40 artists, illustrators and designers, 40 four-letter words, four different spot colors. That’s the premise that Brighton, UK-based design studio, shop and art gallery Unlimited set for its cheekily named spring project Four Play, which was just shown at east London’s Boxpark. The gallery selected 40 artists—a mix of an existing body of creatives, whose work they’ve showcased before, and new talent—and gave each a four-letter word. The artists then illustrated the word they were given in their own style, using just the four spot colors, and the four-letter word was added to the finished artwork by Unlimited.
The result is an exhibition of wildly varying styles, yet the strict parameters bind the fun, visually striking pieces together. “We wanted to engage like-minded creatives who were not only strong image-makers but open to playfulness and collaboration,” says Unlimited co-founder Sara Morrissey. “Parameters can actually be very positive and creatively freeing—allowing focus on a particular challenge. It’s evident in the breadth and diversity of the final responses that the same brief doesn’t necessitate the same outcome and can result in a very dynamic, fresh, exciting and cohesive show,” Morrissey adds.
Among the pieces the many stand-out pieces, See Creatures cute tiger, for the word “Easy”, carried plenty of charm and creativity. And Vicki Turner’s pared back “Time” works all the better for being one of the more restrained creations of the bunch, color-wise.
It’s the first time Unlimited has worked on a project with such a large number of domestic and international artists, but Morrissey says everyone involved reacted positively to the limitations of the challenge. After a week at Boxpark, Four Play will now be on show at the Unlimited shop and gallery as part of Brighton’s Fringe Festival for the whole of May. The gallery is also hoping to show it in two other locations later this year.
The prints are all available online in limited editions of 100, and cost £45 each.
Images courtesy of Unlimited