London Life Events

Pick Me Up – Somerset House

April 22, 2013

The embankment galleries at somerset house have been, for the fourth year, transformed into this vibrant art and design event. Pick me up is a 11-day festival of contemporary graphic art, design and illustration from around the world. It runs until the 28th april and i popped in last thursday for an hour or so to take a peek and get you the lowdown.

As you enter you immediately see ‘pick me up selects’, featuring 17 international up-and-coming illustrators and graphic artists that have been specially selected by a distinguished panel from the graphics world. The designers range in experience, style, and focus and i’ve selected some of my favourites for you.


Wild cats by tom edwards. I particularly liked the lion.


Some doodle-bombing by hattie stewart (self-professed professional doodler), where she draws over the covers of influential fashion publications.



American born ping zhu works primarily with gouache on paper and cites charles harper and henri matisse as stylistic and colour inspiration for her work. I found her illus­tra­tion style exciting with expres­sive brush­strokes that bring so much life to each image. Judge for yourselves.




Daniel frost graduated from the royal college of art in 2012. I really loved the imaginary worlds and characters inspired by the strangeness of everyday life. The mix of originals and 3d creations are from his forthcoming children’s book ‘a day in frostville’.



Damien florébert cuypers graduated in 2006 in lyon, france. His small format crayon illustrations appear weekly in the french grazia magazine, as well as the new york times t magazine. For the past 2 years damien has been producing one minute portraits in crayons.

Damien will be available on thursdays, saturdays and sundays from 2-5pm throughout the event to create live one minute portraits. To commission a portrait, book a slot with damien. £25 per portrait. Aren’t these great?


Damien in action.


Upstairs you’ll find art collectives and galleries, my favourite part. It’s vibrant, alive and interactive and you need to check out the daily events that are on offer. Walking through, it feels more like visiting their art studios. It has this lived-in feel that lends the event this vibrant atmosphere. There’s food, drink and people get involved in printing, gaming and talking to the artists and designers. In the past years i did spent much more time and really enjoyed it. There was far too much to photograph and write about, so here’s just a snippet of what you’ll find!

Loved this bus by charlotte mei. A worthy addition to any ceramics collection!


Human After All presents #FaceStamp, an ink-teractive art experience that lets you create faces using ink stamps. Participants can choose their favourite stamps from the face stamp! collection and create their own unique works of art.


A highlight for me was meeting some of the girls that belong to the zombie collective. For this event they came up with this rather ingenius ideas machine. The collective is made out of joely brammer, rebecca jay, alice lickensmaggie lifrann preston-gannon.




How much fun is this? Once you spinned, this draw would open and you can pick up your present. Fab!


Every year there’s a studio in residency for the whole event. This year they’ve invited back print club london. This year, it’s all about the graphic designer bob gill. They’ve invited 10 illustrators to use bobs hand coloured screenprints as inspiration and produce new pieces in their own styles. You can get involved and print and colour-in your own. Magic!


See nelly duff‘s area. A series of pablo delgado originals and screen-printed editions, as well as unique paste-ups created especially for the exhibition are currently on display.


This is the first year there’s a online shop. Apart from that you can buy pretty much everything on display. Prints, limited-editions, one-offs, everything can be ordered at various checkpoints and picked up when you exit. A lot of the art is very affordable which makes this a popular event to go to.

In the gallery shop you’ll find everything from books to magazines to prints, artefacts et cetera.Here i’ve picked 2 pieces that caught my eye but are more expensive.  Mark ward is a graphic artist & art director living and working in london. His work is fuelled by an adoration of americana that is fragmented through his british perspective. These cost £1500 each.



I hope that some of you have already been or are maybe planning a visit. There’s a lot to see, a lot to buy and you’ll come away with tons of inspiration.

I seriously could get used to the weather we had over the weekend. It was just magical. I’m also glad that the marathon was incident free and that they paid tribute to the lives lost in the boston bombing. I hope you have a good start to the week and will see you back here on thursday.

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  • Reply Catherine April 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm

    That’s what I love about London, always so many interesting exhibitions to visit and be inspired by. I love the work of Ping Zhu, caught my eye straight away. Also the work of Damien florébert cuypers..such talent. Glad you had such wonderful weather over the weekend..long may it continue for you all. Yes I’m glad the marathon was incident free as well and hope something like that never happens again. Hope you enjoyed your tennis today, promise I won’t tell the boss! xxx

    • Reply tina April 22, 2013 at 2:39 pm

      Hahahah! Best of all is that I’m my own boss!!!!

      Yes, I also loved Ping Zhu’s work. It was really my favourite. ALthough the photo of her Sartorialist Girl, 2011 came out rubbish, I had to include it as I loved it so much and want to buy it!

      Yes, delighted Marathon went smoothly. Let’s hope this was an isolated incident! xx

  • Reply geraldine April 22, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    Yay Tina, I was looking forward to your picks. It was lovely bumping into you there. It’s so funny how you said we have different tastes in prints – I can’t see the ones I bought in your selection 🙂 I do like Ping Zhu and Daniel Frost’s quirky figures. Happy week lovely. xx

    • Reply tina April 25, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      Hahah, what I meant by that is that you like quite graphic and clean images, whereby I like them more bold, patterned and multi-coloured. I know you are a huge Marimekko fan:-) you must own most of their products:-) I love them too!

      Yes, Ping and Daniels work are ace!!! Great to bump into you too xx

  • Reply Chi@106 April 22, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    Haha! Another coincidence – first Michaela, now you and Geraldine. 😀

    I was there on Saturday and just missed out on having my portrait done by Damien. I thought it was fab but as I’d just been to Interwoven, it was total sensory overload.

    I took some photos intending to blog about it but decided to return next week to take it all in properly AND to have my portrait done. 🙂

    Love your selection – great minds, eh? 😉 xo

    • Reply tina April 25, 2013 at 4:10 pm

      Oh,what a shame… That must be fun…. Yes, loved your Intervowen post.
      Let’s face it, there’s just too much going on in London. I, sometimes, can’t keep up!!!

      Good, are you going on Saturday???

      Thanks Chi xx

  • Reply Parisbreakfast April 23, 2013 at 10:05 am

    This looks So fabulous! Heck I waslanning to come over this weekend too and chickened out 🙁
    Love it all
    Thanks Tina !

    • Reply tina April 25, 2013 at 4:11 pm

      You are so funny. I wonder if you’ll ever make it to London???

      Hope you are well.
      Thanks Carol.

  • Reply Gerard @WalnutGrey April 23, 2013 at 11:23 am

    This looks like a lot of fun, although all a bit too wacky for me. Funnily enough, my favourite image is the ‘Pick Me Up Selects’. It’s clean and vibrant and I love the stencilling.

    The bus is so sweet – 12 Peckham. I was on that bus route many many many times.

    Daniel Frost’s work is interesting. A children’s book could be very cool.

    Thanks xx

    • Reply tina April 25, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      Not sure what the graphic artists and illustrators would make of you?? You thinking it’s all too wacky!!

      I think it would be great therapy tonsend you there for a few hours and for you to come back and report what you liked and disliked. Who knows? We might convert you yet!!!! 🙂

      Yes, I rather fancy Daniel Frost’ children’s book xx

  • Reply Michaela April 23, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    Wow T!

    What a fab selection of images – you must have been frazzled by the end of the show; you’ve taken so much in!

    I love all of it, as you might expect, but my favourite things are the Damien florébert cuypers figures. I do have a fondness for wooden figures, of humans or animals, and these are very different to the usual mid-modern ones you see about (although I do love those too of course!)

    I hope I might get to see this show on Saturday – which I will be trying to fit in amongst seeing heavy metal bands with my boyf in a festival in Camden. It’s an arm band thing so I might do a runner for a couple of hours and then go back and prentend I’d got lost 😉

    Michaela xx

    • Reply tina April 25, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      Err, you mean Daaniel Frost’s work..:-) I actually fancied buying one of his figures but with only having over an hour to go round, take pics and look at stuff, actual buying was out of the question!

      Hope you get there on Saturday xx

  • Reply Nicola April 23, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Tina – this show looks great, it has so much life to it. Love the one minute sketches and agree with Gerard on the ‘Pick Me Up selects’ graphics for the show. Must try and visit before it finishes, if not, you’ve kindly gone there for me! xx

    • Reply tina April 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      Always a pleasure to show you what you have missed:-)) Hahahaha!


  • Reply Judith April 24, 2013 at 12:04 am

    Wow what an eclectic event! And so many pictures! I recognize Damien’s work from the French glossies indeed. Daniel’s work (and most of the other’s) is new to me though. I can only imagine this was way too much to take in in 1 hour! Thanks for taking us with you 🙂

    • Reply tina April 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      You read French glossies???

      As a Graphic Designer I thought you would appreciate this post. It was most eclectic and interesting!!

  • Reply Anya Jensen April 24, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Hi Tina, I’d love to see this – I adore illustrations and graphic design, and new and upcoming artist are always great to watch out for.
    Have spring sprung indeed?? We have a few golden rays, but the temperatures are still freezing cold – I mean winter coat cold. Happy happy week sweets, SO look forward to Berlin, hope we have more time to catch up there- and what’s happening with the party – can’t wait :))))

    • Reply tina April 25, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Oh, really happy the weather has cheered up also in Denmark. Winter was far too long! xx

  • Reply leah of sang the bird April 24, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I love Ping Zhu! I just popped over to her website to check out her illustrations….wow wow wow!
    So glad you had magical weather on the weekend. Yay for Spring xx

    • Reply tina April 25, 2013 at 4:21 pm

      I really want the Satorialist Girl, 2011… just love dit so much xx

  • Reply James Balston April 24, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Looks like a great show, particularly like the magazine covers. Did you get a chance to see the landscape photography show also at Somerset House, and also closing on 28th. Well worth a visit.

    • Reply tina April 25, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      No, I didn’t have time and can’t make it back until the 28th… I know, I did want to see it.
      Bet it was great! Thanks James!

  • Reply We Heart Home April 25, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Hi Tina

    Love Hattie Stewarts stuff – thanks for introducing me. Really really cool!

    Trisha x

    • Reply tina April 25, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      Yeah! Crazy and wonderful, right??? Love the name Hattie too xx

  • Reply Holly April 30, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Another fabulous adventure you take us on! This post is so stimulating, there’s so much to look at, I had to look it over a few times. Btw, your photos are awesome! Did you learn some new tricks?

    Did you get a one minute portrait from Damien? Did you get a gift from that amazing ideas machine?

    My absolute fave was the doodle bombing! I would love to see the before and after of these covers – side by side 🙂

    Thanks Tina! Xx.

    • Reply tina May 1, 2013 at 7:24 am

      Thanks Holly. I like that you find my posts like little adventures:-)

      No, new tricks yet but am working on it…

      You know I only had just over an hour and although his sketches are quick, I would have looked like a madwoman with helmet and camera in hand…. I kind of wish I had though.

      As for the time machine gift, I was going to come back for it ut then had to rush off. I saw what was inside. it was some gorgeous mini die-cut shapes, a little bit like what the ideas machine is made out of… Just gorgeous!

      The Doodle Bombing was fab. Agree, woud have been cool to see the original and worked on side by side… xxx

  • Reply Alison Sye April 30, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Love this post Tina. Great to be introduced to new talent. I’ll certainly have an eye out for Hattie, brilliant.

    • Reply tina May 1, 2013 at 7:25 am

      Thought you might enjoy this… Thanks Alison xx

  • Reply Parisbreakfast May 25, 2013 at 7:34 am

    Loved it the 1st time and still love it!
    Merci Carolg

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