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The profound event that was Supergraph 2015

Phewwwweeeeeee!!!

 Chad and I are back from Melbourne following the extravaganza that was Supergraph 2015, and what a massively successful 3 days it was. Before I get into all of that, let me take you back through all the prep and setup that went on behind the scenes…

Signing Painted Polaroids ready for Supergraph!

Last year, I showed at The Inaugural Supergraph Graphic Arts Festival, which runs over Valentines weekend, beginning Friday Night and concluding Sunday eve, and showcases Australia’s leading graphic arts talent. Last year was a roaring success, so I decided to head back again for 2015 with the work-in-progress that is my Coney Island project, showcasing all the best stuff from my residency and since, including my 100 Painted Polaroids, Ledger art and a super-exclusive limited edition Coney Island capsule clothing collection (more about that in a tick!). I brought in a few other new surprises this year, including new giant badges (we sold out half of the designs last year), and a set of 8 postcards featuring classics from my fashion illustration portfolio.

I also created my very first ever Sarah Beetson colouring in book, which featured unfinished drawings from my Coney Island onsite sketchbook that I drew in every day in Coney. I released it as a collaboration between myself and the ‘colourers’ – if you snagged one, don’t forget to share your colouring in on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #sarahbeetsoncolouringinbook

Upon arrival in Melbourne prior to the event, I headed straight over to the Supergraph HQ to create Coney Island inspired giant murals for my booth walls (involving a projector and a heap of POSCA pens and Sharpies!) Here’s me in action making the tracings:

and some photos of the results in situe in my booth at Supergraph, adorned with my Coney Island Art:

There were over 12,000 visitors to the event this year, and Chad and I were kept busy throughout answering questions and chatting to many of them – I kept getting the same kind of feedback, along the lines of “Your work is so unique, in a world where so much illustration looks the same!” So nice to hear, especially from so many young people, and great to feel relevant to them!

Drawing the mural art winners from the hat!

I offered a tempter this year – for every $10 spent at my booth, a raffle ticket was received, and at the end of the event, names were drawn from Chad’s Coney Island hat. The winners – Melbournians Sarah, Suwanee and Andy each received one of the original art panels from my booth walls. They were all a bit pleased!

This year I created custom Painted Polaroids onsite for Valentines Day – here are a couple:

The latter features the awesome Baker & Bailey who took out first prize in The Drawing Olypmics (basically, giant Pictionary with a HUGE audience, soundtracked by “The Eye of The Tiger“ – no pressure?!!) Here they are in winning action:

This year on Supergraph Saturday, I even gave a masterclass – in blind speed drawing. The SG team emailed me the week prior to let me know my masterclass had already SOLD OUT (again, no pressure?!!) Here’s a before and after shot of the scene at the masterclass:

I call this activity a workout for your creativity, and it is a great reliever of artists’ block or an ice breaker for those days when the empty white sketchbook page gives you The Fear. It is a process I learned in life drawing classes with the incomparable Gary Long, during my days at Falmouth.  The process involves looking directly at the subject, placing your pen on the page in the start position (for example, if you start by drawing the eye, you’d likely place your pen in the upper section of the paper), then you create a short blind drawing, timed for between 30 seconds and 3 minutes, during which time you are banned from looking at the paper.

The results are often an abstract expression in continuous line, with moments of clarity – in a mess of scribbles there may be a perfect set of fingers or a mouth etc.) It produces quantities of fun results in a short space of time, and the students who get the most from it are those who fully embrace the exercise (and don’t cheat by peaking at their work!). My models and students alike were brilliant, producing some fantastic work which went all over Instagram, and I think they almost enjoyed the class as much as me!

Right next to my booth this year were my amazing agents, Illustration Ltd, whom I also talent scout for. They just opened an office in Sydney, headed up by the amazing Angela Dalton, and featured beautiful limited edition prints by some of my fellow represented artists, including Jacqueline Bissett, Kelly Smith, Muxxi and Victoria Scott (alongside my giant limited edition Hiball screenprint – what fabulous company I’m in!)

Supergraph again featured my prints in their Salon this year. We sought special permission from Smithsonian Mag to create a limited edition print of the Wonderwoman illustration I created for them, and it almost sold out, along with my Romance Was Born Marvel Comics print – luckily a few are left still, and these will soon fly off to London for inclusion on the Supergraph stand at Pick Me Up 2015, Somerset House. A couple of the remaining silk scarfs will go too, plus the last handful of Colouring In Books – so if you are London based check it out!

Now back to that clothing collection – so I teamed up with the fabulous Amy Lane again to create just 6 silk bamboo digital print Coney Island dresses, printed in London by Fabpad at UEL, whom I highly recommend for all your digital print needs! We also made a run of totally unique silk cotton scarfs (machine washable on silk setting!) These literally sold like hot cakes! Here’s some photos from a shoot we did pre-SG, modelled by Amy herself and the lovely Becky:

You can find the last few unsold dresses and scarfs here.

My mannequins this year Peggy Sue and Betty Lou were put to the test, each undergoing numerous outfit changes as we literally sold the clothes off their backs!

In case you didn’t make it to Supergraph – you can check out all of the arty goodies I’ve described in my online shop. Go on, treat yourself!

Magical Silk Bamboo Digital Print Dress (SOLD, I’m afraid!)

Much Love, Sunshine and Rainbows from Australia to your part of The World!

Sarah xx

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