I love a bit of neon, so much so that I practically crashed the car the other day while trying to get an eyeful of this neon shop in Walthamstow (I wonder if they ever have sample sales?). But most of the ready-made signs you can buy are skewed towards retail, or people with full-sized bars in their cellar, so you’d probably have to get one made bespoke if you wanted something good. But then I saw Italian brand Seletti’s brilliant build-your-own version, where you buy one letter at a time and make up whatever word you want; there’s even a heart-shaped one, aww. It’s in a lovely typewriter-esque typeface and you wouldn’t need many to make an impact – maybe even one initial letter would do it. The transformer that links the letters together, which you buy separately, does look a bit clunky, but it sort of seems to go with the no-nonsense style of the typeface so I’m not gonna go on about it. Available from Panik Design.
I want to front this up by saying that you can’t buy these unless you live in the US or Canada or have one of those clever shipping accounts. But here are some nice graphic posters by Blue Art Studio which celebrate 20th-century design classics in groovy illustration form. I like the Dieter Rams (Braun supremo) one with all its turntables, dials and switches, and the homage to Eero Saarinen’s the-future-has-arrived TWA building at JFK airport. The eye exam one with all the chairs is for uber design nerds only.
I just ordered this poster by typographer Seb Lester, from the Keep Calm Gallery. It makes me laugh, perhaps a little bit more than it ought to. I am a grown woman after all. There is also an ‘Arse’ one in lovely Gothic lettering you can buy here. Maybe next month.
Posted in Artwork
There are some amazing websites out there for inexpensive posters (too many, in fact – check out the Poster Whore blog, which is a fine starting place for good stuff), but I always struggle with the idea than you can spend 20 quid on the artwork and then at least twice that to get it nicely framed. I’ve seen lots of solutions to this but I think I actually prefer old-school bulldog clips, classic slidey-things-at-top-and-bottom or these frameless frames from office supplies place Arken because they are somehow more unobtrusive and give you the ability to chop and change your artwork as you like. The first thing I would put in my cheap, temporary frame is this nice number from 20×200 (brilliant idea, all its artwork comes in multiple sizes, priced at $20-$2,000, although it looks like the smaller/cheaper ones get snapped up quickly).
Shaun Sundholm’s Untitled (Let’s Get Lost), from 20x200.com
Posted in Artwork
Long famous for its exuberant Sunday flower market, London’s Columbia Road is now also a hub for independent design shops. It’s not really a shopping experience for those who enjoy quiet, reflective browsing; Columbia Road on the Sabbath is more of an elbows-in experience as you fight the tide of people who stop by for a bunch of tulips and then accidently come away with a vintage armchair or a brilliant contemporary print. Many shops only open on Sundays to coincide with the market, but a lot of them have an online presence too: not quite as exciting as being there, but the next best thing. Try Elphick’s and Nelly Duff for prints and other affordable art, Treacle for kitchen stuff old and new (and frivolous cakes) Supernice for cool wall stickers, and round the corner in Ezra Street, Ben Southgate for time-mellowed early-20th-century furniture and lighting.
Urban alphabet tiles by Big Tomato (A is, of course, for Anglepoise), as spotted in Supernice
3-D stag screenprint by Miss Aida Wild, on sale at Nelly Duff
If you like your Americana, a piece of artwork from Hatch Show Print is a must-have. The Nashville-based letterpress printmakers have been churning out show posters for the greatest names in country music since 1879, and you can still buy the best of their ‘restrikes’ (ie, a new print made from the original plates) for surprisingly little. Among the Pasty Cline and Johnny Cash posters there is some ace advertising artwork, pushing everything from trailers to ice-cream, that brilliantly evokes the brave new world of post-war consumerism. I dunno what ‘whole hog sausage’ is, but this poster makes me want to eat some.