Last weekend I managed to get down to London from Birmingham (my supposed home) to catch Pick Me Up graphic art fair just before it closed. My housemate and I ran to the station to make sure we got a train, we paid on the day so it wasn’t cheap, we rushed to Pick Me Up to make sure we had enough time to absorb all the wonderful illustrations we expected to find…and were sorely disappointed. Last year was brilliant, this year was just incredibly commercial: typography pieces displaying ordinary ‘quirky’ phrases, over priced drawings that just weren’t that good and worst of all, my pet hate, ‘naive’ art. Don’t even get me started – if you can’t draw either learn, or do not draw. There is no talent in drawing like a five year old, really it just makes me angry. No wonder mainland European galleries have recently been chatting about how little respect they have for British art – where’s the craftsmanship!? Where!?
Luckily I did find a few gems, four in total. Well four I was reasonably impressed by, this artist is the favourite…I haven’t decided yet whether the other three are blog-worthy. Wait and see! For now it’s Kristjana S Williams, she went to art school in the UK so it’s not drawing but collage of course! No, but honestly it is beautiful collage and there’s a bit of Victoriana in there, so for me her work is a winning lot. I didn’t get to see any of her huge works at Pick Me Up like those huge canvases you can see up the top there, but her smaller pieces are gorgeous too and I suppose there are also those tiny details which add to it all and really draw you in.
Weirdly, last year I was at the Food Festival in Brighton just by accident and on one of the tables I found a flyer for Wilderness festival which I kept – not just because I wanted to go to the festival, but because I loved the illustrations. I couldn’t find out who’d done the artwork for them from the Wilderness website and I scoured the web to find out the artist’s name, then a couple of days ago hopped onto Kristjana William’s webby and there it was! So I suppose I’ve admired her for a while.
And I still want to go to this festival. Maybe this summer…
Not only does Williams do pieces for little festivals, she’s also worked on wall murals at the V&A for the London Design Festival which are just MMM! I’m currently having my room redecorated, I can’t quite afford a bespoke Kristjana S Williams mural however I’ve got the imitation curtains down to a ‘t’, birds of paradise and everything.
Last but certainly not least, she is in fact the Creative Director of Beyond The Valley home and fashion store in London’s West End – Victorian illustrations merged together into multicoloured impossible animals in my room and on my clothes!? Go on then.