Collectives: The Future

 

peepshow - anthology

Peepshow Collective – Published Anthology, photo by Jere Salonen

There are many different attitudes towards collectives, to get a more accurate idea of how they function and succeed, Allie Oldfield talks to UK based and overseas collectives asking them what they think the future holds for illustration collectives. 

Self-publishing, festival workshops, printmaking, ceramics, group exhibitions, professional design studios – there are so many exciting options for illustration and design collectives these days. Here’s what LÖK Zine, Peep Show, Biografiktion and more had to say about what future they’d like to see for illustration and design collectives:

 

Peep Show - UK

I’m not sure if there will be any ‘illustration’ collectives in a similar model to us in the future as things have moved on. I would argue that we aren’t really even one. We rarely collaborate on ‘illustrations’; we just happen to all come from that background. I think future groups will be more cross disciplined as I’m not sure a collective should really be made of people all offering the same skill set. They are also self authoring a lot more of their  own work and trying to make a career through producing self initiated projects. They are able to find their own niche audience rather than being client lead. I’d like to see illustrators being more widely used for their thinking and approach to problem solving rather than just their ‘style’ but that is up to illustrators themselves to negotiate, not just the clients.

 

Tietan Met Haar - Belgium

Keep defending the ideas and freedom of creating for yourself, reinvent the way of producing together. Open freedom of speech and publish small and local, like vegetables! Working in a collective allows you a certain freedom that’s for sure, so the future will probably require that. Different collectives play important social, political and artistic roles, and what we try to do is protect the freedom of free space, of absurdity. But at the end of the day, we are (sadly) no third eyed power rangers, we just think that if collectives have any role to be fulfill, it will just be to follow its own path, and hopefully it’s an interesting one!

 

'There Are Still Mysteries' by Fell, designed by Nous Vous

‘There Still Are Mysteries’ by Fell, designed by Nous Vous

 

Nous Vous - UK

Potentially being even more multi-facetted. Able to provide physical services like printing or framing or just doing production things in house. A good example of this is Puck Collective who have a vinyl cutting service or Catalogue the design duo who screen print garments, have a riso printer, produce websites, design their own magazine and create designs for other people. Having people who specialise in different disciplines and contribute different skills to the group. Being more of a straight up business in a way. And most importantly an ability to adjust too and embrace new technologies. 

 

LÖK Zine - Italy

We want to try to organize entire festivals and important expositions all around Europe. In terms of the future for collectives, I think that the desire to learn and discover from new perspectives will always be necessary. And trusting in ones own ideas and projects.

 

Spring Magazine Collective  - Germany

The “old” markets like magazine and book illustration are getting more and more weak – illustrators have to be very creative to gain new means of marketing their work and finding new ways to earn good money with their work. The collective work is always a good way to promote oneself, to do experimental work that could lead to new routes.

 

Sandra Dieckmann, Clay Collective

Sandra Dieckmann, Clay Collective

 

Clay Collective - UK

As cities become more expensive I can only see that choosing to co-operate and work collectively will become a better idea for artists and creatives.

 

Peep Show - UK

I’m not sure if there will be any ‘illustration’ collectives in a similar model to us in the future as things have moved on. I would argue that we aren’t really even one. We rarely collaborate on ‘illustrations’; we just happen to all come from that background. I think future groups will be more cross disciplined as I’m not sure a collective should really be made of people all offering the same skill set. They are also self authoring a lot more of their  own work and trying to make a career through producing self initiated projects. They are able to find their own niche audience rather than being client lead. I’d like to see illustrators being more widely used for their thinking and approach to problem solving rather than just their ‘style’ but that is up to illustrators themselves to negotiate, not just the clients.

 

Biografiktion - Germany

Well of course you have to keep up with the times by being influenced by different fashions and the current political and cultural events. But I think the main idea, structure and composition of a collective will always stay the same. Just because it works pretty well.

 

With thanks to Tim Blann for his research and contribution to this article. Special thanks to Paul Paetzel of Biografiktion, Luke Best of Peepshow, Stephanie Wunderlich of Spring Magazine Collective, Math and Jana of Tieten Met Haar, Jay Cover of Nous Vous, Elisa Caroli of LÖK Zine, and Sophie and Emma of Clay Collective for their responses and insight.