So you want to be an artist? A guide to the numbering and pricing of prints.

Life would be easy if there were strict (or even loose) guidelines regarding the making of prints and editions. Alas, there are not. The number of prints that you produce is up to what you deem manageable. It will be determined by your ability as a printmaker and, if you are a fine artist, the quality of the plate you are using.

‘The Graduate’ by Holly Wales printed in a limited edition of 200. It was commissioned by Print Club London, Somerset House, and Film4 for their annual exhibition ‘Summer Screen Prints: Film Poster Exhibition’.

There can be confusion over what is done with test prints, also known as artist proofs or state proofs. You may find yourself with a number of test prints before being satisfied with the printing standard. The print that sets the standard is known as the BAT (bon a tirèr, which is French for ‘good to print’). You can throw away the test prints but are advised to either keep the BAT as this is the most valuable print of the run.

Continue reading

Vivienne Westwood: how to become an activist.

At Glastonbury Festival 2014, Vivienne Westwood presented a talk titled ‘Let’s Talk About Fracking’ in which she discussed the danger of fracking and the importance of becoming an activist. Please note that this is not a post about hydraulic fracking.

We were a crowd dominated by 20-something year-old women – an audience Westwood is well aware that she attracts. It’s an audience that wants to associate with strong women. In a society in which we’re are afraid to identify as feminist, in which we’re encouraged to remake our identities as celebrities do, and in which politicians who genuinely believe in something are few, we seek women – and men – who stand for something. Westwood’s call to action was to be that woman.

Photograph by Gary Calton for The Guardian.
Photograph by Gary Calton for The Guardian.

Continue reading


In 1817, a poet sat in the courtyard of Somerset House and wrote, “I write some lines in the solitude of Somerset House not fifty yards from the Thames on one side and the Strand on the other, but quiet as the sands of Arabia.”

Earlier this year I led two guided tours of an event that combined live music, audio recordings, and illustration to explore the soundscape of Somerset House. The first of my tours features in this short film.

Gallery invigilator: the value in this casual position.

I was standing in a shadow against the wall to the left of the image below when I became overcome with appreciation for my job. My main responsibility was to ensure that guests of a private view did not touch the work on display. My role was that of invigilator.

The exhibition’s curator had invited me, however, to touch the work on display. The tapestries were woven with wool sourced from a single herd in Peru and dyed with natural pigments. The softness of their touch was a sensory experience unfamiliar to my fingers.

It was five years earlier that I had decided to work within the arts and cultural sector. I sought out every opportunity to learn about it, except this. What follows is what I would have liked to have known: what is invigilating; what is the value of invigilating to an arts marketer; and, what is the value of invigilating to an artist?

‘Futurismo Ancestral: An Offering to Peru by Sixe Peredes’ within The Deadhouse at Somerset House. Photographed by Rafa Suñen for

Continue reading

Spotlight on Style: Guy Bourdin: Image Maker.

“Think of the fashion magazines that you’ve flipped through and the images that are presented to you in those magazines. Now imagine being presented with this image.

It is the image of a wall, a lamp, and an open door. Through the open door is a stool, a towel, a pair of mannequin legs, a pair of stockings, and shoes. It is an advertising image for shoes by Charles Jourdan and it was published in Paris Vogue in 1979.

Imagine flipping the pages of Paris Vogue in 1979. At this time it was uncommon for an image to occupy the entire double-page spread of the magazine, at this time fashion images were visual descriptions of the product being sold, and at this time digital retouching did not exist.

So, as you were flipping the pages of that magazine, you would have stopped. This image would have disrupted the flow of the magazine, it would have disrupted your understanding of what an advertising or a fashion image was, and it would have disrupted your understanding of reality.

Continue reading

Spotlight on Style: Return of the Rudeboy

“We’re in good company here in the Terrace Rooms of Somerset House as we’re surrounded by the portraits of over sixty individuals who were selected by the curators for their style and their swagger.

Shaka Maidoh and Sam Lambert photographed by Dean Chalkley with creative direction from Harris Elliot.

These individuals embody the essence of what it is to be a rudeboy, rudegirl or rudie in the 21st century. The curators, Harris Elliot and Dean Chalkley, have spent the last year documenting their lives, styles and attitude.

Continue reading