Artwork by King & Kley.
New artistic duo King and Kley are launching their debut collection of screen prints in Cardiff next week, aimed at inspiring people as well as provide them with affordable art for their walls.
Investing in an original piece of art is not always affordable. Now a new duo, King & Kley, are hoping to reach out to those who would like to take a step onto the art-buying ladder with their debut collection.
King & Kley – made up of Kelly King and Esther Eckley – will launch a series of 12 limited edition screen prints with an exhibition at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff next week. Reminiscent of the famous ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’ poster, the vibrant pieces all contain motivational slogans, such as ‘Make Your Own Tracks’ and ‘It’s Your Call’.
The business was formed a year ago after Eckley approached King with a concept for the screen prints. Eckley, who lives in Aberaeron with her husband Sion and their two young sons, strongly believes in keeping motivated and motivating others. This became particularly clear when she suffered a knee injury in 2004 while playing rugby for Wales. While it put an end to her sporting hobby, she turned her attention to another passion – painting.
"Without realising it at the time, art became my therapy
," says the 34-year-old. "It really motivated me after the injury and then I started thinking about putting on an exhibition and that was it. I’ve not really looked back since
Eckley has since held a number of successful exhibitions of her seascapes and landscapes at galleries throughout Wales. At the time, she was working in PR and her painting was very much something she did to relax.
"I always knew that art was something special to me
," she says. "I don’t produce many pieces. It’s a hobby and I want it to stay that way
But after taking a break from work when she and her husband adopted their sons, she decided that PR was no longer for her. Instead, she was keen to develop another side to her artwork. She approached 33-year-old King, who had designed flyers for one of her previous exhibitions, with the idea of working on a series of screen prints together. The women enrolled on a course at the School of Art, UWIC, Cardiff, and then started thrashing out their ideas for a collection.
The first collection features a dozen designs which combine words and bold images and aim to inspire people of different ages. Two of the prints are in the Welsh language and 10 in English.
"We didn’t want to just produce posters, we wanted them to be pieces of art
," says Eckley, of the screen printing technique, which uses a woven mesh to support an ink-blocking stencil.
She admits that the slogans came quite easily. "We would then try to think of the images which would go with them
Eckley and freelance graphic designer King, who lives in Cardiff with her husband and three-year-old daughter, were keen to produce limited edition prints but they also believe in creating affordable artwork which will reach a wide audience. They have produced 195 posters of each design which will be sold for £50 each. But she says they will be coming up with further collections in the future.
"The pieces are really aimed at young people, such as first-time buyers, who want to buy a decent piece of art at a decent price. And the motivational slogans will hopefully inspire them too. We all need a pick-me-up from time to time
For Eckley, their debut exhibition at the WMC feels like she has come full circle – she worked at the Cardiff Bay arts centre for more than two years as media relations manager. "It’s very special to me and such a fantastic building
," she says. "I loved the time I worked there and it just means so much to me to be launching our prints there
King & Kley’s debut exhibition takes place at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff, from Monday to June 19. For details, visit www.kingandkley.com