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When Art Met Pop
Commissioned by Illustrators Ireland, an exhibition in the Grand Social will pay tribute to The Beatles – and their extraordinary legacy of great songs.
Colm O Hare, 23 Oct 2012
The Illustrated Beatles is a week-long event planned for Dublin venue, the Grand Social. It will feature 40 artworks inspired by 40 classic Beatles songs.
The song list, compiled by leading advertising industry creatives, broadcasters and writers, has been “visualised” by a line-up of award-winning illustrators. The show will open a week-long series of events hosted by the Grand Social to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ first recordings for EMI and will take in a Beatles film night, Beatles tribute band The Mersey Beatles and ‘60s themed club events.
The exhibition is organised and co-ordinated by illustrator Peter Donnelly.
“I just happened to be the promotions officer for Illustrators Ireland,” he explains, “which strives to foster links between all of the professional illustrators working in this country. We have over 50 full-time members and usually put on one big group-show every year. I was looking for something more high-concept to raise us to a bigger platform, as some of the shows in the past were a bit insular. Back in 1970 there was a British illustrator called Alan Aldridge who had the idea of illustrating the lyrics of Beatles songs. With the timing of the 50th anniversary of the first Beatles studio recording, I thought it a good idea to do something similar.”
Donnelly decided to expand the concept to include broadcasters and writers. “It helped, in that I could use those contacts to promote the exhibition, especially if I could involve them in the creative process early on.”
He gave everyone on the list a choice of two songs. Rather than commission specific illustrators to “visualise” particular Beatles songs, he opted to do so lottery-style.
“The songs and the artists were literally picked from a hat by my nine-year-old daughter,” he laughs. “It was the fairest way to do it as there would have been obvious songs that would have gone to obvious illustrators. We didn’t want them all fighting over ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’. Some of the illustrators had to go and research the songs and it got them listening to The Beatles again – which was great. It was good that people chose some of the earlier songs, which are more linear and flat. We didn’t want to end up with 40 psychedelic pictures of later-era Beatles material.