In One Room is Nick Booton’s (@bruistudio) latest project, which sees him expanding upon his usual role of designer/maker to curator. In One Room will see 10 artists/desginers/makers from across the U.K. come together to exhibit brand new works made especially for the project. Their common ground lies in the medium they use, each using print in some way in their work.
Having followed Nick’s work for a while, this particular project caught my eye due to its collaborative nature. Not only is collaboration what I’m aiming to achieve here on LUISA, but I feel that it’s so important for creatives to work together as the industry can sometimes feel quite isolating.
Lucy Sherston’s printed fabric wall hanging.
In an industry where many spend most of their time working alone due to the often-solitary nature of the process of making, we discussed the importance of social media for connecting artists/designers/makers and creating a virtual community. Nick believes that communities nowadays are less about geographic boundaries but instead they can be founded on common identities, which is certainly true of communities such as Instagram: people with common identities and interests can easily connect thanks to the power of the hashtag.
“Social media allows you access to a universal conversation of contemporary ideas and I think this allows for certain micro-communities to form naturally as individuals exploring similar themes are magnetised towards each other.”
As all of the artists exhibiting at In One Room work in the same medium, although they use it in very different ways, I was interested to find out whether Nick thinks social media can also have a negative impact upon creativity; does knowing there are many people out there working in the same way as you make creating more difficult?
“There definitely are anxieties breeding online when you start to talk about originality over ideas and I have seen a lot of examples of conformity when it comes to design trends or application but I don’t think we should get too hung up on this. I don’t think ideas can be truly original in a digital climate but it’s the execution and the intent that makes the difference; good ideas will always surface over bad ones.”
“I love to explore and learn from the online community but I’m also very conscious of my own unique set of interests in the offline world and I try my best to respond to them with an evolving visual language. Social media is just a tool, it can enhance your practice if you understand it but it’ll flatten your practice if you rely on it. This project is intentionally trying to reinstall some analogue networking back into our lives!”
Nick’s own work (above), under his alias Bruï, will be featured alongside the 9 other designer/makers at the exhibition.
The 9 other artists exhibiting alongside Nick are certainly not confined by geographic boundaries, which made me wonder how they were selected for the project. Was it crucial to involve people working in different ways within printmaking, to show the versatility of the medium?
“I’ve carefully selected these artists to best represent a diverse cross-section of contemporary printmaking as I see it. I’m really interested in the way each of the exhibitors have been exploring their practices independently and believe they are all very intuitive when it comes to decision making, allowing them the courage to push into unknown territories of visual play.”
“For me, a screenprint or risograph isn’t necessarily a final outcome. There is so much process involved that the discipline becomes an ongoing relationship between the artist and their thoughts, it’s almost just a timestamp of that interaction. I feel each exhibitor has a totally unique conversation but that showing these pieces collectively will draw out common themes that reflect shared observations from across the UK.”
The idea of shared observations, values and practise is inherent to the project. Nick told me that he hopes In One Room will be able to expand further in future years, to include designer/makers from across the globe too, adding to the current number of exhibitors each time and growing their community.
“It’s really about instigating a network based on some core values but letting the contributors take ownership over the ways in which we can showcase our practices and extend the invite to as many as possible.”
Charlotte Whiston’s collaged silkscreen print.
To conclude our conversation, I asked Nick to reflect on what he hoped to achieve with the project when he set out, aside from bringing artists/designers/makers together.
“I started working on ‘In One Room’ as a practical solution to some of the issues I had with practicing printmaking in a digital focused world. I commonly found that print as a discipline was being restricted to a low level commodity, whereas the printmakers I have come to know display some really intuitive, intellectual and observant minds which I believe can offer valuable insights into our hectic modern lives. The arena of print can be used to exercise abstract creative play and encourage deep explorations into the impacts of colour, composition and expression with no limits to the influence that can have across other creative disciplines from fashion to interior design or branding.”
In One Room runs from 7th – 10th June, at Islington Mill in Salford.
Find out more about the makers taking part in the project at inoneroom.co.uk, and follow the process leading up to the exhibition over on Instagram using #inoneroommcr.
Many thanks to Nick for taking the time to answer my questions!
All images c/o Nick Booton (Bruï).