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Five treats for your eyes at Pick Me Up festival

By Stephanie Hartman

Pick Me Up festival returns to Somerset House this week, offering Londoners the chance to experience the inspiring inner workings of the design and illustration world. Showcasing the work of bright young things and industry professionals alike, the 12-day celebration packs in an impressive programme of workshops, exhibitions, talks and demonstrations, meaning you’ll need to clear your diary of all other commitments to fit it all in. If pulling a two-week sickie isn’t an option, however, we’ve rounded up a select few things to do and see. Enjoy!  

Hand© Jack Sachs

Pick Me Up Selects

Each year Pick Me Up showcases the work of design and illustration rising stars, giving visitors the chance to nab early original works before stardom ensues and price-tags rocket. This year we’re particularly keen to see new offerings from Jack Sachs, whose playful 3D animations and illustrations have landed him clients such as Lucky Peach, Bloomberg Business Week, The New York Times and MTV. Other highlights in the section come from Brighton-based illustrator Camilla Perkins who creates colourful, pattern-heavy pictures and Charlotte Mei who moulds super cute ceramics in pastel hues.

Punch and JudySalão Coboi

Beach London x The Museum of British Folklore

Following on from a collaborative exhibition earlier in the year, Beach London have teamed up with The Museum of British Folklore once again to champion the unusual cultural traditions that continue to be practiced across the British Isles. Work from Heresy, Rob Flowers, Alex May Hughes and Maria Ines Gul will feature alongside the items that inspired the pieces including May Day offerings, traditional outfits and dolls belonging to Morris teams from the museum’s collection.

© Clay Collective


One of the festival’s biggest draws is the opportunity to get in on the creative action by taking part in workshops led by select collectives and artists. Be sure to drop in for the calligraphy class hosted by Hato Press and led by the fantastic Douglas Bevans, who tutors at Central Saint Martins (Apr 29), and fashion illustration classes with the hella cool Rookie Mag (Apr 21). Other sessions not to be missed include sign-painting lessons with Mike Meyer and Better Letter (Apr 27) and the chance to design killer skateboards with Blast Skates and illustrator Thomas Slater (May 1).

Edition print, 2012© Alan Kitching. Pick Me Up 2016

Alan Kitching: A Life in Letterpress

Spanning six decades of typographical design, this exhibition celebrates the output of Alan Kitching, the undisputed king of letterpress. Visitors can feast their eyes on sketchbooks, proofs, and equipment from his studio as well as his hoarding designs for the Southbank Place development. Kitching will deliver a number of live demonstrations across the festival and will also take part in a panel discussion hosted by John L Walters who recently penned the artist’s monograph. The pair will be joined by colleagues and friends to reflect on Kitching’s practice (Apr 27).

We Are Facility

It’s likely you’ll be leaving with plenty of purchases following a visit to the festival, but it's less likely you’ll find time to frame your goods straight away. Luckily, We Are Facility, an east London bespoke framers will be on hand to mount your posters and prints ready for hanging as soon as you get home. They’ll also be selling pre-made frames in various sizes, perfect for that print stash you amassed last year…

Pick Me Up, Embankment Galleries, Somerset House. Thu Apr 21–Mon May 2. £10, £8 concs., £17.50 festival pass. Find out more about Pick Me Up


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