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WRAP Magazine, March 2011

This article was written 10 years ago.

In March 2011, WRAP Magazine used an interview I’d conducted with Max Fraser in their special edition to celebrate his Joy of Living exhibition at Somerset House in aid of Maggie’s.
WRAP_Joy_of_Living_02

 

Why did you choose to partner with Maggie’s on this project?

Ever since my mother died of cancer in late 2008, I’ve wanted to contribute in some way to mankind’s fight against the disease.

I was introduced to the work of Maggie’s Cancer Caring Centres by a friend. They offer strong emotional support to cancer patients and those people surrounding them. Something that I observed throughout my mother’s illness was the importance of a calm environment when recovering from the traumatic treatment. Maggie’s fully understand this too.

Maggie’s Centres are designed by great architects on the grounds of cancer specialist hospitals. These centres offer support and advice to countless cancer sufferers and their families. Today. Right now. The design of their spaces is welcoming, calm and uplifting.

This relates very closely to my professional world; I use media to communicate the strengths of great design. Design is not about ‘pretty stuff’ – it has the power to do so much more. It can make a huge difference to our emotional state and, I believe, has the power to make our lives better.

So, the marriage of my fundraising aims for cancer with my inherent believes and professional output all seemed to marry perfectly when I encountered Maggie’s.

Why did you ask the designers to work on graph paper?

Before I had decided which charity to support or even decided on a brief to the designers, I knew I wanted to involve graph paper. In 2009, I wrote and published a book called London Design Guide and we used graph paper on the cover design. The response from designers was really positive – graph paper seems to trigger a fond nostalgia for designers as it reminds them of the early days of drafting before computers took over. I like the idea that designers might pick up a pencil, pen, brush, whatever and create an artwork that couldn’t be repeated and that would result in something of unique value. Having received the artworks, I am pleased to say this has been achieved.
Logistically, the A4 paper is easy to send to the designers, it’s not expensive, and it’s a manageable sized artwork for most people’s walls at home.

I knew I wanted my brief to the designers to be upbeat and hopeful (a sort of celebration of life) so asking them to represent the Joy of Living seemed perfect and also very open to varied responses.

What’s been the hardest part of making all this happen?

It has been a challenge to find a suitable venue to exhibit the artworks as I was quite specific with my criteria. I wanted a central London location, a professional gallery environment, and ideally the neutrality of an institutional venue. I’m delighted that I have achieved all of these with Somerset House.

Which artwork is your favourite?

I have many, each one for a different reason, but I don’t want people to be influenced by my favourites – I want people to simply buy the artwork that they love. That is why I have opted to price them equally (all at £250) and keep the designer’s name hidden. Then, the decision is informed by one’s own passion and desire, without any other external (and quite frankly, frivolous) criteria.

WRAP Joy of Living