For the first time in their careers, lifelong friends Sir Quentin Blake and Linda Kitson will be presenting a showcase of their recent work in a joint exhibition at Bankside Gallery in London from 9 - 20 November 2022.
The two artists first met over 50 years ago at the Royal College of Art (RCA), and have been close friends ever since, but this is the first time they have ever displayed their work together, side by side.
Quentin will be displaying a series of portraits made using Bic Soft Feel and Bic Crystal pens. Having recently discovered the "rewarding possibilities of drawing with the humble biro", Quentin's Bic pen drawings have pushed the boundaries of what one might consider to be a typical tool for drawing. In his own words, "Why should not something that makes a mark become an art implement?".
Linda – who, in the 1982 Falklands War, became the first woman war artist to accompany troops in combat – will showcase two aspects of her artistic practice: landscapes sketched on travels in Europe and Canada in the 1970s and 1980s, and buildings and cityscapes in the bustling City of London in the 2000s, captured in vibrant colours on an iPad.
Since late 2020, Quentin has created over 3,000 biro portraits, mostly from imagination, all in a variety of sizes. The largest are over a metre high and often feature detailed shading: the paper is clipped to a large piece of board, and placed upright so Quentin can draw on it comfortably. The smallest works appear in notebooks, completed in bursts of half an hour or so whilst relaxing in the chair in his studio.
For this exhibition at Bankside Gallery, Quentin has chosen 47 of the larger works, ranging in size from A3 up to A0, to go onto the walls in bespoke frames. Smaller works will be displayed in cases in the gallery, to demonstrate the variety of scale, as well as the many different types of paper that have come to his hand for these numerous works.
Linda travelled widely during the 1980s and 1990s drawing mostly mountainous landscapes, working quite alone & for months at a time. Eventually domestic circumstances meant that she spent a number of years out of England, during which time she lost the continuity of her work for more than a decade. On her return she discovered the iPad, and - in embracing contemporary technology - reinvented her art. These images are remarkable in that they are on the one hand true to the architecture which is her subject but at the same time powerfully abstract in design and colour.