ROYAL ACADEMY OF ARTS: The London Original Print Fair

Over the last weekend the RA was host to prints created by a diverse range of artists, spanning from emerging talent to established names – the perfect opportunity to get some new print ideas and find fresh inspiration.

As London’s longest running print fair, the LOPF showcased work by Bridget Riley, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Michael Craig-Martin, Howard Hodgkin and many more innovative new and old artists. It was especially refreshing to see colourful, energetic abstract works and masterfully detailed, figurative printmaking hung beside one another as part of such a varied display!

One of the first artists whose work captured our attention was Jason Brooks; represented by Marlborough Graphics London, Brooks prints displayed at the RA are the product of revisiting his earlier 2015 Origins series, where he worked into abstract painterly marks and forms to produce intensely colourful results. His new series has been constructed by taking close up photographs of these paintings and developing them using textural media, paint and layers of black and white images of his work.

Here at Syndicut, we have always been inspired by Bridget Riley’s mesmerising geometric prints, which explore colour, form and movement in simple, but highly effective ways. Represented at the LOPF by Karsten Schubert, Riley’s advanced knowledge of geometry and pattern enables her to instil in her work energy and animation, making her prints appear to be moving and tessellating, playing optical tricks on the viewer.

In addition to Bridget Riley’s precisely calculated work, by contrast John Hoyland’s uninhibited use of colour also caught our eye. Shown by Advanced Graphics London, these prints are bold and free, and use an intense palette of rich reds, sunny yellows and deep blues. Hoyland’s vibrant prints incorporate a layered variety of gestures and striking, saturated colours.

A further inspiration to us is the work of Albert Irvin, whose vibrant and expressive prints are constructed of simplistic forms and bold layered brushstroke-like marks. Many of Irvin’s prints combine printmaking processes, such as woodcut and screenprinting, this innovative use of techniques has resulted in a variety of textures and irregular surface patterns which add to overall aesthetic of each dynamic composition.

Howard Hodgkin’s prints were also on display at the LOPF; represented by Austin Desmond Fine Art, the work exhibited is in Hodgkin’s signature abstract style, using simple brushstroke-like forms and a framed composition to draw the viewer into different components within the print. Using a palette consisting largely of deep primary red and blue, juxtaposed against block areas of bright green, Hodgkin’s prints achieve an arresting effect upon the viewer.

Some of our other favourite artworks shown at this exciting international event include Anish Kapoor’s hypnotic Moiré prints, André Verdet’s bold arrangement of coloured forms in Le Messager, the expressive movement and sophisticated use of colour in William Gear’s Structure, Orange Movement, the fragile and organic linear qualities of Susan Aldworth’s The Entangled Self, and the vibrant chaos of active marks and splashes in Sam FrancisUntitled SF 355 (all shown above).

As a beachwear brand we’ve always had a soft spot for summer and the sea, we were therefore immediately drawn to Ann Aspinwall’s Spirit of Place IV and Tom Hammick’s Waiting for Time (both shown above). These two tropical prints evoke feelings of a warm summer’s evening at the coast or a relaxing holiday retreat – the perfect spot to sport some of our colourful printed swimwear designed in collaboration with the best emerging artists and designers.