It’s been a busy couple weeks! I announced the shortlist for The Little Chimp Award and released our first zine, Secret Self Vol. 1. I also published an interview with Discworld artist Paul Kidby and started work on the Showcase 100 book in preparation for the April exhibition. All in all I should be completely exhausted and should probably take a break, but I’m not done yet. For the last 12 months I’ve also been working on a new clothing brand which I will hopefully be ready to launch and talk about (very) soon, it’s all very exciting. Oh, and Mail Me Art is still going strong!
The Little Chimp Award…
I started thinking about creating an illustration award at the beginning of 2013, but I wasn’t sure of the best way to go about it. I considered turning it into a big pay-for-entry project like everyone else seems to be doing these days. The problem was I didn’t want it to eat up all my time and I wanted it to actually mean something to the person who won it. I also wanted it to mean something to me. So I did away with the idea of having a dinner or big ceremony and decided to keep it personal. Once I found a bit of time to start putting it together I pushed everything else relating to the project out of mind and focused on the physical award. I hired the talented 3D artist Metin Seven (who also happens to be a regular LCS contributor) to design a freestanding 3D model based on the LCS logo. I’m not sure if I mentioned it was going to be an award at the time. We did a couple of variations and I really felt he did a good job translating the flat logo into a physical item. I think if I’d been left to my own devices the proportions would have ended up being too extreme or it wouldn’t have been viable for 3D printing.Now that I had an actual award that I was happy to give away, it was time to come up with a shortlist without accepting nominations. This was actually a really difficult task as I deal with hundreds and hundreds of illustrators from month to month and I love them all. To narrow it down, they had to have worked for me or been part of one of the recent LCS projects. Plus there needed to have been some personal interaction with me, at least a dozen emails or a couple chats via any one of the social networks I use. At this point it was still a long list of around forty illustrators. Next I narrowed it down by rating the artists base on the quality of their work and their professionalism. Once I had them charted I picked the top 6 for the shortlist and made an announcement. I’ll be designing some certificates and what I like to call Chimp Coins (medals) for the illustrators who’ve been shortlisted, and I’ll be announcing the overall winner in April.
Secret Self Vol. 1…I’ve wanted to do a small scale art zine for a while now, with projects like Mail Me Art and Showcase 100 being such large endeavours, I wanted an easy project I could do with a small group of people.
Everyone feels a slight thrill when they reveal something about themselves which they’ve never told anyone. This was the general idea for the Secret Self series of zines. Asking the illustrators to create a self portrait to accompany their secret just made logical sense and limiting it to only ten artists at a time kept things simple. There was a little bit of trial and error to start off with, for example the portraits were just portraits… It was only after a few of the illustrators had started theirs we decided it would be cool for their portraits to relate to their secrets in some manner. So that’s what we did.
The project didn’t take long to put together and the zine is already available for public consumption directly from the LCS shop. I already have the artists lined up for volume two and will start work on that one in a couple months. I’m hoping to create five volumes over the next year and a half. All profits made on the zine go towards supporting the LCS, allowing us to do more cool little projects like this, which is nice. Without the support of the illustrators who share their wonderful work with us, there wouldn’t be a Little Chimp Society, so thanks guys. The image at the top of this blog post is by the talented Amanda Sartor, it’s her self portrait from Secret Self. :)
Said and done…
That’s enough from me for now. Just one last thing! The Little Chimp Society is now on Instagram, it’s a fun and interesting platform. instagram.com/littlechimpsociety