We are delighted to be supporting THE STATE OF US, a new pop-up exhibition from Illustrators Ireland opening for one night only next month. We sat down with one of the co-organisers, illustrator and artist Steve Doogan, to find out a bit more about this massive show!

Tell us about the impetus for the show and what we should expect on the night?

The State Of Us will be a large group show of portraits, a one-night-only event staged by Illustrators Ireland in association with Offset. We have 90 artists, around 65 of whom are illustrators or painters, and the rest are designers and art directors. Each person makes a portrait of somebody in the group, but also gets their portrait done by someone else. It will be a snapshot of a big section of our creative community, hence the title. All works will hang from wires strung across the space, 90 pieces at A1 size.

Why did you chose the theme of portraits? And specifically the idea of each exhibiting artist doing a portrait or a fellow artist. Is there a specific quality or idea that portraits express?

Everyone loves to look at faces. They are endlessly fascinating. On the superficial level, we can be obsessed by the beauty or quirkiness of a face, and we can view it purely voyeuristically, at the image a person may or may not be trying to project. On a deeper level, we are constantly in search of connections with one another, and the face is usually the first point in that search. As social animals, we crave contact with other people, and we can find that connection in looking and being looked at. I personally love making portraits, and the permission it grants to simply look closely at someone’s face for a long time. I imagine that’s a common enough trait.

Why is it important for group shows like this to exist?

There’s a couple of good reasons. The first is social: it’s all too easy to feel isolated as an illustrator, especially if you work alone. Bringing so many people together like this helps reveal the people behind the names. We want to remind people how large and vibrant and downright talented their community is. The whole idea is to encourage people to mingle: they will want to meet both the person who made their picture, and the person whose picture they made. And mixing the illustration and design communities seems obvious, as they are natural collaborators. But besides all that, I just can’t wait to see the work! We will be producing a poster of all the images that you can buy on the night.

Should we expect more shows like in the coming months and years from Illustrators Ireland?

Yes. It’s a fairly simple way to operate: being a one-day show means we’re not overly dependent on venue hire for long periods, so it’s cheaper to stage. The show goes up, we have the party, then it comes down and goes online for the world to see. Illustrators Ireland is jammed with ridiculously talented people these days, so it’s sure to be a cracker. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s going to be a mixture of very funny and oddly moving. And most if not all works will be for sale, so get there on time to avoid disappointment!

We will be updating developments over the next few weeks including interviews with participants and sneak peaks of the some of the work on show.