Founded by Marc Farrington it began in Cafe 1001 (Brick Lane, London). Once a fortnight Marc transformed the cafe into a Pop-Up gallery called ‘Showcase London’ - The Platform For Emerging Artists. It became a popular destination giving graduates and local artists an opportunity to network, gain exposure and sell their work commission free.
Showcase London positions itself at the forefront of London’s ‘Pop-Up’ scene. Maintaining its fortnightly schedule and building a reputation for quality and high footfall, keen to stay ahead of the crowd Marc begins to experiment with event formats introducing DJs, a pop-up street food stall and live entertainment.
Showcase London welcomes its first celebrity artist, organising a Live Paint session with Stik (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stik). Attendance steadily increases as people flock to find a bargain from a future star! This is also the year Showcase London becomes ‘Showcase Cities’ and moves into a larger venue (Richmix, Shoreditch, London).
With new branding, venue, an improved monthly format and live entertainment as standard, Showcase Cities offers both artists and attendees a more comprehensive and professional exhibition experience. Welcoming artists in the early stages of their careers including: Dan Kitchener (DANK), Carne Griffiths and success story Matt Crump (Time Magazine Top 50).
After 4 years delivering over 80 group shows, exhibiting almost 2000 artists, helping them collectively earn more than £150,000 in commission free sales, it's time for a rest and re-think! Founder Marc Farrington has always had a passion for art, particularly illustration, it's time to specialise, rebrand and raise the bar!
Introducing ‘Illustrated 2015’ - A collection of the brightest visionaries in contemporary illustration & street art. An annual Expo and festival of illustration set against the backdrop of The Old Truman Brewery (Brick Lane, London) featuring 35 artists (including Alvaro Tapia, Samuel Gomez and award winning illustrator Marcus Reed). A three day extravaganza with seminars, workshops, live performances and guest speakers including Camille Walala and the AOI.
‘Illustrated 2016’ features 40 artists including Catrin Welz-Stein, Antonio Lorente and Patrick George, complete with tattoo workshops and seminars from London Graffiti and Mr Doodle. During the event we trial a competitive drawing competition called ‘The Brief’ where 2 x exhibitors (RYCA and Alex Moore) go head-to-head, a popular ‘in-event’ attraction - this becomes the catalyst for a new idea ...
The Illustrated World Series (IWS) is officially launched and the UK Illustration Championships 2017 (the world’s first creative eSport) is delivered: 16 x competitors compete for the title with the final played out between Russell Taysom and eventual winner Si Mitchell. The tournament is well received and the IWS commits to developing and growing this exciting new genre: the ‘Sportification’ of live art.
Undergoing a full rebrand the UK Illustration Championships are scheduled as a biennial event and planning begins for 2019. Securing a more prestigious venue, fabricating professional Battle-Bays (iconic pro-drawing desks unique to the IWS), increasing our prize pool, ramping up ticket sales and welcoming more competitors while also developing an official rankings system are all top priorities.
Benefiting from high profile sponsorships with Redbull, Coors Light, POSCA and metro.co.uk the event enjoys record attendance. Vision becomes reality as pro-tournament Battle-Bays bring a powerful visual aesthetic allowing 32 professionals to battle head-to-head in front of a sell-out crowd at Boxpark Wembley. Lawrence Hugh Burns faces-off against Uncle Ewan in the final and wins the title. The UK Championships becomes an annual tournament.
COVID-19 forces the entire tournament online, with last minute support from the Arts Council, POSCA and Scrawlrbox the UK Illustration Championships are successfully delivered. Coordinating 32 competitors across 3 continents and 6 time zones with high online visibility welcoming over 6000 viewers. ROOTS makes it through to the final after an impressive 4 day run, taking on eventual winner and champ Alex Solis.
Plans are in place to deliver the World Illustration Championships over Summer with a bigger prize pool and wider reach. The UK Illustration Championships (now an annual tournament) will also be delivered (Winter). This year will see both classic (pen & paper) and digital (tablet & stylus) versions of each tournament showcased to a worldwide audience.