Established in 2015, Hull Print Fair has been helping new, emerging and established artists share their work with the city. This weekend the event takes over Humber Street Gallery with a wealth of artists hailing from our own city and further afield, sharing creative talent from neighbouring northern cities.
Committed to variety, each day will introduce a new selection of artists’ work to peruse, as well as a variety of workshops. With 20 artists displaying work across two days there’s plenty to browse – keep an eye out for North or Nowt, printers of the striking Hull Print Fair ‘!’ poster designed by Lydia and Josh. Manchester based Saffa Khan will also be on hand offering print related food for thought alongside Liverpool’s Neil Keating and Hull’s Matt Fratson. Pop Press will bring prints fresh from their garden workshop and graffiti artist VROK will be representing Hull’s zine scene.
Q. What’s Hull Print Fair all about?
Lydia: Hull Print Fair is an annual celebration of all things print. Showcasing the best in contemporary design, art and illustration from Hull and beyond, we aim to connect the talent of the North through events and workshops. We promote the art-form by creating opportunities for the general public to experience the joy of printmaking through free activities, as well as encouraging the development of traditional print usage in Hull through supporting local artists.
Q. Who’s behind the fair?
Lydia: Hull Print Fair is run by Josh Williams, and myself. We’re both Hull-born and based creatives actively engaged in the local art scene. We’re both associate members of contemporary arts group, Hack & Host, who are currently running the public engagement programme for Turner Prize 2017.
I’m a graphic artist with an interest in print, vernacular design and ethnography. Alongside my artistic practice of pattern, print and publications, I have a background in community arts and public engagement. This year I’ve worked on projects including painting a giant fisherman for the Terrace Enders project with artist Kev Largey, running Humber Street Gallery’s Free Play Friday sessions and helping bring I Wish To Communicate With You to East Hull.
Josh is a Hull-based graphic designer, specialising in strong use of print and typography. His experimental design explores and researches various topics, and he always ensures the design is accessible and digestible for everyone in a visually engaging way. It’s Josh that started the print fair in its humble beginnings back in 2015 at a market at Früit.
Q. Why did you want to establish the print fair in Hull?
Lydia: Both of us studied in larger cities – Manchester and Leeds. Their bustling student populations, including art schools with dedicated fine art, illustration, graphic arts and design courses, meant there was always a lively art scene with constant events, exhibitions and a DIY scene of prints and zines amongst students. Returning to Hull was much quieter, and it seemed a lot of artists worked in quite an insular way. It was also surprising there wasn’t a go-to annual print fair, when we’d got to used to popping up every month or so back when studying! We knew there was talent already out there that needed bringing into the public eye – and a print fair seemed like the most accessible way to do this. A fair is familiar to people, and it brings contemporary art, illustration, and design to new audiences, whilst helping local creatives (especially younger/student artists) become confident sharing their work and meeting like-minded individuals from Hull and other northern cities.
Q. What’s Hull’s print scene (and the wider creative community) like to be a part of?
Lydia: The art scene is really exciting to be a part of and it’s constantly getting more interesting. Both of us have experienced more opportunities through the City of Culture status. Like most art forms now, we’re sure the appetite for print will continue to grow… this weekend alone will see Hull Print Fair take over Humber Street Gallery with artists and free workshops, In Print Biennial at Studio Eleven and KAG gallery, plus a showcase of work from Hull Print Collective in KAG gallery.
Q. What can we expect from this weekend, especially regarding workshops?
Lydia: We have the wonderful printmaker Karen Edwards of Redbutton Press coming over from Liverpool on Saturday, armed with ink, postcards kindly supplied by G. F. Smith and a gorgeous letter press. She’ll be running a free letterpress demo all day next to her stall, for anyone to take part in. We’ve clued her up with typical Hull words and sayings and she’s chosen one to recreate on a postcard – the lucky chosen word is a surprise though!
For little ones and early birds on Sunday, local artist Claire West will be running a family-friendly relief print workshop. Join her between 10am and 12pm in KAG gallery to get involved – the event is free and drop-in, so no need to book. Come back after dinner at 1pm where local group, gallery and press Ground will be showing you how to make your very own mini publication in their zine-making workshop.