15/06/2012 by David Maybury · No Comments
The Riverbank Arts Centre is playing host to something special… an innovative visual arts stand with creative workshops and other activities for young people and their families. Illustrator Alé Mercado pays them a visit:
Curated by Tom Donegan (no stranger to these pages) the Book and Beyond exhibition is distributed between two spaces. The basement gallery, hosting images, books and other work by Steve Simpson, and a long corridor where rugs, handbags, puppets, cards and posters are sharing space with some originals (and reproductions) of children books by Chris Judge, Chris Haughton and Trisha Deery.
There is a subtle dimension to the exhibition which is a pleasure to experience; it is a significant journey. Often, the a reader might overlook the work an illustrator does outside of books. It is common, especially in Ireland, for authors to use their skills in a number of different disciplines. (Let’s face it, children’s book illustration is not a very profitable career for most illustrators.)
The Book and Beyond exhibition is a chance to sample selection of the other areas that authors work in to promote, or simply as another line of work.
“This exhibition was inspired by my own voyage of discovery in terms of Irish illustration” says Donegan. “I began by enjoying their work in picture- books, but then began to see how many other sphere’s they were involved in: advertising, product design, digital media. I wanted to share that journey with young people and their parents visiting the Riverbank and highlight the multifaceted nature of contemporary illustration practice”.
It is interesting to see how Steve Simpson’s advertising or packaging solutions retain the qualities of line of his children’s book work. And how Chris Haughton is able to translate his beautifully saturated colour palette to his fair-trade rugs, bags or teddies.
To complement this, there is some of the poster work of Chris Judge and the handmade gift cards by Trisha Deery. The latter holds the honour of being one of the first Irish authors to have produced a successful adaptation of one of her children’s books into the digital sphere.
The exhibition is complemented by workshops where children have an opportunity to understand the process of illustrating and are invited to play with it.
We’re looking forward to seeing what comes next!