[THIS WEEK] A new generation of architects is cashing in on illustration, writes James Pallister
‘The fine artists that you will find in galleries in the next 10 years will be recruited from a generation of illustrators.’ These bullish words were said to me in 2009 at the Illustrative festival in Berlin by its curator, Pascal Johanssen.
Johanssen’s argument goes something like this: there’s a strong cohort of international illustrators whose work sits between illustration and fine art. Parallel to this is an emerging set of first-time art buyers, 30-40 year olds, drawn to illustrative and print-based work.
This results in a hybrid cultural space - illustrators win the higher prices the art-market positioning brings, and punters have a gateway into an otherwise overheated market. New outfit Dainow&Dainow aims to capitalise on just this.
The architecture graduates’ mission is ‘affordable art from the world’s leading architects and architectural students’. Skills picked up from their degrees are put to artful use, and packaged as prints costing £40-800.
The group cites Zaha Hadid’s bridging of art and architecture markets - and the sale of a drawing of the Cardiff Opera House for £18,000 - arguing that after this ‘demand for such prints burgeoned’.
Hadid’s early paintings are interesting because they occupy a space of their own, drawing on, but standing outside, the representational language of architecture. The most successful art on the group’s website also does this, and can be seen in Charlotte Baker’s House for an Activist.
Another highlight is Jenny Melville, whose work is pictured below. One of her print series nods to Storm Thorgerson’s cover for Led Zeppelin’s album Houses of the Holy. Incidentally, Thorgerson, along with prog-rock artist Roger Dean, will speak about his work in London on 28 October.