Back in July 2020, I was asked to contribute some art for one of the pedestrian crossings that would be appearing at five points around the borough of Enfield by Enfield Council. Mine would be positioned in Edmonton Green. The brief for the crossing was to reflect the diversity of the area. Coming from a print background, I knew that the design couldn’t be too complicated but wanted to get the ethnic diversity across in the illustration. Silhouettes would have been the obvious choice but I find them a bit old hat so instead I chose to draw facial outlines that overlapped into the patterns. The result is blocks of vibrant colour and lines which reflects community spirit.
So it’s taken me almost two years to open up my Etsy store. But on the 31st August this is what I did. And the catalyst? It was the passing of Chadwick Boseman, aka Black Panther. Within hours of finding out about his death, I grabbed my ipad and drew an illustration of him. Sad times that we’re living in. He inspired a generation of young people and old alike. Representation is important and he was a hero and someone to look up to for black kids. When you don’t see many people who look like you portrayed in a good light, you need an inspirational person (be it fictional or real) to look up to. The Black Panther is a film with an uplifting main character and a stellar black cast. I took the family to see this film on my birthday in 2018. I came out bouncing and smiling with glee. I love that film. And I’m not even a Marvel fan. Fast forward to two years later and to know that he was battling this horrible disease whilst performing these almost heroic, larger-than-life characters on film is astounding. My white friend told me that her kids were very sad when they heard and saiid that, ‘it’s so important for white kids see a black superhero, leader and all-round inspirational character in such a ground breaking film’. I second that.
A few people were asking for prints of this illustration But I didn’t feel comfortable profiting from his death. I’ve therefore decided that for every print sold of the Chadwick Boseman illustration, I will be donating a portion to charity.
You can find my etsy store at www.etsy.com/shop/absolutelykareen
Whilst this year has been one of the busiest, it’s also been one of the hardest on a personal level. It was a very tough year and one that I certainly don’t want to revisit. I’m hoping that 2017 is kinder, that there are plenty more laughs and that good health is granted to family and friends. Thanks for following my creative journey.
Goodness me. I’m so bored of seeing silhouettes being used in design. The first time I used them was over 20 years ago when I drew the outlines myself with the aid of Adobe Illustrator – or was it Macromedia Freehand (the precursor to Illustrator?). It was when I was working for an agency in the Docklands. The client was the London Borough of Barnet and I designed an exhibition stand for a jobs fair. The design was brilliant (if I do say so myself) and quite innovative for it’s day. I traced round images of people in different professions and then interspersed these images with job titles to illustrate the jobs that Barnet council offered. I distinctly remember getting really positive feedback about it and I felt chuffed to bits.
Coming in at a very high number three of my top projects for the year is the Hamilton Chase Rebranding project. I really love getting my teeth into rebranding a business. But it's not for the faint hearted. A lot of trust is put into you to get it right. I feel privileged to have been an integral part of this project. It wasn't just a new logo but redesigning all of their marketing material, including stationery, brochures, signage and adverts. What a project and what great clients! Honestly, if you're looking to buy or rent in Barnet, check out these people first. They can be found at hamiltonchase.co.uk. They really are top notch property experts. Read the blog.
The Edmonton Summer Festival
Oh my days. Where do I start? I had to write three blogs to cover this one. From the bespoke illustration and design/branding of the entire festival to the three day photography fest. I loved every minute of it. Read the first blog.
Design & Illustration
The Palmers Green Triangle Clock
Coming in at the top has to be The Clock situated in Palmers Green. What an amazing project to be part of. How many graphic designers can say that they've designed a clock that will be in situ for many years to come? Errr, I guess that there aren't many but my hand is riding high. You can read the blog here.
So there you have it. My top three projects of the year. It's important to note that if you're one of my clients and your project isn't mentioned, that doesn't mean that it wasn't a great project. These ones just had the edge for different reasons.
A big welcome to 2015. Hoping that it's as prosperous and interesting as last year.