writer and senior tutor in Visual Communication at RCA, and as one of the co-founders of Unit Editions, I’m also a publisher –but even after five years of Unit, it still sounds odd to write that. Me a publisher? Well, yes, actually. As for why I do what I do? Paranoia, fear and self-doubt.
TB/ I’m a designer at Spin and a (relatively recent) publisher with Unit Editions, I also collect graphic design and have curated a couple of exhibitions. I didn’t have any real choice about the design aspect, it is a vocation; I’m lucky enough to love what I do. The other three facets have happily fallen out of the first.
Can you both give us a couple of personal highlights from the year?
AS/ I’m not very good at looking back. I can barely remember what I did last week, far less think about what was happening in January. In my view, you only look back when you don’t have much to look forward to. There’s never been a time in my life when I haven’t had an immediate future stacked with deadlines, objectives and targets. When I’m in the old folks home with my hearing aid and pacemaker, I might start to look back. Having said that, I’d say that the success of our two Manuals books has been a highlight. Two weeks in Japan was also pretty good. Curating a show of 50 years of graphic design at the RCA was fun. But other than that it has been relentless work, work, and more work.
TB/ It’s been quite a year. I got to visit New Zealand through an invitation to talk at Semi-Permanent. It was a fabulous experience: I got to hang out with the legend that is Dean Poole from Alt group. Work-wise, seeing Manuals 2 in print has been incredibly satisfying, and launching the Spin website was a real highlight. Meeting up with Lance Wyman and Paula Scher was the cherry on top.
You collaborate on Unit Editions, how did that all come about?
AS/ I’d reached a point where I was fed up working with mainstream publishers and was beginning to think about starting my own imprint. I went to the pub with Tony and he said he was also contemplating starting a publishing venture. He had already done some self-publishing so he was ahead of me. But it made lots of sense that we combine our skills and use the knowledge and experience we’d both accumulated as studio owners over many years to start Unit.
TB/ As Adrian mentioned we had a fortuitous meeting where, after the shortest time, we realised that our ambitions were very similar and that our mutual interest and skill sets meant that we could make something work. There was a giant Unit Editions-shaped whole for books that balanced out (hopefully) beautiful design with rich visual and written content.
It’s been another bumper year for editorial design and independent publishing – plenty of new titles hit the shelves (and blogs) in 2014 – and many events and initiatives launched or returned – all pointing towards an industry in rude health. We caught up with Steve Watson and Jeremy Leslie, two of the industry figures most passionate about print, to get their reflections, highlights & predictions…
Tell us what it is you do, and why you do it..
SW/ I send out a different independent magazine every month to a couple of thousand subscribers around the world. And I do it because I’m in love with the ideas and energy in the best independent magazines, and I know that there are a lot more people out there who would love these magazines if they could only discover them.
JL/ I design, write and publish. Most of my time is spent designing, working with clients on their magazines, apps and websites at the magCulture studio. Alongside this I promote creative editorial design via the magCulture website, conferences and other events. And we publish a few things – we just launched our first magazine Fiera in collaboration with Katie Tregidden. I do it because I find editorial design fascinating. Design in an editorial context is not surface, it is content.
Can you each give us a couple of personal highlights from the year?
SW/ Jeremy’s Modern Magazine Conference was really great – it’s fantastic that he’s able to bring magazine makers from all over the world to London for one big get together. And at the opposite end of the conference spectrum, I also had a fantastic time at Indiecon in Hamburg. It was the first time they’d held the event and it was a genuinely indie production – a group of young friends doing something because they really care about it.
JL/ Things to remember include working with Douglas Coupland on Kitten Clone; taking Printout to Bristol; eating at Noma; putting together a radio show for Pick Me Up radio; discovering Limewood with Lesley; collaborating with Vitsoe on the 620 Reading Room; helping design a live stage show to mark Maison Moderne’s 20th anniversary. And moving from home into the new studio space.
You guys collaborate on Printout – how did that come about?
SW/ Way back when I first started working for The Church of London I went from having one day a week for Stack, to having two days a week. I was really keen to experiment with magazine events, and I remember speaking to Jeremy at The Church of London offices and realising that we’d both been having similar ideas. We realised that this wasn’t going to be either a Stack or a magCulture thing, so we knocked some ideas for names back and forth and a few weeks later we were running our first ever Printout.
On the launch of the Telegramme Paper Co. we caught up with long time friend of FFF Bobby Evans to find out what the heck is going on… (we also scored an exclusive discount for all our readers – simply enter ‘FFF10‘ at the final checkout after choosing payment method to get a 10% discount, valid until 10th October – yee-haa!) _
You’ve had quite a year – for those who haven’t been following you on social media give us a few highlights?
Oofff – it feels like a pretty packed year. Gig posters have continued to allow us to travel around and meeting some incredible people. This year was my 4th trip out to SXSW in Austin Texas with the UKPA gang, showing our wears, eating too much BBQ and hanging out with poster nerds from around the world. Its so inspiring to see the level of work going on over there and always super fun and so great to catch up with friends we only unfortunately get to see once a year.
We also took our posters to Liverpool sound city’s ‘Screenadelica‘ exhibition, ticking off a bucket list dream of producing a poster for our favourite Minneapolis bar band, The Hold Steady along the way. Then, to finish the summer off, we had an amazing weekend at Green Man festival manning the UKPA stall, slinging posters and seeing some great bands.
I always feel so lucky that we get to travel around and meet so many brilliant friends from doing these posters. 8 years ago they were just a way to get in to gigs for free (they still kind of are!)
Outside of posters we’ve worked with some amazing new clients (working with the incredibly talented Timba Smits over at The Church of London a particular highlight). We’ve tested our new products and hung out at craft fairs around the country and even won our first ever award! thanks to YCN for awarding our illustrated poster campaign for Percival Menswear a ‘Professional Award’ – we are legit now!
The rest of the time, when we haven’t been plotting our future empire with Telegramme Paper Co., we’ve just been escaping the city with as many trips as our ‘two for travel‘ railcard can handle (turns out its unlimited).
So Telegramme is rebranding as Telegramme Paper Co. After 8 years this is obviously a big change! With new talent on board (hi Kate) and a new focus on printed goods – was this always the master plan? and how do you see things progressing?
Telegramme started with a strong emphasis on screenprinting and gig posters, so making and selling our own prints and products has always been a part of what we do, but has always played second fiddle to client led design and illustration work. The idea of focusing on this part of the business has been at the back of my mind for a while, it just had to be the right time, and after chatting to Kate about joining and making it real, it felt like the time had arrived. We will continue to take client work, as we still really enjoy it, we just hope to be able to split our time enough to be able to grow our product and print collections more and more going forward.
Kate, an incredibly talented designer & art-director, is now a part of Telegramme proper, how do you see that impacting the aesthetic? Is it already visible in any of your work?
Although we are always pushing and developing our aesthetic it’s safe to say people know our work due to it’s style – I think this will continue to be case – we don’t know any other way! Kate and I have extremely similar influences and interests in terms of style. We both have a huge love for vintage and mid-century design so the work that comes from both of us sits together really well. However I think the possibilities of what Paper Co. can be has already been blown way open with Kate coming on board. We have so many ideas for projects and products that wouldn’t’ve come from a one man band. Kate has had the benefit of seeing Telegramme from the outside – and can put all the benefit of hindsight in to the new work and products.
Many people will recognise you from your gig poster work, is this something you’ll be continuing with? (& your involvement with the UKPA)
There are still quite a few bands we need to tick off our wish list yet… Gig posters were one of the reasons Telegramme was even started. It is always going to be a part of what we do – Despite not actively chasing a huge amount of gig poster work this year, while we have been plotting Paper Co., we’ve ended up designing more posters this year than ever before.
Although I’ve seen it building over the 8 years I’ve been producing posters, the UK music industry has really got behind silkscreen printed posters in the last 2 years like nothing before. The response at Liverpool Sound City, Green Man festival and a few other smaller festivals from all of the artists, festival organisers and audiences really reenforced the strength of the poster this year – Not to mention the constantly growing roster of artists in the UK. Being part of the UKPA allows me to keep in touch with the scene and enjoy seeing what is getting produced.
What stuff on the horizon are you most excited about?
As always here are a few gigs coming up. Really excited about seeing Greys at the 100 club – Our friend took over booking duties there this year and they have been putting on some great stuff – all promoted by those talented kids at We Three Club with the best looking monthly listings I’ve ever seen.
Last year we reported on Jeremy ‘magCulture’ Leslie’s Modern Magazine event organised to coincide with the launch of his book of the same name, and hailed it as a huge success. We also told Jeremy we hoped it’d become an annual fixture on the conference scene. Friday 19th saw the second ModernMag event, this time held at the LCC and co-hosted by It’s Nice That’s Liv Siddall, so it seems like our wish might be coming true! We caught up with Jeremy before the event and got some answers about what we could expect – and I then enjoyed a great days discussion about magazines! Here’s our very brief overview of the 12 talks and our key snippets of wisdom from each speaker… See some of you there next year!
D8 are a creative agency based in Glasgow, Scotland. We recently received a copy of the latest issue of D8’s magazine. It’s a thing of beauty so I spoke to Creative Director and Co-founder Adrian Carroll to find out a bit more information…
For those who don’t know, introduce D8 to us, tell us about your recent move etc.. Hello, well we’re a Glasgow based branding/creative agency. We’ve been on the go for just over 15 years and have grown to just over 40 people in that time hence the move to a bigger studio. We started out doing mainly design work that was printed (the internet was just getting started, at the point we were all on dial up modems) now our work includes packaging, digital, experiential, all sorts really.
Give us a bit of background on the Mag, I know this is issue 6 – I remember discovering the PDF’s a couple of years ago on your old site but I wasn’t aware they were printed magazines back then – was that always the case? Yes, they were always printed, we love high quality print and finishing. There’s definitely still a place for it, good print engages the senses in a way that other media can’t.
This issue feels particularly spectacular – one of those magazines that digital would never do justice to. Why do you feel its important to lavish money on a piece like this? Is it a new business driver, or just something lovely to produce because you can? It’s loosely a business development piece in that we send it to clients and people we’d like to work with. It demonstrates what we’ve done and what we can do, if we’re going to do it it has to be done well, that’s a fundamental hence the lavish print finishing.
What was the turnaround for the mag? – and when will there be another one? It takes a while because client work always takes priority, we aim to do 2 a year give or take.
What’s next for D8? – and where can we keep up to date with what you’re up to? We just keep trying to be better each year, I’ve always taken the view that if we concentrate on the quality of work we produce everything else will take care of itself. We just try to keep our head down, work hard, charge a fair price and be nice to people. That’s about it really! In terms of finding out what we’re up to there’s the website www.weared8.com where you can get our email newsletter. We/I am also on twitter @weared8 @ac_seventhree and I’m on Instagram with the same username.
The-Art-Form is a limited edition publication about art and artists and is the brainchild of UK based designer Andy Townsend. Each issue features six artists who have completed a form about art, answering the 13 questions set them in their own unique way, giving an insight into their work and working practice. Some of the artists have created drawings, paintings and sketches, in response to the questions. Issue 1 features: Ian Davenport, Paul Insect, Dan Baldwin, Peter Liversidge, Rana Begum and Michael Reisch.
John Owens, Creative Director at Instruct Studio, has been in touch to let us know about Design Manchester 14, which builds on the promising start of last year’s inaugural event.
There’s over 18 events across the city including headline talks from Build, Tony Brook, Andy Nicholson (Gravity the Film) and installations from fashion designer Helen Storey MBE, not to mention something fun from Adidas.
This year’s Design Manchester takes the theme of ‘The Science of Imagination’ and, according to host Malcolm Garrett, ‘taps into Manchester’s prolific legacy in innovation and technology’.
The festival takes place next month, for more info check out this piece on Design Week.
Following the success of last year’s event, The Modern Magazine day returns on 19th September (as part of the London Design Festival) as a one-day conference, staged by magCulture and co-hosted by Jeremy Leslie and Liv Siddall. The 2014 edition focuses on the future of publishing, with guest speakers from across the world gathering to discuss their take on what happens next as the publishing industry continues to work out its future.
“We’ll hear from Adam Moss, editor of iconic US magazine New York about balancing print and digital, from David Moretti, design director of Wired Italia about designing for print and iPad, and from Jeremy Langmead about content marketing. The people behind some fo the best independent magazines will be discussing their role in the wider context of magazine publishing.”
I caught up with TMM organiser and all round magazine guru and good-guy Jeremy Leslie to find out more…
The Modern Magazine conference is back (just as we hoped it would be!) What was it that made you want to put on another conference of this sort? The original event was intended as a one-off to celebrate publication of my book of the same name. And it would have remained a one-off if we hadn’t had such a positive reaction to the day. Every review, the speakers and the audience responded so well that it was on my mind from the next day that we needed to consider an annual event. And you wrote exactly that in your review. There are plenty of design-orientated conferences and talks in London, and there are many business-orientated publishing events. I believe there’s space for an event that covers editorial design in detail and across both mainstream and independent sectors. So having succeeded with it last year we’re seeing if we can make it annual. So far it appears to be a ‘yes’!
How is it different from last years? We learned a lot from last year’s first event in terms of planning, set-up, costs and content. That knowledge gives the team a sound starting point for this year.But the focus is different – last year was all about the book and I felt it needed me as the frontman on that basis. This year we’ll follow a similar format for the day but look more at the imminent future of magazines and editorial design. We’ve invited Liv Sidall from It’s Nice That to co-host, she shares my love of magazines, so I can be more directly involved in the day. For example I’ll be live interviewing Adam Moss, the inspirational editor of New York magazine about how he’s reshaping this iconic magazine for the future.The other big change is the location. We’ve moved to the London College of Communication to make it a little more intimate. Last year’s venue was spectacular but almost daunting! And LCC was where I studied (back when it was still called LCP) so there’s a satisfying element of return to that choice too.
What can attendees expect from the day, and who should come? We try to create a balance between design and editorial, with both creative inspiration and solid discussion of issues facing the industry included. People already attending include working designers and editors form the UK and Europe, junior editorial staff and students. Editorial design in its broadest sense is increasingly relevant to all graphic designers as content becomes more central to our practice. There’s also a strong entrepreneurial element to independent publishing that is relevant to graphic design in the wider sense. Come and be inspired!
Obviously you can’t pick a favourite speaker (that would just be rude) but is there anything specific you’re particularly looking forward to this year? Everyone’s been invited on merit so I can’t highlight single speakers. It’s more about the overall combination of participants; we set up the day as a live magazine, with different lengths and styles of presentation to avoid repetition. I’m just finalising the running order and am relishing the potential scheduling juxtapositions. One in particular is amusing me – it sums up the scope of what editorial design is. But I’m not letting on!
Adam Moss, editor, New York magazine. Kai Brach, founder, Offscreen. Veronica Ditting, art director, The Gentlewoman. Peter Houston, blogger and man behind the Magazine Diaries. Jeremy Langmead, Head of content, Christies. Simon Lyle, editor of Hot Rum Cow and new magazine Poppy.
Danny Miller, founder of Little White Lies, revealing his new magazine. David Moretti, design director of Wired Italia. Rob Orchard, founder, Delayed Gratification. Danielle Pender, editor, Riposte. Elana Schlenker, founder, Gratuitous Type. Pekka Toivenen, ‘art dictator’, FAT. Steve Watson, Stack Magazines.
London College of Communication, Friday 19th September 2014.
Tickets cost £140 (£75 students), including lunch and refreshments throughout the day and drinks at the close, and are available from shop.magCulture.com. See you there!
With just under a week to go, momentum is building for the first outing of Glug Birmingham on Thursday 21st August. Titled MIDLAND MASTERS, an event curated by Created in Birmingham and Inkygoodness, in association with (the newly rebranded) Glug, is hosted at Fazeley Studios. Riso print programmes for the night have been printed by Hato Press, the poster inside designed by headline speaker Alex Fowkes, with the programme itself designed by Kerry Leslie. We’re looking forward to being there, it promises to be a great night!
PROVIDE (Matt Nation) Starting from the bottom (and we’ll probably be here a while) Hero of Switzerland & FRUKT (Dan Button) Doing a Hobby for a Living Waste Studio (Norm Hayes) Apple P Cuppa Tea Studio Output (Alun Edwards & Chris Allwood) New Challenges Well Made Studio (Gemma Germains) No Friends in Business Alex Fowkes Process is Just as Important as Product
Nine stalls in our pop-up market: Codswallop Collective (Art prints), Brothers of the Stripe (Prints & originals), Working Clasp (Jewellery), Mike Stimpson (Photography), Hero of Switzerland (Art prints), LizzLizz (Comics), PROVIDE (Clothing & Accessories), Bethany Thompson (Art prints), Sam Pierpoint (Handpainted shoes).
Live drawing from Brothers of the Stripe, taking place in the Fazeley Studios courtyard (where you’ll find the BBQ too). Live t-shirt silk-screen printing from Waste Studio. AMMO Magazine special edition launch party. FREE screen print, designed by Alex Fowkes, printed by Whiteduck Screenprint (for the first 100 guests to sign in!) as well as tasty treats from Paisley Immy.
All of this will be taking place at Fazeley Studios, 6pm-11pm. To finish, there’s an after-party at Spot*Light, 10pm-1am.
Tickets are available on eventbrite, priced £7.50 (+ free drink)
A further two events are planned for 20th November (Illustration – speakers include Studio Binky and Florence Blanchard) and 12th March (Digital / Innovation – speakers include Gavin Strange and Jonny Costello).
I caught up with Craig Oldham to discuss his recent work for D&AD‘s New Blood Awards, which draws together the organisation’s previous Student Awards, Graduate Academy, and New Blood Exhibition, aiming to create a simpler structure that encourages more young people to enter the scheme. You can see some his picks from the 700+ portfolios represented here.
A series of infographics were created, on which Craig worked with copywriter and collaborating creative director John Goddard. Speaking to Creative Review, Craig explained – “Once we’d got the main content plotted out, we realised just how massive the whole thing was, which was when we started to get excited about it – I think at the back of our minds we wanted to create the world’s biggest flow-chart. The whole point of a flow diagram is that you can use it to illustrate anything. You can diverge, and branch off. There are no limits to what you can do with it, which is as much of a curse as it is blessing,”
You’re a vocal advocate of D&AD and design education in general, whats your history and current relationship with D&AD?
I’ve been involved with D&AD in many capacities throughout the years. I exhibited in the New Blood exhibition when I graduated, I went to an agency where Ben Casey was involved in D&AD and where getting in-book was a major deal in the awards season, and from those early beginnings I’ve done pretty much everything they’ve ever asked of me—but not because of anything more than a shared belief. I was always aware of the awards—as everyone is—but they invest all that back into education and that’s what I believe in, and what has kept my relationship with them for all these years. Education is what matters to me. It can be the most rewarding and powerful thing you can share. And D&AD and I share that value system.
I was at the wrap of the New Blood Academy last week (where graduates in the New Blood Programme get a 2 week ‘bootcamp’ effectively), and speaking to the graduates involved and how much better and optimistic they feel on trying to get a first foothold in the industry than before is really powerful stuff.
When I think of the OOCO I don’t traditionally associate you with installation / exhibition design. How did you find working to such a scale? Is this the sort of work you’d like to be doing more of?
To be honest, I’ve had previous experiences working in all that scale on a lot of projects past and present. It’s different but certainly not daunting. I like it as you get to operate physically from the beginning and it adds an extra dimension to the way you have to think. I get a kick out of production, the physicality and the assembly of things, the fabrication, materials, scales and methods etc. are heightened in installation and exhibitions. Don’t get me wrong, they’re as important (if nor more) in the more 2-D medias like books and the likes, but more things can go west so you have to think a bit differently.
I always love designing spaces and things to go within spaces. It’s not a different way of thinking, just a different way of doing.
Working with a copywriter sounds like the traditional Art&Copy model, but you’re also quite the wordsmith (swear-smith?) and John (Goddard) is also a creative director – how collaborative was the process of writing and designing together?
It’s quite a flip-flop to be honest. John, besides being technically a copywriter, is a really visual person and often arms his ideas with a strong visual or aesthetic sensibility. He’s not there to simply write things or make sense of my sweary, garbled notes, but be a good art director too. And likewise I’m not just here for the pictures. I’ve never been a sketcher and always written ideas or talked them to a conclusion so generally we work extremely well together and alternate between the two. John’s words and I’m pictures, and I’m words and he’s pictures. And that relationships helps us get to a really good point. Plus we get on very well and laugh—a hell of a lot—which is important (and tends to be our yardstick for the quality of a project).
What’s next for OOCO? Anything in the pipeline you can share…
I’m working on the next book which I’ve curated and produced. It’s a different one to the Hand.Written.Letter.Project or The Democratic Lecture, but will be produced to the same standards and cover a theme I’ve always been interested in. This tome is a celebration of the intelligence, wit, humour and innate creativity of the working class. It’s a political book of graphic works from the seemingly ordinary person who can create the most extraordinarily powerful things. Alongside works from from an acclaimed film director, a Turner Prize winning artist, a YBA artist, will be stuff from my Dad and many many “amateur” creatives… bet you can’t wait for the press release on that one!
Calcutta-born, London-based artist and designer Gerry Judah has been delighting visitors to the Goodwood Festival of Speed with iconic and gravity-defying sculptures since 1997. Every year I look forward to seeing what he’s produced, and this around it’s a 26 metre high, 45 metre long, 160-tonne parabola steel arch celebrating 120 years of Mercedez Benz motorsport. The sculpture features two speedsters travelling in opposite directions. Engineering by Capita, production by Littlehampton Welding. Check out the making of video then look back at previous years centrepieces, all available to view on the site here.
It’s obvious when you’re looking at a piece of work whether it should be described as a labour of love. This is one such personal project, that was begun in 2009 by Marksteen Adamson, and is culminating in an exhibition currently on at ‘The Wilson’ in Cheltenham. ‘Behold The Man’ is the title given to the project, an honest and hopeful look at the situation of Alan Dainton, a rough sleeper in Cheltenham who is battling addiction.
Marksteen is a creative consultant and has won many awards at home and abroad. His agency ASHA is ranked in Design Week’s Top 100 as one of the most awarded agencies in the UK. Aside from his exceptional track record in agencies Marksteen also has some extensive projects and initiatives to his name (including The Cheltenham Design Festival). In 2004 he founded The Big Cold Turkey Foundation, supporting organisations actively concerned with youth at risk from drugs and alcohol.
I caught up with Marksteen to find out more about ‘Behold The Man’…
Sadly homelessness and substance addiction is a regular sight in our cities. Sum up why you felt Alan’s was a story that needed to be told?
There is no silver bullet to this problem, but I wanted to explore the different avenues to see where my energy should be focused around this issue in the future. There is a time and place for ‘Sustination’, but its very short term. ‘Intervention’ relies very much on the individual being willing, so that’s not always an option, but ‘Prevention’ should be on the top of our list of priorities if we want to avoid an epidemic in the future. The problem with focussing on ‘Prevention’ is that, like climate change, it’s not tangible, because it hasn’t happened yet, and so therefore its hard to raise money, help people understand, or get support. People like to give to and support things they can see. It’s tragic really, because preventing a kid from going down this route will save the government tens of thousands of pounds a year per individual.
You started this project – or the relationship that lead to it – back in 2009. That’s a long time ago! Is ‘Behold The Man’ a one off or do you see yourself doing other self-initiated projects for ‘The Big Cold Turkey’ charity?
I’ve always had other personal projects going on like the School project in Tanzania, The Big Cold Turkey Foundation, Cheltenham Design Festival, setting up Kings community Café, or teaching young people to take better photos. I don’t think I could do my day job without these things ticking away in the background. It’s a nice change to have projects where I’m the only client.
Has Alan seen the exhibition, and if so, do you know what he thinks of it?
Yes, Alan has seen the exhibition and he loved it. He also got the fist copy of the signed and numbered limited edition book. He loved that too, and has always said the “even if it only helps one kid, telling my story will be worth it”
It’s obvious by the level of excellence and quality of finish that a lot of time and love (&money) has gone into ‘Behold The Man’ – how did you make it all happen?
I had an initial idea about what I wanted the book to be; layout, images and content and different papers and embossing. I wanted it to be slightly over the top, to clash with the subject matter. It was a deliberate attempt at making you feel slightly uncomfortable that so much effort and quality was devoted to what most people would consider to be a hopeless case of addiction, homelessness and total disregard for society. I wanted to make something beautiful out of the dirt and chaos of Alan’s world.
I wanted to flip ‘significance’. I wanted to confront our prejudices and make the ‘in-significant – significant’, and the perceived ‘significant – in-significant’ when experiencing the large portraits of Alan and the quality of the book. I wanted people to realise that we are all the same and we are all capable of being in that situation, had we had a different start in life. The difference is the choices we have made. Some of us just made better choices. Scott McGuffy, Simon Dryland and Chris Greenwood also worked tirelessly with me on design, paper selection and general quality standards. Andy at Severn Print was also instrumental in making the print happen the way it did. We got a lot of support from him. It was not and easy print job! Also, Hannah, our super project manager worked really hard managing all the suppliers, timelines and quotes. The ASHA team have been an amazing support.
If you’d like to support the work of the Cheltenham YMCA which helps homeless young people you can purchase the book, postcards and posters on The Big Cold Turkey site, here.
You can watch the 30 minute film that accompanies the book here – It contains scenes of drug-taking that some viewers might find upsetting.