Grand Matter: a design agency dedicated to meaningful creativity
My email inbox is usually swamped with spam so it feels like a rare treat when I get an email telling me about an exciting new project. A few weeks ago when I was checking my emails I found one of these rare gems in the form of a message from Ciara Phelan telling me about the new talent agency she had launched in partnership with Dorcas Brown. I was excited as soon as I heard about the concept behind the agency - a platform for designers who are passionate about meaningful creativity - and when I saw the roster of talent they had on board I could hardly contain myself.
As soon as I saw the work of the 6 artists Grand Matter has launched with, I knew that at least one featured artist post was in order. But what's better than a featured artist? 6 featured artist posts rolled into 1, that's what! So here's a little bit on each of Grand Matter's artists...
Let's start with the work of illustrator Alec Doherty shall we? Alec's portfolio contains everything from editorial illustrations to artwork for beer labels and pump clips, each designed in his instantly recognisable style. Each of Alec's hand rendered graphics combines a bold, primary colour scheme with subtle elements of abstraction; elongated limbs are splattered with geometric shapes and juxtaposed against solid backdrops to create work that is as characterful as it is colourful.
Multimedia artist Joe Cruz is known for the expressive use of mark making. Favouring analogue methods of working over digital techniques, Joe overlays colourful pastels onto found photography to create a striking aesthetic. I don't always value analogue over digital but in this case I think it gives Joe's work a unique edge. Knowing that there was no tweaking layers or control-z to help fix his mistakes, gives Joe's work a thrilling sense of spontaneity and risk.
I was first introduced to Owen Gildersleeve's work a few years ago when I read and reviewed his debut book Paper Cut which featured the work of a range of different paper artists including his own. From this, I knew his style as bold and colourful (which for the most part it is) however when recently re-examining his portfolio I found my favourite projects was a set of black and white photographs of architectural paper sculptures. Seeing accomplished artists taking slightly different routes with personal projects such as this is always exciting and it makes me intrigued to see what he cuts up and conjures up next.
Whether she is making cardboard box sculptures, illustrating children's books, painting murals or doodling monkeys, there is always a happy, care-free feel to everything Alice Bowsher creates. Often using nothing other than chunky lines of black ink, Alice always manages to create artwork that oozes character and charm. I must admit, Alice was one of the artists from Grand Matters' roster whose work I hadn't come across before but now I have I will definitely be following along on all of her future inky adventures.
Of all the artists now represented by Grand Matters, Toby Triumph probably has the most varied portfolio, including illustration, typography and photography as well as pieces which include a little bit of all three. Whether it's a drawing explaining the anatomy of a fish or a monochrome mural of Gandalf, each of Toby's creations is consistently stylish.
Our final artist for today, Saskia Pomery is an exceptional maker who crafts everything from collages to sculptures, graphic patterns to textile designs - all with a unique creative energy. Saskia was probably the artist I knew the most about before Grand Matter began as I had previously been introduced to her work in an issue of Wrap Magazine. Seeing Saskia was on board this new venture filled me with confidence as I knew if the other creative were as good as she was (which they are) then it would be a very exciting new collective indeed (which it is!).
Including the 2 founders, there are 8 creatives setting of on a new adventure with Grand Matter and, as I said before, I am so excited to see where it takes them! It's always fun to see creative folk working together to build a designer dream and when they push the boundaries by striving to create something unique and meaningful then it makes it an even more worthwhile and exhilarating journey to follow. Good luck Grand Matter - I'm more than sure there are great things to come!