Lively illustration exhibition featuring iconic figures from music, fashion and film launches at The Larder in Preston

Posted on - 22nd September, 2023 - 6:39pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, City Centre, Fashion, Preston City Centre, Preston News, Things to Do in and around Preston, What's On in Preston
Rachelle's artwork features iconic figures from the world of music, art and fashion. Pic Art Eye Candy
Rachelle’s artwork features iconic figures from the world of music, art, and fashion. Pic Art Eye Candy

The latest exhibition at The Larder features the work of internationally published illustrator and illustration lecturer Rachelle Panagarry. Rachelle’s first solo exhibition features an array of large-scale prints of illustrations inspired by pop culture, fashion, music, and street art. We went to find out more about Rachelle’s exhibition, her work as a professional illustrator and the successful illustration meet-up Rachelle hosts on behalf of the Association of Illustrators in Preston.

“It’s exciting, really nice to see the pieces up on the wall altogether,” says Rachelle at the launch of her exhibition at The Larder. The exhibition features Rachelle’s cheerful take on iconic people from the worlds of fashion, film, art, and music created under the guise of her Art Eye Candy moniker.

“The Mary Quant piece I did that the night I heard she had passed away, the Karl Lagerfeld piece I did after I watched the documentary on him and Sade, I’ve been listening to Sade again recently. Inspiration comes from anywhere really; music, things I see on TV, conversations with friends, it’s just whatever pops up.”

Rachelle's illustration of Karl Lagerfeld is on display at The Larder. Pic Art Eye Candy
Rachelle’s illustration of Karl Lagerfeld is on display at The Larder. Pic Art Eye Candy

Rachelle has created all of the artwork featured in the exhibition on her iPad. “I really like working with digital because it’s quick and I can get the desired effect. I also enjoy working in mixed media, mixing collage, painting, and pencil crayon. I like working in pencil crayons a lot and working in plain, old simple pencil as well. I don’t have one way of working or one medium that I prefer, it is whatever the idea lends itself to best.”

A selection of the portraits featured in the exhibition will also be exhibited in London’s Brick Lane, around Shoreditch, in Barcelona, and in Brazil as part of the International Paste Up Festival starting in London this month. Two of the illustrations have also been selected to be exhibited at a gallery in London next month. As well as exhibiting the illustrations at The Larder, they are available to purchase in a range of print sizes and even as prints on t-shirts from Rachelle’s website Art Eye Candy.

Rachelle Panagarry combines her time as a professional illustrator with lecturing at UCLan, hosting an illustrators monthly meet-up and mentoring illustrators. Pic Rachelle Panagarry
Rachelle Panagarry combines her time as a professional illustrator with lecturing at UCLan, hosting an illustrators’ monthly meet-up, and mentoring illustrators. Pic Rachelle Panagarry

Rachelle has been a professional illustrator since 2013 when she illustrated the Lottie Lipton Adventures, a series of six children’s books for Bloomsbury Publishing. The books have been sold across the globe in paperback and hardback. Rachelle explains how she worked full-time on the illustrations, creating 80 illustrations for one book, with 25 featured in the final edit. It’s this invaluable industry knowledge and experience that Rachelle can impart when lecturing at UCLan. Rachelle teaches on the undergraduate BA Illustration course and from this month will start working on the MA in Children’s Book Illustration.

As well as lecturing and creating her own work, as a mentor for the Association of Illustrators (AOI) Rachelle hosts Hand Drawn and Quartered, a popular AOI Meet Up for Preston illustrators and creatives.

Read more: New creative meet-up for illustrators taking place in Preston

“There are around 13 Association of Illustrators Meet Ups in the country. It’s a social meet-up with a drawing theme,” explains Rachelle. “We’ve had life drawing sessions, we’ve done beer mat profile pictures, we’ve created a ‘zine, we’ve illustrated snapshots of what is going on around us in the environment and just chatted about work.

“There’s a mixture of members from professional illustrators who are working in Preston, retired professional illustrators, student illustrators and people who just like to draw, so it’s a really good crowd. Around 50 to 60 people go to each session, although at the summer party, we had 150 people there!

“We had a Q&A session with Stanley Chow, an internationally recognised illustrator who has won a Grammy for his illustration. To get him to come to Preston to chat to us and share how he works and what inspires him was really good.

“The next Hand Drawn and Quartered will be taking place on Thursday 28 September at The Larder and it will be a life drawing session. Anyone interested can book via the Association of Illustrators website or the Hand Drawn and Quartered Instagram page.”

With people like Rachelle living and working in Preston, having spaces like The Larder, The Birley, Artistry House, Shop and UCLan’s PR1 Gallery to see and exhibit artwork, the imminent reopening of The Harris, and seeing large-scale arts events taking place like the Lancashire Photography Festival and Encounter Festival it certainly feels like Preston’s creative scene is coming to the fore.

Read more: Local artists delighted to see their artwork on display in Preston city centre

Rachelle agrees: “I think it’s really exciting, it feels like there are lots of things happening. The murals that are now starting to appear everywhere, the Adelphi Quarter, there are a lot of creatives in Preston and it makes sense to stay here, if you want a studio space it’s cheap to rent and there’s a huge community of creatives.

“62 people came to the first illustration meet up and I was blown away, I wondered where they had been and a lot of them said the same, they never knew there were so many creative people, particularly illustrators in Preston because they had been working in isolation. The nature of illustration as a career tends to be freelancing so you are working alone, so you don’t get that critique or community unless you go out and seek it and it is nicer to meet people face to face.”

Finally, I ask Rachelle how she finds the time to juggle all of her creative commitments and she says: “Some things don’t take as long as others so you can get that quick fix of creating something. If you want to do it you make the time.”

Rachelle’s Art Eye Candy exhibition is on display at The Larder until the end of October. Prints and original artwork are for sale whilst the exhibition is on.

The Larder is at 50 Lancaster Road, and is open Tuesday and Thursday 10am to 12.30pm and Saturday 10am to 2pm.

Follow Hand Drawn and Quartered on Instagram.

Follow Art Eye Candy on Instagram and check out Rachelle’s Art Eye Candy website.

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