I commissioned artist and illustrator Sara Fanelli well over a year and a half ago to design a range of exclusive products for Tate so it’s great to see it finally on the shelves!
It took a long time to find the right quality of material, design of shape and colour balance for each individual product and much refining and tweaking was done along the way. Sara has such attention to detail and her surprise touches and detailing took time to get right but was an important element.
Florence-born and London-based, Fanelli has illustrated many children’s books over the years but I was particularly captivated by her work in the book Sometimes I Think, Sometimes I Am. I loved her clever use of quotations and her illustrations are wonderfully rich and layered. I found her mixing of mythology, art and literature together to create her illustrations really interesting. Her influences come from many: from the Dadaists, Cubists, Paul Klee and 1960s art to Bauhaus, Surrealism, Russian Constructivism and film.
I felt that her inventive, original style with its rich textures, typography and dark humour could translate well onto different types of objects and materials. As writer, art director and author Steven Heller says:
Fanelli covers a broad range of emotional ground, somewhere between the serene and the boisterous, happiness and melancholy, never failing to stimulate. Her art is in no way artifice. Her art is personal expression and through it she experiences what in real life is impossible, opening up new worlds and new thoughts.
Steven Heller is a far better writer than I and I’m glad he allowed me to use these quotes from his text he wrote for Sometimes I think, Sometimes I am as he sums up exactly how I felt when I looked at her work. She opens up new thoughts and new worlds for me and I hope for many others too.
There will be a few more posts about the range and how we put it together over the next few weeks, including one from the Sara herself.