It’s always interesting, on study visits, to meet up with students you’ve corresponded with online but haven’t met face-to-face, as well as meeting new students from other courses. Rarely however, do you also get to meet the artist whose exhibition you’ve come to see. Brian Grimwood held court at the Work Gallery in London where his exhibition Brian Grimwood: The Man Who Changed the Look of Illustration has been showcasing a retrospective of his work.
The exhibition spanned his commercial illustration work from the 1960s to now, some of his side projects such as larger paintings and drawings on second hand books, and recent experiments with iPad drawings. The small gallery provided a intimate and relaxed atmosphere for Brian to take us around the show, talking through his creative process and throwing in anecdotes about the clients, commissions and his sources of inspiration, including tales of his Grandmother’s pet monkey. Brian’s work references the lyrical colour and line of Matisse and Picasso with a sharp eye for visual puns that communicate simply and directly. He demonstrated how his fluid style of drawing has made the transition to digital ways of working with a demonstration on an iPad. His enthusiasm for the possibilities of this approach were evident, not only in how his drawings can be realised through large scale prints, but also the fact that he draws on the train, happily showing off as curious passengers take a peak.
Having travelled from Yorkshire, Devon, Brighton, and even France to get to the study visit, it was a short trip to see the Images 36: Best of British Illustration exhibition at Somerset House. As a group we each picked out our favourite piece from the crop of illustrations, saying a little about why we liked it, and in the process adding in new ways of looking at and thinking illustration. Amongst the selection was Ruth Hydes’ drawing of Smithfield Market and Olaf Hajek’s African Beauty. We even caught students on video reflecting on the visit after the event. Here’s a couple of students talking about the events: Andrea Mullholland and Katherine Jasven.
There is another OCA student talking about Brian Grimwood on our Facebook page here.
This was the first purely Visual Communication study visit and a very enjoyable one. Thanks to everyone who joined in. The next event will be a book binding workshop in Halifax on 10 November.